Gotta get them squirrels

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A family of gray squirrels have taken up residence in my attic. I had been hearing them for a week or two, but I figured they were on the roof, because I didn't think there was any place in the attic for the sustained galloping I was hearing. However, last week I went up there in the daytime and I could see that they had chewed a hole in the fascia by the rain gutter, and I actually saw one of the bastards in the hole. Apparently there's a long running area along the eaves. They are able to enter the hole and scamper along the length of the roof, and must have made a nest somewhere under the fiberglass insulation near the edge of the roof.
There started off to be at least three or four. One of them fell to its death during a storm a few days ago. It seems to have been blown off the roof and it fell 3 stories in a puddle and drowned. I found it in the back of the house. One down.
I bought a Havahart trap (model #1030). I baited it with bread 'n peanut butter. The trap got sprung a couple of times, but I finally caught one of them. I drove it about 5 miles away and released it in the woods. I'm not sure it will survive in this cold winter weather, but I don't much care. Two down.
There are still one or two up there. I'm afraid they're starting to ignore the trap - maybe the loud noise it makes when going off has scared them into avoiding it. It's been about a day now, and the trap is still set and the bait is still on the trigger (although the stuff I scattered near it was taken.) I just moved it to a different area and re-baited it, thinking they might not recognize it in its new spot. We'll see.
I'm anxious to get them out, of course. It's disconcerting to hear them scrabbling around up there and I worry about what damage they may be doing.
Any thoughts about what I can do to move them along more quickly?
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"Nil" wrote in message
A family of gray squirrels have taken up residence in my attic. I had been hearing them for a week or two, but I figured they were on the roof, because I didn't think there was any place in the attic for the sustained galloping I was hearing. However, last week I went up there in the daytime and I could see that they had chewed a hole in the fascia by the rain gutter, and I actually saw one of the bastards in the hole. Apparently there's a long running area along the eaves. They are able to enter the hole and scamper along the length of the roof, and must have made a nest somewhere under the fiberglass insulation near the edge of the roof.
There started off to be at least three or four. One of them fell to its death during a storm a few days ago. It seems to have been blown off the roof and it fell 3 stories in a puddle and drowned. I found it in the back of the house. One down.
I bought a Havahart trap (model #1030). I baited it with bread 'n peanut butter. The trap got sprung a couple of times, but I finally caught one of them. I drove it about 5 miles away and released it in the woods. I'm not sure it will survive in this cold winter weather, but I don't much care. Two down.
There are still one or two up there. I'm afraid they're starting to ignore the trap - maybe the loud noise it makes when going off has scared them into avoiding it. It's been about a day now, and the trap is still set and the bait is still on the trigger (although the stuff I scattered near it was taken.) I just moved it to a different area and re-baited it, thinking they might not recognize it in its new spot. We'll see.
I'm anxious to get them out, of course. It's disconcerting to hear them scrabbling around up there and I worry about what damage they may be doing.
Any thoughts about what I can do to move them along more quickly?
----------------------------------------
A one way squirrel door mounted over the hole where that are entering?
http://www.wildlifecontrolsupplies.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=NWS001&Product_Code=NWS53120
--Les
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wrote in alt.home.repair:

http://www.wildlifecontrolsupplies.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=NWS001&Product_Code=NWS53120
This isn't a good solution for this situation, I think. One thing I forgot to mention is that my house is three stories high. There's no easy way to get up to where the hole is, and the hole isn't in a place that could support this device. If it were summer, maybe they would just go find a nice tree to live in, but now that winter is here, I'm afraid they'd just chew themselves another entrance into my house.
The more I think about it, the more I want these critters gone for good. They've been harassing me for years - I have a small garden in the summer, and they ruin my tomato plants (they pull the ripe fruit off the vine, take one bite, and leave the rest sitting there. Grrrr.) I think one reason they came into my house is that my neighbor removed some trees, and I think their nest was up there. I've put up with them up to now because I felt the animals had as much right to live in my neighborhood as I do, but now they've crossed the line. I want them gone or dead, I don't care which.
Thanks for the suggestion, though. This site has given me a couple of ideas for bait other then the peanut butter I've been using.
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What? You want to simply leave the hole open? I think you will need to rent a ladder or hire someone to fix the problem.
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You've got to hear my story, bout these tree rats....
I'll tell ya up front....I caught and released ,mhmm maybe 180 live tree rats.
I used a live catcher trap. Caught them and released them as we went....
Peanutbutter set in the live catch trap. I caught over 160 TR's in two years.
I took them to a park place far from their home...Ah, but my son said....Pops, they're returning to where they came from..... Oh, no my son.. I have never had one return to my location.. How so? POPS?
Oh, it's simple... While in the live catch cage, I spray their little ass'es with white paint...Never, has a white ass returned to my yard.
So that's my answer...
If the tree rats wanted a chance, they should have gone somewhere else.
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On 1/19/2012 4:14 PM, Paddy Waggin wrote:

one guy i worked with was spraying the whole TR with flourescent orange ground marking paint. (non toxic for you treehugging animal lovers) There were orange TR's all over his neighborhood.
--
Steve Barker
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With any luck, environmentalists noticed the new species of white ass tree rat, and had that park declared a protected area. Massive funding for protection of the endangered species of W.A.T.R.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
You've got to hear my story, bout these tree rats....
I'll tell ya up front....I caught and released ,mhmm maybe 180 live tree rats.
I used a live catcher trap. Caught them and released them as we went....
Peanutbutter set in the live catch trap. I caught over 160 TR's in two years.
I took them to a park place far from their home...Ah, but my son said....Pops, they're returning to where they came from..... Oh, no my son.. I have never had one return to my location.. How so? POPS?
Oh, it's simple... While in the live catch cage, I spray their little ass'es with white paint...Never, has a white ass returned to my yard.
So that's my answer...
If the tree rats wanted a chance, they should have gone somewhere else.
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-snip-

The only humane [and legal in most areas] place to release them is at the bottom of a body of water. -snip-

search for squirrel or rat trap ideas. The internet and this newsgroup are littered with them. The box trap is as good as any.
I was just musing this morning about setting out a few claymores for the bastards that raid my bird feeders in winter and ruin my fruit and vegetable crops in the summer.
I'll stick with box traps, drowning traps, and pellet guns for now.
Jim
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On 1/19/2012 7:15 AM, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

personally, i just blast them out of the trees with a 12ga from the front window of the house.
--
Steve Barker
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It doesn't sound like an easy task. Remember, squirrels are a dynamic population. Trap and move one, another comes along. Covering the hole, and stapling up a bunch of screen wire may be the only long term answer.
Years ago, a friend of my father's got tired of the squirrel in his feeder. Being a military vet, and a country man, he safely shot and killed the squirrel. Another squirrel took its place, and got shot. The man quit after 300 (three hundred) squirrels.
You can't bail the ocean, but you can patch the hole in your boat (house). Or, you can have a couple drinks, smash your house into the side of a hill, and end up in prison (ha, ha).
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
A family of gray squirrels have taken up residence in my attic. I had been hearing them for a week or two, but I figured they were on the roof, because I didn't think there was any place in the attic for the sustained galloping I was hearing. However, last week I went up there in the daytime and I could see that they had chewed a hole in the fascia by the rain gutter, and I actually saw one of the bastards in the hole. Apparently there's a long running area along the eaves. They are able to enter the hole and scamper along the length of the roof, and must have made a nest somewhere under the fiberglass insulation near the edge of the roof.
There started off to be at least three or four. One of them fell to its death during a storm a few days ago. It seems to have been blown off the roof and it fell 3 stories in a puddle and drowned. I found it in the back of the house. One down.
I bought a Havahart trap (model #1030). I baited it with bread 'n peanut butter. The trap got sprung a couple of times, but I finally caught one of them. I drove it about 5 miles away and released it in the woods. I'm not sure it will survive in this cold winter weather, but I don't much care. Two down.
There are still one or two up there. I'm afraid they're starting to ignore the trap - maybe the loud noise it makes when going off has scared them into avoiding it. It's been about a day now, and the trap is still set and the bait is still on the trigger (although the stuff I scattered near it was taken.) I just moved it to a different area and re-baited it, thinking they might not recognize it in its new spot. We'll see.
I'm anxious to get them out, of course. It's disconcerting to hear them scrabbling around up there and I worry about what damage they may be doing.
Any thoughts about what I can do to move them along more quickly?
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On 1/18/2012 8:08 PM, Nil wrote:

Chase them out of your attic and seal the opening. I'd also consider removing trees or branches near house where they might be jumping from.
Hav-a-harts work but if you have trees, there is an endless supply of squirrels. I'd shoot them with my .22 if I could. They are tough little buggers and it takes a good pellet gun hit to dispatch them.
Anything in the house, I would consider rat poison. Works well mixed with peanut butter. But, you don't want them dying in your walls where stink may develop and it will cost you to remove.
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On 1/19/2012 8:09 AM, Frank wrote:

12 ga works pretty good, from the front window of the house. Pull down the upper sash, move the screen to the bottom, and blast away from my easy chair.

--
Steve Barker
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alt.home.repair:

There are trees close to the house, and they do need to be trimmed. However, I think the squirrels could still get on the roof.
I remember a year or two ago watching my neighbor's house across the street - they have a tree with upper branches maybe 5 feet from their roofline. I watched a squirrel leaping across that distance from the branch to the roof, three stories up, across thin air, and back. I never knew that they could or would do that. I guess I should have known, as I've also seen them tearing across the treetops at top speed with no hesitation. So, I think they will be able to get on my roof no matter how much I trim the trees back.

I don't have much problem with dead squirrels outside, but I don't want them decaying within my house. As it is, I wonder if there is a nest of infants that will die if I remove the mother. Not that that will stop me right now. For now, I plan to trap them and remove them elsewhere.
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On 1/19/2012 3:35 PM, Nil wrote:

Actually happened to my son. Squirrel died in chimney liner. Took chimney guy and contractor to access and repair and cost him several hundred dollars. He had done nothing to poison them but squirrel had just gained entry, got stuck and died.
Years ago, we rented a house with drier in the basement and a rabbit got in the vent and died. It ruined the drier.
Important to keep these things out of your house.
I've had trouble with smell of dead mice inside the house when I use poison but in attic, with no vent to house, is not a problem.
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You must have wimpy squirrels. Ours can walk up the side of a house with no problems.
Just kidding (a little). The lack of trees is sure to help.
I've seen them get a couple of stories up the side of an office building. Nothing but smooth cement.
--
Dan Espen

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For the short time we had a bird feeder, I "fixed" the pole it was standing on with grease. The little suckers would purposely get mud on their feet, climb as far as they could and slide down. Each time replacing more grease with mud. They got up there in no time at all.

Well, not like glass but not like a brushed sidewalk either. More like a typical basement floor.
--
Dan Espen

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<stuff snipped>

My squirrel infestation took THREE Havahart 1030 traps to clear out. Still a bargain compared to professional rodent control and you can always sell the extras when it's done. Use the traps in the one door mode - squirrels are fast enough to bolt through and out of a two-doored trap but they can't back up in time to exit once the treadle is popped.
Skip the bread - use small pudding cups or the sawed off bottoms of soda/water bottles smeared with peanut butter - it gets the maximum smell of the bait exposed without leaving bread crumbs around. Also, make up a second cup with just a "taste" of peanut butter smeared around the inside rim. Place it right inside the trap's door (but before the treadle) so they can see that they can grab the cup without anything happening. That will make them bold about getting the second cup.
Using two cups is the most important discovery I've made trapping 100's of squirrels. With a "Judas" bait cup just inside the trap and a second one in the little wedge corner created by the closed second trap door you'll get them all. I wire the inside cup down after seeing one wise guy pull the cup to the side and empty it without ever entering the trap. FWIW, I don't wire the bait cup to the treadle - too many "misses" that way. Instead, I place it a few inches past the trigger paddle so that the squirrel has to go *beyond* the treadle to get the bait. Try it, you'll see.
My traps were set where I had an infra-red TV cam because I too thought they had "learned" to avoid the traps and I wanted to see it happen. But it didn't. Some very few would come and sniff and walk away, but they would come back eventually. I've trapped six a day with three or four going within minutes of each other. They see their buddies getting trapped and can't wait to get into a newly baited trapped. Ot-nay Oo-tay Right-bay. I use a tiny neo magnet on the two levers that hook together to form to trigger to slightly strengthen the trigger and enable the trap to withstand a large squirrel standing on the outstretched open door of the trap. Once they are inside I use much large neo magnets to "lock" the lock wire down on each door. An agitated squirrel can rock his way free out of a trap without magnets securing the locking wires.
You probably won't get away without fixing the hole. The little rodents leave a constant stream of pellets and piss behind them so there are pointers leading to your roof. Also, air leaking from their contains smells of cooking, etc. You might even have to cover it with squirrel-proof mesh (if there IS such a thing - they can chew through a surprising number of things) to be sure they won't return. I now trap any of them that come up onto the porch during the three days before garbage collection and haven't had a "re-entry" in quite a few years.
As Stormie pointed out, and using Shakespeare's words "They come not as single spies, but in battalions." If there are unprotected bird feeders or another copious food supply, you may be experiencing only the first wave of what could be 100's of squirrels.
I, too, transported them to other locations until one got loose in the car and kicked off "The War On Squirrels." Now I ship them back to their maker courtesy of a slightly-redesigned and repurposed stun baton.
-- Bobby G.
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alt.home.repair:

Yes! I didn't realize those traps can be used that way, but I think that's a good idea. I suspected that the reason so many were escaping was that when it started to close, they bolted straight out the other side. Those things as VERY fast, I discovered.

This is all great advice. I will try it later today when I re-bait the traps.

I will cover the hole, somehow. It's not in a place where I can get to it easily - it's in the tight space where the roof meets the exterior wall, and the roof is only at a 35- or 40-degree angle. I can only get to it by crawling across the fiberglass insulation, and there won't be much room to maneuver a tool in there. Not to mention that that's where the critters have been walking and excreting for the past few weeks. I don't relish the idea... but I guess it will have to be done. The roof is three stories up and I don't have a ladder that tall to get to it from the outside - but I've been wishing I had one for years, so maybe now's the time.
If I can wait until spring, the rain gutter needs replacing, and probably the fascia, and I can make all repairs at once.

God, I hope not. There have always been a few. I've assumed they were several generations of the same family. I think the local ecosystem can support a limited number, but no more. I could be wrong.

I've seen plans for a simple dunk tank you can drop the cage into to dispatch them. I'll do it if it comes down to it, but the thought makes me a little queasy. There's a large wilderness park just a few miles away - I'd rather take them there and give them a chance at survival, let nature take it's course.
There are a lot of good suggestions here. Thanks for your thoughtful ideas.
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wrote in

These tips come from 5 years of trapping. They are a formidable enemy, but they have their weaknesses. Peanut butter seems to be "squirrel crack" - they just can't get enough. I probably never would have known to use only one trap door on the Havahart unless I had actually seen them "bolt thru" on camera. The peanut butter is so effective it's almost unfair to the little buggers. When I went to the two-cup method, my success rate just about doubled. Apparently grabbing the first "free" cup just inside the trap overwhelms their sense of fear and they usually circle the trap once and then go right down the chute.

If my experience is any guide, the next family won't move in until this one is long gone. The invade the fringes of each other's territory rather than pull "storm the castle" raids. Just when I think I've cleared the area, juvenile males from nearby areas begin to filter in, looking to stake a territory for themselves.

One you've removed the current family, keep the trap baited and ready for any straggler - and remember to check it every couple of days. Squirrels are like goats. They smell bad enough when they are alive but *really* bad after a little rotting sets in. I wouldn't use poison for that reason. The stink is pretty awful. DAMHIKT.

I would estimate that there were 10 times the number of squirrels that I thought there were. They have foraging patterns and they all work the fringes of other squirrel clan's territories. They are highly active on trash day because of all the spilled food and disturbed garbage cans. There are a lot more around that you can imagine, of that I am sure. (-:

That model Havahart takes a pretty big tank to immerse completely and the death is not slow or peaceful by any means. That's why I use a stun-gun. With an accurate first hit, there's not a sound or any thrashing at all. They go stiff and a few seconds later it's all over. You can get a serviceable unit for $25 on Amazon that had a flashlight built-in. I used to bag them tightly and use automobile starting fluid in a can (mostly ether) to knock them out and transfer them to a smaller holding cage I had for guinea pigs (it took ten minutes for the squirrel to chew through). My wife was afraid that the odd smell of ether would make our neighbors think we were running a meth lab, so that method was abandoned.

That's usually people's first reaction. There was a great article in the NY Times' gardening section that talked about how quickly that benevolent attitude can change. Destruction of a prized garden, demolishment of the interior of a house (one squirrel did thousands of $'s worth of damage after being trapped for a week when I was away) and in my case, chewing its way out of a wire cage and burlap to then climb onto my head during a relocation drive ended all such attempts. The article described former "tree huggers" and little old ladies whose attitudes changed mightily when something they loved was destroyed by rodents or other garden pests.
One time, I accidentally caught a possum and made the mistake of taking it inside the house in the trap. It spooged the floor with the nastiest green schmutz I've ever smelled. I no longer leave the traps out overnight. I had one raccoon try to drag the whole damn trap off the porch. This was the same raccoon that left a package of meat on my car. At first I thought someone was sending me a death threat (as in you're dead meat) but my neighbor said she had startled a raccoon raiding her trash and he was running off with huge load of meat that was freezer-burned.

Good luck. I don't know how you transport the little buggers but if it's in your car I recommend using the magnets to keep that U shaped lock wire down. I also suggest putting the entire trap inside a plastic bag since a large male squirrel can spray some pretty nasty and VERY persistent yuck in your car. The one thing you don't want is a panicked rodent running around inside your car while you're driving.
-- Bobby G.
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alt.home.repair:

So... I caught another one last evening with my original bait scheme, peanut butter and bread, two-door setup. This one was BIG and pissed off - it growled and hissed at me as I carted it out. I took it to the middle of the nearby nature preserve. I didn't take the opportunity to spray its butt with paint like someone suggested, but I doubt it will be back. The area is surrounded by multilane highways and busy roads and is far enough away from other residential areas that I don't think it will bother anyone else, either. The thing will have to find a nest and food, or die.
Now there's still at least one more up there, I've heard it. I set the trap up like you suggested, with the "Judas cup" and cup of peanut butter that the closed end of a 1-door trap setup. A few peanut butter crackers nearby as chum. I was up there a little while ago and the chum had been taken and the Judas cup dragged out of the cage, but the trap was still open and the real bait undisturbed. I re-primed the Judas cup and will continue to wait. I'm learning to be patient.

I can imagine. I've gotten a better sense of how fast and strong and determined these things can be. Also, I remember a couple of years ago I accidentally left my back screen door open, and then closed it after a little while. After a half-hour or so I heard noises in the house and discovered that I had locked a squirrel had gotten in the house, and in that short time it had already chewed holes in the screens of all my open windows and was running around in a panic, knocking things of tables and such. I opened the door and chased it outside, but I hate to think what it would have done if it had been in there for any real length of time.

I've been putting it in the trunk with newspaper on the floor and a towel over the trap. I sure as hell don't want it in the passenger compartment!
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