This Genius Trick Keeps Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders

A squirrel reaching for a bird feeder

Tony Quinn / EyeEm / Getty Images

If you’ve ever dealt with squirrels, you know that they can be a little, well, pesky. And because they are always foraging for foods like nuts and seeds, bird feeders can be a prime target for their mischief. But did you know that you can keep them away from bird feeders without any cruelty, chemicals, or really any manual labor on your part at all?

This viral Facebook video has the solution we didn’t realize we needed: a slinky. 

So, What’s This Genius Trick All About?

If you live in a climate that doesn’t have a lot of squirrels—first of all, you’re lucky—and second of all, you don’t know the struggle. Somehow, no matter your most ingenious solutions, they find themselves scaling surfaces, avoiding traps, and getting into unwanted places (like bird feeders).

So, when it comes to trying to prevent this from happening, you have to get a little *creative.* In this viral video posted originally on Facebook by Deborah Keller, she was able to stop the squirrel in his tracks with a $3 slinky.

Why does this work? Well, for one, the metal moves. For an animal trying to grab hold and climb up, the rungs of the slinky lack traction. Not only do the squirrel’s paws slide, but as they do, the slinky falls downward. This scares the animal down to the ground (without hurting him).

The best part? The silver of the slinky can blend in—not only to be hidden from the squirrel but to keep the vibe of your outdoor décor intact, too.  

How To Do This Trick at Home

 Adopting this trick is easier than you think. Get a slinky (or knock-off brand) and hook the metal spring edge around the top of your bird feeder pole. With gravity, the slinky will hang down, disguising itself (especially if you have a metal pole like Keller does).

When the squirrel attempts to climb, the slinky will pull down with his weight and create a springboard that will not only make them wary but bring them back to the ground. It's that simple.

What to Look Out For

Are there risks associated with this squirrel hack? Not many. When you’re installing the slinky for the first time, take note of your fingers as to not pinch yourself when you’re adding the hook to the top. You may also want to keep eye on your contraption—at least for the first day—on the off-chance that a squirrel’s nail or toe gets stuck.

This hack is intended to be pain-free and it's unlikely to hurt the squirrels, but like anything you put in your yard that animals may interact with, it’s best to be on the safe side and look out just in case. If you have young children or other curious animals, you may want to keep them out of the area, too. While the slinky won’t do more harm than a little pinch, it can be scary for a small animal or child.