How to live trap a squirrel

If your only alternative is to trap, and remove an unwanted squirrel, you should first check with your local government agency. Your City, County, or State may require you to obtain a permit. There may be certain circumstances when a professional trapper is needed to capture and relocate the animal. A phone call can save you a lot of trouble.

The other very important part of trapping concerns the time of year. The female squirrel will give birth to a litter of three or four, in the early spring and possibly again in the fall. If you trap and relocate the mother squirrel, you will surely kill her babies since they can not leave the nest on their own. While this alone would be heart breaking, consider what will become of those baby squirrels. They can cause quite a smell. Please give this some careful thought before you proceed. If you're not sure, please ask for help. That's what we're here for.

If you are allowed to trap, your next step will be to find a suitable trap. Most large sporting goods stores will have a selection of live animal traps to choose from. Live traps sell for about $25, for a small "five by five by eighteen inch
Havahart Trap" and can go up to $90 for larger sizes. Tomahawk Live trap also carries a complete line of traps and supplies.

You can also rent traps from some Rental Service Stores. One store in Minnesota rents the small Havahart 1025 trap for $12 per day.

Be sure to find one that is the proper size for the squirrel you wish to trap. Too small of a trap may not completely enclose the squirrel and one too large may not be sensitive enough for a one pound squirrel.

Traps should come with instructions to bait and set them, be sure you under- stand and follow the directions. Peanut butter (Skippy crunchy) is considered the best bait for a squirrel. Placing a spoonful on the trip lever usually does the trick.

Your first step is to do a little detective work. Find the path that the squirrel is using to your attic, crawl space or where ever it should not be. To find this path, you must first observe your squirrel's routine. Normally, a squirrel will leave the nest at dawn or shortly after in search of food. This would be the best time to watch and wait. Find a place where you can view your house and the entrance hole. Be very still, and watch how it gets to or from the house. E.g. climbing, jumping or both. Once you discover this path, you should place the trap accordingly. Always set the trap on a stable surface, such as the ground, on a porch or deck. Never hang the trap!

If you have the time, leave the trap opened and without bait for several days, so the squirrel will accept it as part of the landscape. You should also consider what if any other animals might be in the area of the trap. Since a cat, dog, or even a bird may be tempted into your trap.

You must be able to see or hear the trap operate, so it would be best to set it only when you have the time to watch or listen for it to operate. Once a squirrel is trapped it must be removed as quickly as possible to prevent stress to the animal. Be sure you are wearing heavy work gloves while handling the trap. Be prepared to listen to a lot of complaining. This squirrel is going to voice its displeasure non-stop!

You must relocate the squirrel at least a three miles from your location, even further if you are in a heavily wooded area. An ideal location would have a natural barrier, such as a river or lake. If you're moving the squirrel within an urban area, try to place it across several highways or other busy streets. You should give some thought to where you are going to relocate the squirrel before capture. A place where it can find food, water and shelter would be in your best interest. Don't give this squirrel a reason to return!

It may be necessary to repeat this process if more than one squirrel is involved. Please remember that if there are babies in the nest, they can "not" be trapped and must be removed by hand.

Then be sure to correct the problem that led to the squirrel moving in, as quickly as possible. Be sure to wash the entrance area, with a strong solution of ammonia and water, or a household cleaner to remove any scent the squirrel's may have left.

If you have problems, concerns, or questions about live trapping. Many local government agencies have people that are knowledgeable in this area and may be able to offer you additional advice.

If you do not have the time or are not sure you can accomplish this task. There are professional animal or pest control companies that can remove squirrels for you. If you consider the time and effort involved, it may be best to contact a local company for an estimate. Generally, you can expect to pay between one and two hundred dollars for this service.

Please visit AA Animal Control, for some other advice on live trapping. This is one of the best sites, I have seen on the subject.

If you live in the Minneapolis area,  "Trapper Jim" The Critter Gitter. . . is one of the best in the State,  at removing squirrels.  Call him at. . . 651-456-9495