A quick breakdown of squirrel traps
Of course, even though squirrel cage traps are the most common and generally considered the best way to deal with squirrels, there are other methods as well:
- Squirrel snap traps are similar to rat snap traps in they use a very powerful spring and lever to deliver a swift killing blow to any squirrel that touches the bait. These are sometimes considered “humane” because in the ideal circumstances they deliver a quick and painless death, however, we definitely wouldn’t call them that. Way too often, even good snap traps will fail to kill the animal and will instead maim it, snap its spine without killing it, or break one of its limbs, effectively leaving it to die a slow and agonizing death. All that being said, if you don’t care about all that and you just want to exterminate the squirrels on your property – snap traps are a way to do that
- Squirrel tube trap designs are similar to snap traps in that they are basically snap traps in and of themselves, only placed inside of a tube or a pipe. The idea is that the tube helps the rodent be better positioned for the trap to hit it. In principle, this should increase the effectiveness of the trap and make it more lethal, but the high possibility of non-lethal injuries and animal suffering is still there
- Squirrel poisonous baits. As with any other rodent or pest, you can simply set up several baits around the place and stuff them with rat poison. This needs to be done carefully since a too significant concentration of the poison can make the bait unattractive for the rodents. Additionally, many rodents, including squirrels are often intelligent enough to learn to avoid certain baits once they’ve seen their brethren eat them and die. Add to that the fact that poisonous baits are definitely not a “humane” way to deal with the problem and we wouldn’t really recommend this method. Still, it is effective, so if your problem is that severe you might do well to consider it
Squirrel trap buying guide
The first and foremost thing you should do is identify the exact species and size of the squirrels you’re dealing with. Yes, they are all rodents, yes, they are baited with similar things, and yes, they can all be captured in a cage. However, bigger squirrels may not be able to fit in smaller cages or be hesitant to enter them, while smaller squirrels may be able to get through a wider wire mesh. Stronger squirrels may sometimes be able to power through a softer and more bendable wire, while smaller squirrels can often escape before the large door of a bigger trap has managed to snap behind them.
Considerations such as this highlight the importance of knowing your enemy. If you can’t see the squirrels yourself, try setting up a couple of video cameras in your attic or the occupied area and get a recording of what the squirrels look like. From there, you’ll be able to decide which size and design are the most suitable for your future squirrel traps.
The sheer size of the trap isn’t all that matters. As we alluded to above, the width of the wire mesh is also important if you don’t want smaller squirrels to get out of it. An additional reason why this is important is that you don’t want smaller rodents or animals you aren’t otherwise targeting to get through the mesh and steal the bait without activating the trap, thus rendering it much less alluring for its prey.
Deciding between a multi-catch and a single-catch trap is also important.
- Multi-catch traps can be great when having to deal with massive, full-blown squirrel or rodent invasions, however, they are also larger, more cumbersome to use, as well as more expensive to purchase.
- Single-catch traps, on the other hand, can require an awful lot of work if you’re trying to catch a dozen or more squirrels all at once.
Choose the trap’s materials carefully too. It should go without saying that a trap for rodents should be made out of sturdy and high-quality materials, but you’ll be surprised (or maybe you won’t) to find out that a vast majority of them are made with subpar metals and plastic. As a result of that, it’s not uncommon for squirrels, rats, and other rodents to simply chew or power through a trap’s wiring, making it useless in the process.
If you want to use your trap for a long time and not just to capture 1 – 2 squirrels, make sure that its interior components, particularly the ones related to the door’s trigger mechanism are extra sturdy.
If you are interested not only in capturing the rodents but also in doing so humanely and being able to release them alive and well away from your home, we’d suggest that you take a good look at the trap’s overall “interior design”.
Make sure that your future trap has rounded and smoothened edges on its inside because sharp edges can easily hurt the little rodent as it is frantically running around in the trap, trying to escape.
Aside from all these considerations, a general mindfulness of the overall quality of the trap is also obviously advised. Squirrel traps are devices that should be able to withstand a significant amount of rodent attacks, as well as be used for – hopefully – years to come. The best way to determine whether a trap is of a high enough quality or not is still, for better or for worse, reading opinions and reviews online. Such reviews can come from both other consumers as well as from industry professionals. Both aren’t 100% trustworthy but when used in conjunction they can give you a good enough picture to go along. Consumer reviews are often too subjective, incomplete, and fail to factor in additional circumstances such as how well the individual consumer has managed to set the trap, and so on. Industry reviews generally make up for these problems, but they can sometimes be biased. Read together, however, a large enough sample of both types can help you make the right decision.
Another factor to consider when making a purchase is the brand of the squirrel traps you are considering. The brand isn’t a guarantee for quality, but it is a good additional factor to keep in mind. Some of the better brands we’d advise you to start with are Havahart, Harris, Rugged Ranch, Amagabeli, Abco Tech, AB Traps, and others.
Other useful information about squirrel traps
- All nuts and nut-based foods. This one is a no-brainer. Everything from actual fresh nuts to peanut butter will do wonders for your capture rate
- Sweet citrus fruits. This often surprises a lot of people since citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are usually used as repellents for various pests (typically insects). As far as squirrels are concerned, however, citrus fruits and slices are a delicacy – place several of them in your trap and you’ll be good to go
- Marshmallows. Another common favorite of squirrels and humans alike, marshmallows are a great way to attract squirrels into a trap
- Bread. A less effective bait compared to the previous 3 entries, but a still very good option, most types of bread, especially when it’s still warm and smelly, can do a great job at baiting squirrels. Bread can also be great for putting poison inside of it if that’s how you’d rather deal with your squirrel, but we’d rather recommend live traps
How to use traps for squirrels
Placing a squirrel trap in the wrong place can mean that no squirrel will ever come near it while putting in somewhere where squirrels often pass through can have the little rodents fighting to get inside. If you’re not sure about which routes your squirrel guests traverse most frequently, you can set up some night-vision cameras in the area to observe their habits.
Aside from placing the trap correctly and loading it with the right bait, the next vital step is cleaning up the rest of your property from other sources of squirrel food. The less you’ve left for them to eat, the more inclined they’ll be to visit your traps. Furthermore, starving them is a good way to drive them off your property anyway.
Another thing to remember is checking up on your traps regularly. There’s no point in leaving your traps unattended for long – either the trap is going to be sprung and have scored a successful capture (in which case you need to get rid of the squirrel and set up the trap again), or it will have been sprung without capturing anything (in which case you’ll need to reset it), or it isn’t going to have caught anything (in which case you’ll want to relocate it).
Also, make sure to switch the locations of your squirrel traps fairly regularly. Squirrels, like most other rodents, are quite intelligent and can quickly learn to avoid traps that they’ve seen other rodents get captured in. To further avoid this problem, as well as the squirrels’ natural cautiousness, you can first place the traps for 24 – 48 hours without setting them up. This will give the squirrels the chance to get to know them and feel comfortable with them, which will make them even more eager to get inside once you’ve set the trap up.
Did you know?
Squirrels are surprisingly nimble and can get inside your home through some very small places, so make sure that you squirrel-proof your home by closing off their entry points.
An additional thing to do when trying to deal with squirrels is to seal off all the cracks and nooks in your home. If there are a lot of squirrels in your area, simply trapping them and getting them back outside may be inefficient, since they’ll just keep getting back in.
And that’s more or less it. Once you’ve successfully captured one or several squirrels in your trap, make sure to drive far away from your property before releasing them – you don’t want them coming back after all. Releasing them somewhere away from other human houses and settlements is generally advisable unless you want to be a dick to a particular neighbor.
Still, they can be pests when they attack our gardens, warehouses, and other storage areas, so we hope that the squirrel traps we’ve suggested above will help you to successfully deal with them. Catching squirrels can take time, regardless of whether you are using live or lethal traps, so stock up on patience, get several goods, high-quality traps, and get to it.
Finally, let’s wrap things up with the Top 3 best squirrel traps once again:
- The Havahart Squirrel Trap is one of the best squirrel trap for people looking for a humane rodent catcher option. It’s 12-Gauge Galvanized steel wire mesh can’t be chewed through, the interior of the trap has rounded edges to prevent the rodents from harming themselves, and the trigger rod is located on the outside to stop the rodents from damaging it. The trap is big enough for most squirrels and other rodents and it’s great for frequent and prolonged use.
- The Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator is a multi-catch device that can capture dozens of animals with one set up. It requires very little bait which is great for saving you time and for dealing with massive amounts of rodents in your area. It’s a perfectly humane trap that doesn’t harm or hurt the captured rodents in any way and gives you the time to dispose of them humanely. The wire mesh is sturdy enough to withstand all manners of chewing attempts, although it is a little wide and smaller animals might be able to get through it.
- The AB Traps Live Squirrel Trap is a unique trap that can capture squirrels or other rodents. The trap comes in several different models and sizes and is great for small and medium-sized animals. The door mechanisms trigger very quickly and leave no way for escape. The interior of the trap is very rounded and humane, which makes certain that the animals won’t be harmed while you’re transporting them away from your home.