In this article, we have done a research on squirrel traps that can be purchased from a store. On the basis of this research, we have drawn up a comparison table showing their effectiveness. You will also learn about how to trap a squirrel the right way according to researchers and what are the best squirrel traps recommended by scientists.
2. Tube-type Squirrel Trap
3. Electric Squirrel Trap
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
How To Trap A Squirrel According To Scientists
Tree squirrels inhabiting the USA mainly include fox squirrels and gray squirrels. Being nice and amusing in the wild, they can become pests when settled in towns and suburbs.
Niamh Quinn, an advisor with South Coast Research and Extension Center, says that there is a number of lethal traps that can be used to get rid of tree squirrels. However, it is crucial to set them in a way that does not bear a risk of harming other animals.
As for live-catch cage traps, when using them, homeowners may face another trouble. Once a squirrel is caught, it should be either euthanized or released. The latter implies getting a special permit, otherwise, it will be an illegal act. But generally, live cages are more recommended since this is a humane way of controlling squirrels. Still, do not use it during the breeding season, so that the young squirrels aren’t left without their mothers.
Now, let’s have a look at what traps can be used and what is the difference between them. Roger A. Baldwin from UC Davis, suggests setting metal tunnel or tube-type traps, which are increasingly in demand. Their main advantage lies in excluding the possibility of larger animals’ getting into the trap. Also, the body of the captured squirrel will remain almost unnoticeable and will not catch the eye. This is aesthetically good and will not traumatize kids. Price Check the current price
Another type is the Conibear No. 110 trap. This is a jaw spread body-gripping device, which is considered by scientists to be one of the best squirrel traps. Scientists at New Mexico State University advise choosing a 4.5-inch jaw spread trap for squirrel control. It is particularly effective when baited and placed inside a box. Such trap instantly kills a critter that passes through it. But be sure your pets and kids cannot come across the device as they can be injured. Prices start from Check the current price
Choker-type box traps are also commercially available. They resemble those designed to catch gophers with the difference that the triggers are reversed, which makes a squirrel to pull, instead of pushing the bait, to activate the trap. Actually, such devices can be made out of choker-type gopher traps. Prices start from Check the current price
Cage traps are a good option to catch squirrels alive. Scientists from the University of Missouri recommend using cage traps with the size of no less than 24 inches in length and with the 9-inch entrance. Also, opt for a cage with two doors because this will make a squirrel feel safer. But the key to success here is an effective squirrel bait that lures the critter inside. Prices start from Check the current price
Foot-hold traps are considered to be among the most widely practiced methods implemented by pecan growers to reduce squirrel damage. This is a device designed to capture a squirrel by the leg or foot. The study conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says that cage traps have turned out to be more efficient than foot-hold ones. As for the latter, there were no significant differences in efficiency between padded and unpadded or baited and unbaited foot-hold traps. Prices start from Check the current price
Each trap has its own peculiarities but, at the same time, there are common rules for setting any kind of trap. Now, let’s have a look at these devices from both angles.
Rule #1. First of all, find out what are the travel lanes of squirrels that cause damage. If the trap remains unnoticed by the critters, all your efforts will be futile. Once, you have detected the routes, set traps close to them. Here is a hint — rooftops and trees are the places most frequented by squirrels.
Rule #2. Erect a small fence or something like that in order to direct the animal into the trap.
Rule #3. A Conibear-type trap should be set directly over the entrance to the squirrel nest.
Rule #4. Since even the best squirrel trap can be easily overturned or displaced, it is crucial to tightly secure the device. Traps that are placed on elevated surfaces should be fastened tightly.
Rule #5. Traps set on the trees should be oriented on trunks towards the vegetation.
Rule #6. Foot-hold traps are the most productive when setting on L-shaped wooden boards, which are nailed to the tree trunk.
Rule #7. When setting a lethal trap, use a cover to prevent a bait theft. It should cover at least half of the trap including the end where the bait is placed.
Rule #8. Remember that in the areas where the discharge of a firearm is permitted, trapping squirrels is illegal because in this case they are considered to be game animals.
Comparison Table Of Squirrel Traps Effectiveness
Read our review of the 8 best squirrel traps that can be purchased. You will find here several options, which are suggested by scientists as the most efficient way of getting rid of squirrels. These are standard human live-catch traps, a large multi-catch one, and even a compact plastic cage trap. Among the lethal traps, there are tube traps, a Conibear trap #110, a device with a spring triggered loop, and a modern high-voltage electric trap.
1. Tube Squirrel Traps
As mentioned before, some gopher traps can be used against squirrels as well. This one is a lethal trap with a spring-triggered loop. When setting a trap, conceal its cable noose and floor with the soil. One of the customers said he was successful at catching a grey squirrel in the attic, “I set the trap right at the opening and got him.” Size: 6 1/2" long x 3 1/2" diameter.
But the best lethal trap is a big metal Tube Squirrel Trap made of 21-gauge steel, measuring 4.5” in diameter and 15” in length. It is created as a natural attractant to squirrels wanting to run through it or hide in it. When the squirrel reaches the middle of the trap, the double-torsion spring is triggered. The trapped squirrel is generally hidden from view.
To lure the critter inside the trap, put a bait inside through the vent hole in a rear of the trap so that the bait gets behind the trigger grid. The trap will be more effective if a small amount of the bait is sprinkled at the device's mouth, which will attract squirrels.
Tube Squirrel Trap: Check the current price
2. Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator Multi-Trap
Perhaps the main problem with one-door cage traps is that when one of the squirrels is trapped, the others are frightened off. The Squirrelinator comes without this downside. It traps over 20 squirrels within hours, offering an added benefit of saved baits.
Another advantage lies in its size, which is 23.25 x 23.25 x 4 inches, meeting the requirements determined by scientists. Well, it seems that this is the best squirrel trap for capturing the critters alive. As a customer noted, squirrels easily learn to bypass standard traps, which is not the case with this option.
Rugged Ranch: Check the current price
3. Havahart 0745 One-Door Squirrel Trap
Internal edges of the cage allow the captured squirrel to avoid injuries. The trigger rod is mounted outside the cage so that it cannot be damaged by the animal. Designed to trap squirrels and similar animals.
The downside is the product size: it is 17 inches long whereas scientists recommend cages 24 inches in length. Another weak point is that it has only one door. As customers note, it takes just a few seconds to set a trap.
Havahart 0745: Check the current price
4. Havahart 1025 2-Door Live Squirrel Trap
Unlike the previous live cage, this one has two doors, which trap the animal quickly due to the sensitive triggers. Other advantages are the same, which includes the trigger rod located outside the cage and smoothed internal corners. As the seller puts it, the cage is ideal for capturing squirrels.
As for weak points, this cage trap is no better in term of the size, being just 17.5 inches long. The product priced at Check the current price is rated 3.8 out of 5 stars in rating. Some customers complain that squirrels manage to escape before the door is locked or the door just hits the animal in the back and it gets away.
Havahart 1025: Check the current price
5. Eliminator Electric Squirrel Trap
An electric trap is a modern approach to killing pests quickly and this one targets small rodents including squirrels. Once the critter is detected inside the trap by means of a special technology, a deadly 7000-Volt electric shock is emitted. The weak points are the small size (11 inches in length) and the high price.
Also, like any electric device without a waterproof protection, this product cannot be used outdoors. However, one customer noted that squirrels just got the bait and get away unharmed, which was probably due to the trap’s small size.
Eliminator: Check the current price
6. CaptSure Plastic Live Trap
The main strong point of this option is that the cage is absolutely safe for the captured animals as well as for anyone who handles it. This is due to the plastic the cage is made from. Also, it is transparent, making a squirrel feel safe when entering the trap.
The main disadvantage lies in its small size — 11 inches. It is likely that many squirrels will get away before the spring door is shut.
CaptSure: Check the current price
7. Conibear (a body gripping trap) Duke No.110 Magnum Body Trap
Although this product is labeled for other species, the Conibear trap of this size is recommended by scientists for using against squirrels. To catch them, the device should be set on the tree trunk 4 feet above the ground. Also, it is cheaper compared to the previous option (Check the current price).
As a customer put it, this was the best squirrel trap for him, using which he got 20 squirrels from the yard during the summer. From the customers’ experience, the trap catches even large fox or grey squirrels. However, this is a very powerful trap that can be harmful to humans. You can even break the hand when handling the device the wrong way!
Duke: Check the current price
Comparative Chart of Best Squirrel Traps
Tube Squirrel Trap
|Lethal tube-type trap, torsion spring, 4.5”D and 15”L.|
Havahart 0745 One-Door Squirrel Trap
|Metal live-catch cage trap, 17 x 6 x 6 inches.|
Havahart 1025 2-Door Live Squirrel Trap
|Metal live-catch cage trap, 17.5 x 5.8 x 7.3 inches|
CaptSure Plastic Live Trap
|Plastic live-catch cage trap, 11 x 4.4 x 4.4 inches.|
Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator Multi-Trap
|Metal live-catch cage trap, 23.25 x 23.25 x 4 inches.|
Duke No.110 Magnum Body Tra
|A Conibear-type lethal trap.|
Eliminator Electric Squirrel Trap
A modern lethal trap killing squirrels with a 7000-Volt electric shock.
Black Hole Rodent Trap
|A lethal trap with a spring-triggered loop|
WCS NB Squirrel & Rodent Paste Bait
|Based on natural ingredients, designed for squirrels.|
F.A.Q. About Squirrel Traps
Can I use poison baits?
No. Using poisons on tree squirrels is prohibited by the law.
What to bait squirrels to catch in a trap?
The best baits are peanut butter, pecans, walnuts, as well as corn and sunflowers. Slices of fruits are also recommended.
What are the squirrel’s taste preferences?
Actually, they are not picky eaters. Apart from all sorts of nuts and fruits, squirrels will enjoy eating sugary biscuits and cereals. When it comes to choosing out of various cereals, squirrels prefer millet, scientific studies show.
How to lure a squirrel into the trap?
Apart from placing a good attractant in the trap, you must set the device properly, according to the instruction. The key to success is the right location, which means setting the trap close to the nest entrance or along the squirrel’s route.
How to trap squirrels in the attic?
Trapping squirrels in the attic is usually less successful than in the open air. So, to obtain better results, attach the device as close to the nest as possible. Do not seal the critter in the attic as this will bring another problem of rotten corpses.
How do you know that you have squirrels, not rats, in the attic?
Both squirrels and rats produce sounds of running and gnawing, which can be heard from the attic. The difference is in the time of day: while rats do it at night, squirrels are active in the daytime. Apart from that, rats squeal, unlike squirrels.
Can I touch dead squirrels?
Before getting dead squirrels out of the trap, put on gloves to ensure protection from possible infections. Keep in mind that corpses of dead rodents can be hazardous to the health. After that, place the corpse in a bag and seal it tightly.
What Is The Best Squirrel Bait?
It is a common knowledge that baited traps work better than non-baited ones. However, as researchers have found out, this is the case not with all traps. “Baiting foot-hold traps did not significantly increase their efficiency, but significantly reduced their selectivity,” the study conducted by scientists at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln states.
So, the recommended range of baits for cage traps includes slices of orange and apple, shelled pecans, and walnuts. Sunflowers and corn are also in the list of the best squirrel baits, according to Tom Barnes from the University of Kentucky. Others claim that peanut butter is the best bait for squirrel trap.
Such squirrel baits are available in the kitchen of most households. But to enhance the effectiveness of the attractant, you should better purchase a ready-to-use bait developed specifically for squirrels. Try WCS NB Squirrel & Rodent Paste Bait with the rating of 2.9 out of 5 stars.
It is based on natural ingredients, with essential oils serving as an extra attractant. Unlike peanut butter and many other baits, this stuff does not dry out. Suitable for all types of traps. And yet, quite a number of users claim that the product does not work for them and they will opt for peanut butter.
How to bait squirrels?
Place it approximately six inches off the ground so that the odor drifts toward a squirrel. Scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension stress that the bait should be checked twice a day — in the morning and in the evening.
To obtain better results, live cage traps should be pre-baited and left open for a couple of days. The squirrels will get used to the cage as a source of food and will relax their guard. When you see that squirrels consume the baits regularly, set the trap and tie the fresh bait to the trigger with a string. Keep in mind that stealing food is a habit of these agile critters.
Using Poisons In Squirrel Control
Using any type of poison baits to kill any species of tree squirrels is illegal. There are no registered toxicants that can be used in controlling these animals. You are not allowed to poison tree squirrels even when in the possession of a depredation permit.
However, you may resort to an alternative. Thomas G. Barnes from the University of Kentucky says that since no poisons or fumigants can be used against tree squirrels, applying chemical repellents may be helpful in keeping squirrels from gnawing the trees. He has specified that although repellents do not eliminate the damage completely, they reduce its severity. The best ones include products based on Thiram.