In this article: Learn about the most common types of squirrels, what attracts them, and effective ways to repel and prevent them from returning.
Squirrels are cute, but they can be a nuisance when they start invading our homes, gardens, and bird feeders. They can cause damage to our property, chew electrical wires, and carry diseases. Therefore, it’s important to know how to get rid of them without harming them. In this article, we will discuss the most common types of squirrels, what attracts them, and effective ways to repel and prevent them from returning.
Table of Contents
Most Common Types of Squirrels
Squirrels are found all over the world, but the most common species in North America are the gray squirrel, red squirrel, fox squirrel, and flying squirrel.
The grey squirrel, also known as the eastern grey squirrel, is a common sight in many areas of North America. These squirrels have a grey coat with a white belly, and are known for their bushy tails. They are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and suburban areas. Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, fruits, and sometimes insects. Grey squirrels are known for their agility and can often be seen leaping from tree to tree.
The red squirrel, also known as the American red squirrel, is a smaller species of squirrel that is native to North America. They have a reddish-brown coat with a white belly and are known for their bushy tails. Red squirrels can be found in a variety of habitats, including coniferous forests and woodland areas. Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, and fruits. They are known for their vocalizations and can often be heard chattering and making other noises.
The fox squirrel is a larger species of squirrel that is native to North America. They have a reddish-brown coat with a white belly and are known for their large bushy tails. Fox squirrels are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and suburban areas. Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, fruits, and sometimes insects. They are known for their curiosity and can often be seen exploring their surroundings.
The flying squirrel is a unique species of squirrel that is native to North America. They are smaller than other species of squirrels and have a flat, furry tail that helps them glide through the air. Flying squirrels are nocturnal and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests and woodland areas. Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, and fruits. They are known for their ability to glide through the air and can often be seen leaping from tree to tree in search of food.
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What Attracts Squirrels
Squirrels are attracted to various fruits, plants, and veggies, including acorns, berries, apples, and sunflowers. They also like to hide in trees, attics, and walls, and build their nests in these areas. Therefore, it’s important to keep your property clean and tidy, seal all the entry points, and trim the trees and bushes.
- Apples: Squirrels love apples and will often steal them from backyard orchards.
- Tomatoes: Ripe tomatoes are a favorite of squirrels, so it’s best to keep them covered with a netting to protect them.
- Corn: Squirrels are known to climb corn stalks to eat the kernels, so if you have a vegetable garden, it’s important to protect your corn.
- Berries: Squirrels love all kinds of berries, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
- Peppers: Squirrels are attracted to both sweet and hot peppers, so it’s best to protect them with a netting as well.
- Grapes: Squirrels love grapes and will often eat them right off the vine.
- Sunflowers: Squirrels are attracted to sunflower seeds, so if you grow sunflowers in your garden, be prepared to share them.
- Pumpkins: Squirrels love pumpkin seeds and will often steal them from carved pumpkins on Halloween.
- Acorns: Squirrels love acorns and will often bury them to eat later.
- Pecans: Squirrels are notorious for stealing pecans from backyard trees, so if you have a pecan tree, it’s important to protect it.
What is the Best Way to Repel Squirrels:
One of the best ways to repel squirrels is to use natural methods that don’t harm them. Squirrels hate the smell of peppermint, garlic, and vinegar. Therefore, you can spray a mixture of water and peppermint oil or garlic oil around your property. You can also scatter chili flakes or cayenne pepper around the garden or bird feeder to deter them.
- Use natural repellents: Squirrels have a strong sense of smell, so using natural repellents can be an effective way to keep them away. Some examples include peppermint oil, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. These scents can be sprayed around the area to create an unpleasant environment for the squirrels.
- Install bird feeders with squirrel baffles: Squirrels love bird feeders, but installing a squirrel baffle can prevent them from accessing the food. These baffles are designed to block squirrels from climbing up the feeder pole or jumping onto the feeder itself.
- Use physical barriers: If squirrels are getting into your garden, using physical barriers can be an effective way to keep them out. Fencing or netting can be installed around the perimeter of the garden to prevent squirrels from accessing it.
- Create distractions: Squirrels can be deterred by creating distractions in the area. Place a squirrel feeder filled with nuts or seeds away from your home or garden to encourage the squirrels to stay in a different location.
- Remove food sources: Squirrels are attracted to food, so removing potential food sources can be an effective way to get rid of them. Make sure to clean up any fallen fruits or nuts in your yard, and store birdseed and pet food in sealed containers.
- Use sound and light deterrents: Squirrels are sensitive to sound and light, so using sound or light deterrents can be an effective way to keep them away. Some examples include ultrasonic devices or motion-activated sprinklers, which emit a loud noise or spray of water when squirrels approach.
- Create a predator-friendly environment: As mentioned earlier, squirrels are naturally afraid of predators such as foxes, hawks, and owls. Creating a predator-friendly environment by installing birdhouses and nesting boxes can encourage these animals to hunt in your yard, which can keep squirrels away.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels Naturally:
If you want to get rid of squirrels naturally, you can use non-lethal methods such as live traps, noise makers, and predator decoys. Live traps allow you to catch squirrels and release them in a safe area. Noise makers such as wind chimes, bells, and radios can scare squirrels away. Predator decoys such as fake owls or snakes can also deter them.
Homemade Repellent Recipes:
If you prefer to make your own repellent, here are some simple recipes:
- Peppermint Spray: Mix one part peppermint oil with three parts water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray around your property.
- Garlic Spray: Crush five garlic cloves and mix with one quart of water. Let it sit overnight and strain. Add a few drops of dish soap and spray around your property.
- Chili Powder: Sprinkle chili powder around your garden or bird feeder to deter squirrels.
If you decide to use a live trap to catch squirrels, make sure to set it in a place where squirrels are likely to go, such as near their food source or nesting area. Use bait such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, or corn to lure them into the trap. Once caught, release them in a safe area far away from your property.
- Live Traps: Live traps are one of the most humane ways to trap squirrels. Place the trap in an area where squirrels are known to frequent, such as near a bird feeder or a tree where they like to nest. Bait the trap with peanuts, sunflower seeds, or corn. Once caught, release the squirrel in a safe area far away from your property.
- Bucket Trap: A bucket trap is an easy and effective DIY trap that can be made with a 5-gallon bucket and a piece of wood. Drill a hole in the center of the lid and attach a wooden dowel to it. Bait the trap with nuts or seeds and place it near a tree or wall where squirrels are known to climb. When the squirrel tries to reach the bait, it will fall into the bucket and won’t be able to climb out.
- Snap Traps: Snap traps are a more traditional method of trapping squirrels, but they can be dangerous and inhumane if not used properly. Use a snap trap that is specifically designed for squirrels, and place it in an area where squirrels are known to frequent. Bait the trap with peanut butter or seeds. Once the squirrel is caught, dispose of the trap and squirrel appropriately.
Tips for Preventing Squirrels from Returning:
To prevent squirrels from returning, seal all the entry points, trim the trees and bushes, and install baffles or squirrel guards on bird feeders. Also, keep your property clean and tidy, and remove any fallen fruits or nuts that can attract squirrels.
(Video) Tips from A Gardener
What food is poisonous to squirrels?
Squirrels have a varied diet, but there are certain foods that can be poisonous to them. Some examples include chocolate, avocado, and caffeine. These foods can be toxic to squirrels and should be avoided.
Will Irish Spring soap keep squirrels away?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that Irish Spring soap will keep squirrels away. While some people claim that the strong scent of the soap can repel squirrels, it is not a reliable method of deterring these animals.
Do mothballs keep squirrels away?
Mothballs are not an effective method of keeping squirrels away. While the strong scent of the mothballs may temporarily repel squirrels, they will eventually get used to the smell and return to the area.
What animal are squirrels most afraid of?
Squirrels are naturally afraid of predators such as foxes, hawks, and owls. These animals are known to prey on squirrels and can cause them to feel threatened and afraid.
What kills squirrels in your yard?
Killing squirrels is not recommended as it is often illegal and inhumane. If you have a squirrel problem in your yard, there are humane methods of dealing with the issue, such as using live traps and relocating the animals to a more suitable habitat.
Do coffee grounds keep squirrels away?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that coffee grounds will keep squirrels away. While some people claim that the strong scent of coffee can repel squirrels, it is not a reliable method of deterring these animals.
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