Can You Legally Kill Squirrels in Your Yard?

  • Written By: Phil Hawes
  • Time to read: 6 min.
squirrel sitting on a house

When squirrels are set up in your yard they can potentially cause a lot of issues, especially if they find entry into your home. Gnawed wires, dug-up plants, and even damage to outside furniture could all be caused by this backyard pest.

So, what legal rights do you actually have in the USA to deal with these rodent pests yourself, and would killing them be against the law?

In all but three US states, you can legally exterminate squirrels in your yard with a snap trap. Like its smaller mousetrap counterpart, this device will attract squirrels with bait before snapping their necks. Shooting squirrels with any type of gun in your yard is against the law. Certain squirrel populations are, however, protected under law.

If you currently have a squirrel infestation in your local area, please read on to find out some more effective ways to deal with them as well as prevent further issues.

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What type of snap trap can I use?

When trapping squirrels, which you can do in all US states legally, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C., you need to use the correct type of trap.

A mouse or even rat trap will be far too small and will just be cruel as it’ll leave the squirrels maimed rather than dead. For trapping squirrels, the type of snap trap you need is a large-sized trap such as a 110 Connibear/body trap that can be purchased at any hardware store or good retailer.

You should also make sure to use a bait such as peanut butter or sunflower seeds, which are the types of food squirrels will most likely eat in your yard and garden area if they’re foraging there already – that’ll help lure them into it more easily!

Make sure that you position the trap properly as indicated in the setup instructions as if you don’t, you’ll likely catch nothing. The trap needs to be able to snap around the squirrel’s neck otherwise if it only catches the leg the squirrel might escape.

The trap should also be positioned so that it’s not visible to the squirrel and is in a place where they’re likely going, such as near trees or bushes – that’ll make them feel more comfortable coming close enough for you! You can even use an old cardboard box with holes cut out of one side.

How do you prevent squirrels from getting into your yard?

Squirrels like any type of animal are most attracted by food and the right habitat, to prevent them from entering your yard you should make sure that there is no food for them to eat and they have nowhere comfortable enough in your yard to nest.

The best way of doing this would be by planting a garden or fruit trees, which will attract other animals such as birds who’ll scare away the squirrels! If you actually want to see birds in your yard and want to feed them, make sure you use bird feeders that have anti-squirrel designs, such as this one.

You can also set up a perimeter around your yard fence, assuming you don’t have trees that overhang your yard, with an electric shock system. This will keep the squirrels out of your yard and will also keep other animals such as raccoons, opossums, or cats away.

Another way to persuade squirrels from coming anywhere near your property is to use an ultrasound anti-squirrel device. This device will emit a high-pitched sound that’s inaudible to humans but is unbearable for squirrels. It also has the added bonus of keeping away other rodents. I would recommend getting a model like this one.

How do you stop squirrels from entering your home?

Squirrels are most likely to be found in your attic space and they’ll get in through any holes that you have such as vents. To stop this from happening, you should seal up any holes that are big enough for a squirrel to enter.

If the hole is too small, then it’s possible they’ll chew their way through but this will take them much longer and make more noise than if there was just an open space in your roofing material or siding where he could easily get inside. Also, consider putting up a metal mesh over these holes if you still need them for ventilation.

The best way to kill a pesky animal is with snap traps! This type can be set up easily in any location you want them, such as next to weak points in your home, but make sure they are not near an area where pets or children will go.

The most important thing to remember is that if the squirrels are in your loft space, they will die there and make a big stink as well! This is why you should never use rat poison for killing them – it’s not safe or humane at all so don’t do this even though some people think using poison on squirrels is effective.

What are some humane ways to deal with squirrels?

For trapping squirrels humanely, you need to use a trap that is at least 12 inches long. A good example of this type would be the Havahart X-Large One Door Trap, which has been designed to catch animals as large and heavy up squirrels weighing over two pounds with ease – it’s also very humane in its design too!

You just need the right sort of bait. Squirrels are most attracted by nuts, seeds, and peanut butter. You can also use corn or sunflower seed as bait for squirrels too!

There are other more humane deterrents such as an electric shock fence which is the most popular way to get rid of them in some states like New York City where it’s illegal to shoot squirrels with any type of gun, including air rifles that shoot pellets at high velocity.

If you are planning to trap squirrels yourself, I recommend the following products:

Where do you dispose of live or dead squirrels?

If you have trapped and killed a squirrel the best way to dispose of it is to bury it in the ground or to put them into a trash bag and dispose of that. Another alternative is to actually use the squirrel meat for cooking. if you don’t want to eat them, you can always prepare them as dog food making sure that the squirrel was free of any diseases.

There are also some other options for disposing of live squirrels. One of them is to release the squirrels into a natural habitat a long distance from your property.

The other option for live animals would be releasing them in an area that has been designated as a wildlife refuge or sanctuary, and then you can call an animal protection service if they come back again because this means there’s something wrong with their environment which may need fixing, like food shortage, etc.

That’s assuming you get friendly enough in your journey dropping them off to recognize them later.

Can I trap any type of squirrel found in my yard?

In some states or even some cities, you need to be careful which species of squirrel you trap and kill. Some towns use their squirrel population as a tourist attraction so they don’t want to kill them.

If you were to kill these celebrity squirrels you may face a hefty fine or even jail time. Your neighbors may also give you hassle if you openly kill any beloved squirrel population regardless of the damage they may be causing you.

Usually, the types of squirrels which are prized or protected are the native species and not the invasive species.

The native squirrels are usually the ones that have been in your area for a long time and they’re not considered pests by most people because of their cuteness or other reasons like that so it’s best to avoid killing them if possible, but you can trap any type with snap traps which aren’t locals.

In what situation can I shoot a squirrel?

You can shoot squirrels in most states where they are considered game if you have a valid hunting license. Some states will have a law that you can only use a shotgun to shoot them.

It is illegal to shoot firearms in residential areas, however, so you are not allowed to hunt squirrels on your property if you live in a town.

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