How To Keep Squirrels From Climbing Downspouts

Are you frustrated with squirrels scampering up your downspouts? These little critters are expert climbers and can easily access rooftops using downspouts. This blog will teach you proven strategies to squirrel-proof your downspouts, protecting them from unwanted damage.

Ready to learn how to keep squirrels from climbing downspouts and reclaim your gutters? Let’s jump right in!

Key Takeaways

Install squirrel guards on downspouts, creating a slippery and difficult to climb barrier. Measure, buy guards, and follow instructions for a squirrel-free zone.
Make the downspouts a no-go zone by applying slippery substances. Petroleum jelly, cooking oil, soap, or wax will deter those persistent climbers.
Trim tree branches near downspouts to eliminate easy access points. Regular checks and trims create a squirrel-free zone and protect your gutters.
If DIY methods aren’t keeping squirrels climbing your downspouts and keeping them off your roof, call a pest control professional.

Understanding Squirrel Behavior

Squirrels are skilled climbers and can quickly scale downspouts to access your gutters. They climb downspouts for various reasons, such as seeking shelter, looking for nesting material to have their young, or finding food sources.

Squirrels Can Climb Up Downspouts

Squirrels possess remarkable athletic prowess, and one of their most surprising skills is the ability to scale downspouts that seem smooth and difficult to climb. Their sharp claws provide a firm grip and outstanding balance, so they can easily scale downspouts.

You may wonder why you should deter squirrels because they may seem cute and harmless, and some people attract squirrels with feeders to give their cats something to watch. 

However, if squirrels make it onto your roof via a downspout, they could inflict damage on your property by chewing through materials or building nests in inconvenient places. Blocked gutters can lead to too much moisture, mold, and mildew

Preventing this climbing activity is crucial for homeowners wanting to keep these critters at bay and is less expensive than treating the damage they cause.

Squirrel on Sloped Roof Shingles

Why Squirrels Climb Downspouts

Squirrels climb downspouts for several reasons. They have a natural instinct to investigate holes and crevices, which often leads them to explore downspouts in search of food or shelter.

The inside of your home’s gutters can become an appealing nesting site, especially if cluttered with leaves and debris. If a squirrel finds its way into your gutter system, it may use the downspout as its private highway within the complex architecture of your house.

Additionally, squirrels are skilled climbers with sharp claws and flexible bodies that allow them to navigate up and down vertical surfaces easily—even those as sleek and round as downspouts!

Effective Methods To Prevent Squirrels From Climbing Downspouts

To keep squirrels from climbing downspouts, you can install squirrel guards, apply slippery substances, and trim tree branches near the downspouts.

Install Squirrel Guards on Downspouts

Installing squirrel guards on your downspouts is an effective method to keep these nimble climbers at bay. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Start by measuring and noting down the circumference of your downspouts.
  • Purchase sturdy squirrel guards from a home improvement store or online that match your measurements.
  • Ensure the guards are designed specifically for downspouts and have features to deter squirrels. These usually come in a cylindrical shape and have slippery surfaces which squirrels struggle to grip.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. The installation process generally includes placing the guard around the downspout and securing it with straps or screws provided.
  • Check periodically after installation to ensure that the guard remains intact and in place.

Apply Slippery Substances to Downspouts

Whenever possible, squirrels will naturally do whatever is easiest for them. Making the downspouts too slippery for squirrels to climb by applying substances they find difficult to hold onto is a safe and humane way to start. 

Slippery spouts will help deter them from using the downspouts as a pathway.

  • Use petroleum jelly: Apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly along the length of the downspout. Squirrels will have difficulty gripping onto the slippery surface, preventing them from climbing.
  • Coat with cooking spray: Spray cooking oil or non-stick cooking spray onto the downspout. The slick surface will make it challenging for squirrels to climb up and down.
  • Try soap or dish detergent: Rub a bar of soap or coat the downspout with liquid dish detergent. The slimy texture will discourage squirrels from attempting to climb.
  • Use wax or candle: Rub a wax block or candle on the surface of the downspout. The wax creates a smooth and slippery layer that makes it difficult for squirrels to gain traction.

You can also add some aluminum foil to the downspout to deter them from climbing. 

Trim Tree Branches Near Downspouts

Trimming tree branches near downspouts is an effective way to prevent squirrels from climbing down. It removes the pathways and access points that squirrels use to reach the downspouts. 

By keeping the tree branches away, you create a barrier that makes it harder for squirrels to approach and climb down the downspouts. This simple step can greatly reduce squirrel activity around your gutters and help protect them from damage. Remember to regularly inspect and trim any new growth to maintain a squirrel-free environment.

What You Will Need To Prevent Squirrels From Climbing Your Downspouts

The steps in how to keep squirrels from climbing downspouts are easy, but you will need a few items before you can begin. You will need the following inexpensive items:

  • Squirrel guards or squirrel baffles for downspouts
  • A slippery substance like Vaseline or cooking oil
  • Pruning shears or a tree saw to trim tree branches
  • Protective gloves and eyewear for safety during tree trimming

Step-by-Step Instructions

To keep squirrels from climbing downspouts, follow these simple steps:

  1. Install squirrel guards on your downspouts to create a barrier that prevents them from climbing up.
  2. Apply a slippery substance, such as petroleum jelly or cooking oil, to the surface of the downspouts. This will make it difficult for squirrels to gain traction and climb.
  3. Assess the nearby trees and trim any tree branches near the downspouts to eliminate easy access points for squirrels.
  4. Clean gutters to remove any debris that may attract squirrels or provide them with nesting material. Keep them clean to avoid infestations.
  5. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent squirrels from accessing your gutters in the first place.


Preventing squirrels from climbing downspouts is essential to protect your gutters and to avoid damage. You can effectively and humanely deter squirrels from accessing your gutters and roof by installing squirrel guards, applying slippery substances, and trimming tree branches near downspouts.

Take action now to keep these pesky critters away and maintain the integrity of your home’s drainage system.

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Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.