Squirrels are not as notorious for being pests as other rodents such as rats and mice. They don’t generally spread as many diseases and they are not as prevalent in city areas. However, for people who live in more rural areas or near woods or parks, squirrels can be a real problem. Squirrels, particularly tree and ground squirrels, love to find comfortable high places to set up their nests, and houses often offer that opportunity. House attics are preferred dwelling places for squirrels because they offer them all the benefits of a tree, plus extra interior space, plus extra warmth, plus extra protection against predators. The moment a female squirrel gets close to a house’s attic and notices all these properties, that attic is almost doomed to be quickly infested with squirrels. And it’s not just attics either – crawl spaces and basements can be invaded by ground squirrels, while warehouses that we less frequent visit can be a paradise for all types of squirrels and other rodents.
The reason squirrels can be a plague for homeowners despite being so cute and cuddly, and not transmitting too many harmful diseases, is because they can deal some serious property damage to your home. Once they set up in the eaves or soffits of your home or above its ceiling, squirrels will quickly start to gnaw holes in the walls and ceiling, they chew off wires, they’ll deal some significant damage to the insulation, you’ll start noticing urine marks on your ceiling, as well as smell quite a strong stench coming from all around you. Depending on the house, squirrels can easily set up entire pathways through the inside of the walls which will not only weaken the structural integrity of your home but will also result in a constant stream of noises coming from all around you.
Add to all that the fact that squirrels will attack virtually everything that’s edible in your garden and storage areas, including things such as bird feeders, and you can see why they can be a problem you need to deal with quickly.
So, to help you deal with this problem or take preventive measures against it, let’s talk about the best way to deal with squirrel invaders – live squirrel traps. Squirrel traps are generally quite similar to regular rat traps, but they do have some design differences that can often be beneficial, plus the bait can be different to better attract the pesky rodents.
But before we go any further in these details, let’s first check out our suggestions for the best squirrel traps on the market right now:
Havahart Squirrel Trap
We start our list of ground squirrel traps on the market with this Havahart live squirrel trap. A great and humane squirrel catcher, this one-way squirrel trap has dimensions of 16 x 6 x 6 inches and is made out of Galvanized steel. The 12-Gauge wire mesh is impossible to chew through, so this little device is excellent not just for catching ground or flying squirrels but for rats, chipmunks, weasels, and other similar rodents that would fit in it.
The door works via a simple gravity mechanism and is triggered by a rod that’s located outside of the cage itself. This is vital because it ensures that the captured animals won’t be able to damage the trigger rod while they are inside, waiting to see what you’re going to do with them. This very simple feature makes the Havahart squirrel rat trap one of the best ground squirrels traps on the market, as most other live traps become unusable after a while because the animals chew off their trigger mechanisms.
With its patented design, this small live squirrel trap is a great example of an effective and efficient tool for ridding yourself of a rodent infestation. The ultra-sensitive trigger plate is located on the other end of the trap where you would set the bait. The trap also has smooth internal edges all around to make sure that the animal won’t get hurt. This makes the Havahart one of the live squirrel trap choices for people that are looking for humane rodent disposal options. Once captured, the animal can be released whenever and wherever you choose.
- The Havahart is one of the best squirrel trap options for humane rodent control as it is 100% safe for the animals
- The trap’s trigger rod is located on the outside, with only the motion plate being left inside. This is great because it ensures that the rodents won’t be able to damage the trigger rod and render the trap useless
- The 12-Gauge Galvanized steel wire mesh is impossible to chew through
- The Havahart repeating squirrel trap also works for ground and flying squirrels, for rats, weasels, mice, chipmunks, and all kinds of other rodents
- The door works with gravity and isn’t as fast as other trap doors. The trap still has a very high capture rate, but this is one thing to keep in mind
- The trigger is a little too sensitive
Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator Ground Squirrel Traps
Squirrel cage traps come in all shapes and sizes but this Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator device truly special. Of all the squirrel traps for sale out there, this one has the highest multi-catch potential thanks to its innovative design. The Squirrelinator can catch up to 25 squirrels within mere hours and saves you the bother of having to spread multiple annoying baits all over the place. Its dimensions are 23.25 x 23.25 x 4 inches, meaning that smaller species will be easier to catch in greater numbers. The Rugged Ranch flying squirrel trap also works on all kinds of rodents that are of the appropriate size to fit in it – mice, rats, chipmunks, weasels, and others. It also comes with its complete basin, ready to use right away.
Great for squirrel removal from attic spaces, crawl spaces, as well as for outdoor use, the Squirrelinator is one of the best squirrel trap options for massive capture rates. It’s a humane squirrel trap that doesn’t hurt the rodents and keeps them from harm while more animals are being captured and you figure out how to dispose of them. One notable drawback of the Squirrelinator is that its wire mesh is a little too wide for some of the smaller types of squirrels or rodents. This essentially means that some of them might be able to get in through the mesh, steal the bait, and get back out through the mesh. This can be a problem not only since you’ll miss on possible captures, but also because once the bait is gone, the trap’s effectiveness on larger rodents will also drop. This is, in and of itself, another negative of multi-catch non-lethal squirrel traps – once a couple of rodents have been captured and have eaten the bait, consecutive rodents will be less included to enter the trap.
- The Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator is a multi-catch trap that can capture up to 25 animals within just hours
- This trap is perfectly humane despite what its name might suggest – it doesn’t kill or hurt the animals inside in any way
- A great benefit of such a multi-catch squirrel trap is that you don’t need to set up multiple baits at different locations, potentially baiting or harming other animals and wasting your time
- The Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator comes with its complete basin and is ready to use from the go
- As all multi-catch baited live traps, once the bait has been eaten by the first couple of captured rodents, other rodents will have less of a reason to enter the trap
- What’s more, the trap’s wire mesh is also quite wide, which means that smaller animals can go in and out through it. Effectively, this isn’t one of the best red squirrel traps out there for this reason
AB Traps Live Squirrel Trap
If you are looking for a dual-door squirrel trap, check out the AB Traps Live Squirrel Trap. It comes in several different sizes and even has different one-door models with dimensions ranging from 10.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches to 16 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches. The traps come already assembled and ready to be deployed.
The dual-door trap model is excellent for more heavily infested areas since it can catch twice as many squirrels, mice, rats, chipmunks, and other such rodents for the same time. An additional benefit of the dual-door feature is that it’s great for situations where you’re not 100% sure on where the rodents are coming from.
The wire mesh on this trap is thick and virtually impenetrable by chewing. This, together with the fast trigger mechanism ensures a very high capture and retention rate, making this a great tool for any situation, both indoors and outdoors alike. The trap is very humane and doesn’t kill or harm the animals in any way. The inside edges of the wires and mechanisms are rounded as to not hurt the animals as they are waiting to be transported far away from your home and released.
A couple of negatives for this trap is that it’s medium-sized and isn’t suitable for large animals, as well as that the wire mesh – while sturdy – is relatively soft and bends easily.
- The dual-war functionality of this trap allows it to capture more rodents at the same time, as well as be easier to use when you’re not sure about the direction from which the rodents are coming from
- The trap is 100% humane and doesn’t hurt or kill the captured rodents
- The trigger mechanism is impressively fast, ensuring high capture rate
- The AB Traps Live Squirrel Trap comes in several different models and sizes, including one-door ones
- The trap is most suitable for small and medium-sized animals and isn’t big enough for truly large rats and other such rodents
- The wire mesh is relatively soft and bends easily
OTHER PRODUCTS TO CONSIDER
Of course, with countless squirrel and rodent traps out there, a list of just 3 products can’t possibly exhaust all the good options available to us for capturing rodents. That’s why we’ve also comprised a quick list of 7 additional squirrel snare and humane trap options for you, to round it up to a Top 10. We won’t go so much in depth with these ones, but we’ll still take a quick look at them and maybe some of them will catch your eye.
The Have a Heart Squirrel Trap is a small and easy to set up trap is great for squirrels, mice, and small rabbits. It has one door, a quick trigger mechanism, and smoothed internal edges for more humane treatment of the captured animals. Its dimensions are 17.2 x 8.4 x 8.5 inches, which is enough for most common rodents. One small flaw is that the trigger plate needs some extra weight to activate properly, but a couple of small magnets or rocks can achieve this easily.
If you are looking for a bigger option that can catch rodents and animals as big as raccoons, the Amagabeli Garden, and Home Squirrel Rat Trap is a great choice. It has dimensions of 28 x 12 x 12 inches and has a heavy duty mesh that can withstand a ton of damage. The trap is big enough to give the captured animals some comfort, as well as have rounded and smoothed internal edges for extra protection. Keep in mind, however, that due to the size of the trap, the mesh may be wide enough for some really small squirrels to get away though.
Another item from Havahart, this Havahart One-Door Cage Trap for Squirrels is easy to set up, simple to use and can come in a pack of up to 4 traps at once. It has a durable and high-quality wire mesh that can’t be chewed through and is easy to transport thanks to its comfortable, plastic handle. The door mechanism is quick to shut, secure, and easy to open when it’s time to release the rodent back into the wild. The trigger plate does need a bit of additional weight, however, as it doesn’t always activate on time.
Also from Havahart, this Havahart Two-Door Squirrel Trap is an alternative to the one-door options from the brand and comes with the same high quality. The dual door design allows for two captures at the same time, as well as gives you the freedom to place the trap in places even when you’re not certain of the direction the rodents are coming from. The trap is made out of a strong rust-resistant mesh which makes it suitable for outdoor use, as well as for indoors. As with most Havahart traps, however, the activation plate needs a bit of extra weight to increase the capture rate of the device.
This Abco Tech Electronic Humane Squirrel Trap is the only option for lethal squirrel traps on our list. It qualifies simply due to its high quality, which is a must if an electric trap is to be considered “humane”. It has an intelligent wireless circuit sensor that senses when the rodent enters and it discharges a powerful enough shock of 7000 volts that can instantly kill even the biggest squirrels or rats that may fit inside the trap. Still, since it’s a zapper and not a live trap, we decided not to put it in our Top 3.
The second product from Rugged Ranch in our list, this Rugged Ranch Squirrel Trap is a variation of the previous one with dimensions of 23.25 x 23.25 x 4 inches. It comes with its complete basin and can be immediately deployed to start catching dozens of squirrels and other rodents per day. The spacy interior allows not only for multiple captures but also for a relative comfort and humane conditions for the animals until you have the chance to safely transport them away from your property. The plastic bin the trap comes with is relatively useless, however, especially since a lot of times it arrives already cracked or broken.
We are rounding up the Top 10 with this Harris Catch and Release Squirrel Cage Trap. It has dimensions of 9.25 x 4.3 x 4.5 inches and also has a unique mesh pattern to make sure that even the smallest rodents won’t be able to get away. The trap is easy to set up and simple to use. It also has a very quick and effective trip door mechanism for maximizing the capture rate. One drawback that prevents this trap from entering our Top 3 is its relatively small size.
GENERAL INFO ON SQUIRREL TRAPS
A quick breakdown of squirrel traps
Squirrel cage traps are simple and straight-forward devices in their design and purpose. Essentially, they are just cages where the squirrels are baited to enter. Once the squirrel is inside the cage, trying to get to the bait at its end, the squirrel is bound to step in a sensitive plate that will trip a spring, which in turn will slam the door shut behind the rodent. This is an effective, efficient and humane way to capture squirrels (you’ve even fed them in the process, how nice). All that needs to be done after successfully capturing a squirrel in a cage trap is to simply get the trap far away from your property and releasing it there.
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
Purchasing the right trap for your squirrel problem is the first and probably most important step to deal with the situation effectively. Squirrel and rodent live traps come in a myriad of different types, models, sizes, and designs, your choice is vital for your success. To help you out a bit further, let’s go over a quick step by step guide on how to choose the ideal live squirrel trap for your home:
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. It’s quite normal for captured rodents to destroy the inner workings of a trap’s trigger mechanism, which can make it unusable for further catches.
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
Another key difference between setting up a trap for squirrels compared to trying to capture rats or mice is the bait. While both rats and squirrels are rodents and can gravitate to similar foods, for maximum results you’d do well to personalize your squirrels’ bait. So, which are some of the best squirrel baits you ought to consider:
- 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
LIVING WITH & USING TRAPS FOR SQUIRRELS
Using squirrel traps adequately is very similar to using any other type of live rodent trap – it’s all about the location. 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. An additional trick to use is dual-door traps, which give a greater chance for a rodent to get inside, regardless of which direction it is coming from.
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.
An additional thing to do when trying to deal with squirrels is to seal off all the cracks and nooks in your home. 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. 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.
So, to recap, squirrels can be a bit trickier to trap compared to other rodents such as mice or rats, but the general principle is still the same. And since people generally feel much more sympathy for them than they do for rats and mice, most of the squirrel-oriented traps are, fortunately, live and humane traps. Especially since squirrels don’t tend to spread as many harmful diseases, we’d say trying to deal with them in a humane way is very much to be expected.
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 a frequent and prolonged use.
The Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator Ground Squirrel Trap 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 dual-door cage trap that can capture 2 squirrels or other rodents at once. The dual-door functionality is also great for when you’re not sure about the direction from which the rodents are coming. 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.