Can You Poison Ground Squirrels? [What About Tree Squirrels?]

can you poison ground squirrels

Ground squirrels, when left unchecked, can cause significant issues. They might seem cute and innocent, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are rodents carrying harmful diseases that can affect the health of humans and animals.

There are no US jurisdictions where using poison for killing a ground, tree, or flying squirrel is legal. No over-the-counter rodenticides available to the public are approved for killing ground squirrels. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not approve any chemical products or devices for controlling this type of rodent.

That said, some, such as Idaho, allow rat poisoning to control certain species of squirrels. However, you must monitor the lethal poisoning closely to prevent unwanted mortality of protected species, dogs, and cats.

Dealing with a squirrel infestation is no joking matter. The local population can cause considerable property damage and even health risks if left unchecked! 

To help you out, we’ve assembled this article to cover everything from legality to best pest control practices – so let’s get right into it!

Are You Legally Allowed To Poison Ground Squirrels?

Unless you are a registered pest control company specializing in the relocation of live-captured squirrels, it is perfectly legal to use poison to rid your home of ground squirrels, depending on your state and if it is not a protected species. 

That said, most states require humane methods of removing ground squirrels, including carbon dioxide gassing and shooting.

Homeowners are not allowed to capture and drown squirrels as a method of euthanasia, especially not in California.

If you capture a squirrel in a live trap, you must treat it humanely and dispose of the carcass immediately after, using the proper disposal container and dumping site. 

It is ill-advised to throw the dead squirrel in the trash with the rest of your garbage. This article explains how to dispose of dead squirrel carcasses in your yard. 

Regardless of the jurisdiction and laws, some homeowners may choose to use poisons to rid their property of ground squirrels. 

Here, we will discuss the different poisons available and their effectiveness. 

5 Best Ground Squirrel Poisons

Poisoned bait is generally considered the most cost-effective method of eradicating rodent infestations. Bait is most effective against large groups of squirrels when placed in strategic locations. Poisoned bait typically consists of pellets that contain ground squirrel-registered poison. 

Poisoned bait works best in late spring and early summer when ground squirrels are most active and looking for food supplies. During fall, ground squirrels will start to stockpile their food to prepare for winter when food supplies generally dry up.

Let’s consider the five best ground squirrel poisons that any homeowner can acquire easily and use legally.

Motomco’s Tomcat Rat and Mouse Bait Pellets

The Tomcat Rat and Mouse Bait Pellets is a trustworthy rodent control product that farmers and agricultural producers swear by. These durable pellets can be used in various baiting situations and are hard enough to entice rodents to gnaw at them. The active ingredient in these pellets is Diphacinone.

JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait Block

JT Eaton’s Bait Block is a first-generation anticoagulant that kills the rodent over several days. This prevents secondary poisoning of other animals that might eat the dead rodent. 

The specially formulated blocks contain peanut butter flavors that effectively attract ground squirrels. The active ingredient in this bait is Diphacinone.

Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks

Farnam’s Just One Bite Bait Chunks are designed with nibble ridges that promote gnawing. In addition, the bait chunks feature a center hole for easy mounting to existing bait stations. 

These bait chunks are second-generation anticoagulants that cause internal bleeding. The active ingredient in this bait chunk is Bromadiolone.

Bell Laboratories FINAL Rodenticide

Bell Laboratories’ Final Rodenticide is a potent single-feed anticoagulant that clears persistent rodent infestations effectively. These pellets have been manufactured with advanced techniques to retain a long shelf life that keeps the pellets tasting “fresh.” The active ingredient in these pellets is Brodifacoum.

Bell Laboratories Contrac Blox

Bell Laboratories’ Contrac Blox is an excellent clean-out and maintenance solution that controls rodent populations. Contrac Blox is also a single-feed anticoagulant and perfectly blends food-grade ingredients with small amounts of paraffin that keeps the blox palatable even in wet conditions. 

The active ingredient in these bloxs is Bromadiolone.

Different Rodenticide Ingredients

Researchers have identified key ingredients that are very effective in controlling rodent populations. Let’s look at each of these ingredients in more detail to understand better how they work and how they target a rodent’s organs.


Diphacinone is an anticoagulant that targets a rodent’s vitamin K reserves. First invented by bell labs in 1990, this first-generation rodenticide restricts the rodent’s natural ability to recycle vitamin K and requires multiple feeds to be effective.

When the rodent ingests Diphacinone, it causes internal bleeding due to a lack of clotting factors being produced. Therefore, this first-generation anticoagulant works best on persistent rodents that are less likely to be repelled by unfamiliar smells or tastes.


Brodifacoum was first developed in 1978. This anticoagulant also restricts rodents’ Vitamin K reserves. Once a rodent is sufficiently deprived of vitamin K, its body shuts down due to internal blood loss. Brodifacoum needs to be taken in large quantities orally to be effective.


Bromadiolone was first used in the early 1980s. This odorless powder targets the rodent’s blood supply by limiting their body’s natural vitamin K. Bromadiolone causes massive internal hemorrhaging, resulting in the rodent’s death.

Which Foods Are Poisonous To Ground Squirrels?

YOu can control ground squirrels by using poisonous fruits and vegetables, but which parts of the fruits are harmful to ground squirrels? Let’s discuss what makes these foods deadly to ground squirrels.

Avocado Skin/Pits

Avocado skins and pits contain persin, a natural toxin that generates large amounts of cardiac glycosides. These glycosides stress the squirrel’s heart, causing it to pump hard and fast, leading to respiratory and cardiac failure. 

Fruit Pits/Seeds

Fruit pits and seeds contain a chemical compound called amygdalin that, when ingested, breaks down in the squirrel’s stomach and releases hydrogen cyanide. 

Hydrogen cyanide is a lethal chemical that causes organ failure and internal hemorrhaging, leading to the squirrel’s death.

How Best To Manage A Squirrel Infestation Using Poisoned Bait

Poisoned bait is highly effective between June and October when ground squirrels are actively eating. Therefore, always place toxic bait in areas away from children and other pets.  

Always place the poison bait, pellets or traps close to the squirrel’s nest, under your home, or inside the roof of your house, where ground squirrels tend to stay.

When setting poisoned bait, you should keep an eye out for dead squirrels, as the bodies could poison pets if they interact with the squirrel. 

Furthermore, you must dispose the bodies of the poisoned squirrels carefully. To dispose the bodies place the carcass in a biohazard bag before discarding in a garbage can.

Should You Poison Ground Squirrels?

It can be frustrating when dealing with an infestation of ground squirrels, however, using poison is not always the best option. Poisoned ground squirrels can cause serious health risks to other animals or humans, and they often die in hard-to-reach places that are difficult to dispose of safely. 

The best way to deal with an infestation is to contact a professional pest control company specializing in ground squirrel removal. 

They use a variety of strategies to eliminate the problem and safely dispose of any dead rodents. 

It is also critical to seal your home, so ground squirrels cannot gain entry, as this will help reduce the possibility of an infestation occurring again. 

Remember, if you decide to use poison to get rid of ground squirrels, ensure you follow all safety protocols and dispose of the dead rodents safely. 

Otherwise, it can lead to serious health risks for animals or humans who come into contact with them. 

Can You Poison Tree Squirrels?

In some states, tree squirrels are more protected than ground squirrels due to their beneficial role in the local ecosystem. For this reason, it is generally illegal to poison tree squirrels in most states.

Many states classify them as small game animals and allow hunters to shoot them. So check your local laws and regulations before taking matters into your own hands.

If you decide to use poison on tree squirrels, the same rules apply as with ground squirrels: set the bait in a safe area away from other animals and people, and dispose of dead bodies properly.

Final Word

When dealing with a ground squirrel infestation, it’s best to contact professional exterminators with experience handling poisonous bait. 

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