The Best Squirrel Traps, Baits, and How to Use One

how to catch a squirrel
The best squirrel trap is a one-door cage trap. After live trapping the squirrel using this trap, relocate and release the squirrel away from your home in a humane way. The best bait for the trap is using some of the rodent's favorite treats like peanut butter, sunflower seeds, or dried corn.

It’s not uncommon for squirrels to live in your tree or backyard—especially in rural North America. In most cases, they’re harmless rodents who happily mind their own business gorging on seeds and fruit.

However, on occasion, they can destroy property. Aside from setting up live traps, there are numerous ways to control a squirrel infestation. Let’s look at the top squirrel bait, traps, and techniques for using them.

Do Squirrel Traps Work?

The mechanism that catches squirrels is usually effective in trapping these skittish rodents. But if no squirrel dares to venture inside its metallic grates, then the trap is no good.

To ease the rodent’s tension, bait the trap for the first few days without setting it off. They’ll realize that eating the bait is “safe” and later come back for an easy treat. They will be caught off-guard it later sets off.

They’ll have no way to escape with live traps and will be stuck inside until you release them. With kill traps, they’ll be killed instantaneously when they step on the trigger plate.

squirrel bait

What Is the Best Trap for Squirrels?

There are three types of squirrel traps, equally viable in catching and trapping squirrels. The best squirrel live traps are box traps. Tube traps and flat snap traps are both kill traps.

Here’s a rundown of how these catch traps function:

Tube Traps

This lethal trap is a cylinder-shaped tube large enough for grey squirrels to wander through but small enough for dogs and cats to remain unharmed. The bait is attached to a spring-loaded bar, and when triggered, it snaps the rodent’s neck for a quick, painless kill.

Box Traps

The single-door box trap has a spring-loaded door that slams shut as soon as the squirrel enters, preventing escape. This door trap comes in many sizes and can also trap a raccoon, a gopher, a skunk, or an opossum.

Flat Snap Traps

These metallic traps are a type of rodent trap powerful enough to instantly kill a squirrel through a metallic rod. Bait these squirrel traps with sunflower seeds, peanut butter, or any other favorite food of the rodent.

squirrel trap

If you simply want to relocate the squirrel, get a box trap. If you want to reduce a nasty rodent infestation, snap traps are the way to go.

Tube traps are the more reliable option if you want to control squirrels with finality. Especially if you don’t want to risk your pet or any larger mammal from triggering a trap.

Where to Place a Squirrel Trap?

Trap placement is key when catching a small rodent. Place your squirrel trap in an area where you suspect there is high squirrel activity. 

It can be by a large tree in your backyard or near bird feeders where you often see them rummaging around. You can also place the trap inside barns if you see them running there.

In addition, keep the trap away from pets and children as much as possible. Doing this can prevent injuries and unwanted tampering with the trap.

What Bait to Use?

You probably already know that squirrels are fanatics of all things nutty. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that peanuts and peanut butter are effective squirrel baits.

The latter one, in particular, is especially potent due to its sticky texture. This forces the squirrel to stay put for longer instead of fleeing, giving more opportunities for the trap to set off while they’re still inside the enclosure.

If you don’t have peanuts, or if peanuts don’t seem to attract the squirrels, here are other effective baiting options:

  • Fruits
  • Seeds
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Acorns

What a Trap Kills Squirrels?

Flat snap traps and tube traps kill squirrels. Both are designed to snap the necks of rats, squirrels, groundhogs, and chipmunks. This results in a swift and painless death.

ground squirrel traps

What Is a Humane Way to Get Rid of Squirrels?

Live box traps are the most humane way to catch squirrels. These box traps don’t maim or hurt the small animals.

Instead, they only keep them within its confines, scared but alive. Once a squirrel has been caught in these box traps, you can relocate them wherever you desire.

Do Squirrels Learn to Avoid Traps?

Unfortunately, squirrels can learn to avoid traps—even if it’s baited. These rodents tend to stick to what’s familiar and can recognize the trap as a foreign object. In addition, the bait may fail to entice them to venture into the trap.

If the trap isn’t working, switch the bait to something more enticing. You may also try putting bait inside the trap without setting it off to deceive them. Then, once they’re accustomed to the easy meals, you can trigger the trap when they least expect it.

What Is the Easiest Way to Catch a Squirrel?

If you’ve ever wondered how to catch a squirrel, the easiest and most effective way to capture it is by live trapping it with a box trap. To start, you’ll need to bait the trap with grains, nuts, or swaths of peanut butter.

You can also leave small morsels of these food pieces outside these ground squirrel traps to make them comfortable. You don’t have to set the trap on the first day—leave the trapdoor open.

Once they get comfortable and have no problems going all the way inside, then you can set it off the next day. Be sure to check the trap regularly, from a faraway distance, so you can release and relocate any intruders right away.

squirrel bait

What to Do After Trapping a Squirrel?

The trap has been triggered, and a rodent is trapped within. Score! The first thing to do is put on a pair of safety gloves.

Squirrels may carry a variety of diseases and illnesses. So, it’s best to tread on the safe side and avoid physical contact with them as much as possible—especially in their agitated state.

Next, have a blanket or cloth with you. This will block the squirrel’s vision and reduce their stress. Slowly creep up to the cage and drape the cloth over it. Then, travel to a destination where you intend to free the rodent.

Not too near that it can easily find its way back to your property, not too far where it won’t survive the new environment. Open the trap door and, with the cloth still draped over the entrance, gently tilt it until the squirrel falls into your cloth.

Once you feel the squirrel in your hand, unroll the cloth to free the rodent. After a few seconds of disorientation, it’ll run off into the wild.

extremely photogenic squirrel on a tree branch

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of catching and releasing rodents in your home, you can certainly contact a pest control company to manage the outbreak. They’ll have the tools and expertise to handle any infestation, including a squirrely one!

Joshua Munoz

Most people’s first instinct when they see a wild skunk is to back away, but not Joshua. He holds a near-obsessive fascination with skunks and their behavior. Although Joshua has never been closer than five feet to a skunk, he has spent countless hours researching them. He knows almost everything there is to know about skunks, from their diet and habitat, to how to humanely trap them. Joshua’s interest in skunks is rooted in his love of animal biology. He fondly remembers topping his finals in biology class while in university. Now, as a writer, he fuses passion and expertise into one by sharing his knowledge about the animal kingdom with others.

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