7 Humane Ways to Get Squirrels Out of Your House

You can get a squirrel out of the house - humanely.
You can get a squirrel out of the house - humanely. Daniela Duncan/Moment Open/Getty Images

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's just 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:

If a Squirrel Gets in Your House:

  1. Let it find its way out:
    • 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.
    • Leave the room yourself, and let the squirrel find its way out.
    • If the squirrel is an an upper-level room, open only the windows that are above grass, trees, etc. - not windows over concrete. 
  1. If #1 is not possible, try humane baiting:
    • 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.
  2. If neither #1 nor #2 are possible, try the blanket approach:
    • 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 too tight or push too hard, so as not to squeeze or injure it.
    • Carry the blanket-wrapped squirrel outside, open it onto the ground away from you, and it will make its escape.
  3. If the squirrel is in the chimney
    • Make loud noises at the fireplace to scare the squirrel and encourage it back out the to the roof.
    • Carefully attach a long, thick rope (of 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.
  4. If adult squirrels are in the attic
    • Try frightening it/them with loud noises: Bang on the floor, walls or rafters; talk or yell loudly; bang pans; etc.
    • If this doesn't work, set up a bright light in the area and leave it on through the day and night; turn on a radio, television, or other ongoing music or sound and leave it playing; or soak rags in cider vinegar and set them around the attic. Squirrels are not especially fond of any of these, so they are likely to leave.
  1. If a family of squirrels, with babies, is in the attic
    • 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 mom. 
    • 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 (see #7) and 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.
  1. Keep squirrels out
    • 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, check the foundation and exterior for holes.
    • Seal any potential entry point to prevent another squirrel - or other wild animal - from coming 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.
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