People and squirrels usually live in peace, with squirrels minding their business in the trees while we go about the daily grind in our homes. But on occasion, squirrels might take an interest in your home, chewing through its insulation, electrical wiring, PVC pipes, and even the wood framing. Using a squirrel deterrent is one solution, but sometimes, you may need to resort to more extreme measures and remove the squirrel with a squirrel trap.
Squirrel traps are available as humane versions that consist of a wire cage with a spring-loaded door that snaps shut when the squirrel enters. There are also lethal versions that quickly kill the squirrel by snapping its neck with a spring-loaded metal bar. This guide examines the features to consider when shopping for squirrel traps while reviewing some of the top squirrel traps on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Havahart 1085 Easy Set One-Door Cage Trap
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: RatzFatz Mouse Trap Humane Live Animal Cage
- BEST TUBE TRAP: WCS Forestry Suppliers Tube Squirrel Trap
- BEST SNAP TRAP: made2catch Classic Metal Rat Traps
- BEST MULTIPLE SQUIRRELS: Rugged Ranch SQR Squirrelinator Live Squirrel Trap
Types of Squirrel Traps
There is more than one way to trap a squirrel. Here are three different styles of squirrel traps.
Flat Snap Traps
To eliminate squirrels, not simply relocate them, use a flat snap trap. These traps, which are designed for rats, have a powerful spring that snaps a metal bar closed when the rodent takes the squirrel bait. The snapping bar breaks the squirrel’s neck and kills it instantly.
While these traps are effective, they are the least humane option for getting rid of a squirrel problem. Care also should be taken when setting the trap since some snap traps are strong enough to break fingers. Never use snap traps around children or pets.
A tube trap is a lethal trap that consists of a cylindrical metal tube that measures about 15 inches long and 5 inches in diameter. A hook in the middle of the tube holds bait and attaches to a spring-loaded bar. When the squirrel takes the bait, the bar snaps forward into the tube, breaking the squirrel’s neck and killing it instantly.
Since this type of trap uses a tube enclosure, it prevents larger animals such as cats and dogs from getting inside the tube. However, tube traps are significantly more expensive than snap traps.
Box traps, which consist of a small metal cage with a spring-loaded door that attaches to a plate inside the cage, are the most humane way to trap a squirrel. The user places bait on the plate. Once the squirrel enters the cage and applies pressure to the plate, the animal triggers the spring, which causes the door to slam shut, trapping the squirrel.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Squirrel Trap
Regardless of the type of squirrel trap you choose, consider these following key features when shopping for one.
Construction and Setup
A squirrel trap’s construction is key to how well it works. Squirrels have sharp teeth and strong jaws capable of cracking hard nuts, so the cage must be made from durable material. Since most squirrel traps are set up outdoors, a trap also must be able to hold up to the elements. Therefore, the best squirrel traps are made from heavy-gauge galvanized steel. This material, which resists rust and corrosion, is strong enough that a squirrel can’t gnaw through it.
A well-designed squirrel trap also should be easy to set up. Some box traps and tube traps require only one hand, while most snap traps require more care to avoid injuring the user.
Squirrel traps vary in the number of squirrels they can hold. A standard squirrel trap is designed to catch a single squirrel. Other squirrel traps are designed to catch and hold dozens of squirrels at one time, making them ideal for larger squirrel infestations.
Number of Doors
Squirrel traps also vary in their number of doors. Some have a single door, while other traps feature two or more doors. Traps with multiple doors are generally more effective than those with a single door because they offer multiple points of entry, thus increasing the likelihood that a squirrel will enter the trap. That said, traps with multiple openings require more sophisticated mechanisms that are more likely to fail than single-door traps.
Our Top Picks
The traps below consider all these factors to narrow the field to some of the best traps on the market for squirrels. They include both lethal and nonlethal traps as well as one model that can catch multiple squirrels at once.
The name of this trap says it all. The Havahart one-door cage trap captures squirrels in a humane manner, so they can be relocated to a distant wood where they can forage for nuts. At 32 inches long, 10 inches wide, and 12 inches high, this trap is hefty enough to contain even larger squirrels. Setting the trap is easy: Simply bait the pressure plate and pull back the lever.
With a galvanized steel construction, the trap resists rust and corrosion, making it suitable for extended time outdoors. The handle is protected by a steel plate to allow for the safe transport of the wildlife prisoner. In addition to squirrels, this trap will work with stray cats, groundhogs, opossums, chipmunks, and raccoons, among other small animals.
- Size: 32 by 10 by 12 inches
- Type: Box trap
- Occupants: One
- Traps animals humanely
- Easy to set
- Durable all-weather construction
This trap can catch a problem squirrel at a fraction of the cost of other cages. It features a two-door design, increasing the likelihood of a squirrel venturing inside. The double-door design takes a little longer to set up, but the trap comes with instructions.
A hook in the middle of the cage holds the bait. Once disturbed, the hook triggers a spring that releases both doors, which slam shut, trapping the squirrel while leaving it unharmed. With its galvanized steel construction, this RatzFatz trap is suitable to use outdoors. Though smaller than other box traps—at 17 inches long, 5 inches high, and 5 inches wide—it’s large enough to capture most squirrels while preventing larger animals from entering the trap.
- Size: 17 by 5 by 5 inches
- Type: Box trap
- Occupants: One
- Affordably priced
- Two entrances increase the likelihood of catching a squirrel
- Weather-resistant galvanized steel construction
- May not be large enough to catch bigger squirrels
- Not as easy to set as other box traps
The WCS Forestry Supplies lethal tube trap is a more extreme method of eliminating nuisance squirrels, such as those that raid a bird’s nest or chew holes through siding. The tube shape naturally attracts squirrels looking for a place to hide. Inside, a hook holds the bait. When the squirrel takes the bait, the hook releases a spring-loaded bar that breaks the squirrel’s neck, killing it instantly.
The trap consists of heavy-gauge alloy steel with a rust-resistant coating, making it suitable for extended outdoor use. At 4.5 inches in diameter, the opening is small enough to prevent larger animals from entering the tube, making it safe for use around most pets.
- Size: 4.5 inches by 15 inches
- Type: Tube trap
- Occupants: One
- Durable heavy-gauge steel construction
- Kills squirrels quickly
- Easy to set
- Expensive compared to other trap types
This made2catch snap trap may be designed for rats, but it’s also powerful enough to take out a squirrel that’s damaging a house or feasting at the bird feeder. It functions as a classic rat trap with a spring-loaded bar mounted to a flat plate. When the pressure plate that holds the bait is triggered, the bar springs forward, breaking the rat or squirrel’s neck on impact.
Unlike standard rat traps, which use a wood base, this trap is constructed entirely of galvanized metal, giving it added strength while also making it suitable for outdoor use. Since the bar mechanism on this trap is exposed, it’s not safe for use around children or pets. Each pack comes with four traps.
- Size: 6.5 inches by 3.5 inches
- Type: Snap trap
- Occupants: One
- Kills on impact
- Comes with four traps
- Galvanized steel construction for outdoor use
- Must set carefully to avoid injury
- Not safe for use around pets or children
A box trap that collects one squirrel at a time won’t do for those trying to rid an attic of an infestation. The Squirrelinator’s large cage can catch and hold up to 25 squirrels at one time. And, despite its intimidating name, the Squirrelinator doesn’t terminate squirrels. It traps them humanely, allowing the owner to relocate the squirrel squatters to a location away from their home.
The Squirrelinator is designed with two doors, increasing the likelihood of its catching its prey. It includes a pan at the bottom that catches droppings, allowing for mess-free transportation in a vehicle. With an easy-to-open top, releasing the squirrel captives is safe and easy upon arriving at the relocation site.
- Size: 6 inches by 25.75 inches
- Type: Snap trap
- Occupants: Many
- Can catch up to 25 squirrels at a time
- Sturdy steel construction
- Drop pan contains droppings during transport
- Easy-open lid for release
- Can be cumbersome to move, especially when full.
With its humane and proven design and its durable construction, the Havahart 1085 Easy Set One-Door Cage Trap is the best way to trap a squirrel. Those looking for a more affordable method to address their squirrel problem may want to consider the RatzFatz Mouse Trap Humane Live Animal Cage.
How We Chose the Best Squirrel Traps
We applied a variety of criteria when selecting the best squirrel traps for our list. A squirrel trap must be effective, so we chose models with proven designs that yield results, as well as those with mechanisms that work reliably. We also included a range of different types of traps to serve different purposes, including humane box traps along with lethal snap and tube traps.
All the humane traps we selected have sturdy handles for safe-and-easy transportation of the animals once caught. Since squirrel traps are usually used outdoors, we chose traps made of durable galvanized steel that won’t rust or corrode when exposed to the elements. In addition, single-squirrel traps aren’t enough to deal with a bigger squirrel problem, so we included a model capable of catching multiple squirrels at once.
Tips for Using a Squirrel Trap
After purchasing a trap, there are several ways to maximize the chances that the trap will successfully capture a squirrel. First, consider trap placement. Position the trap in a place along a squirrel’s usual travel path. The path typically is at the base of a tree, along a fence near a bird feeder, or along a wall near a part of the house that the squirrel is damaging.
The best bait to catch squirrels is one they can’t easily steal, such as peanut butter. If it’s a solid bait, make sure it’s larger than the cage’s mesh. Position the bait so the squirrel must step on the pressure plate to get to it. When using a humane cage, check the trap frequently, since a squirrel will quickly become anxious and dehydrated once trapped.
- Place the trap in an area that squirrels frequent
- Use bait that squirrels can’t easily steal
- Check the trap often
If you’re wondering about the best bait to catch a squirrel when trapping or whether rat traps can work with squirrels, then keep reading for answers to these and other important questions about squirrel traps.
Q. What is the best bait to use to trap a squirrel?
Peanut butter is the best bait for squirrel traps. Squirrels, of course, are naturally attracted to nuts. Since peanut butter is not something squirrels can easily snatch and run away with, peanut butter forces them to engage with the trap long enough to spring it, making it the best squirrel bait.
Q. Will rat traps work on squirrels?
Snap traps that are used for catching rats also work for squirrels, which are similar in size. A squirrel investigating the bait on this trap can trigger the trap, killing the squirrel.
Q. Where is the best place to put a squirrel trap?
Place a squirrel trap along a squirrel’s normal travel path. If the squirrel is damaging your house, find a place along a fence or wall on which the squirrel travels to reach your home. Likewise, if a squirrel is frequenting a bird feeder, place the trap near the bird feeder. You can also place traps near the base of the trees where the squirrels live.
Q. How long does it take to trap a squirrel?
It varies, depending on the amount of squirrel activity in your yard. Early winter and late spring are the best times to catch squirrels. This is also the time of year when you’re less likely to catch a squirrel mother, separating her from her dependent young.
Q. What to do with a squirrel after you catch it?
After you catch a squirrel, relocate it to a place far away from where you caught it. Make sure to release squirrels in a wooded area that contains plenty of food for them to eat.