a red squirrel gnawing a conifer cone

The Mad Trappers

My husband and I are like mad trappers. Not angry – mad – just a little bit crazy – mad. Going squirrelly, you might say. Over the past few years, we have used live wildlife traps from Home Hardware, to deal with wildlife in our yards. Having two sizes of small animal traps has come in handy over the past few years, to successfully relocate little creatures without hurting them.

Photo by Sam Forson on Pexels.com

We first bought a larger trap to deal with raccoons that were in our patio fenced area – and wrote about the experience here. Since that day, we haven’t had any issues with raccoons. They are cute to look at at first – but they can be quite vicious.

Our local pest control contractors told us that it is illegal to relocate raccoons more than one kilometer away from where they are found – and so they would come right back. Doing the relocation ourselves by-passed that by-law!

(We did accidentally capture the neighbour’s cat – by the way – but we were keeping an eye on the trap – and let him out quickly – honest He really enjoyed the tuna bait meant for the raccoons)

Raccoon on our neighbour's garage
Raccoon on our neighbour’s garage

We bought a smaller trap last year to deal with rodents living in our barbeque – I won’t say what kind but ugh! We were able to quickly relocate the little fellows and no more issue with that. We live by a river – so rodents are a common issue in our neighbourhood. We refuse to use poison – as it is indiscriminate as to which animals it can hurt.

On our northern cottage island, we had only one sad red squirrel. We watched him for most of the spring and summer, before deciding to trap and relocate him. He wasn’t causing us any trouble (yet), but we felt sad that he was all alone with no other red squirrel buddies to hang out with. He was well fed – having endless quantities of pine cones to eat, and not having to share with anyone!

At some point in time, we know that red squirrels can be troublesome. We know they like to get into buildings and cause havoc.

We assumed that the little fellow had walked here along the ice during the winter, and then became marooned when the ice melted. We named him Scrat. Who knows how many years that he has been here by himself?

Scrat from Ice Age
Scrat from Ice Age

So a few weeks ago we set the trap with a marshmallow and peanut butter and watched and waited.

Emptywildlife trap with marshmallow bait
Empty wildlife trap with marshmallow bait

After setting it off ourselves a few times and being unsuccessful – we added one of our Goldendoodle’s favorite treats – “bacon bits” – to the trap – and bingo! Early this morning there was a ruckus.



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Red squirrel in wildlife live trap
Red squirrel in wildlife live trap
Red squirrel in wildlife live trap
Red squirrel in wildlife live trap

We fretted for a little bit before taking Scrat to his new home….. What if he liked it alone on the island? What if he didn’t like other squirrels? What if his girlfriend was on the island across the lake from us – would he ever find her? Like Scrat, we have a lot of time on our hands to worry about things that we shouldn’t worry about. Scrat needed to see some other squirrels!

Then we put him in the boat, took a two minute ride to the shore – and worried about whether there were squirrel release laws and security cameras……. Too much worrying……

We released the latch and just like that Scrat was gone! Have a good life Scrat – and if not – pop by again in the winter!

Home Hardware Squirrel Trap

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Red Squirrel FAQs

Red Squirrel Habitat

The North American red squirrel is a small diurnal (active during daytime) animal that lives in conifer (evergreen) trees. It primarily eats pine cone seeds and lives across North America. The red squirrel is also referred to as the Hudson’s Bay squirrel. On the west coast of the United States a close cousin of the red squirrel resides – known as the Douglas squirrel.

What do Red Squirrels Eat?

Red Squirrels are primarily herbivores (plant eating), and enjoy conifer seeds (pine cone seeds or nuts)

Are red squirrels vicious?

Red squirrels have a more limited diet than other types of squirrels, and tend to be more territorial and protective of their pine nut food source.

Can red squirrels interbreed with grey squirrels?

Red and grey squirrels are two different species and cannot interbreed. Some grey squirrels appear to have some red fur, but they are not red squirrels.

15 thoughts on “The Mad Trappers

  1. I love nature, but some of the critters
    can be a little dangerous, & being we
    are invading what land God made for
    them & can destroy your property.

    But catching & releasing them in
    another location does help if it’s
    far enough from where you caught
    it, but they just go to the next area.

    1. It’s hard to figure out what is the right thing to do with wildlife. In the case of the squirrel, we were worried it was all by itself but maybe he liked it that way! The raccoons can be quite vicious with pets – so we just had to deal with them. We hope they like their new home.

  2. Here in the hill country of south-central Texas, we have Opossums, Coons, and who knows what else that invade the bird feeders at night. I leave them alone, let them eat the seeds they like and then move on. The Cardinals are a bit of a problem because they are bitchy, but the rest o the birds are pretty laid back. I caught an Opossum eating sunflower seeds, picked it up, and held it a while. What a sweet animal it was. Snuggled and purred for a while then I let it go. The Blue Jays are the small attack force that drives the other birds mad. Nature is a wonder, every day, and I enjoy it.

  3. So how would you recommend we get rid of out iguana and duck problem in South Florida? Squirrels tend to be smart little buggers near us and thus would be difficult to relocate them?
    Condo laws near us would not likely allow traps and the neighbors would probably complain.

    1. We have some lots of ducks and geese visiting too. Our dog chases them off – but he can’t swim. Iguanas? Yikes – I don’t know what to do about them – are they very big? I suppose they eat the mosquitos? Our latest battle is with giant dock spiders…..

  4. To me it’s important to consider the natural ecosystem of prey vs. predator in resolving Such animal nuisances without need for guns or traps.

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