Will a Rat Trap Kill a Squirrel?

Last Updated:

Dealing with pesky rodents is a common challenge faced by many homeowners, but when it comes to squirrels, deciding the best trapping method leads to the pressing question – will a rat trap kill a squirrel? The answer isn’t as black and white as you might think, as there are differences in anatomy and behavior between rats and squirrels.

In this informative blog post, we’ll explore the effectiveness of rat traps on squirrels and present alternative methods that could save you time while ensuring humane treatment for these intriguing creatures.

Key Takeaways

Rat traps are not effective or humane when used to catch squirrels due to their differences in anatomy and larger size.
Specialized squirrel traps, deterrents, and habitat modification strategies are more suitable alternatives for managing squirrels effectively without causing harm.
Choosing between live or kill traps will depend on various factors such as effectiveness and ethical implications. Humane trapping methods like box, tube, or flat snap traps offer quick capture times with minimal suffering.
Homeowners should contact professional wildlife removal services if they’re unsure of how to handle a squirrel problem safely or humanely.

Can You Use a Rat Trap on Squirrels?

Using a rat trap on squirrels is not recommended due to the differences in anatomy and size between the two animals, making it ineffective and potentially harmful. Squirrels also live in different areas to rats, so it could be a waste of a trap if you lay one out. Some species of squirrel are protected, so check before planting a trap.  

Rat Trap on Concrete Patio

Rat Traps and Squirrels: Effectiveness and Alternatives

Rat traps and squirrels often cross paths, but the effectiveness of a typical rat trap on a squirrel is questionable at best.

One primary reason is that these traps are designed for smaller rodents like rats, so when used against larger animals such as squirrels, they may not deliver a fatal blow. This is very similar to how rat poison won’t kill squirrels.

There are more suitable alternatives available if your goal is effective squirrel management without resorting to inhumane methods. Specialized squirrel traps provide better results than repurposed rat traps; these have been specifically crafted for larger rodents and can either harmlessly capture them alive or deliver quick kills with minimal suffering involved.

Exploring Better Methods: More Effective Ways To Deal With Squirrels

As a homeowner dealing with squirrels, it’s essential to explore more effective and humane methods for squirrel management. Rather than using rat traps that may only injure or maim the animal, consider options such as repellents and deterrents.

Another successful technique is installing squirrel-proof bird feeders so that they don’t attract additional unwanted guests. Also, trimming tree branches can prevent easy access to roofs and attics where squirrels often nest.

Trapping and Removing Squirrels

Learn about the best humane traps to use on squirrels and explore the effectiveness of box, tube, and flat traps for squirrel management.

Live vs Kill Traps

Deciding between live and kill traps when faced with a squirrel problem is not always an easy task, as each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Live-catch traps, such as box or tube traps, are designed to capture the squirrel without causing any harm, allowing for the relocation of the animal to a more suitable area.

Grey Squirrel Trapped in a Live Cage

On the other hand, kill traps like snap traps or electric rat traps can provide quicker results by killing the squirrels upon contact. However, these lethal methods have potential drawbacks. They can cause unintentional harm to non-target animals and ethical concerns surrounding animal welfare.

Additionally, unlike live-capture methods where captured animals can be relocated far from your home or property, it may take multiple attempts using kill traps before you see significant improvement in removing squirrels from your space due to their persistent nature in finding food sources close by.

A lethal trap can solve a squirrel problem quickly. Some other methods are more time-consuming, but they are also considered more humane. 

Humane Traps To Use on Squirrels

When it comes to trapping and removing squirrels, humane traps are the way to go. Cage traps are commonly used as a humane option, but they can unintentionally harm squirrels due to the stress it inflicts on them.

Box traps are another effective option, which safely captures squirrels without harming them. Tunnel or tube traps can also be useful in catching squirrels as they pass through.

Flat traps for squirrels are an excellent choice if you plan on releasing them back into their natural habitat after capture.

Cage Traps

Cage traps are constructed of chicken wire and have a floor lever that closes a door when activated.

Grey Squirrel Trapped in a Live Cage

These are one of the most common types of squirrel traps as they are humane, simple, and highly effective.

The only issue with these traps is that they can sometimes cause stress to the squirrel as it can see predators approaching, but isn’t able to move to hide. If you use one of these traps, be sure to check it often and quickly relocate any squirrel that’s been trapped.

Box Traps

Box traps are an effective and humane way to catch squirrels without causing them harm. These traps use bait, such as peanut butter or sunflower seeds, to lure the squirrel into the box trap.

Box traps are easy to set up and use. They should be placed in areas where squirrels are known to travel and feed, such as near bird feeders or around trees where they like to climb.

Overall, if you’re looking for an effective way to remove squirrels from your property without harming them – box traps are a great option.

Tube Traps

Tube traps are a popular option for trapping and removing squirrels from your property. They work by luring the squirrel into a tube-shaped trap with bait, and then closing off both ends of the tube once the squirrel is inside.

This method is effective in preventing escape while also keeping the squirrel calm and protected during transport.

It’s important to note that not all tube traps are created equal, and some may still harm or stress the animal if not used properly. It’s recommended to choose a high-quality trap made specifically for trapping squirrels, rather than using one intended for smaller animals like mice or rats.

Flat Traps for Squirrels

Flat traps for squirrels are a popular option because they are low profile, easy to set up, and highly effective. These traps work by luring squirrels with bait placed on the trigger plate of the trap, which then snaps shut when triggered by the squirrel’s weight or movement.

One advantage of flat snap traps over cage or lethal traps is that they can be more efficient at eliminating squirrels. Cage or live capture traps may require frequent monitoring and relocation, while lethal traps can involve slow-acting poisons that increase the risk of accidental exposure to pets or humans.

Flat snap traps offer a quicker solution that helps homeowners manage their squirrel problem without being overly time-consuming or posing unnecessary risks to larger animals like raccoons or opossums.

When to Contact a Professional

When dealing with a squirrel problem, always explore humane and safe management options. While rat traps may seem like an easy solution, they are ineffective on squirrels and can cause harm.

Instead, consider using live traps or other humane trapping methods. Additionally, if you’re unsure how to handle the situation or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, contact a professional wildlife removal service for help. They can answer all your most pressing questions and concerns. 


What do you put on a rat trap to catch a squirrel? Will rat bait kill squirrels? What is the best bait to use to catch a squirrel? Can an electric rat trap kill a squirrel? Find out the answers and more by reading our FAQs section below.

What do you put on a rat trap to catch a squirrel?

Using a rat trap to catch a squirrel is not recommended as it may lead to inhumane results. If you plan on trapping squirrels, there are specific bait options you can use to attract them.

Peanut butter and sunflower seeds are popular choices for squirrel bait.

Will rat bait kill squirrels?

Squirrels are unlikely to consume rat bait as it is not a part of their diet. However, if they do eat it, the chemicals in rat poison can be toxic to squirrels and other animals like rats and woodchucks.

What is the best bait to use to catch a squirrel?

The best bait to use to catch a squirrel depends on the type of trap you’re using. However, peanut butter is an excellent choice for most traps. It’s attractive to squirrels, easy to apply, and sticks well to the trigger mechanism of many traps.

Squirrels are also fond of acorns, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit such as raisins and cranberries. These items are placed directly on the trigger or in a small pouch made from a piece of nylon stocking tied around the bait.

Can an electric rat trap kill a squirrel?

An electric rat trap can potentially kill a squirrel, but it is not recommended as the trap may not be strong enough to hold and dispatch a larger animal. The Eliminator Electronic Rodent Trap, however, is effective in killing squirrels and chipmunks along with rats and mice.

It uses high-voltage shock waves to instantly kill rodents. It avoids using chemicals or poisons. Despite its effectiveness, it’s important to note that using lethal traps comes with ethical considerations when dealing with live animals.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, using a rat trap to catch squirrels is not an effective or humane solution. Rat traps are for rats as their anatomy differs from that of squirrels.

While some people have modified rat traps to capture squirrels, it’s not recommended as they can cause unnecessary harm and suffering to the animal. Instead, consider using live or humane box traps designed to catch larger animals like squirrels.

Always remember that killing or harming these creatures should be the last resort, and it is best to contact a professional when necessary.

Photo of author
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.