Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why your trap isn’t working

As squirrels are nuisance animals in many parts of the country, there is a large market for squirrel traps. However, some squirrel traps are not as effective as others, and the way you set up a trap will greatly affect its ability to catch your next dinner.

You’re using the wrong trap

Unfortunately, there are certain traps out there that are marketed as “squirrel traps” that are just the wrong design for catching squirrels. A classic design is the rectangular, two door trap with the pressure plate in the middle. In theory, the squirrel tries to eat the bait in the middle, and the pressure of its paw causes the two doors to swing shut.

But this design has many flaws, one of which is exhibited in the video below.

This trap failed because the squirrel had part of its body outside the trap. Thus, the trap doors could not close.

If you check your traps in the morning and the bait is gone without a squirrel inside, the squirrel either didn’t trip the plate or somehow wrangled its way out of the trap.

Here at, we only recommend one trap, the Squirrelinator. This trap is designed without trip plates, but instead a one-way door mechanism that squirrels cannot defeat.

The trap is not properly secured

Our recommended trap, the Squirrelinator, can be opened from the top in order to load bait into the center of the trap. The top door is latched shut via two spring hooks. It is essential to hook the top door securely to the trap frame. A weak latch can mean the difference between a meal and a runaway squirrel.

The squirrel escaped

Squirrels, being some of the smartest rodents around, can sense whether they’re walking into a trap and become masters at avoiding them. They have been observed stretching their bodies to retrieve the bait and scampering away. Small squirrels such as juveniles have also been known to squeeze through the tiny gaps in cage traps, even after being caught inside.

Is it safe to eat a roadkilled squirrel?

It’s a sad fact of nature in the urban jungle that many squirrels are killed by vehicles while trying to cross the road. But here at, you might be wondering if you can have it for dinner. The short answer is, probably not.

Squirrel, like any other meat, will go bad if not refrigerated properly. When a squirrel or any animal is roadkilled, bacteria within the animal quickly start multiplying. These bacteria produce toxins which are harmful to eat, and cannot be neutralized by cooking under high temperatures.

Additionally, you might not be the first animal to see pavement pizza as a nutritious dinner. Birds, cats, and flies will often show up first on the scene of freshly deceased squirrel. If these animals are carrying diseases, you do not want those diseases passed on to you. Even if there’s not a scavenger in sight, you can’t know if the crows have chewed on its insides or if the flies have taken a piss on the carcass.

So the next time you see a dead squirrel that has been sitting on the side of the road, skip it and let nature take its course. There are much safer ways of getting squirrel to your dinner table straight from your backyard.

Why are squirrels considered pests?

To the general public, squirrels are considered more of a “harmless” inhabitant of many urban landscapes. But the truth of squirrels is much more sinister when you do some research.

Squirrels have been known to cause many problems in urban areas, most of which arise from animal-human conflict. To name a few:

Fortunately, squirrels are easy to control and with the right equipment, you can have a delicious meal while you’re at it!

The many benefits of eating squirrels

It’s delicious

Squirrels are widely known in the hunting community as one of the most delicious small game animals. Their meat is not too tough and not too gamey. They are easy to skin and can serve as a valuable learning tool for children who want to learn hunting and survival skills.

It’s easy to cook

The easiest recipe simply involves seasoning the squirrel and grilling it over the barbecue. This is the quickest way to enjoy a fresh kill.

This website is dedicated to lots and lots of delicious recipes; see them here!

It’s nutritious

Pound for pound, squirrel meat packs more protein than beef or chicken.

It’s free

If you live in an urban area, chances are there are squirrels all around you. With prices of supermarket meat rising, squirrel meat is an economical alternative as long as you know how to do it and as long as it’s within your local laws.

It’s organic

Squirrels by their very nature are an organic food source. Compare them to the meat that you buy at the supermarket:

Squirrel meatSupermarket meat
Born wildBorn in captivity
Raised wildRaised in captivity
Roam wildNo space to roam
Eat wildFed in captivity, a diet ranging from garbage to decent
Dispatched humanelyQuestionable methods of killing
Few widespread problems with tainted meatMany meat recalls historically

There’s no question that squirrel meat is a more ethical, humane source of meat than what you buy at the supermarket.

It’s sustainable

It’s a learning experience

Since squirrel meat can’t be often bought in a grocery store, you are responsible for dispatching, skinning, and field-dressing a squirrel for the table. This process will teach you a great deal about a squirrel’s biology, behaviors, and physiological systems.

How to tell if a squirrel is safe to eat

One of the most common objections I hear from non squirrel eaters is that squirrels, or wildlife in general, are not safe to eat. This could not be further from the truth. Millions of people go out hunting every year and bring back everything from crows to whole deer, and squirrel hunting has been around for hundreds of years. It’s safe to say that, if squirrel was not a safe food, we wouldn’t be hunting them, and this website wouldn’t exist.

Fortunately there are several ways to tell if a squirrel is safe to eat.

Skin & fur

Some squirrels will have patches of missing fur. In most cases this is fine, but if the squirrel has a severe case of hair loss or squirrel pox then it is best to dispatch the animal and discard it.


When field dressing a squirrel, it is important to check the condition of the squirrel’s liver.

It should be a deep maroon color. If the liver is discolored or has white spots on it, discard the meat (better safe than sorry).


The way an animal behaves can tell you a lot about it’s health condition. If a squirrel is behaving abnormally, that is a red flag. Abnormal behavior can be caused by poison, although squirrels will generally avoid poison meant for other rodents.

A common question is, do squirrels have rabies? While rabies can be a cause of abnormal behavior, it is uncommon in squirrels and usually kills them before you have the chance of eating them. However, if you suspect a rabid squirrel, it’s best to throw it away. Some symptoms of rabies in squirrels include:

  • Overly aggressive
  • Sluggishness
  • Confusion
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Partial or total paralysis

There’s a catch here – the only way to observe a squirrel’s behavior is to observe it alive. This is yet another reason why I recommend live trapping over kill traps or poison. Shooting also allows you to observe the squirrel while it’s alive, but I like to see them up close rather than through a scope.

Monitoring your traps

Setting up a trail camera is a great way to see activity around your trap. You may be surprised that squirrels are not the only animals checking out your bait!

You can buy specialized motion-activated trail cameras on Amazon for anywhere between $100 to $300.

Why buy them?

I find these cameras to be a great educational tool. When setting one up next to a squirrel trap, you can see the squirrel’s behavior in its natural habitat free from human interference.

For example, I have seen squirrels stretch their body to reach into the trap, only to back out and eat the nut on top of the trap. This indicates that the squirrels are wary of the trap as they should be.

One time, my trap even caught a mouse! Unfortunately, the mouse squeezed its way out of the holes in the trap after about 10 minutes of struggling. Had I not had the trail camera, I would not have known about the mouse at all.

What to look for

At a bare minimum the trail camera should be:

  • Rechargeable, either with lithium ion batteries or direct USB charging
  • Motion-activated
  • Support day and night vision, the latter usually through infrared
  • High resolution, at least 1080P

Some nice features to have:

  • Live streaming via Wifi or Bluetooth
  • Auto-upload to the cloud
  • AI recognition (e.g. animal vs human vs vehicle vs general motion)

How to transport a squirrel for release

If you have caught a live squirrel but need to move the trap with a squirrel in it, make sure to move the trap RIGHT-SIDE UP only, unless both side doors are securely fastened shut.

If you attempt to move a trap with a live squirrel in any other orientation, there is a small chance that the gravity doors on either side will swing open letting the animal escape!

Pro baiting tips

Best bait I’ve found is unshelled, unsalted peanuts.

You can buy them in bulk at Costco.

How to scatter bait?

First things first: Wear gloves! Squirrels, especially in more rural and wild areas, are very wary of human scent and can detect the smallest amount of sweat from your hands.

Scatter the bait in the center of the trap, on the left and right sides of the entry doors. This forces the squirrel into the trap and ensures that it cannot back out through the doors it entered.

Next you want to place just one or two peanuts just outside the entry door, and just one

Some websites will tell you to dump the bait in the CENTER of the trap. This is less effective as the squirrels can simply reach in, stretch their body, and grab a nut without their entire body being trapped.

Here’s what will generally happen:

  1. Squirrel sees trap
  2. Squirrel climbs over the trap in an attempt to grab the peanuts from above (it can’t)
  3. Squirrel finds the entrance and takes the peanut right outside the entrance
  4. Squirrel sits down outside the trap and eats the peanut
  5. Squirrel pokes its head into the trap and grabs the nearest peanut
  6. Steps 4-5 repeat (depending on the squirrel), and then…
  7. Squirrel crawls all the way in, to reach the big pile of peanuts, and is subsequently trapped

A note on pre-baiting

Sometimes if you haven’t caught squirrels for several days despite the trap being baited, it is possible that squirrels have become wary of being trapped in your cage. In this case:

  • Open the top cage door
  • Leave the bait as is

Let the trap sit like this for a few days until you notice bait starting to disappear. This is a technique called pre-baiting and it is used to lull animals into a sense of security and not being afraid of the trap.

For watching the squirrels behavior around your trap, I recommend getting a motion camera to monitor the trap, see my recommendations in Monitoring your traps!