Squirrels can become a major problem when you have a large garden or bird feeders. Sometimes, these critters can even gang up on you, ruining your yard. Therefore, having good defenses should be a top priority.
Here are some of the best squirrel traps and repellents on the market today. As usual, we’re looking at humane, no-kill solutions, tested in-house. Please keep in mind your mileage may vary with any product, including these.
Designed for larger homes or businesses where the squirrels have arrived in force, the Squirrelinator is a humane trap built to help capture and get rid of squirrels.
At nearly two foot square and four inches high, there’s plenty of room inside. The larger size means you can relocate up to 25 squirrels at once instead of hauling a number of smaller traps. We’ve also found squirrels have more trouble figuring out how the locking system works on this one.
An important detail to keep in mind is that not all squirrels are equal. Some can be very territorial, making a huge commotion once trapped. This ended up scaring others away from the newly-discovered food cache.
In such cases, we had to resort to smaller traps. Food was also an issue, as the first squirrel sometimes tried to eat all the bait.
One of the most popular brands for humane capture, Havahart’s 1077 model is designed to capture squirrels, chipmunks, and other smaller critters. It has a sturdy galvanized steel construction capable of withstanding the elements. The outside includes a sensitive trigger rod to prevent critter damage.
Meanwhile the single spring-loaded door, handle guard, and smoothed internal edges ensure both you and the squirrel will remain safe during capture and transport. While it’s an overall safe and effective trap, there are a few important drawbacks we found in the design.
The primary concern is trigger sensitivity. While the lower sensitivity helps reduce accidental tripping, it can also allow some lighter critters to stand on top without closing the door. It’s an easy fix, but we find many similar types of traps suffer the same problem.
Additionally, we recommend building a small platform inside for bait. This simple change will make it tougher for a crafty squirrel to get at the food from outside the cage trap.
While we’re not fans of kill traps, we understand they can be necessary at times. This model is fairly humane and far better than using squirrel poison baits. It’s designed to be used either with or without bait, as the natural tunnel appearance makes it ideal for squirrels on the run, as well as those that are hungry.
The squirrel enters one end and, when they reach the middle, a double torsion spring triggers, killing the critter quickly.
As this is a kill trap, we urge extreme caution when setting up the unit. Not only can this kill other squirrel-sized critters, it could potentially cause serious injury to kids and pets. That said, it’s a pretty efficient trap (no live squirrels were harmed during our tests – we used sausages).
Be sure to add a protective coating to the outside if you plan to use it outdoors, and the trigger sensitivity may need to be adjusted. Once you get it going, however, it makes kills easy and allows for easy, no-contact corpse disposal.
Don’t let the crazy design fool you, this non-chemical repellent works against a wide range of critters. When the 120-degree motion sensor is triggered (from up to 40 feet away), it causes the device to shoot out a short burst of water up to 35 feet away.
If the noise of the water coming out doesn’t scare them, the water itself will. The device is safe for use around kids, as it contains no harmful chemicals. One of our testers actually had to end the test early because his dog kept trying to outsmart it (and losing).
The Yard Enforcer is a lot more configurable than other motion activated sprinklers (like the ScareCrow). It has “night only”, “day only”, and “always on” modes so it’s only active when you need it. The detection angle is also adjustable to better detect the type of critter (small, large, or flying) that you want to repel.
You can even “daisy chain” multiple Yard Enforcers if you need coverage over an especially large area. Best of all, the entire device can run off of 4 regular AA batteries for over 7,500 activation cycles before you need to replace the batteries. That’s a LOT of wild animals (or a handful of playful pups).
There are many variations and knock-offs of this product. While the Orbit is a bit spendier than some of these, we found it’s more durable, configurable, and simply does a better job of repelling squirrels than others.
Getting the Yard Enforcer configured takes a bit of trial and error but once set, you don’t have to worry about it any more. Squirrel hunters will want to verify their model is not the Scotts variant, which is less effective on smaller animals.
When you need a simple, easy to use method to keep squirrels and other rodents away from your attic, garage, shop, or shed, a good ultrasonic repellent is as easy as it gets. The Loraffe ultrasonic pest repellent in particular really impressed us.
This device simply plugs into any household outlet and uses sounds through 3 speakers (audible and inaudible) and lights to keep critters away. It’s completely customizable as well. For instance, you can set it to only use the ultrasonic frequency which is not audible to humans.
Ultrasonic repellents tend to get a bad rap (and deservedly so). However, the Loraffe unit is one that actually worked well for us. It’s one of the best methods to keep squirrels away from your indoor areas. Just remember that some pets may not appreciate the ultrasonic sounds.
The good news is this product smells a lot better than using predator urine or chemical deterrents. The bad news is that it’s not always effective, especially against larger tree or ground squirrel populations. Many users have reported great results, while others report one or more species ignoring the repellent.
See Also: Best Lizard Repellents
In these latter cases, the promise of plentiful food usually overrode the repulsion. Thus it’s best to use this in conjunction with other preventative measures to block access to gardens or bird feeders.
One of the oldest natural repellents, predator urine can be a very effective means to deter animals such as rabbits or squirrels. This 28.5 oz. container of dehydrated granules contains the pheromones foxes use to mark territory and leave messages for other foxes.
It can scare away common fox prey such as squirrels and rabbits who will think there’s a hungry hunter nearby. Repellents can be a mixed bag, as they rely upon a critter’s natural prey instincts. As such, some users will have better results than others.
We’ve also found that relying too much in the crystals alone causes them to lose effectiveness over time, especially when always placed in the same spot.
Sprinkling these around can be most effective when used with other deterrent or preventative measures. For example, it’s at it’s most effective when there are no potential food sources nearby. It also needs to be reapplied after it rains.
Tips for Using Traps and Repellents
One of the most common reasons products get bad reviews is because the user attempted to “set and forget”. Unfortunately, critters (and especially squirrels) are intelligent and require a bit more thought. Here are some simple tricks to make sure your traps and repellents are at their most effective.
- Don’t Advertise – In case you haven’t noticed, almost every type of trap actually looks like a trap. If you plan to catch intelligent prey, you’ll need to camouflage the trap with debris so it looks more natural on the outside.
- Limit Food Access – If you plan to catch those gray squirrels (or a similarly-sized wild animal), food is essential. Place some sunflower seeds, peanut butter, buts, or other tasty bait inside. Meanwhile, make sure there’s no access to bird seed, pet food, or other tasty snacks outside of the trap. Would you go into a dark alley for a pizza when there are free slices on the corner? Neither would a squirrel.
- Augment Sonic Devices – When using lights or ultrasonic devices, you’re relying on the startle factor. On their own, squirrels will eventually get used to them and begin to ignore them on their search for food. You can reduce this problem by using a decoy. Move the sonic unit and decoy occasionally to trick squirrels into thinking the deterrents are alive.
- Mix and Match for Best Results – Do you want to get the most out of those fox urine crystals? Try adding a fox decoy and a sonic unit to the mix. Move the crystals, decoy, and sonic device around occasionally to emulate a live fox. The combination of threatening stimuli will be far more effective and there’s less chance of the squirrel figuring out your ruse.