The gray squirrel, the most common of the American squirrels, inhabits over two-thirds of the United States. Gray squirrels can cause some headaches for homeowners by chewing through screens, building nests in attics and gnawing at electrical wires. A squirrel chewing at a windowsill could be trying to gain access to food inside the house, or, believe it or not, it could be trying to floss its teeth. According to Squirrels.org, a squirrel will sometimes bite down on wood or wires, pull its head back, and let the fibers go between its teeth. Whether the squirrels chewing your windowsill are hungry or merely practicing dental hygiene, there are steps you can take to humanely solve the problem. .
Things You'll Need
- Animal repellent
- Bitter apple spray (optional)
- Humane trap
- Dirt and leaves
- Small stones or weights (optional)
- Peanut butter
- Pet odor cleaning product
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Remove and store any food that can be seen or smelled from the windowsill. A basket of fruit, a plate of cookies sitting out, loaves of bread in a breadbox on a kitchen counter—all are tempting to a hungry squirrel.
Apply an animal repellent to the windowsill. This may be enough of a deterrent to persuade the squirrel to move on. You can also try treating the windowsill liberally with bitter apple spray; this harmless but potent product seems universally distasteful to animals.
Call your city or county about the legalities of trapping and relocating a squirrel. You may need to get a city, county or state permit.
Rent or purchase a humane trap. These can be found at animal shelters, veterinarians' offices and sporting goods stores. Do not use the trap in the early spring or in the fall; the squirrel may have babies at that time, and trapping and removing her would sentence the young to slow starvation.
Cover the trap with leaves and dirt to reduce glare if the trap is new and shiny.
Observe the path the squirrel takes to get to the windowsill, and place the trap—open but unbaited—somewhere in that path, making sure it sits on a level surface. Leave it there for a few days so the squirrel becomes accustomed to its presence.
Bait the trap with a spoonful peanut butter on the trip level, touching the trip plate at both ends to make sure the trap works. If you think it isn't going to close quickly enough, you can weight the drop doors with small stones or fishing line sinkers.
Confine your own pets if you have cats and dogs that go outdoors.
Monitor the trap every few hours so you can release the squirrel soon after it is caught.
Drive the squirrel at least three miles away and release it in a wooded area where there will be food, water and shelter. Try to find a place that has a creek, lake, or other natural barrier to help prevent the squirrel's return.
Wash your windowsill thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner marketed to remove pet waste and odor. It is important to remove the squirrel's scent.