Squirrels can be a serious nuisance whether they are uprooting flowers and plants and digging up holes in your yard or ripping insulation and chewing electrical wires and wooden support beams in your attic. These rodents can be dangerous since squirrel poop can carry a variety of parasites and diseases so you want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
If you are still not convinced why you need to be humane about removing squirrels from your property, keep in mind that squirrel is protected wildlife in Toronto and it is illegal to kill, harm, or otherwise injure wildlife even by accident. It is also illegal to transport wildlife for more than a kilometre without a permit.
Traditionally, squirrels preferred densely forested areas with nut and acorn producing trees like oaks, pines and walnuts. However, like any successful urban wildlife, they are incredibly adaptive and thrive in new habitats. They now often make their homes inside attics and soffit areas. Homeowners living with squirrels have been complaining that they eat birdseed, ruin growing vegetables and at times, they get trapped inside their houses. In this page, we outline safe, natural and humane methods that you can use to get rid of squirrels from your home.
Removing Squirrels Humanely
There are a number of humane removal methods that experts use to get rid of squirrels. You may have to use more than one method depending on the kind of invasion.
Help Them Out
Sometimes you are lucky and the squirrels have accidentally found their way into the house. In these cases, the rodents will be desperate to get back out and typically don’t want to build a nest in your house. If a squirrel is trapped in your house, close all the doors leading to other areas of the home and leave only the exterior door or window leading outside open. Leave the room and check in periodically. The squirrel should figure out the exit and leave with no trouble.
For squirrels that have fallen into your chimney, make noises in your fireplace to scare the squirrel up and out of the chimney. If the squirrel cannot scamper up due to a sleek chimney flue, drop a thick rope down the chimney. This should offer enough leverage for the squirrel to climb up. Seal the chimney vent with wildlife-proof chimney cap to avoid this problem in future.
Lastly, if the squirrel is cornered and doesn’t seem to want to leave, you may have to physically handle the animal to remove it. Wear heavy-duty gloves and held out a thick blanket in front you. Cover the squirrel with the blanket, roll lightly so as not to injure the animal and carry the squirrel outside. Remember to release it with the animal facing away from you.
This is also a good strategy if the squirrels aren’t actually nesting in your property and simply come by to forage. Squirrel repellent such as prey urine, motion activated sprinklers, ultrasonic sounds, cayenne pepper and so on don’t work. Squirrels are very intelligent and are soon able to figure out that these measures aren’t actually dangerous.
The best way to repel squirrels and keep them out of your property is to remove what is attracting them there in the first place. These measures include;
- Keep your garbage inside until collection day or securing the cover with zip-ties
- Trim low hanging branches and those at least 8 feet near the house or fence. Squirrels can easily jump 8 feet.
- Remove bird feeders or changing to squirrel-proof feeders. Squirrels love bird food as much as the birds do.
- Get rid of stagnant water or dripping water
- Remove woodpiles from your yard or at least those close to the house or fence
- Lay hardware cloth just under the topsoil of plants and bulbs that the squirrels are fond of digging up. The hardware cloth irritates the squirrels underfoot when they attempt to dig.
- Fence off individual plants or plant beds that seem to attract the squirrel. Dig the fence at least 2 feet into the ground so squirrels don’t burrow through.
Many people advocate for live trapping as a humane squirrel removal method but the truth is it depends on who is doing the trapping. Most experts trap only as a last resort because of the inherent dangers in this kind of wildlife control. Squirrels can exhaust themselves or injure themselves while attempting to escape the trap. The trap can also catch other non-target animals such as neighbourhood pets and birds.
Leaving the trap unattended exposes the animal to the elements and harassment from neighbourhood pets and prey. If trapping is the only way to get rid of the squirrel, this is best done by a professional wildlife removal expert Toronto.
Also be careful when handling the trap with a live squirrel in it. Squirrel urine and feces is toxic and spreads a variety of diseases including leptospirosis and tularemia. Parasites present in the squirrel fur such fleas and ticks can also transmit Lyme disease and plague and the animal will certainly scratch or bite through the cage given the opportunity.
By far the most recommended method for getting rid of squirrels humanely is an eviction. This involves sealing all possible entrances to the nest and installing a one-way door on the main entrance. True to its name, this door opens one-way towards the outside but blocks the animal returning into the nest.
Again, this is a method best left to the professional. The first major consideration is whether you are trapping a litter inside the nest. You need to be sure that there are no baby squirrels before evicting the mother otherwise they’ll die of starvation and dehydration. There is also the question of whether you can remove the litter safely both for yourself and the animals.
Method 1: Squirrel-Poof Bird Feeders
Get a special bird feeder that can spin or tilt when a squirrel sits on it or attach squirrel guard to your bird feeder to prevent them from eating the birdseed. Note that you should avoid placing your feeders too close to your home/ trees since squirrels will have the opportunity to bypass the guard by simply leaping from your home’s eaves or from the branches right to the bird feeder.
Keep the area under your bird feeder clean to keep squirrels away from the feeder. Just ensure that you pick up all the stray seeds dropped by the birds
Feed the birds with a type of food that squirrels don’t like. It’s said that safflower seeds taste bitter to squirrels. Therefore, you can fill your birdfeeder safflower seeds.
Method 2: Feed the Squirrels
To keep the squirrels away from the bird feeder or your garden, you can consider feeding them. Just buy a feeder or simply scatter squirrel feed around your yard. You should ensure that you are feeding them away from your garden/ bird feeder.
Method 3: Use Squirrel Repellant
Visit your local hardware or home & garden store and ask for the most effective repellant. These products are made from natural ingredients such as cayenne, black pepper, urine of squirrel predators etc. Some of these repellants are added to the bird feeder while others are sprayed around the gardens to help keep squirrels away.
Method 4: Protect Your Garden
Squirrels tear off vegetables and dig up bulbs. Prevent them from getting into your garden using a wire fence. Just make sure that the fence is buried about 1foot into the ground so that they can’t dig under it.
Method 5: Use a Live Trap
Live traps enable you to catch squirrels safely in a cage without harming them. You can then take the squirrels somewhere and release them. Based on how quickly you would like to get rid of squirrels, you can place the live trap out in the yard or set it up in your attic and prop the door open so that it can’t shut or trap the squirrel. The squirrel will then get used to the cage, and you’ll have it trapped within a short period of time. Live traps can be bought from local hardware or Home & garden stores.
· Clean your attic and make sure that it doesn’t have food in it.
· Place a squirrel guard over your chimney.
· Trim branches that may be hanging close to your chimney and roof.
· Hang a rope through your attic or chimney to provide the squirrels with an escape route in case they get trapped.
· Contact squirrel removal company to come to your home and trap the squirrels.
Hire a Professional to Remove Squirrels Humanely
The specific method to use when attempting to remove wildlife depends on the particular situation. The process can be risky both for you and for the animal which is why it is best to leave the job to a professional squirrel removal company Toronto.
Squirrel waste and the squirrel nest are also toxic and home to various bacteria, viruses and parasites. You need extra care while cleaning to avoid infection or spreading disease-causing organisms. You also need to disinfect and eliminate the pheromones left behind otherwise other wildlife for up to a kilometre may be attracted to the empty nest.
Only a professional can guarantee that the entire process is handled effectively, permanently and safely. Make sure that you get a warranty for the service before work can begin.
Article Updated: October 19th, 2018