How to Get Rid of a Squirrel in Your House

Three Parts:Evaluating Your Squirrel SituationEncouraging the Squirrel to LeaveAwaiting Squirrel Departure and Cleanup

Squirrels are a cute woodland creature, but a squirrel infestation in your home can be a big problem. Squirrels can carry ticks and fleas which can easily be transmitted to you or your household pets. Squirrels also, like many rodents, tend to spray their feces and urine where they inhabit, creating a salmonella risk.[1] When a squirrel has infested your home, purging the pest without causing harm can be done easily.

Part 1
Evaluating Your Squirrel Situation

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    Stay calm. A squirrel, much like most wild animals, is just as scared of you as you may be of it. As much as you want the squirrel out of your home, the squirrel's primary goal is also to get out of your house and back to a familiar environment.
    • Animals have a similar anxiety response to humans and respond aggressively to perceived threats to safety. By staying calm, you will prevent the trapped squirrel from having a severe aggressive response.
    • The squirrel is likely to be erratic since it is unsure what to do in the foreign environment of your home.
    • Additionally, a squirrel, on very rare occasions, can be rabid, so don't get bitten by one.[2][3]
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    Isolate the squirrel if possible and separate your pets. You’ll want to keep your pets as far away from the squirrel as possible so no fleas, ticks, or diseases are transmitted between them. Move all of your pets outside, into a holding pen/crate/cage, or put them into a separate room immediately.
    • Pets can catch diseases the squirrels carry.
    • Pets can catch illnesses from parasites squirrels have, like fleas and ticks.
    • Disease can be transmitted through a squirrel bite, or potentially a significant scratch.
    • Pets can become serious ill from consuming or biting a diseased squirrel. An example of this is squirrel pox, which grey squirrels are immune to but carry.[4]
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    Determine if a mother has nested her babies in your house. Even if you evict a mother squirrel from your home, if her babies are still trapped or nested inside, she will expend every effort to get back to her young. Beyond this, a mother squirrel that fears for her young will be more likely to attack. To check for young squirrels you should:
    • Search 20 feet (6 m) around where you’ve found the squirrel.
    • Avoid invading the space around a potential nest. The mother may attack if she thinks you are a threat to her young.
    • Make some noises and then be silent. You should hear noises from the young squirrels in response.
    • The main squirrel breeding times are February through May and August through October. During these times of the year, it’s highly likely babies will be present.[5][6]
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    Allow young squirrels to mature before evicting. Relocating a squirrel family can be taxing on the health of its members, and young might not survive for long outside of the safety of the nest. If you are certain there are baby squirrels in your home, you’ll want to call a professional, or you could wait a few weeks before ejecting the squirrels from your house.
    • Baby squirrels only take a few weeks to grow large enough to survive without a mother. Waiting may be the most human way of getting rid of squirrel young.[7]

Part 2
Encouraging the Squirrel to Leave

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    Provide an avenue of escape. Close off all other routes and leave a single exit to your house open, like a wide open window. If getting to a window in the same room the squirrel is in puts you too close to the squirrel for your own comfort, you might:
    • Open the window in the room next to the one the squirrel is in, leave the door open to that room, and close off all other routes.[8]
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    Close off hiding spots while keeping your distance. Drawers, cupboards, and other nooks and crannies comfort the squirrel, as these may remind it of its natural habitat or its nest in the knothole of a tree. By closing these off you can prevent the intruding squirrel from hiding out in a safe place as opposed to hightailing it out of your home.[9]
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    Remove all food sources. Especially in inhospitable weather, like in winter or during a drought, a squirrel may be especially hard to remove if it has a food source available. Squirrels, like other rodents, have sharp teeth that can gnaw through even thick bags. Remove even closed food sources.[10]
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    Create some incentive to leave. Squirrels, much like many animals, are sensitive to certain scents and other kinds of stimulus. In particular, squirrels have a dislike for the smell of cider vinegar, so you might want to soak some rags in the stuff and put them in the room in which your squirrel resides.
    • You might also leave a radio playing constantly in the room the squirrel is in to drive it out.
    • A bright light left on throughout the day and night can also make your house less appealing to squirrels.
    • Predator urine can be bought from farm supply stores, sporting good centers, and online retailers. Soaking rags in predator urine, like that of a fox, could lead to your squirrel invader beating a hasty retreat.[11][12]
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    Create loud noises for squirrels in difficult spaces. Squirrels in your attic or other narrow spaces, like a wall or crawlspace, can be difficult to get at without coming into too close of contact. In this case, you should bang on the rafters and walls.
    • Even entering your attic and speaking in a loud voice may be enough to chase your squirrels out of your home.
    • These loud noises will often provoke a squirrel’s flight response, making it flee through the escape path you’ve provided.[13]
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    Use a humane trap. There are many different kinds of humane traps available. These are specially designed to help remove squirrels from your home. You can buy a humane trap at most hardware stores or from a general online retailer.
    • A one-way door is a kind of trap that lures squirrels in but does not let them out. When using this kind of trap, you should take the squirrel at least 3 miles (4.8 km) away before releasing it.
    • Depending on the kind of trap you buy, setup and squirrel removal may have different procedures. Always be sure to follow the directions that come with your trap for best results.[14][15]
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    Leave the room and seal it off if necessary. If the room does not have a door, close all other doors that lead to that room and put up a make-shift barrier if possible. You’ll want something the squirrel won’t able get around or hop over, like a door sized piece of particle board or plywood.[16]
    • If you do not have particle board, plywood, or another door barrier available, you could always remove a door from another room and use it to block off the room the squirrel is in.
    • When using a door from another room, you should anchor the door into place by putting something heavy, like a stack of books, boxes, a bag of salt, or a bag concrete at its base.

Part 3
Awaiting Squirrel Departure and Cleanup

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    Stay away from the house for one or two hours. You should take your pet(s) with you, if at all possible. This will prevent any accidental interaction between your pet(s) and the squirrel. As soon as the squirrel realizes that no one else is in the house, it should leave through the escape route you’ve left open.[17]
    • Some dogs have been bred to hunt woodland creatures and may work extra hard to get at the squirrel in your home. Leaving this kind of pet unsupervised could result in it escaping its pen/cage/room to hunt the squirrel.[18]
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    Verify the squirrel is gone and clean the area. Once you’ve returned, thoroughly check the room in which the squirrel resided to be sure it is gone. Then you should check the surrounding rooms and the rest of your house, just in case the squirrel got around your barrier or found some other route to travel deeper into your house.
    • Squirrels, like many rodents, tend to spread around their urine and feces. You should thoroughly clean the area the squirrel has inhabited with a strong cleaner, gloves, and a mask.[19]
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    Seal off squirrel entrances. To prevent more squirrels from making your house their home, you’ll want to close off any entrances the squirrels might use to get back inside. This will require some investigation on your part. In some cases, you may need to replace rotten wood caused by a leaky roof.
    • In many cases, squirrels will chew through soft, rotten wood to gain access to your attic. Patching holes in your roof and eaves could stop your squirrel infestation from happening again.[20]
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    Repeat the process, if necessary. Some more stubborn squirrels may require you to use a combination of techniques, like playing a radio non-stop and introducing predator urine, before your home is inhospitable enough to drive it away. If after two or three attempts the squirrel remains, it may be time to call a pest control expert.


  • Squirrels can also carry fleas and ticks. These kind of insects can be very difficult to get rid of once they've infested your home.
  • Squirrels often use hidden places within the home as nests. Often they will hide in attics or basements, using such things as your home's insulation as nesting material.
  • Although it is highly unlikely, squirrels can potentially carry rabies. Therefore, if you're ever bitten by a squirrel, seek medical attention immediately.[21]


  • Do not attempt to pet the squirrel or get near it in any way. If threatened, the squirrel may attack and bite.
  • Squirrels have a tendency to gnaw through electrical wiring which can lead to electrical fires in your home.[22]
  • Rat poison is not an effective means of squirrel removal and can cause even more problems for your removal efforts.[23]

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Rodent Control