Squirrels are agile climbers that are difficult to exclude from an area. The best way to keep squirrels out of your yard is really a blend of traps and habitat modification. This plan eliminates food resources and habitats that squirrels find attractive while permanently removing any squirrels that frequent your yard. Many species of tree squirrel require a license before you can legally remove them, and certain species are protected under law.
In California, native species of tree squirrels are subject to regulation under state fishing and hunting laws. Only the Eastern fox squirrel could be killed without a license. It is lawful to get rid of ground squirrels that are damaging your house with no permit. The exceptions to this rule would be the Mohave ground squirrel and the San Joaquin antelope squirrel, which are protected species. Ask your fish and game department to ascertain what restrictions on rodent control methods are enforced in the regional area.
Traps are an effective method for controlling small populations of squirrels. Placing, draining and checking traps is a more labor-intensive process than using poison baits, but it’s not as likely to harm other types of wildlife. Placing your traps in the ideal areas ensures that the squirrels in your yard encounter them. Traps for tree squirrels work best in elevated regions. The branches of trees, the tops of fences and rooftops are common areas to locate traps for tree squirrels.
Placing your traps from the region for several days without placing or baiting them enables squirrels to become used to their presence. Unlike tree squirrels, ground squirrels inhabit burrows in the ground. Placing your traps at the entrances of ground squirrel burrows provides effective control. Search for burrows that are free of debris having newly disturbed dirt around the entry. Placing your traps within a box with a entry 3 inches in diameter helps soften animals other than squirrels and small rodents.
Ground squirrels prefer regions with debris and brush that offer cover. Removing brush and leaf piles from your yard makes it less desirable to ground squirrels. Use a rototiller or scoop to turn the dirt around any burrows in your yard to a thickness of two feet. Filling in the holes doesn’t prevent other squirrels from opening and inhabiting old burrows. Trimming trees with branches that overhang rooftops, fence rows or electricity lines limits the paths available to tree squirrels and rendering it more challenging for them to get around.
Killing endangered rodents or mammals is a crime that could lead to criminal and civil penalties. Determine which species of squirrels are in your yard and avoid using control methods that may harm endangered species before you begin a control program. Speak with the regional fish and game department to find out whether there are some other threatened species living in your area before you set traps. In California, it’s illegal to transport and release eastern fox squirrels that you’ve caught employing a nonlethal trap with no license.