Trapping a Squirrel: Should You Do It Yourself or Hire Professionals?

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 13 minutes.
Updated: .

It depends. There is nothing bad about addressing professional assistance. It is quick, effective and easy, though rather expensive. Far not everyone can afford this option, and that is mainly why most sufferers choose another way – buying special traps (cages) to catch the pest.

Get ready to the fact you’ll see numerous types of traps on the market. However, you are to choose one or two of them. How to make the right choice, and is it really possible? Yes! We’ll tell you in details about the types of traps, their use, prices and places where you can buy them. Let’s make the process of infestation elimination much easier. Ready?

How to Catch a Squirrel Yourself? The Must-Haves

Catching squirrels can be easy, though these are pretty quick and clever animals. Keep in mind that when you are about to use cages, it doesn’t matter much whether the pests are in the wild or right in your house, because the technique is the same.

Mind local laws and regulations for animal trapping and relocating.

Squirrel catcherStart with sealing off all openings, including the chimney and fireplace, using a cardboard that should be placed with a masking tape. If there are pests trapped inside the chimney, take a thick rope and send it down from the roof, allowing the animals to get out.

How to act when squirrels are in house? Make a few changes in order to limit their attraction to your property.

The process may include:

  • Trimming all bushes and overhanging tree branches,
  • Refusing from feeding pets outside,
  • Mounting bird feeders at least 15 feet away from your house and 5 feet high from the ground.

Never refuse from consulting a specialized squirrel catcher if you hear scurrying sounds and scratching that comes from inside the walls or attic. At times calling a professional may be the only right thing to do.

Rules of Trapping Squirrels

Humane squirrel trapWhat are those things you should do or known for trapping red squirrels, grey, flying or ground species?

  1. Don’t use squirrel traps you can find at any local stores, sporting goods or hardware shops.
  2. Choose baits like sunflower seeds, apples, nuts, seeds, grains, jelly or peanut butter, cereal, but never poison, as it is not effective and may be dangerous not for pests but for your family and pets.
  3. Make some research to find out whether there’s the need for a license or permit to trap squirrels in your area.
These are wild animals that can attack when feel threatened.
So, wear protective clothing while setting traps or trying to remove pests from your home.

Make sure you check the set trap every hour, otherwise, a squirrel will die. Keep in mind that most trapping methods are quite easy to follow. Still, you are to be patient and wait for some time if you want to succeed.

Types of Squirrel Traps

Squirrel traps for sale are different. These can be live traps, one-way exclusion door, simple cages and those that kill. So, which one do you need?

Live Squirrel Traps

Live squirrel trapThey are the most popular due to the fact they are considered to be humane squirrel traps. They differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they all usually work by placing food on a special weight sensitive plate that is connected to the door. As soon as the pest enters it and steps on this sensitive plate, the door closes behind it.

Everything seems pretty easy in this process of how to keep squirrels away. However, catching is not everything. After this, you will have to take the captured animal away to any wooded area that is at least 5 miles away from your home. Why should you go so far? The problem is that according to the latest researches, nearly 80% of all released creatures are able to find their way back to your home. This is why the animal should be released really FAR AWAY.

Even from 5 miles away a certain percentage can return.

One-Way Exclusion Door

One way exclusion door trapOne-way squirrel traps are regarded to be the best options for those who want to know how to remove numerous squirrels from attic. The constructions remind those of repeater traps, however, there is a single opening on the end. They are humane and allow squirrels to leave the place, but leave no chance for them to get back ever again. Thus, these nasty animals get blocked outside and never get back to the attic.

The only possible problem is the structure of the building. If it is wooden, any squirrel will chew its way back into the property, damaging it. If this is your case, you’d better consider trapping and relocating these creatures. If you don’t really know which way to go, you should call a professional in your area to ask for advice.

Cage Traps

Cage trapThis is the most popular option used not only by homeowners, but also by the majority of wildlife control companies. Squirrel cage traps are available in different models. These are mostly metal cages that lure pests with food; near the back, there’s a pan. After the pest steps on it, it triggers and the doors shut. The animal is alive inside the cage.

Sometimes the traps are made of other materials like solid-walled plastic and steel bars. Keep in mind that the cage should be large enough to hold the animals. The usual size is about 5 inches high and wide and 16 inches long.

If there isn’t much space, the pan will be triggered, but the doors won’t shut.
If there’s much space, the pest will smash itself against the walls, trying to escape.

Traps That Kill

Squirrel traps that kill can be different.

In most cases they have:

  • Gas stick,
  • Poison,
  • Electrocution pad,
  • Anti-coagulant bait (diphacinone or chlorophacinone).

Ground squirrel trap that killTo use any of the above-mentioned options you should get a license or permit to kill squirrels in your area.

Speaking of the most popular killing method, we should mention poison, especially diphacinone and chlorophacinone. Electrocution pads and gas sticks are also efficient, but they are rarely used. If you want to choose any of these variants, you can find them at any of the hardware stores.

What Are Ground Squirrel Traps?

Today’s market suggests buying one of the following types of ground squirrel traps:

  • Spring-loaded jaw traps,
  • Pocket gopher traps,
  • Live-catch wooden or wire traps.

Spring-loaded ones remind larger bear cages. This is a kill-trap option that doesn’t need any bait. This variant can’t be called the most popular as it is used when placed over burrow openings. Keep in mind that today there are various modifications of this model.

If you use box modification, bait the trap.

Pocket gopher solutions are also killing traps, so they won’t suit those, who want only to relocate animals. The option is very effective for those pests that are damaging the crops. It is put near the burrow opening or on the trail where the crop is being ravaged. Use the bait (melon or orange slices and nuts).

And finally, live-catch ones. They are either wooden or wire and are made to catch and remove squirrels in a humane way. These solutions can also be used for raccoons if there are any in your property. In this case, you are going to need bait as well.

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What Are Flying Squirrel Traps?

Trap for flying squirrelsCheck your local stores for a trap made of a firm mesh, but with small holes. Why? The matter is that flying species are able to squeeze even through pretty small holes.

These are live traps that are available in different types. They are used with bait such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts. After trapping an animal, relocate it miles away from your home in order to discourage them to return ever again.

What’s the Best Squirrel Trap?

It would be wrong to state that there is only one best variant available. There are various solutions for different purposes and different infestation problems. What do we suggest?

While deciding on the best trap, consider that there are many options available on the market. However, most specialists agree that Havahart models are the most effective ones. Besides they are called to be humane solutions. To their main advantages belongs to the fact that they are strong and well-crafted, and aren’t able to harm the animal. Another plus is their low maintenance and low prices. So, what to choose from?

One-Door Options:

  • X-Large 1-Door – $97 .99,
  • Large 1-Door Easy Set – $69.99,
  • Large 1-Door 2-Pack – $92.99,
  • Medium 1-Door Easy Set – $46.99.

Two-Door Options:

  • Large 2-Door Easy Set – $74.99,
  • X-Large 2-Door – $74.99,
  • Small 2-Door Easy Set – $36.99,
  • X-Small 2-Door – $17.99,
  • Medium 2-Door – $42.99.

Collapsible Options:

  • Large 1-Door Collapsible Easy Set – $67.99,
  • Medium 1-Door Collapsible 3-Pack – $119.99,
  • Large 1-Door Collapsible – $54.99,
  • Medium 1-Door Collapsible Easy Set – $48.99,
  • Large 1-Door Collapsible 3-Pack – $134.99,
  • Medium 1-Door Collapsible – $44.99.

Where to buy: available at

  1. Havahart X-Small Professional Style One-Door Animal Trap
    One door animal trapThis is a well-constructed cage, made of sturdy rust-resistant wire mesh. It is galvanized for resistance to corrosion and rust and it also has steel reinforcements for a comparatively long life.
    The trap features sensitive trigger and gravity action door that ensure secure captures, targeting a specific pest size. In this case, mesh opening is smaller than in most other available options, which prevent stolen bait and possible escapes.
    During transportation, there is no need to get worried about the safety of animals, as the cage has to handle guard protection and a solid door. The trigger rod is placed outside the trap, thus the pest won’t damage it. According to the professionals, this option is perfect for catching squirrels, rats, voles, etc.
    Average price: $24.97
    Where to buy: available on Amazon
  2. Havahart Cage Trap – Model 0745
    An ideal variant for trapping red and flying squirrels. The trap is made of sturdy galvanized wire mesh, which ensures maximum resistance to rust/corrosion. The construction also features internal edges for preventing injuries to animals and protecting it. Each cage is fully assembled and can be used right after the purchase.
    Average price: $34.39
    Where to buy: available at DoMyOwnPestControl
  3. Woodstream 0745 1-Door Trap $39. At Walmart
    This is a High tensile wire mesh trap with steel reinforced gravity action door. It has a sensitive trigger and ensures a very quick catch. The trap is used for red and flying squirrels. Trying to escape from the cage, an animal can seriously injure itself.
    Average price: $39.99
    Where to buy: available at Walmart
  4. Pet Trex Live Animal Trap
    Another heavy-duty unit made for trapping squirrels, raccoons, skunks, muskrats and rabbits. The benefit of this construction is the fact that a manufacturer gives a 1-year limited warranty against possible defects.
    Average price: $41.39
    Where to buy: available at Walmart
  5. Miller Mfg Single Door Live Trap
    This is a good example of a heavy-duty galvanized wire mesh that features steel reinforcement. The mesh is of a special kind – just for squirrels. Other advantages are an automatic lock, spring loaded door and protected handle.
    Average price: $41.99
    Where to buy: available at Walmart

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Choosing a Squirrel Bait Trap

Squirrel baitLet’s see what today’s market is ready to offer. We suggest choosing one of these options:

  • Squirrel Butter 6oz. This is the best bait for squirrels, ground squirrels, and other rodents. This butter lasts for a long time and you should use only a small amount of it.
    The usual cost is $6.25 per 6oz.
    Available on
  • Squirrel Jelly. This is a working solution to attract red and flying squirrels. It is also effective with gray squirrels.
    The cost is $6.25.
    Available on
  • Squirrel Trail Mix. It is commonly used to create a trailing scent to the trap. It can be used without additional bait, or along with Squirrel Butter or Squirrel Jelly.
    It costs $6.50.
    Available on
  • Wilco 31004 Ground Squirrel Bait. It is palatable to squirrels that come in pellets. It is used to eliminate ground squirrels.
    It costs $50.01.
    Available on Amazon.

What’s the best squirrel bait? You can also give preference to organic options like shelled corn, nuts, grains, sunflower seeds, cereal, apples, oatmeal or peanut butter popcorn. Never use meat bait, as it attracts raccoons, dogs, and cats.

Follow our basic tips and consider the pros of the suggested squirrel traps and baits. Choose the variant that suits you the best. And don’t waste your time! Eliminate nasty creatures right away!

You can find further details of Squirrels Control here.

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  1. This is cruelty towards animals. A squirrel in the front or back yard doesnt bother anyone. Some humans are becoming maniacs wanting to get rid of every single animal. We are supposed to share the planet with all other creatures. They have been created before us by God for our goodness. So let them be!

    • You won’t feel that way when you have them destroying crops you depend on to feed your children.

    • Do you own a home. Probably not. Apartment dwellers don’t realize how much the pest destroy.

    • They are pests in some areas

    • really? maybe u should go outdoors and deal with them. i had them in my rural home and eventually bought cat’s to TERMINATE them after they berated me for blocking their entry. is that humane? know something about there behavior before u speak. If I had my shotgun I would terminate them from my my $50K RV without batting an eye. They r rats with tails and hardly. I dont allow the cattle on grazing leases to use my campsite either although they inderstand whem they r not wanted.

    • You have a point about a squirrel in a back yard not bothering anyone but my family grows and sells pecans and walnuts we can not afford the losses if we were to just.let squirells be squirells

    • My 88 year old mother in law just paid close to $1OOO. to have the wiring fixed on her car.

    • just wait till they destroy your property 4k between three cars. they’re lucky that only a trap is used!!!

    • Excuse me they carry diseases like Bubonic plague and rabies.
      Cute huh

    • The squirrel(s) in my front/backyard is actually bothering us and damaging my property. They have completely destroyed our garden this year and have chewed on our deck, phone lines, grill and other things… so sorry that we are a specist.

    • You don’t get it. I have one pecan tree that puts off not very many nuts and I have been trying to get a few but the squirrels always get them first cause they don’t wait till the nuts are ripe. Hey, I do not mind sharing but I want the squirrels gone. Shoot them or trap them and release them far from home. What do you think I should do?

    • Yes they can be pesky for homeowners. They are running around all over in the attic. We’re afraid they’ll be nesting and also dropping excrement all over. No luck with the trap so far.

    • when you have a pecan tree and you use the pecans for food for your family, squirrels are a huge problem. as long as you eat the squirrels after shooting them, i dont see a problem with it. its called THE FOOD CHAIN.

    • When you spend $3000 to get your car rewired because of a squirrel chewing them you will change your tune

    • They gnaw 2-3 tomatoes in my garden every day. I go through the effort to prepare the soil, run water 100′ from the house and install drip irrigation, including a water filter to remove chlorine. Outdoor cats are a great solution, but we have a dog and my wife has vetoed that option. There are pests.

    Maybe if you had them living in your attic, or in the walls of your house you might feel different.

  3. I have three squirrels in my fascia on the second floor. Can’t reach out myself. would like to DIY the problem, cause it’s a challenge!
    Should I use more than 1 trap, or can I remove the pests 1 at a time successfully? How far away must I take the squirrel so it won’t return to my house?

    • Sue
      The average squirell has a range of between 2and 5 square miles depending on species and location

      • Thank you, Chase A.
        On Sat two of my loyal and ferocious mini doxxies killed one of the squirrels. They wetter so proud of themselves.
        That’s 1 down.
        Perhaps before I but the tap they will have done the service one in.
        That would be a perfect solution.

    • Sure go ahead and release them far away so they can be someone Else’s problem. That is the responsible thing to do. How would you like it if someone was dumping them by your place?

    • @1000 miles. try death valley

  4. We had squirrels in the attic of our 110 year old house for several years because we like animals and were willing to tolerate them. This year the light went out (not the bulb) in one of the upstairs bedrooms so I (age 78) got a ladder and climbed through the tiny trap door to find several inches of bare copper wires leading to that light fixture plus a couple of other patches of bare wires. It cost us nearly $2000 dollars to have the squirrels trapped (12 of them) and the holes closed up. Now we have to pay an electrician to repair the wires. I am happy to share the planet with squirrels and even our house if they would not put our home and our lives at risk by chewing the insulation off electric wires in addition to chewing large holes in our wooden eaves. We will have to cover our eaves with steel as soon as we get the electrician paid off because there are many more squirrels out there who were born in our house and will return periodically to see if they can get in. Squirrels have 2 litters a year with 2 to 5 young per litter. Don’t delay removing squirrels from your home – they won’t go away on their own!!!

  5. Squirrels are a good food source. You can boil them for 45 minutes and then remove their meat from the bone after cooling. You’ll get about 1/4 lb of meat that can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken. The taste is not that much different from poultry dark meat. Soak them a couple days in a light solution of salt water in the fridge before cooking to remove any gamy taste.

  6. Just big rats with tails. Amen. I wanted to see why or if everyone actually releases them?

  7. Over several years I have taken between 200-250 squirrels. The ones that are left don’t mind.

    I use live traps such as the one above. The larger ones are better than the smaller. The ONE bait that works every time is whole pecans. They work by far the best in the spring of the year when squirrel foods are exhausted. You can’t go wrong with whole pecans. A couple in the back and a couple in the front.

    I catch and release bekez I just got tired of shooting them. But if you must, quarter, chicken fry, then when crispy done add a cup of water and when the water is gone about 20 minutes later they are tasty and tender!

  8. I live in liberal Boulder, CO where all the crazy, wilted flower children live. The majority of these folks will send a person to prison for hurting an animal. Good thing these rats are not animals! Trap em all, I say. They are killing all my large shade trees!!!

  9. I Saw On T.V. That 38 % Of Home Fires Are becuse They Eat The Electrical Wiring, And burn Down The Hose.

  10. I trap the poor angels in a live trap and then give them a small dose of lead poisoning. 🙂 I agree that releasing them somewhere else gives someone else the problem.

  11. To David Abbott, what kind of sauce would you say should be served with squirrel?

  12. Rocket J Squirrel and Bullwinkle are gone! These things carry fleas that can kill your cat from the plague! One of these guys has already stripped my single apple tree. I have had it! Goodby mofo! Go chew on Hillaries emails.

  13. please “get a life” people, it’s stupid people like you that America is in such a mess. Kill the vermin and all the stupid folks with them, wait, stupid folks will kill themselves, so just kill the vermin.

  14. The squirrels go in the trap and eat the food. they set off the trap and then they manage to get out. I cant figure how they do it. Very frustrating.

  15. Replaced garage door after they chewed the corners and got in the attached garage. Replaced 6 ft of fascia chewed in my home’s eves, both doors of my shed and 3 floor boards of my gazebo. They eat parts of apples from my tree and squirrel away rotten pieces everywhere. Neighbors feed them. I trap and kill every one I can. I have lost thousands to these pests. They are destructive disease carriers.

  16. And not to mention, they are DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!

  17. They kill baby birds need I say more.

  18. a squirrel is just a rat with a long tail that climbs trees and creates havoc wherever they roam.

  19. Somehow it is picturesque to have an old man feeding the squirrels in a park, but not the rats.

  20. I have a squirrel that ate the wiring in my sons Honda Civic. It is costing
    around 1400.00 to get it fixed. Insurance is covering it, but this is war!

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