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Get Rid of Red Squirrels

Virginia has years of experience with gardening and wild pests in Florida, New Hampshire, Kansas, Maryland, Australia, and South Texas.

Cute, but oh my goodness, the damage they can cause!

Cute, but oh my goodness, the damage they can cause!

Are Red Squirrels Making You Crazy?

Red squirrels are notorious for the damage they can cause to a house or a vehicle. They are considered much more invasive than gray squirrels.

If you've suffered from red squirrels and need to stop them, check out the solutions I offer below. There are a variety of ways to rid your yard and home of these pests, you just need to chose which one fits your situation.


Cute at First - Destructive over Time

get-rid-of-red-squirrels

Red Squirrels in the Yard or in the Home

My neighbor's recreational vehicle was destroyed by red squirrels getting into the undercarriage and chewing through the hydraulic lines. What a mess as the hydraulic fluid drained down inside everything. Nothing would work and it had to be towed back to the factory and replaced.

Needless to say, he is paranoid now and just the sight of one of these critters sends him to his shed to get out the trusty Havahart trap. I can't blame him after the thousands of dollars in damage they caused to his RV.

Since you are here, I bet you have a story to tell of damage done by these critters to your home, auto or garden. When you get to the very end of this page, there's a guestbook. I'd love to get your input on your squirrel problems.

Photo by Virginia Allain.

Havahart Squirrel Trap

I consider these traps fairly foolproof. The single door trap (shown here) is easier to set than the double one. Bait the trap with some peanut butter on the trip lever in the center of the cage. My neighbor puts some bread with peanut butter into the trap. He's caught 7 red squirrels over the last couple of months. I just put the bait right on the lever.

You can sprinkle a few sunflower seeds at the entrance and into the trap if you want to get fancy.

Havahart Trap for Squirrels (I have great success with these)

Where Are Red Squirrels Giving You Trouble?

Oh, that naughty squirrel. My Florida neighbors had squirrels invade their attic. It cost them $4,000 to have someone come in to trap and remove the squirrels, clean up the debris, and block places where the squirrels had entered.

Oh, that naughty squirrel. My Florida neighbors had squirrels invade their attic. It cost them $4,000 to have someone come in to trap and remove the squirrels, clean up the debris, and block places where the squirrels had entered.

They Should Call This the Squirrel-ator Too - The Chipmunkinator Works for Squirrels Just Fine

Here's the new trap that I tried out last summer. Worked fine for the red squirrels. It was sent to me by the manufacturer to review for its chipmunk catching capabilities.

Squirrel in a Chipmunkinator Trap

Although this trap is advertised on Amazon for chipmunk trapping, I caught a number of squirrels in mine.

Although this trap is advertised on Amazon for chipmunk trapping, I caught a number of squirrels in mine.

The Chipmunkinator Trap Also Works for Squirrels

How to Make Your Own Squirrel Trap - An old-fashioned box trap

If you are a real do-it-yourself kind of person, have a look at these videos. They may inspire you to make your own squirrel traps. Good luck!

Want to Make Your Own Trap? Video Tutorial

Electronic Zapper - Instantly zaps any red squirrel that enters it

This is a quick and final solution for those who don't want to trap and relocate their squirrels. It kills them immediately when they enter the zapper.

Demonstration Showing How to Use the Rat Zapper Ultra Device

Sites to Help Solve Your Red Squirrel Problems

Squirrel Deterrants - that I've seen suggested for red squirrels

I haven't personally tried these, but you can click on the photo to see how much the reviewers liked each one.

Impressive Owl with Moving Wings

A Snake Serves to Deter, But Most People Don't Want a Real Snake in Their Garden

I took this photo of a cottonmouth in Florida. A rubber snake is a better choice, in my opinion.

I took this photo of a cottonmouth in Florida. A rubber snake is a better choice, in my opinion.

Try a Snake to Keep away the Red Squirrels from the Garden

You can tell which trees are their nesting sites by the well-gnawed remnants of pine cones littering the ground under the tree.

You can tell which trees are their nesting sites by the well-gnawed remnants of pine cones littering the ground under the tree.

Evidence of Squirrel Activity

You don't always see the squirrel, but this partly eaten pine cone tells you that they are around.

You don't always see the squirrel, but this partly eaten pine cone tells you that they are around.

How to Recognize Red Squirrels

  • Is That A Red Squirrel Or A Gray Squirrel?
    Fox squirrels may look like both gray squirrels and red squirrels, but they're a completely different animal. And they're not extinct, contrary to what some people might think.

Telling the Squirrels Apart

The destructive red squirrel found in the northeastern U.S.  Compare it with the harmless red squirrel found in the U.K. (photo below).

The destructive red squirrel found in the northeastern U.S. Compare it with the harmless red squirrel found in the U.K. (photo below).

A red squirrel in England. You can tell that this is quite different. They are considered not destructive and should not be trapped.

A red squirrel in England. You can tell that this is quite different. They are considered not destructive and should not be trapped.

A gray squirrel in the northeastern U.S. Not considered to be as destructive as the U.S. red squirrel, but you wouldn't want them nesting in your attic.

A gray squirrel in the northeastern U.S. Not considered to be as destructive as the U.S. red squirrel, but you wouldn't want them nesting in your attic.

More Problem Critters and What to Do about Them

  • Ten Humane Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks
    Chipmunks undermine decks and steps, chew on car wiring and cause other problems. Getting rid of them in a humane way is what most people want. Here are my recommendations.
  • Chipmunk Trap Comparison Test
    I've become an expert in chipmunk behavior. If you are having troubles with these pesky little fellows, here's my comparison test of two kinds of traps.
  • Get Rid of Chipmunks - The Final Solution
    Some people look just for humane solutions to pests, but if chipmunks are destroying your property, you need a solution fast. Here are some tested ways to clear out those destructive chipmunks.
  • Get Rid of Moles
    You are seeing raised earth indicating mole tunnels in your yard or garden. Take quick action with these methods to get rid of this pest. I had good success with these and no more moles for me.
  • Get Rid of Yellowjackets
    Plagued by yellow jacket wasps? These aren't easy to get rid of. I tried a variety of solutions and found one that worked for me. Here's my experience.

© 2012 Virginia Allain

What's Your Experience with Red Squirrels?

BrianD on September 16, 2017:

Crazy things have chewed through walls and wiring in my RV and most recently destroyed a wiring cluster in the motor of my pick up. Red Demons is more like it!

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on February 09, 2017:

Wow, I've never seen a black squirrel. Those must be special to Canad.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 03, 2017:

We used to have them in our attic in the old house but we sold it as I had no patience for such. In the cottage, we have them all the time competing with the birds for feed but as long as they're outside it is okay. They can be good entertainment. I don't like the black squirrels as they're huge and they drive away everyone else from the feeder.

Bill Kasman on April 25, 2016:

In Scotland the red squirrel isn't a threat at all in fact it is under threat from the introduced grey squirrel which is larger and out-competes the red for food and living space and the greys carry a disease (squirrel pox) to which they are immune but which is fatal to the red squirrel. Red squirrels in Scotland are regarded as ''cute and cuddly''!

Guardin Garden on February 22, 2016:

They are tiny and seem very cute when you first see them, but they relentlessly chase grey squirrels away cackling at them while they do it. They are lightning fast (kudos to people who get photos). They mate on my deck, nest in our Weber grill, and love to hang out in the garage. They are killing my Leyland Cypresses by gnawing and leave the debris of black walnuts they stash and strip to eat and dig holes everywhere. Our worst experience was one getting closed into the garage over night. It did lots of damage to the contents of the garage. I am over the cuteness aspect.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on July 09, 2015:

You can take them far away, but with squirrels, that could mean 5 or 10 miles. Another option is to place the Havahart trap in water where they quickly drown.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 08, 2015:

what do you do after you caught them? Free them in the jungle?

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on May 07, 2014:

@margie-kerslake-7: I've had good success with the Havahart trap. It is fairly inexpensive too.

margie-kerslake-7 on May 07, 2014:

Our squirrels have chewed their way through our dog kennel, our yard sheds and seem to be everywhere. We do have very mature pine trees on the property and have just found our yard shed absolutely stuffed with 7 inch cones, some eaten and some not, They were not there 3 weeks ago as we did the spring check then. We have a dog that does not seem to concern them, we have a pellet gun, need I say more, but they are overtaking us. HELP!!!

Frischy from Kentucky, USA on April 28, 2013:

We have gray squirrels here, and they are bad enough! I would love to find a way to prevent them from eating the cushions on my patio swing.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on February 13, 2013:

@Fiorenza: Thanks for clarifying that. I remember seeing pictures of the ones with ear-tufts.

Fiorenza from UK on February 13, 2013:

@Virginia Allain: The UK species is the Eurasian one, Latin name Sciurus vulgaris. The American species is Tamiasciurus hudsonicus. The Eurasian red squirrel has ear tufts which grow longer in winter, and is the Squirrel Nutkin of Beatrix Potter fame.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on February 12, 2013:

@Fiorenza: I wonder if the red squirrels in the two countries are entirely different subspecies (or whatever the scientific term is). I'll have to research that. Thank you for raising the question.

Fiorenza from UK on February 12, 2013:

In the UK, red squirrels have been almost exterminated in most areas by the incursion of grey squirrels introduced in the 19th century. The greys are much more of a pest, they frequently get into people's attics and they cause a lot of damage to trees. Red squirrels are shy animals that do not come near human habitation in the few areas they still hang on so I am astonished by the information here.

Lenskeeper on September 01, 2012:

I love red squirrels. I have done squirrel rescue and highly recommend relocating or discouraging them rather than killing them!

AstroGremlin on August 28, 2012:

I did not know this about red squirrels. They are quite pretty. Too bad they are so destructive.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on August 15, 2012:

I'm not sure I've ever even seen red squirrels in person. I love the squirrel mug shot.

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