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A cage-shy squirrel is a pain in the backside squirrel, and one that has probably been captured and released a few times already. That's the thing with these wild critters; they learn and they are starting to do so very quickly. Not only that; they evolve. Rats, for example, have evolved to a point where they are now immune to the rodenticide that we put down for them. Some rats have even learned all about traps, and have somehow worked out how to get to the food in the trap without actually setting it off. It's a neat trick.
Squirrels have learned a little too, it would seem. They have learned that traps are bad, and this is especially the case for the ones that have already been trapped. Wouldn't you learn your lesson if you had been living a happy little life in someone's attic, only to find yourself in a big silver trap one day, carted off into the middle of nowhere, and then duped, miles away from home ...
We'd learn our lesson quick too!
There is a way to trap cage-shy squirrels, but it’s a process that requires patience. You must first let the animal become acquainted with the new trap, but in a way that doesn't frighten it. This means that you can’t set it to go off when you first lay it down, instead, leaving it just as a trap, unset, unassuming. You could even leave out the bait to start with. The aim of the game is to let the squirrel start to believe that the big silver trap is just a new part of the furniture, nothing to do with the animal at all.
After a few days, the squirrel should become more comfortable having the contraption around, and that's when you can start introducing bait. Again, don't set the trap. You want the squirrel to go in and out of the trap a few times, happy to grab the foot and run to start with, and then grab the food, sit and eat a few days down the line.
When the squirrel is quite happy with the new piece of furniture, you can put bait in the trap and then set it. When the squirrel next goes into the trap, it will go off once the trigger has been hit, and the job will be complete. One cage-shy squirrel in a trap!
Go back to the Squirrel Removal page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Squirrels guide.