Make a Simple, Humane Squirrel Trap

Squirrels are cute, but they can wreak havoc on your yard. Trap the little critters without harm, and release them away from your property.

| April/May 1999

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    Cutaway view of the trap.
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    A simple, humane squirrel trap.

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  • 173-014-01

MOTHER'S readers send in their best tips.

I was recently faced with removing a family of squirrels who had set up winter housekeeping in my attic. Attempts to drive them off using the "ol' mothball trick" failed miserably. Mothballs allegedly possess some kind of squirrel-repellent properties. Possibly if fired at them from a shotgun—otherwise I can't agree.

The squirrels had to go. Commercial live-catch traps proved prohibitive, costwise, and I wasn't about to call in a pro. Snares and leg-hold traps are messy, and I really saw no reason to kill our little guests. So I was left with designing and constructing the following live-catch trap on my own.

The trap consists of an open-ended box, one end covered with wire screen or mesh and the other having a flap-type door supported by a simple prop for the trigger. The door is the key to the entire project: it opens inward and is beveled on its bottom edge, so that when our furry friend knocks or brushes the prop aside, the door (possibly made from heavier material than the trap sides or even weighted for a quick 'n clean drop) closes and, try as he might, the animal can't pull the door inward to escape.

My trap is slightly bulkier and cruder than it needs to be, but it has undergone several modifications from its original, prototype form. With my first attempt, I made the trap too short and so the door would actually drop on the animal, allowing him to simply back out.

So far, I've only caught squirrels with my trap (and three wayward blue jays going for the sunflower seed bait), but I would presume that a raccoon may have the manual dexterity and cunning needed to work and worry the door open. I would suggest pretty close tolerances between door and trap sides.

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