Although seeing squirrels at the park and outside may be cute, having these rodents in your attic or chewing the outside of your home can cause massive, expensive damage. Getting rid of squirrels before these rodents shred your insulation or even chew through wires and PVC pipes is crucial. Because squirrels can be extremely tough to catch, using squirrel poison can seem tempting. However, in the US and in many other places around the globe, using squirrel poison to kill squirrels is illegal. But don’t lose hope; we’ll explain some other effective methods you can use to get rid of pesky squirrels.
Identifying the Problem: Squirrels or Mice?
If you’ve been noticing scurrying or scratching sounds coming from the attic, you might assume that squirrels have invaded your home. However, rats and mice also commonly live in attics or other hidden parts of the home. Identifying which type of rodent has entered your home is useful for choosing the best removal option.
The first and most distinctive clue to whether you are dealing with squirrels or mice is the time of day that you notice activity. Rats and mice are nocturnal. So, you’ll tend to hear the scurrying or scratching noises coming from your walls during the night. Squirrels, on the other hand, are most active during the day. Depending on the amount of time squirrels have been living in your home, you’ll also notice strange smells or water marks from squirrel urine more than mouse urine. Additionally, the larger size of squirrels also enables them to create more damage in a shorter amount of time than mice are capable of.
If you’ve looked at these clues and noticed you may actually have mice or rats in your attic, we suggest reading our articles on how to get rid of mice in your attic or the top 5 best rat and mouse poisons. However, most of the tips we offer for getting rid of squirrels, keeping them away, and squirrel poison also apply to rats and mice.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels
One of the most effective (and most legal) methods for getting rid of pesky squirrels is trapping. Many people prefer to use a humane “catch and release” method, but lethal traps for killing squirrels also exist. As an alternative to squirrel poison, trapping allows you to get rid of the squirrels just as quickly.
Almost all traps made for rats will also be large enough to trap squirrels. We’ve made a list of our favorite traps for squirrels or rats.
This versatile trap works for many types of squirrels, rats, mice, and even chipmunks. The “catch and release” metal cage design makes this trap both humane and reusable. Additionally, this trap is weather-resistant and can be used indoors or outdoors. Finally, the solid metal top of the cage helps to prevent any angry rodents from injuring you when lifting up the trap. However, we still recommend wearing gloves whenever handling a trap with an animal inside to help prevent any injury.
Our Rating: 4.9/5
Another solid trap option from Havahart is this small 2-door trap. The primary difference of this trap from the previous Havahart trap that we recommended is the amount of doors. Because this trap has entrances at both ends, it can attract more rodents to walk through it. Additionally, the rodent can enter from either end to be trapped. However, the bait must be placed on top of the trigger. Some users complain that this sometimes prevents rodents from triggering the closing of the trap.
Our Rating: 4.7/5
If you’re looking for a lethal option and an alternative to squirrel poison, try this Ebung Electric Rodent Zapper. Once rodents trigger this trap, it administers a 7000V shock to quickly kill the pest. This non-bloody, reusable trap offers an easy clean-up after it kills rodents. However, this trap can only be used indoors since it shouldn’t be in contact with any water.
Our Rating: 4.7/5
Aside from using lethal traps, such as the model from Ebung recommended above, some people choose to shoot the squirrels causing damage to their home. Of course, certain laws exist about where you’re allowed to discharge a firearm, especially in more urban areas. If you must kill a squirrel, shooting presents a relatively humane option instead of squirrel poison. You shouldn’t need more than a small caliber weapon to kill these small rodents. However, shooting does leave a bit of a mess behind for you to clean up and presents a bit more of a safety risk. This mess isn’t typically present with trapping.
How to Prevent More Squirrels From Invading Your Home
If you’re currently dealing with the tough problem of getting rid of these furry pests, you certainly don’t want to experience this trouble again. Taking a few extra steps after getting rid of the squirrels currently in your home can help deter squirrels from entering again in the future.
After you remove the squirrels from your home, make sure to repair any damage they made and identify and seal any entry points that would allow more pests inside. Because squirrels are adept climbers and jumpers, they can often access your house by using nearby trees. Keep any tree branches trimmed away from your home to avoid this.
Also, remove squirrels attractions. Food sources and shelter are what most squirrels seek that come near your home. Removing any bird feed stations or other outside food sources will help to deter squirrels.
Removing and deterring squirrels from your home can save you thousands of dollars in home repairs. These small rodents are often referred to as “rats with fluffy tails” for a reason; squirrels will invade your home, cause massive damage, and be a hassle to remove. Although laws prevent using squirrel poison in most regions, including the US, trapping presents an effective and relatively simple method for getting rid of squirrels.
Always be sure to check local laws concerning the trapping or killing of animals and follow all safety protocols suggested by the products you buy.