Hunting and trapping of wild game, including squirrels, is an activity that incurs risk. You can reduce your chance of having an accident or injury by following our safety guidelines.
Disclaimer: Always check your local laws before gathering wildlife for consumption. Trapping, hunting, and/or killing of certain animals may not be permitted in all jurisdictions. EatASquirrel.com is not responsible for any legal repercussions resulting from your use of this website.
- EatASquirrel discourages the use of any kill traps for the purpose of catching squirrels for consumption. These traps are inherently dangerous to handle and can harm pets, other people, and non-target wildlife. We recommend only one trap, the Squirrelinator, which is designed as a live trap.
- Keep traps and bait away from domestic pets and children. A badly placed trap can be a tripping hazard.
- Never use bait containing toxin or poison! Besides rendering the squirrel unsafe to eat, toxic bait is a danger to pets and humans.
- Keep bait away from pets and children.
The majority of accidents, injuries, bites, and infections happen when trying to handle a squirrel, especially a live one. A squirrel’s fear response is to run away, and bite back if fleeing is not possible. Dead squirrels require safe handling as well, as fleas and ticks on the body of the squirrel may pose a health hazard.
Live squirrel handling
The best way to avoid any incidents while handling a squirrel live, is to dispatch it in the trap before handling it. This can be achieved in a number of ways.
If the squirrel must be handled in order to dispatch it:
- Always wear animal handling gloves when in the proximity of the squirrel! These are specially built gloves that are bite and scratch resistant.
- Gardening gloves, work gloves, general purpose leather gloves, ski gloves, snow mitts, oven mitts, towels, rags, blankets, etc. (list goes on) are NOT substitutes for proper animal handling gloves!!
- NEVER let young children handle live squirrels without constant and strict supervision from an experienced adult! Even then – it is best to leave the squirrel handling to an experienced adult.
- Any children observing should watch from a distance.
- Dress appropriately – do not leave any skin exposed from the neck down.
- Wear close-toed shoes or boots, preferably with a durable sole and toe.
- Do not attempt to grab a squirrel by the tail. The tail skin is easily detachable and the squirrel can escape via this means.
- Any squirrels showing severe fur loss should be released or dispatched immediately, and not further processed for human consumption.
- Always grab the squirrel by its midsection
- Do not hold the squirrel near your face, or any other pets or people that are not equipped and experienced to handle live squirrels.
Dead squirrel handling
Dispatched squirrels must still be handled carefully, even if they are incapable of biting back.
- Do not touch or pick up any squirrel you did not kill yourself. Roadkilled, predator-killed, or dead-of-natural-causes squirrels should not be handled or consumed.
- After you dispatch the squirrel, double check to make sure that the squirrel is fully dead. You may do this by gently poking it in the eye with your gloves or a stick.
- It is recommended to wear latex or nitrile gloves when handling a dead squirrel.
- As soon as the squirrel is dispatched, submerge it in water for a few minutes. This will drown any fleas hiding in the squirrel’s fur.
Skinning and cleaning
- Proper handwashing should be followed before and after handling raw or uncooked squirrel. Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap for at least 30 seconds. Dry thoroughly with clean towel.
- A squirrel should be skinned and cleaned as soon as possible after dispatch, to avoid overgrowth of bacteria.
- While cleaning, check the liver to determine the health of the squirrel. The liver should be a dark brownish-red all the way around. If it is discolored or shows any spots, discard the entire squirrel and sanitize the prep area thoroughly.
- Refrigerate your skinned and cleaned squirrel as soon as possible, by placing it in a sealed bag or a container of brine.
- Always wash your hands after handling raw or uncooked meat. Safe food handling practices apply to handling squirrel too!
- The FDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 160F for squirrel and other wild meat.
- Any recommended guidelines for handling raw meat such as beef or pork should be followed when handling raw squirrel. For example, washing hands with soap and hot water, and keeping meat separate from vegetables during preparation.