Ammonia & Mothballs for Squirrels: What's the Deal?

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Ammonia and mothballs are often suggested for wild animal or pest animal removal. The idea is that the smell and toxic gas in the air will encourage these animals to move away from that particular area. In one sense, it has the potential to work quite well. There is a good chance that the animal (in this particular case, the squirrel), will back away from the noxious scent, therefore, leaving the area you don't want them in. There is the one big glaring point that we seem to overlook when considering this, though:

Where are the squirrels going to back away to?

Exactly … We don’t know where the squirrel will go, and this is the case for almost all types of squirrel repellent, ammonia and mothballs included.

You can’t choose where the squirrel goes once it has been repelled. It might leave your attic, home, or back yard, or it might find a way to go deeper, avoiding the gases given off by your toxic repellents, but still ending up somewhere in your home. In a worst-case scenario, you might actually encourage this animal to get smarter and find an even better place to hide.

As well as having no control over where the squirrel ends up, you also have no control over what actually happens to the animal. What if the squirrel doesn't back away from the bad smell and chooses to persist instead? You’ll end up with a dead squirrel. Both ammonia and mothballs give off gases that are harmful to health in high doses. A high dose for a squirrel is going to be considerably smaller than a high dose for humans, but how would you know the right or wrong amounts to use? A little too much and you'll end up knocking an animal out, causing it to have respiratory problems and potential failure, and then maybe even die. Do you know where the animal is going to die? You'd better find out, because you're going to need to retrieve it once all that has gone down.

Using repellents, especially mothballs and ammonia, is dangerous, not only because you could cause an adverse reaction with the toxic chemicals you're using to repel them, but also because there is a big chance they won't work at all. Having squirrels in your home or back yard might seem fun at first, but you're not going to want them to hang around for long. With a number of disease threats and physical damage to property that will be expensive to repair and potentially even hazardous to the health of those that live in the building, squirrels are no joke. Using a jokey approach, such as repellents, will not work.

Go back to the Squirrel Removal page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Squirrels guide.

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