How to Make a Trap for Squirrels & Chipmunks Out of a Coffee Can


A coffee can is effective as a small-animal trap. Metal cans work best, but plastic ones also work. Building the trap requires few materials, but it must be properly set and baited to successful trap an animal. Once an animal is captured, the trapper must be prepared to manipulate the trap and deal with the animal.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee can
  • Small sticks
  • String
  • Peanut butter
  • Cheese
  • Water
  • Shovel

Live Trap

  • Find a stick 4-6 inches long with a fork on one end. Tie a string to the base of the stick.

  • Place the edge of the coffee can between the forks on the stick and place the base of the stick on the ground at a slight angle. The stick will hold the edge of the coffee can off the ground, so the animal can get inside.

  • Tie the free end of the string to a piece of bait. Cheese covered with peanut butter works well for squirrels. Wrap the string around a tree or stable object and place the bait under the coffee can.

  • Adjust the string until it is pulled tight against the stick. When an animal takes the bait, pressure on the string will pull out the stick, trapping the animal in the can.

Kill Trap

  • Dig a two-foot hole in the ground with a diameter slightly larger than the coffee can. Fill the can two-thirds full of water, and lower it into the hole.

  • Smear peanut butter around the top edge of the can as bait. Find a small stick and push one end into the dirt two inches below the rim of the hole. Make a very weak connection that will not hold weight or pressure. Add 2-3 more sticks for the animal to step on, making sure none will hold its weight.

  • Place a piece of cheese on the end of each stick. Sprinkle nuts around the edge of the hole to lure animals. The squirrel will eventually attempt grab a piece of cheese, and the stick will collapse. The squirrel falls into the hole and drowns.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place the traps in an area where squirrels are visible. Squirrels frequent areas with trees that provide safety and food.
  • Check your traps for squirrels at least once each day.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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