squirel tube traps

How to Make a Squirrel Tube Trap 4 Ways

Today we will make a few traps in the “humane eviction” theme for squirrels. These are 3 traps to keep the squirrel alive so it can be relocated, or harvested as you wish. The most common reason to catch a squirrel alive is to move him to a place that he isn’t destructive to your garden or animals.

We will do 3 outdoors, and one that can be used when you have them living indoors with you. As squirrels are territorial and keep other squirrels away, if you remove them more may come.

Why set Traps?

The biggest reason I can see is the destruction a squirrel can wreak on your garden and anything outside.

  • They are active year round, and can have 2 litters a year with up to 4 babies each time.
  • The can be devastating to gardens by eating seedlings, roots, and digging up vegetables. They like to plant their nuts, which is cute, but they do not stop there. They eat fruit, seeds, and twigs and flowers. They steal corn, strawberries, tomatoes, kale, and any soft fruits or berries.
  • They strip the bark from young bushes and trees and eat the buds. They ate my roses. This is war.
  • They chew on outdoor plastics such as sprinklers and irrigation lines. Wooden materials like furniture and wooden buildings will show gnawing as they need to get their teeth filed down.
  • They destroy eggs from ground nesting birds, including if your chickens lay eggs outside. They kill young birds like poults. That is grounds enough.
  • We all have seen bird feeders that cannot outsmart a squirrel, so they take the other animals food. This includes all grain and seeds, including from livestock and poultry.

TIP: the best bird feeder protector I have seen to keep squirrels out was a regular slinky on its pole.

  • I have seen them get in the garbage and get out fried chicken legs! I had no idea they ate those!
  • They chew on electrical wiring, cables, and anything on the roof or house. Besides interrupting cable and internet service (a sin here) this can cause a fire!

Biggest Reason to Relocate: Squirrels Carry Diseases

Squirrels can carry salmonella bacteria which causes diarrhea abdominal cramps and fevers. This can be transmitted by them on their fur and paws, not necessarily a bite or close contact. They get in the animals feed and water, and since they are wild, they can contaminate it. They eat my dogs food when it spills, as do the deer.

Honestly, my little girl Prissy has been ill and the vet couldn’t figure out where she contracted this. Well, I have to wonder as our yard for the small dogs is under trees that have acorns everywhere, and squirrels get into their water and run everywhere.

worm farming

They also can be carriers of:

  • Lyme disease, which affects the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord
  • Colorado tick fever
  • Rabies
  • Leptospirosis
  • Encephalitis
  • Tularemia affects lymph nodes and your immune system
  • Rounding out the diseases squirrels can transmit is plague!

How can a squirrel transmit a disease to pets, livestock, or humans?

  • urine
  • droppings
  • marking their territory in your attic
  • a simple scratch
  • bites
  • fleas and mites carrying it from them to you or your animals

On to the trapping, now we know those cuties can have a down side. In some states its legal to hunt and kill them, but not relocate without the Fish and Wildlife getting a call. So maybe call them if you plan on doing this. You do not want a fine for something you were doing to be kind.

Squirrels do bite:

Using everyday materials for traps and improvising is what I like to do. These days it is possible to find a specialty item for almost anything. That includes traps. It may be the Cherokee in me, but I like building traps and using primitive means. In these we are using PVC pipe, which would’ve been a hollowed out branch or small tree in the bush. Some type of tubular natural structure.

With this, I had to forage into “No-Man’s Land”, i.e. Eric’s garage and workshop. I felt like a squirrel nervously twitching my tail, and you’d better believe I looked for tripwires or loose leaves indicating pits or nets. Like the crafty squirrel on a birdfeeder, nothing held me back. I absconded with some PVC pipe and a few tools and materials. A few materials came from the kitchen: Pam and bait (organic peanut butter).

DIY PVC Squirrel Tube Trap

squirrel supplies

Drill holes in the pipe as shown. For the base do not drill 6” from either end, put 6 in the middle.

squirrel top bottom drill holes

For the top piece, one hole 2 inches from the top will do, on either side. The end that will be pointing up gets the holes. Drill the holes across from one another.

squirrel base

Assemble the trap’s base pieces. Use the pvc adapter on one end and the elbow on the other. I didn’t use any glue or adhesives as they were pretty snug.

squirrel end cap

For the top piece without holes, put the cap on. Again so not glue. You will want to be able to remove this.

Assemble and bait your trap. I used organic peanut butter to smear inside, and I also used a spray oil to make the inside slippery. That’s the premise with this trap. They go in for the food, and end up sliding to the bottom and get stuck there. Unable to get back up the slippery incline.

squirrel fix with bricks

After scouting for signs of squirrels pick a tree that you can place the trap against. Lock the trap in place with bricks or stones.

squirrel attach w bungee

Use the holes on the top piece to place nuts or screws for your bungee cord to hook to. You can also just tie it on with the holes, but with a lively upset squirrel, you may not want to take your chances with a stubborn knot.

squirrel tube trap

Lever PVC Squirrel Tube Trap

For this next trap, we will also be using PVC, but the premise is using it as a lever. When the lever is activated by the squrriel going into the tube’s end where the bait is (below), the door comes down.

lever load with pb bait

lever 1 down position

A small pivot is used in the middle, think see saw motion.  The squrriels weight works against him. If he tries to come back to the other end that he entered, the traps door is held shut against a small barrier.

lever up position shuts door

Tilong Type PVC Squrriel Tube Trap

This trap uses a mechanism as a trigger to bring the door down on the squrriel. You place your bait in the back of the tube. When the squrriel enters he triggers a middle tab with his body pushing it out of place. This activates the mechanism, closing the door by a pulley system.

tilong type

Video of squirrels chewing the roof:

Indoor/outdoor PVC Squirrel Tube Trap

This one is for squirrels that may live inside your house, like the attic or a garage. It uses the same principle as the first tube trap, but it’s a longer pvc pipe tube and it ends in a ventilated wire cage for easy removal.

squirrel in the tube
Photo: squirrel in the tube

If it is an area you cannot check every day, or there may be more than one squirrel you want to remove from the area, this is a good trap for that as the cage does not close off, leaving access to more than the first squirrel that is caught in it.

You use a pretty steep elevation, and a slick substance such a vegetable oil or Pam to spray inside. Even WD-40 may be used, but the smell may be too much for them. Place a smear of peanut butter very deep in the pipe towards the cage, so they need to enter to get the bait. You want it about ¾th the way down the pvc pipe so they can smell it, but not get discouraged. Maybe a bug hunk of bait there and some smaller dribbling towards the entry end.

live capture with wire cage

Once they enter the pvc pipe they should slide down into the wire cage. This works well for mama and babies too, if you have seen the babies around or they are old enough to be up and walking. They will smell her and follow her into the cage below. They can be transplanted elsewhere together, so this trap is good for catching families of varmints too.

Basic Bait and Snare Box Trap

This is not a pvc pipe trap, but it is a very effective live trap set up. It is based on a pretty simple bait and snare trigger methodology. The squirrel pulls the bait line and it closes the door, as the catch on the door slips off allowing it to slide down. It has a screen end and is a good trap to transport your squirrels in, so I thought I’d include it.

trap live pully

I hope these DIY traps can help you and your furry friends safely get some peace!

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About Dyann Joyce

Dyann Joyce
Growing up in the Bluegrass State, it was a point of familial pride to be able to shoot, trap, identify plants and track animals. Summer camps helped us be well versed in camping, weapons, and survival skills from a young age. We were surrounded by such a lush environment and we used the resources we had. I met my soulmate in my happiest place to be- a seemingly enchanted winding trail next to a beautiful wooded glen- where I spent as much time exploring as I could during daylight hours with my trusty four-legged friends. I thought I would be a natural scientist like Audubon and travel the world NatGeo style painting and recording the fantastical. I love to create and paint in many mediums. After 3 years following the nursing track, I switched to natural and holistic medicine as that is where my passion lies. I am hoping to finish my doctorate in homeopathic and botanical medicine to achieve my nMD in Naturopathic Medicine by late 2018 (hopefully). The bucket list includes living the days painting and writing on a fully self-sufficient homestead, off-grid with our animals and family and plenty of land for the significant other (who I think is a true artist at weapons and living that way) to shoot to his heart’s content. Naturally organic living for us and the animals is a goal.

3 comments

  1. This “attack” squirrel was obviously a tame squirrel looking for food; somebody domesticated it & got it used to humans. It followed you hoping to be fed.

    • I chose that video as it said “squirrels do bite” but yes, this squirrel wants so food and is going up to him for some. This is a reason why if you find babies, you cant just feed them and thrown them out on their own.

  2. Another live trap you can easily make allows you to catch and move pheasants and grouse. My dad taught me how to braze a screen over the end of a 26 inch length of stovepipe. Then you place popcorn into the end of the pipe about 18 inches in and place some around the ground in front of the pipe.
    A pheasant enters the pipa and cannot back up. You empty the trap into a burlap bag and reuse it. One thing to remember is that this works so well you can completely deplete birds from an area. Always leave “seeds”, at least three roosters and four to six hens in an area. That will ensure a healthy population for next year. Remember that pheasants can nest twice or even three times in a good year. Keep the predictors down and you can manage your birds like a crop.
    Forrest grouse tend to hold to the same ground. Taking two or three from the same location will not present a problem.
    Skunks, raccoons, coyotes, etc should be shot at every opportunity. Eliminating your competition Helps the population grow for tomorrow.

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