Even if you need to kill the pesky squirrels destroying your property, you may need to trap the squirrels first. This is especially true if squirrels are inside your house. (Do not shoot squirrels inside your house. Bullets and pellets can travel through walls endangering your family and pets. And, along with squirrel damage, you’ll have to repair bullet holes.) Choosing the best squirrel trap, whether a lethal squirrel trap or catch-and-release, depends on location of the rodents, size of the squirrels, and hunter (that’s you!) preferences.
First, a few squirrel trapping tips:
Determine where to place the trap or traps. If the squirrels are inside your home, place the trap on a flat surface near a squirrel-damaged area or entryway. Outside spots include the base of a tree, near a fence close to your vegetable garden, or other frequented feeding spots such as a bird feeder. You can also place a trap in a spot on your roof easily accessed by tree limbs or a power line.
Choose effective bait and place it correctly. Position the bait on or near the trigger so the squirrel must engage the trigger plate. If using a mesh-walled trap, make sure the bait is larger than the openings. Peanut butter spread directly on the trigger plate and large, unshelled peanuts work well. For more on squirrel diet preferences, click here.
Check your traps often. It is cruel to leave an animal trapped for a long period of time, and you will end up with either an angry squirrel ready to fight or a rotting, dead squirrel stinking up the place.
If a squirrel or other rodent is inside the trap, use gloves when handling a trap. Anxious, trapped animals are more likely to bite, and squirrels are known carriers of several diseases. For more on what diseases squirrels can transfer to humans, click here. Sanitize traps after each successful use. Spray the trap with bleach and allow the trap to sit for 20 minutes. This will kill any bacteria the squirrel may have left behind. After the bleach does its thing, rinse the trap thoroughly and set the squirrel trap again. In my experience, unless you live in a hermetically sealed bubble, more squirrels will always try to get in your home.
Now that you are loaded with squirrel trap tips, let’s explore your trapping options.
Best squirrel trap for large fox squirrels:
If your squirrels are large, well-fed pests, you need a big trap. The Havahart 1045 Live Animal Two-Door Cage Trap has room for even the chunkiest pests. The mesh openings of the cage are smaller than other traps of this size. Therefore, squirrels are less likely to steal the bait without tripping the trigger. This trap is rust-resistant so that it can be placed indoors or out. The two doors allow rodents to enter from either end, and the trigger is very sensitive.
If you really don’t like squirrels but don’t want to kill them either, try this:
The Havahart 632 Medium 2-Door Safe Release Live Animal Cage Trap is a trap made for wise, suspicious hunters, those who recognize that even the cutest of furry creatures has a powerful bite. This genius squirrel trap has a timer. Once a squirrel is trapped inside the cage, set the timer located on the trap, sit the trap wherever you want the squirrel released, and back away. When the designated time runs out, the doors fall open and the rodent can run far away from you. It’s up to you if you want to take those few minutes before time runs out to get into your best target-practice position with your choice of air rifle.
Lethal squirrel traps that do not use poison:
The Forestry Suppliers Tube Trap Squirrel Trap is a rust-resistant trap made for controlling squirrel infestations. Tube traps work whether baited or not because the shape is enticing to squirrels as a hiding spot. This is a lethal trap. You must position this trap where only squirrels will find it. If not, small pets may crawl inside the trap. Also, take special care when setting lethal tube traps to avoid injury.
If you need to place a tube trap in a very small space, try the WCS Shorty Tube Trap Squirrel Trap. At only 7.5” long, it is perfect for cramped attic or roof spaces such as frequented corners or gutters where lethal traps are required but difficult to set and bait.
If the snapping mechanism of tube traps creeps you out, but you still need a lethal trap, consider the PestZilla Electronic Rat Trap. This trap instantly kills squirrels with an electric shock powered by either the plug-in adapter (included) or batteries (not included). The most recent version available is a manufacturer upgrade, so you can kill those pesky squirrels with “enhanced performance.” However, this trap is only 11” long. I would not recommend it for fox squirrels or any large rodent.
A pest control strategy is necessary to get rid of squirrels.
With that in mind, do more than just set traps. Traps alone will create a never-ending cycle of bait, set, trap, and clean. To end the cycle, add repellents to your squirrel elimination strategy. You can try some of the repellent sprays on the market, but, for me, ultrasonic repellents are the most effective options for garages, basements, and attics. And, as ultrasonic repellent devices do not use poison, they are pet and child friendly.
My favorite ultrasonic device is the CLEANRTH CR008 Advanced Ultrasonic Rodent Repelling System. This unit needs to be plugged in to a 120V outlet and may take a few days to improve your rodent problem, but those squirrel-y pests will begin to hate their new hangout. According to the manufacturer, “The Digitally Processed electromagnetic waves generated by this device automatically go deep into the walls throughout your home or office.” Yes, this device will cause silent, slight vibrations that literally get at the pests’ nerves until they run away. Those creepy, crawly, 2am clawing sounds will cease. Hallelujah!
Fortify your property from squirrels and the damage they do with the proper squirrel traps and a strategic repellent plan. And, honestly, if squirrels don’t like being caught in traps, they shouldn’t break in to your house in the first place.
For more on the damage squirrels do, click here.