10 Tips For Catching Squirrels In Rat Traps

catching squirrels in rat traps

Most people with squirrel problems turn to ultrasonic devices, repellent sprays, or other squirrel control methods to get rid of them. However, most methods are ineffective because the critters are clever and prefer to hang out in well-ventilated attics and are not affected by the odor of repellents. Catching squirrels with rat traps is a more effective way to rid your home of them, so let’s look at how to use them.

10 Tips for Catching Squirrels With Rat Traps

  1. Know The Trapping Laws In Your Area
  2. Choose The Proper Size Trap
  3. Wear Gloves When Setting The Trap
  4. Place It In The Right Area (Outside & Inside)
  5. Choose Bait That Attracts The Squirrels
  6. Place The Bait Correctly Inside The Trap
  7. Monitor The Trap Daily
  8. Place A Towel Or Blanket Over The Trap
  9. Contact Your Local Animal Control Center
  10. Release The Squirrel In A Safe Location (If It Is Legal)

How to Catch Squirrels In A Rat Trap

These steps sound simple enough, but let’s break them down further to help you understand how to eliminate your squirrel problem.

#1 Know The Trapping Laws In Your Area

Before setting any traps, make sure to check the trapping laws in your area, as each state has different regulations when it comes to trapping animals.

For example, North Carolina residents must possess a Depredation permit, which you acquire from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. 

The permit allows homeowners to eliminate or trap most animals when it is causing damage to their land or possessions.

Others states have regulations prohibiting euthanasia, poisoning, or inhumane methods of trapping animals. Failure to abide by local laws can result in fines and other penalties.

#2 Choose The Proper Size Trap

The type of trap you choose depends on whether you plan to kill or release the squirrel. When trying to catch a squirrel, avoid snap traps such as the victor rat traps, glue traps, etc., as these will kill the rodent.

Instead, the best option for catching and releasing a squirrel is a live trap. 

These consist of one or two-door trap cages you bait with food. When the squirrel enters, it will activate a trigger mechanism that locks them in.

When selecting a rat trap, ensure it is large enough to catch a squirrel. It should be big enough for the squirrel’s entire body to fit into before the mechanism is triggered. 

If the trap is too small, then the squirrel may be able to escape.

#3 Wear Gloves When Setting The Trap

Squirrels have an excellent sense of smell, which is how they can smell food from miles away. The scent of your hands could be enough to scare them away, so it’s essential to wear gloves when setting the traps.

#4 Place It In The Right Area (Outside & Inside)

Depending on where squirrels have invaded your property will determine where you place the trap. When trying to catch a squirrel outside, place the trap along the edge of your property, away from human and pet activity.

A trap works best when placed in the shade besides physical boundaries such as a fence, foliage, or shrubs. This will help the squirrel feel more comfortable approaching the trap and increase your chances of catching it.

After observing the squirrels in your yard, you’ve likely become familiar with where they frequent. If so, place the trap in that area.

However, before placing your trap, cleaning up your yard and removing any food sources that could attract the squirrels is essential. In addition, make sure to remove bird feeders, piles of leaves, and other debris that may provide shelter for the animals.

If you’re trying to catch a squirrel inside your home, place the trap along the wall in an entry point area such as; a garage, basement, or attic. 

When rodents invade a house, they stay close to the walls, so make sure you set the trap close to one.

Before setting a trap indoors, it’s essential to seal any small cracks, holes, or other openings in your walls and foundations that a squirrel may use to enter the house. 

Otherwise, you’ll catch one squirrel, and another one will likely find its way back into your home.

#5 Choose Bait That Attracts The Squirrels

Squirrels are opportunistic feeders, so choosing bait won’t be hard. Most people will try to use nuts of some kind. However, peanut butter works best. 

This is because a squirrel will have to work hard to get the peanut butter and will be more likely to trigger the trap.

Peanuts or nuts will roll off the plate mechanism making it harder to catch the squirrel.

#6 Place The Bait Correctly Inside The Trap

When placing the peanut on the plate mechanism, lather it up, so it sticks properly. If the bait isn’t sticking to the plate, they’ll be able to steal it without triggering it.

#7 Monitor The Trap Daily

It can take hours, days, or even weeks to catch a squirrel, depending on their activity in your yard, weather conditions, and time of day. Squirrels have set behaviors and are most active in the early morning and evening hours, so it may take a while to trap them.

This means you’ll want to check the trap every 4 hours or twice a day, once in the morning and evening. 

A trapped animal stresses quickly and can injure itself while trying to escape. Plus, you may trap the wrong animal, such as a dog or cat. 

If this happens, open the trap door and release them from your trapping area.

Trapped animals should never be left out in the elements for more than 24 hours, as they can die from heat, cold, and humidity.

#8 Place A Towel Or Blanket Over The Trap

After trapping the squirrel, use a blanket, towel, or other fabric to cover the trap. This will help calm the animal and make it easier to transport without getting bitten or scratched.

#9 Contact Your Local Animal Control Center

Contact your local animal control center to find out the best way to release a squirrel. If you trap it in the attic, they will ask you to look for a nest. This is because squirrels look for warm areas in the late fall and winter to build nests.

In the early spring, the mothers give birth to two litters per year. 

Never relocate a mother without the babies, as they won’t survive. 

Instead, you’ll want to contact a wildlife rehabber in your area that will raise the babies and then release them into the wild when they can survive on your own.

A wildlife rehabber can take care of her young and temporarily adopt any orphaned babies until they are healthy to survive in the wild.

You can contact a for-profit wildlife removal service if you’d rather not deal with the live animal.

These are professionals experienced in trapping and handling wildlife. They will be able to trap the animal humanely, relocate it to a safe location and provide you with tips on how to keep any future animals from entering your property.

#10 Release The Squirrel In A Safe Location (If It Is Legal)

If there are no wildlife restriction laws in your area, release the animal at least 10-20 miles from your property. If you release them too close to home, they’ll come back.

A city park or wooded area is an excellent place to release a squirrel. This will ensure the rodent stays safe and will have plenty of food.

When releasing a squirrel, open the cage door and stand back so it can leave on its own accord.

Final Word

It is possible to use a rat trap to catch a squirrel. However, it takes patience and a lot of knowledge to ensure the squirrel is captured safely.

After removing the animal, take the necessary steps to prevent any other squirrels or rodents from entering your property.

You can also try using homemade remedies such as; aromatic plants, garlic solutions, and pepper flakes to deter them from coming onto your property.

These are all humane methods of keeping squirrels away, and they will help keep your yard safe from these pesky rodents.

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