How to Eliminate Squirrels in an Attic


You may enjoy watching squirrels at the park, but when the little rodents make their way to your attic, you will likely want them gone. Squirrels are active year-round, and they like to build nests in holes and tree cavities, especially in winter. Your attic is the perfect place for a squirrel to build a nice, warm home, especially if holes or other access points are available. Fortunately, there are humane ways to eliminate squirrels from your attic.

  • Locate all entrance points. Squirrels often enter an attic through unscreened or inadequately screened vents, according to Purdue University. They also may create an entrance point by gnawing.

  • Close all entrances to the attic except one. Consider placing sheet metal, hardware cloth or steel wool over the holes, as recommended by Purdue University.

  • Hang a one-way door over the one entrance that you left uncovered. You can purchase a door designed for this purpose, or you can simply place hardware cloth over the hole, leaving a 2-inch gap at the bottom. Bend the hardware cloth to create a lip that protrudes outside, making sure that there are no sharp points that could injure a squirrel (try using the natural edge of the mesh). This method will allow a squirrel to squeeze out of the hole, but it will not be able to get back in, according to Urban Wildlife Rescue.

  • Remove the one-way door, and seal the hole after a few days.

  • Abandon other efforts, and resort to humane harassment if you suspect a squirrel has had a litter of young in your attic. A squirrel may persistently or frantically try to get back in if babies are present, according to The Humane Society of the United States. To encourage the family to relocate, place a bright light in the attic, play loud music (from a battery-powered radio) or soak rags in vinegar or another strong-smelling substance and place them in the attic.

Tips & Warnings

  • Squirrels commonly have babies from February to May and August through October. Be extra careful not to separate a mother from her young during this time.
  • If possible, squirrel-proof the trees around your home. Consider trimming tree branches so that they are 8 to 10 feet from your house, according to Purdue University, or place 2-foot-wide bands of sheet metal around tree trunks, placed 6 to 8 feet from the ground.
  • Squirrels sometimes chew on exposed wiring in an attic. Be sure to have an electrician check for fire hazards after you have removed the squirrels.

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