Squirrel Traps - Trapping Squirrels
What works better than squirrel traps to get rid of squirrels in the attic for good? -
High intensity squirrel control strobe lights!
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Live Traps or Snap Traps: Are these the best way to get rid of squirrels in the attic or rats without additional problems?
The Grey Squirrel's Latin name is Sciurus Carolinensis. Grey squirrels mate twice a year - in the early spring or late winter and in the summer. The mother squirrel will give birth to her young about 45 days after mating. A squirrel has 4 to 6 baby squirrels per litter. A pair of healthy squirrels could produce a dozen offspring each year. In twelve months the offspring become breeding adults. Each litter does not leave its mother's nest for the first 10 to 12 weeks of its life. It is totally dependant on its mother's milk to live. If you have squirrels in the attic there most likely are baby squirrels in your attic 40% of the year. Squirrel trapping or poisoning could leave baby squirrels up in your attic in a nesting site to die of starvation. A mother squirrel will nest in the safest place she can find to protect her young. Attics are ideal places. The cavities in the your home's walls are many times chosen by nesting squirrels - the radiant heat in the winter and the cool air from air conditioning make the interior house walls good nesting sites for mother squirrels. These cavities are accessed by the squirrel through top of the wall openings in your attic. If you use rat poison or a squirrel trap to try to get rid of squirrels in the attic, then you could be smelling dead, baby squirrels rotting in your attic or walls for weeks. And if you use a rat poison to kill the squirrels, the squirrel will often retreat to its nest in your attic to die and you will be smelling its rotting body for weeks. Often interior walls have to be cut into to remove the dead squirrels. An attic squirrel may nest under attic flooring and the flooring will have to be removed to remove the dead squirrel in the attic. AND PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, THAT IF YOU HEAR SQUIRRELS IN YOUR ATTIC THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, YOU MOST LIKELY HAVE 4 TO 6 BABIES PER EACH MOTHER SQUIRREL IN THE ATTIC 40-50% OF THE YEAR. A MOTHER SQUIRREL CAUGHT IN A SQUIRREL TRAP, WHETHER SNAP TRAP OR LIVE TRAPPED, AND CARRIED AWAY - OR - A POISONED SQUIRREL - OR - A SQUIRREL SHOT WITH A PELLET GUN - COULD, 40% TO 50% OF THE YEAR, RESULT IN DEAD YOUNG SQUIRRELS IN YOUR ATTIC OR INTERIOR HOUSE WALLS LEFT TO DECAY AND SMELL.
Rat traps used as squirrel traps. Rat traps are designed for rats - not for squirrels! I am speaking of the snap trap variety of rat traps. I have seen a squirrel that was trapped in one of these rat traps and it did not kill the squirrel. The rat trap used as a squirrel trap was placed in an attic by a well meaning husband trying to get rid of his squirrels in the attic. He had placed about a dozen rat traps in a 2,000 square foot attic space. The traps had been up in the attic for seven years! A squirrel ran past one and tripped the rat trap trigger. The rat trap snapped shut on the attic squirrel's foot. Where do you think this injured squirrel with a rat trap attached to its broke leg ran to? It ran to a interior house wall where its nest was. There's no place like home. The squirrel managed to force its broken leg through the wall opening in the attic with the rat trap still attached. But as it tried to leave the interior wall space to go back up into the attic the rat trap used as a squirrel trap became stuck and so was the injured squirrel. Unfortunately the squirrel had to be put down.
If you use a rat trap as a squirrel trap the squirrel will usually not face an immediate death being as the rat traps are not designed to be used as a squirrel trap. The squirrel will definitely suffer and if it is able to move it will often retreat to its squirrel nest in your attic to die and rot and smell.
If you use a rat poison to poison a squirrel, besides the risk of it or its young dying in your attic or home's wall, is the risk of a sickened or dead family pet.
Every year there a hundreds of cases of secondary poisonings from a dog or cat chewing on or partially ingesting poisoned rat, mouse or squirrel. If a dog or cat finds a dead rodent - and they can smell them out, they find what to them is a chew toy and/or an extra meal. As they carry around the dead rodent in their mouths, as some kind of trophy, they are ingesting the very poisons that killed the rat. At least, your pet could get sick and sometimes they die. This death will occur some times because there is often, over time, more than one dead rat or squirrel that they find and the poisons accumulate in the pet's blood stream until it becomes sick and dies, or at least runs up a considerable veterinary bill.
The scent glands of squirrels are located in their feet. As they run they leave little scent road maps for other squirrels to follow. The pheromones in rodent urine (squirrels are rodents) can last up to two years. Tree squirrels love to live in attics. It’s warmer, drier and safer from predators. Unfortunately most attics are not equipped with squirrel toilets. But this is not a problem for the squirrels - they will just urinate and defecate all over the attic. And I do mean all over. It is amazing to see an attic where squirrels have been residing. Raisin sized dung all over the place and matted down insulation which is stained with and smells of urine. It is truly nasty – but not to the squirrels. The urine and glands in the squirrels’ feet leave pheromone trails which are like a welcome mat or “attic for rent” sign for future squirrels. This is why squirrel trapping, poisoning, or house sealing has to be done over and over and over by homeowners at great cost each time and most definitely accumulatively. I know from experience and so does my pocketbook.
I am in the pest control industry. I have to be familiar with many aspects of the industry. In one of the pest control classes I attended, taught by a pest control inspector, the inspector informed us that integrity was a big part of keeping our state license. As part of ensuring this, the inspectors would “shadow”/observe unawares a pest control operator and before an inspector does a site, chemical, equipment, paper work, and service vehicle inspection he/she would often watch the pest professional from a distance without the pest control operator’s knowledge he/she was being watched/inspected. The inspector teaching the class said that in the vast majority of the times an animal was live trapped at a customer’s residence or business the animal pest was unethically released within two blocks of where it was caught. In this case the pest would just return to the capture site. Pest control operators in most states are required to take the pest at least two miles away from the capture site before releasing it. The inspector told the class that our license would be in jeopardy if we were caught doing this unethical practice.
So if you hire a pest control company to live trap and/or seal your home or business - what certainty do you have that the pest control employee won’t just let the squirrel, mouse, or rat out of the live trap just down the street? Again this was not the exception but the majority according to the inspector’s class. And if you snap trap the pest, or glue trap the pest, or zap trap the pest – What keeps other animal pest from following the scent trail to your home or property?
A Squirrel's Motto:
"There's No Place Like Home"
Squirrel Traps - Trapping Squirrels and The Homing Behavior of Squirrels.
Eighty percent of squirrels that are trapped in live squirrel traps and released within two miles return will return to
your their home.
This number drops in percentage with each mile that the squirrel is taken from the capture site. At a 5-7 mile range a significant, but reduced, number of trapped and released squirrels still return to the capture site. In field experiments approximately 5% of trapped and released squirrels returned from as far a 10-12 miles from where they were caught in live squirrel traps. One squirrel trapped and carried about twenty-five miles away from the squirrel trap site returned to its home.
In the two experiments, from which the figures were taken, over 100 individual squirrels were trapped and released. One squirrel trapping and homing behavior study was performed by the University Of Connecticut. The other squirrel trapping and homing behavior study was performed by a large pest control company over a three year period. In each case the trapped squirrels were caught in live squirrel traps and transported with special attention paid to the prevention of the squirrels having visual cues along the traveled paths aka. they could not see where they were going. This was done because squirrels that are trapped and then can see along the route to their release site almost always find there way back. Hey, a squirrel can turn left at the park and then right at the McDonalds too.
Still if they can't see the relocation route - how do they find their way back? One study by University of Laval in Quebec, Canada found that red squirrels, when released from the squirrel traps, had a basic sense of the direction which they needed to travel back to the place where they were trapped. But, the trapped and released squirrels did not seem to have any knowledge of how far they were from the place where the squirrel traps were set and they were captured. Seventeen squirrels were trapped and released in this squirrel trap and release homing behavior study. This squirrel trapping study suggest that the squirrels use two strategies to return the the site where the squirrels were trapped. The first is the squirrels innate sense of direction orientation. The second was the exploratory trips the squirrels made toward the place where the squirrel traps were placed and they were captured. Since the squirrels did not see the travel route form the squirrel trap placement to the release sites how did they find their way back home if they had no visual cues by which to orient themselves. Was it a re-adjusting of their internal sense of direction or their keen sense of smell that enable them to pick of the pheromones of familiar squirrels? In another study done on a different member of the rodent family suggest that visual cues or a lack of them may not be the only mechanism of squirrel homing behavior. In this other rodent homing study the mice (cousins of squirrels) were trapped. Half of the mice were blinded. The blind mice found their way back to the place where they were trapped equal to the seeing mice. This study was repeated ten times with a new set of mice each time and the blind mice found their way home just as well as the seeing mice. Still thinking about using squirrel traps to solve your attic squirrel problem? Still thinking about using squirrel traps to solve your attic squirrel problem? Still thinking about using squirrel traps to solve your attic squirrel problem? Sorry for repeating myself - but squirrel traps can put you into a repetitive cycle too. And if you hire a professional squirrel trapper the cost are very often repetitive too.
The preponderance of the returning squirrels in most studies are the male squirrels. Within a two mile range this male to female returning squirrel ratio was not as pronounced. Closer to, and up to, the two mile range most of the returning, trapped and released squirrels were males. After two miles the number of trapped and returning female squirrels dropped significantly. The two experiments were performed in opposing seasons. The University of Connecticut experiment was conducted in the middle of winter. The pest control company's experiment was conducted over three consecutive summers. The term of the pest control company's experiment would have cover the period during which the female squirrels would have had nursing/blind baby squirrels in their nests. Again, few of these female squirrels returned to their nesting sites to care for their baby squirrels if they were carried more than two miles away from the live squirrel trap site.
In the University of Connecticut experiment the trapped squirrels were individually identified and marked via toe clippings and released. The squirrels that returned to the capture site were recaptured and taken a farther distance away and still half of them returned - all of theses second trip squirrels were males.
Very little is known about the internal mechanisms of a squirrel's homing ability. Other rodents show the same abilities. In one experiment of the homing abilities of mice almost all of the trapped and release mice returned to their nesting areas when taken and release up to two miles away.
In each of these squirrel trapping experiments the miles measured were in straight lines ("as a crow flies"). In the pest control company's experiments the milage was measured also in a straight line but in some cases the additional precaution of traveling in a zigzag pattern was employed and this additional measure did not seem to confound the squirrels innate homing abilities. Again, 'There's no place like home" - even for a squirrel in the attic.
The Reason Squirrels Return? - NUTS!
Squirrels spend a great deal of their time foraging for food. A squirrel will scent mark and bury hundreds of acorns to see itself through the winter. Imagine if you had all your winters food stored in one place. Imagine that you spent a great deal of your time protecting your territory and food hidden on it. Ever heard of a Fort?, Castle?, Bank Vault? And imagine that your saved stores could last for two years. And someone kidnapped you and took you far away from your home and its food. I'd be back too! And if you don't return? Another squirrel will scent out your hidden food stores and move right in.
With the Rodent Strobe line of pest control strobe lights these problems are addressed. First, we have found that if a squirrel or rat is living in a house wall that it accesses through a space that is protected by a high intensity strobe that the squirrel or rat will give up going to its nesting area in the wall. It just is not worth it - see our How It Works page.
Second, Attic squirrels and rats are good mothers. If their young are in what the rodent mother deems an "unsafe" area she will move them to another place that she sees as safe. We recommend that a person using our pest control strobe lights simply turn off the strobes for a few hours at a time during the first few days to allow the mothers to move their young. Then when all the attic squirrels, rats, raccoons, etc., are gone - turn on the strobes and leave them on. Problem solved! No dead, rotting squirrels or rats. No dead or sick family pets. No repeating and repeating the squirrel trapping, or rat trapping nightmare.
The Foraging Behavior of Attic Squirrels and How it Relates to Effective Squirrel Control via Squirrel Traps.
The most active foraging time for the squirrels that live in your attic is the fall. As the fall season progresses the squirrels spend a greater percentage of their time foraging and hiding their winter food stores. The attic squirrel's typical behavior is to carry a nut, such as an acorn or pecan, about 50 feet from the tree from which it is harvested and then pretend to bury it. Yes you read right - squirrels are smart. We protect our money with passwords and pin codes. An attic squirrel protects his or her food stores by pretending to bury it as many as three times. The squirrel will dig a hole. Then the squirrel will pretend to put the nut in the hole. The squirrel covers the hole with leaves and dirt and repeats this process. And, if a squirrel sees that it is being watched it will then repeat this process with the same nut for several days. The squirrel will dig up its buried acorns and relocate each nut with the same deceptive behavior for each nut. Then after a full day of foraging and hiding its winter stores it will retreat at dusk and will be a happy squirrel in attic - with food stores in your yard. Researchers have even dug around areas where a squirrel has buried a nut in the sight of the squirrel and the squirrel will then multiply its deceptive tactics in order to protect its winter food.
Squirrels are very territorial, especially the male squirrels. This makes squirrel control via squirrel traps very difficult. If a male squirrel is caught in a cage squirrel trap and released into an area with other male squirrels which are protecting their nut stores the trapped and relocated squirrel is chased away. Squirrel Control by other squirrels! This is another reason why the preponderance of squirrels that are caught in a squirrel trap that return to their capture sight are male. Females are more readily accepted into a new squirrel community especially by the male squirrels in the area. Squirrel trapping professionals love this because you will be calling them back to fish dead baby squirrels out of a wall. I talked to one pest professional who owns a rather large pest control company which is back-logged with squirrel control work setting squirrel traps and house sealing for at least a month in the months from October to May. He told me that by the time he gets through with the added up squirrel trapping and house sealing charges to the typical home it averages from $1,200 - 2,600 per home. Squirrel Control can be expensive! And, if the pest professional who trapped the squirrel in the attic releases the squirrel within 2 miles of your attic (and according to pest control inspectors most do) the squirrel eighty percent of the time will make it back to your attic within about 2 weeks.