What Do You Use To Bait A Squirrel Trap?

what do you use to bait a squirrel trap

To catch an animal in a trap, you must use the correct bait to attract them. It is no good using steak to catch a rabbit or grass to catch a cougar. The correct bait is critical to the success of any trapping endeavor. This is true for squirrels as well. There are many myths and stories about the best bait for a squirrel trap. To avoid frustration and wasting time, you must consider the best bait for squirrel traps. 

The best baits for squirrel traps are foods the rodents are familiar with. This includes nuts, seeds, fruit, acorns, and grains. Mixing the bait with peanut butter, molasses, or jam makes the bait stickier and more challenging to eat quickly or grab. Protein such as eggs or chicken may also be used as bait. 

Many homeowners who wish to trap squirrels do not know what is best to use as bait for a squirrel trap. We’ve provided some helpful information that will make the process easier.  

What Is The Best Bait For A Squirrel Trap?

A wise person will find out what an animal’s natural foods are when they want to catch that animal. Knowing what squirrels eat when you bait a trap for them is crucial. 

Squirrels eat nuts, seeds, and fruit. Peanut butter is one of the most common foods for baiting a squirrel trap. It is naturally attractive to squirrels as it is a similar flavor to foods they usually eat. 

Peanut butter has a strong smell which will draw squirrels to the trap. It is sticky and cannot easily be snatched, allowing the squirrel to evade the trap.   

Peanut Butter

Wildlife Removal USA recommends using whole peanuts in their shells or whole nuts that are stuck to the bait plate with peanut butter. 

Some people use peanut butter on bread, but the bread is not a natural food for squirrels and may cause digestive issues. 

When selecting peanut butter for a squirrel trap, choosing a brand that does not contain artificial sweeteners is essential. These are detrimental to a squirrel’s health and could kill it. 

Harming the squirrels will defeat the purpose of trapping them and could land you in trouble with the police, depending on your state’s laws.   


Fruit is another good bait for a squirrel trap. Citrus fruits such as oranges or high water-content fruits like watermelon are excellent for catching squirrels in hot, dry climates. Squirrels get some moisture from the fruits they eat, so they will naturally be drawn to these fruits. 

Apples, pears, peaches, and bananas are also useful fruit to trap squirrels. Unsalted and unbuttered popcorn is another bait option. 

Some other options for squirrel bait are:

  • Anise oil on bread
  • Cereal grains
  • Acorns
  • Cold boiled eggs
  • Cold fried chicken
  • Cooked potato

Some people mix the bait with molasses or jam instead of peanut butter. 

This makes the bait stickier and more challenging for the squirrel to eat. The squirrel is more likely to fully enter the trap if it must work harder to get the food. 

Squirrels Will Eat Bait They Are Familiar With

Squirrels are most likely to eat bait that they are familiar with. If squirrels eat bird seed from your bird feeder, use seeds as bait in your trap. 

Like most rodents, Squirrels are neophobic, which means they are afraid and suspicious of new objects in the environment and new foods. This characteristic means that using bait the squirrels are comfortable eating will make it easier to catch them.   

Should You Use Poison As Squirrel Bait?

Poisons should not be used as bait in squirrel traps. Even though the trap may look stable, it is easy for a squirrel to knock it over, spilling the poison onto the ground, which is potentially hazardous and fatal to pets and children. 

A squirrel that eats poisoned bait and escapes may die in your walls or roof in an inaccessible place. If this occurs, you will be left with a nasty smell of decomposing squirrels for weeks. The decomposing squirrel body will attract flies leading to an uncomfortable period of dealing with a new pest. 

Squirrels may eat the poisoned bait and escape creating the risk of secondary poisoning for birds of prey, owls, and other wildlife that prey on squirrels. 

Many poisons require multiple feedings before the squirrel dies. This poses logistical problems. If you trap the squirrel, you now have a sick squirrel that cannot be released for fear of secondary poisoning. Using poison as bait is unkind and impractical.  

Get The Squirrels Used To The Traps

Squirrels’ neophobia will make them wary of approaching a trap for the first period. It is a good idea to bait the trap without setting it for the first week. This allows the squirrels to get used to eating from the trap. 

You can set the trigger once the squirrels are reliably eating from the trap. This method is especially important if you need to catch multiple squirrels.  

Another vital point is avoiding handling the trap and bait with your bare hands. If the squirrel smells your scent on the trap or bait, it will be unlikely to go into the trap. 

Position The Squirrel Trap Carefully

The squirrel trap should be carefully positioned in a place where the squirrels usually feed or travel. Remove alternative food sources as far as possible. For example, if you have a bird feeder, remove the bird feeder while you have the trap operational. 

Plan What To Do With Captured Squirrels

It is critical to have a plan to deal with the squirrels once they are captured. You can contact local conservation groups or squirrel rescue groups in your area. 

These people will know of soft-release programs where squirrels can be safely released. 

It is inhumane to release squirrels without support. When squirrels lose their home and are relocated into unfamiliar territory, they can die from exposure to the elements, lack of food, and exhaustion. 

They will be vulnerable to night and day predators, preventing them from resting. 

A squirrel’s food cache is vital for its survival. Released squirrels without supplemental feeding seldom survive more than a month or two after relocating. It is best to work with a squirrel rescue or conservation group when relocating a squirrel. 

Final Word

Squirrels are attracted to bait that resembles, smells, and tastes most like the food they are used to eating. Nuts, seeds, fruit, and grains are the most common baits. They are usually mixed with peanut butter to make a sticky concoction.       

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