Is there a squirrel in your house? The first thing to know is that the squirrel is usually more scared of you than you are of it. It just seems larger than life since it is a lot faster at running around the house, shimmying beneath furniture, jumping on cabinets, and knocking over knickknacks.
The second thing to know is that you can get the squirrel out humanely. As recommended by the Humane Society of the United States, there are seven tips you should consider before getting lethal.
Let It Find Its Way Out
In rooms inhabited by humans, a squirrel wants to get out. It does not want to nest or make a home in a house with human activity so close to it. So, make it easy for the squirrel to find the exit.
Remove any pets from the room where the squirrel is running or hiding. Close all doors of that room that open into other parts of the house. Open all doors and windows that lead outside.
Then, leave the room yourself, and let the squirrel find its way out. If the squirrel is in an upper-level room, open only the windows that are above grass and trees. Do not open windows that fall steeply down to concrete or hard surfaces.
Try a Humane Bait Trap
If the squirrel is too frightened to look for a way out, then entice it. Bait a large humane trap with peanut butter. Set the trap on the floor near the squirrel (but don't get too close), and leave it alone for a few hours.
Use the Blanket Approach
If it's cornered, but not moving, put on heavy gloves and hold a blanket in front of you. Slowly approach the squirrel, then quickly drop the blanket on it and roll it up. Don't roll it too tight or push too hard, so as not to squeeze or injure it.
Carry the blanket-wrapped squirrel outside, close the door to your house, open it onto the ground away from you, and let it make its escape.
Squirrel Trapped in the Chimney
Make loud noises at the fireplace to scare the squirrel up the chimney and encourage it back out the to the roof. You can also carefully attach a long, thick rope (at least 3/4 inch thickness) to the top of the chimney, and drop it down. This will provide the squirrel with a way to climb out if it thinks it is stuck.
Squirrels Living in Your Attic
Loud sounds, continuous bright light on day in and day out, and certain smells deter squirrels from taking up residence.
If you have squirrels in the attic, then try frightening the squirrel/s out of the house with loud noises. Bang on the floor, walls or rafters; talk or yell loudly; bang pans; or turn on a radio, television, or other ongoing music or sound and leave it playing day and night.
If the loud-noise method doesn't work, set up a bright light in the area and leave it on through the day and night. And, you can soak rags in cider vinegar and set them around the attic. Squirrels do not like the vinegar smell, so they are likely to leave.
Baby Squirrels in the Attic
If pesky adult squirrels refuse to leave, you may have a nest of babies; that makes it hard for the adult squirrels to abandon the house.
It is best to wait until the babies grow enough to leave. They may do this naturally in a few weeks when they are old enough to move around with the mother. If you don't want to wait, it's best to hire a professional who can safely relocate the family.
If you seal the entry points into the house and you notice the squirrels keep trying to get back in, it may be that there are babies trapped inside. In that case, a professional should be called.
Keep Squirrels Out for Good
Once you have gotten the squirrel out, by whichever method, find out where it came in. Look for tracks around the fireplace, inspect the attic for nests, and check the foundation and exterior for holes.
Seal any potential entry point to prevent another squirrel or another wild animal from getting in. Metal flashing can be a sealant, as the animals cannot chew through it to get back in. Cover chimneys with chimney caps. Keep doors closed when not in use.
Do not feed squirrels or have an easy food source around (like open garbage cans). Take measures to keep squirrels from stealing the bird seed from your feeders.