What’s your opinion on squirrels? Those bushy-tailed and doll-eyed rodents are undoubtedly cute to look at. Still, they can quickly become a huge annoyance before the winter as that is the time for them to scout out acorns, nuts, and other food and store them away before the frost hits.
Now, that’s none of your concern unless they choose your backyard or, even worse, your house as the hiding place for their winter snacks. Besides, they are known to transmit a bunch of infections and diseases.
Therefore, it is best to deter these pests without being too cruel. In today’s guide, we will tell you 9 ways to get rid of the squirrels without harming them. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
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How do You Know that You are a Victim of Squirrel Infestation?
Squirrels are timid rodents. They won’t even come near you most of the time, so you shouldn’t be afraid of them scratching or biting you. But they can be a nuisance sometimes, and that’s when you know your property is under the threat of a squirrel infestation!
So what are the signs?
- If you see random holes dug up in your yard.
- Scratch marks in your attic or walls.
- Squirrel droppings in your garden or attic.
- Chewed branches or half-eaten nuts.
- Strong squirrel odor (it’s similar to an odor of decay or something rotting).
But if you don’t come across any of these signs and only see squirrels once in a blue moon, there’s nothing you should be worried about!
Find Out Why Squirrels are Coming to Your Yard!
Before we jump right into the ways of repelling squirrels, we first need to identify what brings them to your yard. If you suddenly see a lot of squirrels on your lawn, here are some possible reasons behind it.
If your backyard has abundant food sources for squirrels, they are bound to be there. Look for things like bird feeders, fruit-bearing trees, easy-to-access garbage cans, etc.
Squirrels love nesting in sheltered spaces, which are sturdy and secure. So you can often find them sheltering in tree hollows, attics of your garage, and man-made birdhouses.
If you have any of these, go and have a look to see if they are nesting there.
3. Water Source
Like any living being, squirrels also prefer living in places that have easy-to-access water sources. So, if your yard has a fountain, pool, birdbath, or similar water fixtures, they can be a huge attraction to squirrels.
If you are all of a sudden noticing an uncanny abundance of squirrels, it can be due to the season as well. There are seasons like fall, where squirrels are busy collecting and storing food for the winter.
If your yard has sources of nuts, seeds, or other edibles that they collect, this can be the reason behind them visiting your yard so often.
5. Human Activity
Squirrels easily gel with humans and get accustomed to human presence. Besides, they are smart enough to associate human presence with food availability.
Hence, look around and see if you or your neighbors are directly or indirectly feeding them. That can be a potent reason for them to keep coming back.
6. Safe Environment
If your backyard provides them with a safe environment where they do not have to worry about predatory activities, they are more likely to come and, in fact, nest in your backyard. Some of the invasive species that can be their potential predators include hawks, cats, wild dogs, and foxes.
9 Ways to Get Rid of Squirrels Without Harming Them
While squirrels are known for being the carriers of different ticks and fleas skin to other rodents like mice, killing them can be bad for our environment. So, the best solution is to repel them to prevent them from reappearing in your backyard and infecting you or your pets.
1. Get Rid of the Food Sources
Every animal wants an easy-to-access food source, and having one in your yard can be the biggest attraction for squirrels. Easy-to-forage food sources are the reasons behind them paying you frequent visits.
Therefore, removing them from the yard will drastically lower the chances of them visiting or nesting in and near your yard.
Pro Tip: If you have a birdfeeder, try using a squirrel-proof one that is specially designed with a mechanism that prevents squirrels from accessing the food.
2. Use Sturdy Trashcans
Trashcans are also popular food sources for squirrels. So, if you have a trashcan in or near your yard that doesn’t have a sturdy lid or has a movable wide opening, you need to seal it.
Either switch to a different trashcan that can’t be opened by the tiny claws of a squirrel or use a more secure method of disposing of your food leftovers.
Remember, they still have those strong teeth to chew into wood, let alone plastic bags; hence, keeping the trashcan lid tightly closed will be our best advice.
3. Provide Alternative Food Sources
The kindest way to deter squirrels would be to provide them with an alternative food source.
Set up a different feeding spot for them with foods they love, such as corn, nuts, and fruits, and soon enough, they should leave your yard and move near that spot.
4. Use Strong Fragrances
Similar to cats and many other animals, squirrels hate strong odor. Therefore, you can use things like cayenne pepper, garlic, or peppermint near areas you want to protect.
Refresh these odors periodically so the smell stays strong enough to repel them.
5. Keep Your Yard Free from Attractants
Apart from food, water, and safe shelters are the two biggest allures for squirrels. So, as soon as you see those rodents becoming regular visitors, it is time for you to revamp your yard.
If you have birdbaths, you need to keep them empty for a few weeks and use coverups for pools and fountains. This may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option for your yard, but if water attracts them to your place, this should do the job.
Besides, if you see squirrel nests in your attics or tree hollows, carefully close them so they can’t get in. While doing so, ensure that there are no babies inside the nest.
6. Use Motion Activated Devices
If you like experimenting with gadgets, you can try installing some motion sensors in your yard that activate sprinklers or lights. Squirrels are usually fond of quiet and safe spaces, so sudden actions like these can startle them and encourage them to move to another place.
7. Use Ultrasonic Devices
Instead of sprinklers or flights, you can also try installing ultrasonic devices and speakers that play high-frequency sounds only audible to squirrels. These high-pitched noises will annoy them and create an uncomfortable environment for them, forcing them to leave your yard.
8. Place Predator Decoys
Like farmers use scarecrows to deter crows, you can try placing predator decoys in your yard to scare the squirrels. They are usually afraid of owls, hawks, cats, big dogs, and foxes, so keeping realistic statues of these animals might scare them off.
9. Up Your Fencing Game
With all the tricks and tips above, you need to ensure the usage of adequately sturdy fencing to stop them from waltzing into your yard. Seal any crawl spaces or potential entry points.
Put squirrel-proof fencing around your garden, trim branches that provide easy access to your property, and use wire mesh to cover plants and bulbs that attract squirrels.
Squirrel bites can be dangerous, not because they are poisonous, but because they often carry germs of serious diseases. Some of these infectious diseases include Rabies, Lyme, etc.
Hence, if you get bitten by a squirrel, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Especially if the squirrel that bit you had foaming at its mouth and seemed weak, there’s a high chance that it was infected with rabies.
Yes, they can be. Since squirrels are one of the wild animals that live closely with humans, due to easier availability of food and other necessities, they are pretty adaptable to human presence.
However, they are timid and won’t let you get close to them quickly.
Apart from their natural predators like owls, hawks, and foxes, squirrels are also afraid of noisemakers, garden sprinklers, pinwheels, and things that make sudden and loud enough noise or cause disturbances.
Besides these, they hate strong odors like coffee, peppermint, garlic, etc., so sprinkling such fragrance-infused water on your plants can keep squirrels away.
Squirrels are not our enemies as long as they don’t infiltrate your space or spread diseases. Killing them using those inhumane traps is an awful idea; instead, you can pick a harmless one amongst the nine that we mentioned here.
Most people will recommend you use some fancy trap that can take months to catch even one and will surely hurt the animal when it does. Remember, our goal is to keep them away from our yard and not participate in animal cruelty.
So first, find the root cause behind them getting attracted to your backyard and fix it with a failsafe method.