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Get Rid of Red Squirrels

Updated on May 22, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia has years of experience with gardening and wild pests in New Hampshire and other locales.

Cute, but oh my goodness, the damage they can cause!
Cute, but oh my goodness, the damage they can cause! | Source

Are Red Squirrels Making You Crazy?

Red squirrels are notorious for the damage they can cause to a house or a vehicle. They are considered much more invasive than gray squirrels.

If you've suffered from red squirrels and need to stop them, check out the solutions I offer below. There are a variety of ways to rid your yard and home of these pests, you just need to chose which one fits your situation.


Cute at First - Destructive over Time

Source

Red Squirrels in the Yard or in the Home

My neighbor's recreational vehicle was destroyed by red squirrels getting into the undercarriage and chewing through the hydraulic lines. What a mess as the hydraulic fluid drained down inside everything. Nothing would work and it had to be towed back to the factory and replaced.

Needless to say, he is paranoid now and just the sight of one of these critters sends him to his shed to get out the trusty Havahart trap. I can't blame him after the thousands of dollars in damage they caused to his RV.

Since you are here, I bet you have a story to tell of damage done by these critters to your home, auto or garden. When you get to the very end of this page, there's a guestbook. I'd love to get your input on your squirrel problems.

Photo by Virginia Allain.

Havahart Squirrel Trap

I consider these traps fairly foolproof. The single door trap (shown here) is easier to set than the double one. Bait the trap with some peanut butter on the trip lever in the center of the cage. My neighbor puts some bread with peanut butter into the trap. He's caught 7 red squirrels over the last couple of months. I just put the bait right on the lever.

You can sprinkle a few sunflower seeds at the entrance and into the trap if you want to get fancy.

Havahart Trap for Squirrels (I have great success with these)

Havahart Easy Set Small 1-Door Animal Trap for Rats and Small Squirrels - 1082-Made in the USA
Havahart Easy Set Small 1-Door Animal Trap for Rats and Small Squirrels - 1082-Made in the USA

There are two options for taking care of the squirrel once it is in the trap. You can transport it far away so it won't return. I've read that it needs to be at least 25 miles to prevent it from coming back to its territory. That's a 50 mile round-trip per captured squirrel.

The second option is to place the cage with the squirrel inside into enough water to cover the top of the cage. The squirrel quickly drowns.

This trap also comes in a 2-door version which gives a more open appearance to the animal. Both doors slam down at once when the squirrel nibbles the food on the lever. I use peanut butter (a small smear on the metal trip-lever).

 

Where Are Red Squirrels Giving You Trouble?

Oh, that naughty squirrel. My Florida neighbors had squirrels invade their attic. It cost them $4,000 to have someone come in to trap and remove the squirrels, clean up the debris, and block places where the squirrels had entered.
Oh, that naughty squirrel. My Florida neighbors had squirrels invade their attic. It cost them $4,000 to have someone come in to trap and remove the squirrels, clean up the debris, and block places where the squirrels had entered. | Source

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They Should Call This the Squirrel-ator Too - The Chipmunkinator Works for Squirrels Just Fine

Here's the new trap that I tried out last summer. Worked fine for the red squirrels. It was sent to me by the manufacturer to review for its chipmunk catching capabilities.

Squirrel in a Chipmunkinator Trap

Although this trap is advertised on Amazon for chipmunk trapping, I caught a number of squirrels in mine.
Although this trap is advertised on Amazon for chipmunk trapping, I caught a number of squirrels in mine. | Source

The Chipmunkinator Trap Also Works for Squirrels

Rugged Ranch Products SQRTO Squirrelinator Trap without Basin
Rugged Ranch Products SQRTO Squirrelinator Trap without Basin

I've captured 4 red squirrels this summer using traps like this one and the Havahart. Usually, I'd catch just one and remove it, but the fellow in the photo must have had a real invasion of squirrels to capture that many in a short time.

 

How to Make Your Own Squirrel Trap - An old-fashioned box trap

If you are a real do-it-yourself kind of person, have a look at these videos. They may inspire you to make your own squirrel traps. Good luck!

Want to Make Your Own Trap? Video Tutorial

Electronic Zapper - Instantly zaps any red squirrel that enters it

This is a quick and final solution for those who don't want to trap and relocate their squirrels. It kills them immediately when they enter the zapper.

Eliminator Robust Electronic Rat and Rodent Trap - Eliminate Rats, Mice and Squirrels Efficiently and Safely [UPGRADED VERSION]
Eliminator Robust Electronic Rat and Rodent Trap - Eliminate Rats, Mice and Squirrels Efficiently and Safely [UPGRADED VERSION]

This runs on batteries. A friend updates me regularly on the success he's having with this trap. Essentially, it zaps the squirrel with an electrical charge. I haven't personally tried it, because I'm having success with my existing Havahart and Chipmunkinator catch-and-release traps.

 

Demonstration Showing How to Use the Rat Zapper Ultra Device

Squirrel Deterrants - that I've seen suggested for red squirrels

I haven't personally tried these, but you can click on the photo to see how much the reviewers liked each one.

Impressive Owl with Moving Wings

Bird-X Prowler Owl Decoy with Moving Wings Realistic Bird Scare
Bird-X Prowler Owl Decoy with Moving Wings Realistic Bird Scare

There are a number of variations on this. Some are solar with moving head and glowing eyes. This one has wings that move with the breeze.

If you were a squirrel would you want to hang out in a yard with an owl? Owls love rodents like mice, chipmunks, and squirrels.

This would work best to prevent new squirrels from homesteading in your yard. If squirrels are already settled in and have stored up food for the winter, they are reluctant to leave even when there is a threat like this.

 

A Snake Serves to Deter, But Most People Don't Want a Real Snake in Their Garden

I took this photo of a cottonmouth in Florida. A rubber snake is a better choice, in my opinion.
I took this photo of a cottonmouth in Florida. A rubber snake is a better choice, in my opinion. | Source

Try a Snake to Keep away the Red Squirrels from the Garden

Fun Central AZ988, 12 Pcs, 22 Inches Novelty Toy Green Garden Rubber Snakes, Large Rubber Snake, Garden Snakes to Scare Birds, Water Snake Toy, Fake Rubber Snake for Prank
Fun Central AZ988, 12 Pcs, 22 Inches Novelty Toy Green Garden Rubber Snakes, Large Rubber Snake, Garden Snakes to Scare Birds, Water Snake Toy, Fake Rubber Snake for Prank

You get a dozen of these so you don't have to keep moving them around to keep squirrels and birds frightened away. A friend tried just one rubber snake but when he moved the snake, the squirrels would attack plants in the area where the snake wasn't. With multiple snakes, you will be able to protect more areas. Moving them around will be beneficial to improve the deterrent effect with birds and squirrels.

 
You can tell which trees are their nesting sites by the well-gnawed remnants of pine cones littering the ground under the tree.
You can tell which trees are their nesting sites by the well-gnawed remnants of pine cones littering the ground under the tree. | Source

Evidence of Squirrel Activity

You don't always see the squirrel, but this partly eaten pine cone tells you that they are around.
You don't always see the squirrel, but this partly eaten pine cone tells you that they are around. | Source

Telling the Squirrels Apart

The destructive red squirrel found in the northeastern U.S.  Compare it with the harmless red squirrel found in the U.K. (photo below).
The destructive red squirrel found in the northeastern U.S. Compare it with the harmless red squirrel found in the U.K. (photo below). | Source
A red squirrel in England. You can tell that this is quite different. They are considered not destructive and should not be trapped.
A red squirrel in England. You can tell that this is quite different. They are considered not destructive and should not be trapped. | Source
A gray squirrel in the northeastern U.S. Not considered to be as destructive as the U.S. red squirrel, but you wouldn't want them nesting in your attic.
A gray squirrel in the northeastern U.S. Not considered to be as destructive as the U.S. red squirrel, but you wouldn't want them nesting in your attic. | Source

© 2012 Virginia Allain

What's Your Experience with Red Squirrels?

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    • profile image

      BrianD 

      14 months ago

      Crazy things have chewed through walls and wiring in my RV and most recently destroyed a wiring cluster in the motor of my pick up. Red Demons is more like it!

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      21 months ago from Central Florida

      Wow, I've never seen a black squirrel. Those must be special to Canad.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      We used to have them in our attic in the old house but we sold it as I had no patience for such. In the cottage, we have them all the time competing with the birds for feed but as long as they're outside it is okay. They can be good entertainment. I don't like the black squirrels as they're huge and they drive away everyone else from the feeder.

    • profile image

      Bill Kasman 

      2 years ago

      In Scotland the red squirrel isn't a threat at all in fact it is under threat from the introduced grey squirrel which is larger and out-competes the red for food and living space and the greys carry a disease (squirrel pox) to which they are immune but which is fatal to the red squirrel. Red squirrels in Scotland are regarded as ''cute and cuddly''!

    • profile image

      Guardin Garden 

      2 years ago

      They are tiny and seem very cute when you first see them, but they relentlessly chase grey squirrels away cackling at them while they do it. They are lightning fast (kudos to people who get photos). They mate on my deck, nest in our Weber grill, and love to hang out in the garage. They are killing my Leyland Cypresses by gnawing and leave the debris of black walnuts they stash and strip to eat and dig holes everywhere. Our worst experience was one getting closed into the garage over night. It did lots of damage to the contents of the garage. I am over the cuteness aspect.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      You can take them far away, but with squirrels, that could mean 5 or 10 miles. Another option is to place the Havahart trap in water where they quickly drown.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      what do you do after you caught them? Free them in the jungle?

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      @margie-kerslake-7: I've had good success with the Havahart trap. It is fairly inexpensive too.

    • profile image

      margie-kerslake-7 

      4 years ago

      Our squirrels have chewed their way through our dog kennel, our yard sheds and seem to be everywhere. We do have very mature pine trees on the property and have just found our yard shed absolutely stuffed with 7 inch cones, some eaten and some not, They were not there 3 weeks ago as we did the spring check then. We have a dog that does not seem to concern them, we have a pellet gun, need I say more, but they are overtaking us. HELP!!!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 

      5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      We have gray squirrels here, and they are bad enough! I would love to find a way to prevent them from eating the cushions on my patio swing.

    • Fiorenza profile image

      Fiorenza 

      5 years ago from UK

      In the UK, red squirrels have been almost exterminated in most areas by the incursion of grey squirrels introduced in the 19th century. The greys are much more of a pest, they frequently get into people's attics and they cause a lot of damage to trees. Red squirrels are shy animals that do not come near human habitation in the few areas they still hang on so I am astonished by the information here.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Fiorenza: Thanks for clarifying that. I remember seeing pictures of the ones with ear-tufts.

    • Fiorenza profile image

      Fiorenza 

      5 years ago from UK

      @Virginia Allain: The UK species is the Eurasian one, Latin name Sciurus vulgaris. The American species is Tamiasciurus hudsonicus. The Eurasian red squirrel has ear tufts which grow longer in winter, and is the Squirrel Nutkin of Beatrix Potter fame.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Fiorenza: I wonder if the red squirrels in the two countries are entirely different subspecies (or whatever the scientific term is). I'll have to research that. Thank you for raising the question.

    • Lenskeeper profile image

      Lenskeeper 

      6 years ago

      I love red squirrels. I have done squirrel rescue and highly recommend relocating or discouraging them rather than killing them!

    • AstroGremlin profile image

      AstroGremlin 

      6 years ago

      I did not know this about red squirrels. They are quite pretty. Too bad they are so destructive.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'm not sure I've ever even seen red squirrels in person. I love the squirrel mug shot.

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