How to catch a squirrel in a house: Trap it in a cage

Squirrel caged in a trap.

Squirrels are pretty cute little animals when they hop around in your back yard or chase each other up and down trees. They are real pests, however, when they make their way into your house. Squirrels are furry little rodents who seem compelled to chew on anything made of wood and they can cause substantial damage in short time.

Insulation damaged by squirrel.

Wood frame on a window damaged by the incessant chewing of a squirrel.

Wood chips from damaged window frame.

They are also dirty animals, as illustrated by the picture below, which shows squirrel tracks on top of a washer machine.

Squirrel tracks on top of washing machine.

Fortunately, squirrels are fairly easy to catch in my experience. Simply use a squirrel trap with a small serving of peanut butter as bait and chances are you’ll have the little critter trapped in the cage within hours. The trap is simply a cage with a door on each end. The doors are shut by a simple spring mechanism set off when the squirrel starts munching on the bait.

Make sure to place the trap in an area where the squirrel is likely to roam. As you can guess from the picture above I placed it right in front of the washer and that worked out very well each time.

Squirrel caught in squirrel trap.

The key is to have the trap set correctly. If incorrectly set it can easily spring before the squirrel has entered the trap. That’s not a big deal in and of itself since the squirrel will likely try to re-enter the trap once you’ve reset it, but it does mean you will have to reset it.

Squirrel in squirrel trap.

I was a bit lucky in that the squirrels – three altogether – roamed the basement and the basement ceiling. They didn’t get in the walls upstairs. If that happens it becomes more difficult to get them to find the trap.

I’ve been told that the best thing to do after catching a squirrel is to drive it to an area several miles away from the house it broke into and release it there in order to prevent it from re-entering. I don’t know, however, if it’s legal to release animals wherever one feels like it so I just released them in a corner of our backyard, right next to a small group of tall trees. I suppose you can consult your local animal control officer for direction on how to get rid of the squirrel.