Squirrels in attic: Time to Panic?

surprised squirrel
“Whoa! That’s a lot of squirrels!”

Panic? No. Act quickly to remedy your “squirrels in attic” problem? YES! There are a few measures you must take to remove the squirrels from your attic and prevent future squatter squirrels from gaining access.

To get rid of squirrels in attic: Traps are your best bet.

First, decide if you wish to merely trap the squirrels in your attic or kill them. This is a personal preference. Perhaps the same squirrel keeps sneaking in and destroying your property with his incessant chewing and scratching. After replacing wiring a few times and cleaning up his literal crap, I could understand why you’d want the vermin dead. But, consider this. A dead squirrel is a rotting squirrel and rotting squirrels stink even worse than live squirrels. To keep the pungent smell of death out of my home, I always use non-lethal traps.

The non-lethal squirrel trap market is filled with options, so here are a few of my favorites.

Best squirrel trap for large squirrels:

Large catch-and-release

Get multiple Fatty McFatterson squirrels out of your attic with the  Havahart 1045 Live Animal Two-Door Cage Trap. It has room for even the chunkiest pests. The mesh openings of the cage are smaller than other traps of this size so squirrels are less likely to steal the bait without getting caught red-handed. Yes, some traps have large enough openings that crafty, clever squirrels can reach their greedy paws through the mesh for a tasty snack. Not so with this trap. Oh, and the trigger is super sensitive, so once the squirrel is inside, he’s all yours.

If you really don’t like squirrels but don’t want to kill them either, try this:

timed release squirrel trap

Squirrels are gross little buggers. They are known to carry all sorts of diseases including salmonella. So, I avoid touching squirrels or being bit by one entirely. That is why I love the Havahart 632 Medium 2-Door Safe Release Live Animal Cage Trap. This ingenious feat of engineering features two-way entry, a sensitive trigger, and a timer. Once a squirrel is trapped inside the cage, you can set the timer located on the side of the trap, sit the trap wherever you want the squirrel released, and back away. When the specified time runs out, the timer triggers the doors to fall open. Now, nasty Mr. Squirrel is free to flee the trap on his own. Whether or not you pop a pellet in his little head as he scampers away, well that is all up to you.

Lethal traps

Lethal squirrel traps in attic:

tube trap

The Forestry Suppliers Tube Trap Squirrel Trap is rust-resistant, perfect for attics that lack climate control. This squirrel trap will work whether baited or not. The shape attracts squirrels who are constantly looking for cozy spots great for hiding. But, this thing is lethal not cozy. The spring action will kill a squirrel and any other creature including small pets that climb inside it. So, use extreme caution regarding placement and setting the trap. Position this trap where only squirrels will find it.

short tube trap

So, you know exactly how squirrels are getting in and out of your attic. Because squirrels love to annoy humans (that may or may not be factual), the squirrels invading your home found the perfect spot to enter and exit—the teeny tiny space in the roof overhang of your attic. Normal size traps won’t fit. You need 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. Again, no bait needed as squirrels won’t be able to resist this hidey-hole.

electronic squirrel trap

If you prefer a high tech squirrel traps and wish to kill squirrels instantly, which is more kind than making any creature suffer, try the If the PestZilla Electronic Rat TrapWhen a squirrel enters the trap a surge of electricity kills the squirrel. But, this is an indoor-use-only trap as it is powered by either the plug-in adapter (included) or batteries (not included). Depending on where squirrel traps in your attic are needed, proximity to electric outlets, and whether wire damage caused by squirrels chewing on wires is visible will determine your preferred power source option. If you see wire damage, do not use the adapter option until a certified electrician repairs the damage.

Quick notes on poison.

Don’t use poison squirrels. It is illegal in most states and is cruel. Most poisons, especially rat poisons are ineffective on squirrels. The squirrels will suffer. They will vomit in your attic in an act of illness and revenge, but they will not die from poison.

Antifreeze, popular among DIYer squirrel killers, will kill squirrels but in an inhumane way. The squirrel will ingest the antifreeze. As this potent chemical moves through the squirrel’s body, it will attack internal organs especially the kidneys and liver. Death by antifreeze can take anywhere from two to twenty-four hours. Along with this prolonged death being cruel, a sick squirrel is typically a hiding squirrel. Now we’re back to having a rotting squirrel carcass somewhere in your home and a stench that will linger for weeks.

Step away from the air rifle.

Lastly, you may wonder why I haven’t suggested just shooting the squirrels in the attic. Pick them off one by one with increasing satisfaction as you gaze upon all the damage the rodents have done to your property. Do not fire a weapon of any kind, even a pellet gun, inside your home. Bullets, even pellets, travel through walls and ceilings. Shooting a squirrel inside your home places your entire family at risk. Killing a squirrel just isn’t worth that.

Now that you’ve set traps, address the “How to keep squirrels in attic out?” problem:

  • Get a cat. Squirrels hate cats because cats think squirrels are super tasty. Turn the cat loose in your attic.
  • Although squirrels may chew through any new barrier just as easy as the old barrier, temporarily block any area that squirrels have chewed their way through with Flex Seal Tape. Then, call a handyman or contractor depending on the extent of damage.
  • While the handyman is available, direct him to replace any damaged or decaying boards on the exterior of your home, especially those that, if compromised, will provide access to your attic. Squirrels can chew through boards in good condition. Can you imagine how quickly they will saw through damaged or decaying boards?
  • Squirrels typically access the attic of a home via nearby tree branches. Either call a professional tree trimmer, or if you can do so safely, grab a chainsaw and trim all branches away from your roof. Limiting access to your attic is your best defense.

Squirrels in attic? Definitely a problem, but don’t panic. The problem can be remedied. Squirrel traps in attic? Yep. Trap ’em, move ’em, and keep them out!

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