How to Get Rid of Ground Squirrels Without Killing Them

Tree squirrels can invade your home and wreak havoc on insulating materials, wooden frames, PVC pipes, and others. Ground squirrels, on the other hand, won’t march into your home. However, they can destroy the foundations, resulting in costly structural damage. However, there are ways to free your property from squirrels in a humane way.

Installing ultrasonic pest repellents and motion-sensing water sprinklers can scare away ground squirrels. Also, bird decoys, certain plants, and cayenne pepper spray or powder are good ways to get rid of squirrels.

When it comes to ridding your property of ground squirrels, no creature has to die.

There are many ways on how to get rid of ground squirrels without killing them, and you can find some of the best below.

7 Bloodshed-Free Solutions To Squirrel Problem

When it comes to killing common household pests, there is a product that immediately pops into everyone’s mind: poison. However, to date, there is no commercially available ground squirrel poison that you can buy.

The good news is that you don’t have to poison ground squirrels to get rid of them and, ultimately, keep your home out of harm’s way.

There are many steps that you may take on how to get rid of ground squirrels without poison use.

By going for them, you can have a ground squirrel-free property without taking away the life of any living creatures.

image of ground squirrel

Rely on Ultrasonic Repellents

Have you already seen a ground squirrel opening its mouth without making a sound?

It could be yawning due to boredom or sleepiness.

Or it could be emitting a high-frequency sound that you cannot hear, warning squirrels in the area that a predator is lurking around.

It’s perfectly fine for ground squirrels to hear a high-frequency sound from time to time. After all, it is for their own good — it alerts them to be on the lookout to protect themselves, their young and their food.

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However, it is a different matter if a high-frequency sound is present all the time.

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It can make them feel like they are not safe, causing them to look for a different place in which to live. It’s because of this reason why the installation of an ultrasonic repellent can help drive away any ground squirrels burrowing around your home.

Just like what the name says, an ultrasonic repellent is a repelling device that produces a high-frequency sound to ward off common household pests capable of hearing high-pitched sounds.

Most ultrasonic repellents in the market are battery-operated or plugged into wall outlets, in particular models intended for indoor installation.

A lot of ultrasonic repellents also come with motion-sensors, enabling them to give off a high-frequency sound only when a pest is in the vicinity.

For outdoor installation, it’s a wonderful idea to opt for ultrasonic repellents that are solar-powered.

Keep in mind that ground squirrels are not the only ones that can hear high-frequency sounds. Many other animals have extremely sensitive ears, too, such as dogs and cats.

This is why if you have pets, the use of ultrasonic repellents to eliminate ground squirrels can leave your pawed pals stressed and agitated.

Ultrasonic Pest Repeller

Install Water Sprinklers

Ground squirrels swim when they have to.

The fact is that they are excellent swimmers — they use their front legs as paddles and their tails as rudders.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they love water.

Ground squirrels hate water, which is why you can use water in your quest to live in a home whose foundations are safe from the constant digging of burrowing squirrels.

Water won’t hurt ground squirrels alright, but it can give them a hint that they are not welcome.

Since no busy person has the time to wait for ground squirrels to appear and splash water on them, the installation of a water sprinkler is recommended.

But don’t just install any water sprinkler that you can buy. When it comes to repelling ground squirrels with water, make sure that you count on a motion-activated water sprinkler.

This helps save water as it doesn’t have to squirt water even if there are no ground squirrels in sight, which is great for your pocket and the environment, too.

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If you have an average-sized property, most of the time, a single water sprinkler is enough to keep ground squirrels at bay. Just see to it that it has an adjustable spray direction and range.

Having a large property may require you to install several water sprinklers to make sure that no area will be favorable for ground squirrels to burrow in.

Look for water sprinklers that can be connected to each other with a garden hose to eliminate the need to have several water faucets outside the home.

What’s really nice about having a motion-activated water sprinkler installed is that it allows you to hit two birds with one stone.

First, it helps scare away ground squirrels before they have the opportunity to cause expensive structural damage to your home.

Second, it helps keep plants in your garden or yard from wilting.

image of ground squirrel

Set Up Live Traps

Keep in mind that the use of live traps will require you to play the waiting game — to remove ground squirrels from your property, they will have to first get inside live traps.

This is when the importance of effective bating comes in.

Fortunately, there are many foods that can lure ground squirrels to step foot inside live traps.

For live trapping ground squirrels, there’s a bait that’s readily available for most homeowners and also easily irresistible to ground squirrels.

It’s none other than peanut butter.

Many homeowners swear by the effectiveness of sticking a couple of peanuts in the shell to peanut butter.

When shopping for live traps, go for the largest ones that you can afford. This is to make sure that no ground squirrels will get injured in the process.

Also, go for live traps that are out of a metal mesh or thick plastic. Otherwise, trapped ground squirrels may gnaw themselves out of the traps after a peanut butter snack.

HOMESTEAD 88-207 Live Animal Trap

But just because you are planning on using live traps doesn’t necessarily mean that the ground squirrels you will catch will continue to live happily after releasing them into the wild.

Before you get your hands on some live traps, identify places where you could release trapped ground squirrels.

Choosing the right place is crucial, especially if you don’t want to harm any squirrel.

After all, the goal of using live traps is to prevent bloodshed in your attempt to have a ground squirrel-free property.

Best Electronic And Non-Electronic Squirrel Traps

The best place to release captured ground squirrels has lots of tree nuts and various plant-based foods available. There should also be a lake, brook or any other body of water from which ground squirrels could have a drink.

In most states, it is legal to use live traps on ground squirrels if they are causing damage to one’s property. This is true whether it’s the hunting season or not.

However, to make sure that you won’t get into any kind of trouble, check with the local laws on getting rid of ground squirrels through the DIY approach.

Decorate With Bird Decoys, e.g. Owls

If you want your lawn or garden to be free of ground squirrels and at the same time look eye-catching, there is a home remedy for ground squirrels that you may give a try.

It’s none other than placing realistic-looking decoys of birds, in particular those that have ground squirrels on the top of the list of their favorite foods.

Ground squirrels eat many things other than nuts and seeds. They eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables, too. They also eat insects and small animals such as birds and young snakes.

On the other hand, there are many animals that eat ground squirrels. Some of those that these digging rodents fear the most are birds of prey.

Owls, hawks, falcons, eagles — these are some of the birds that find ground squirrels mouth-watering. It’s due to these flying creatures why ground squirrels avoid spending a lot of time in open spaces.

Scaring away ground squirrels can be as simple as installing bird decoys on your property.

The more realistic looking they are, the more terrified those ground squirrels will get. Some bird decoys even have motion-sensing features that make realistic shrieking sounds each time they detect motion.

Ground squirrels are smart creatures. For instance, they pretend to bury something to keep food thieves from having access to their actual cache of nuts and seeds.

Because of their intelligence, ground squirrels may realize sooner or later that the birds of prey around are nothing more than just decoys.

And when they come to this realization, ground squirrels will simply resume doing what they love the most: digging for shelter, warmth and protection.

Fret not because there is a workaround.

All you have to do is move around the decoys on a regular basis to trick ground squirrels into thinking that the feathered creatures around are real and ready to have a taste of them.

image of ground squirrel

Grow Plants Like Peppermint to Repel Squirrels

There are many reasons why a lot of homeowners do not like having ground squirrels around.

One of those is that these beady-eyed animals tend to wreak havoc on their lawn or garden plants.

Ground squirrels love plants that bear fruits or can be eaten as vegetables. It doesn’t come as a surprise since they are largely herbivorous.

Whether you want to keep your plants out of harm’s way or you just want to live in a house that won’t fall apart due to damaged foundations, you can count on plants capable of repelling ground squirrels.

Ground squirrels cannot stand certain plants because of the way they smell. The stronger the smell, the farther ground squirrels will stay away from your property.

It’s because of this why ground squirrels do not like peppermint plants — their powerful minty smell irritates the nose of squirrels.

Needless to say, it’s a great idea to plant a lot of peppermint plants on your property. Making sure that there are enough of them on ground squirrel hotspots can help keep your lawn or garden free of unsightly holes.

Besides planting peppermint plants, you may also use peppermint essential oil to repel ground squirrels.

All you have to do is apply or spray this aromatic oil on strategic places, such as the base of a bird feeder, bird bath or garden ornament. Don’t forget to put peppermint oil on patio furniture, garden pots and others.

Unfortunately, peppermint essential oil doesn’t have a cheap price tag. This is especially true for the kind that’s 100% pure and perfect for various aromatherapy purposes.

If you are on a tight budget, plant peppermint plants rather than use peppermint essential oil.

Garlic and onion plants — ground squirrels also hate the smell of these plants.

What’s really nice about planting lots of garlic and onion plants on your property is that you will have easy access to fresh culinary ingredients each time you wish to come up with a delectable and healthy culinary creation.

Spray Cayenne Pepper Spray

It was mentioned earlier that spraying peppermint essential oil is an effective way to deal with ground squirrels without taking away their life.

It was also pointed out that the volatile oil is not the cheapest solution available.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to peppermint essential oil, many of which are cheaper.

One very good example is cayenne pepper spray — it’s effective and can be made with your own two hands.

Since you can make it from scratch, you can save a lot of your money and energy, too.

Here are the steps on how to make cayenne pepper spray:

  1. Place two cups of water in a saucepan
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, dissolve four tablespoons of cayenne pepper powder in it.
  4. Switch off the stove and allow the mixture to cool.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle once at room temperature.

That’s it — you just made cayenne pepper spray that can repel ground squirrels.

What’s really nice about it is that you can spray it on plants to protect them from being ground squirrel snack items.

Homemade cayenne pepper spray is also effective for dealing with a variety of common plant pests.

Aside from using cayenne pepper in spray form, you may also use it in powdered form.

For instance, you may add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to birdseed.

Worry not because cayenne pepper powder won’t hurt birds in any way. Sadly, the same cannot be said about ground squirrels!

Eliminate Clutter On Your Lawn

Believe it or not, something as simple as keeping your lawn or garden free of clutter can help keep ground squirrels at bay.

That’s because it keeps hiding places to a minimum, which makes ground squirrels easier to spot by their natural enemies.

For instance, birds of prey will be able to swoop down and devour them trouble-free.

There is no need to feel guilty — it’s just how the food chain works.

Also, it is illegal in most states to kill ground squirrels and other types of squirrels, especially outside the hunting season. However, it’s not illegal for owls, hawks and others to eat ground squirrels.

Reducing the number of junk, outdoor furniture and garden decors can help keep clutter to a minimum. It will also create the illusion that your property is larger than it really is.

image of ground squirrel

And that seemingly bigger space will look better if it’s not peppered with holes created by ground squirrels.

It’s also a great idea to keep your property neat and clean. Getting rid of scraps of food can cause ground squirrels to feel that it is more likely for them to thrive somewhere else.

Refrain from using just about any trash can when ground squirrels are around. The best trash cans for the job are those that are out of metal.

Look for a trash can whose metal lid can be secured with a bungee cord. With this feature, your trash (especially food scraps) will stay in, and ground squirrels will stay out.

A WORD OF CAUTION: Do not attempt to seal holes made by ground squirrels with cement or rocks. That’s because ground squirrels trapped inside will create other exit points by digging even more, which can worsen underground voids.

As a result, the foundations of your home will be placed at higher risk!


It’s true that ground squirrels can damage your lawn or garden as well as destroy your home.

However, refrain from assuming that these burrowing rodents are pure evil.

According to experts, ground squirrels help aerate soil, disperse seeds, keep the number of insects in check and provide habitat to other animals.

Because ground squirrels have positive things to offer, too, exterminating them is not the best solution.

Above, we talked about some of the most effective ways on how to get rid of ground squirrels without killing them.

It is fully up to you to decide which of them you wish to employ, depending on certain factors such as your available budget and the severity of the problem.

No matter your choice, always remember to add a dash of patience and determination — those ground squirrels won’t leave you and your property alone in a snap.

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