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zircon 08-06-2012 08:01 AM

Houdini the squirrel
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I am trying to catch a squirrel who has just about eaten all the pears on my pear tree. He has escaped six times. First he just turned over the trap and the wire holding the door closed flew up. I then added bricks on top of the trap. He tossed them like confetti. I next wired the trap to a board and placed the bricks on the board. He still tossed the bricks. I then added a weight to the wire so it wouldn't bounce up and finally a rubber band too. I put a handful of peanuts in the trap and they are all gone in the morning and the trap is closed and empty. How does he do it and what do I do next?

user1007 08-06-2012 07:07 PM

I know you are not telling the truth!!!! Squirrels do not eat all of anything including most of the pears on your tree. They take one or two bites at most out of each and every one they can get to! 85-90 percent of your pears are still on the tree but with brown exposed fruit and fruit flies attacking!:furious:

First thing I noticed is that I think your trap is too small for a squirrel. The small opening may be sending a warning signal. The fact the clever little beast is able to toss it around is a clue beyond appearance. I would try a larger one. Some communities have PETA or SPCA facilities that will lend Have-a-Heart traps as they can get expensive.

You might try a different bait in larger traps like peanut butter with sunflower or other seeds in it. They would have to get in and work at it rather than just grab nuts and run.

The problem was so persistent for me that in Central Illinois I broke down and hired a trapper to deal with the things. He was not that expensive.

At one point I had to get rid of squirrels pronto in a house I renovated. An exterminator came and sprayed the attic with "Essence of Fox" or something and the little critters almost flew out their ingress/egress ports within seconds. I did not smell it and it did not bother the cats. Maybe such spray around the base of your tree and on the trunk would help? Not sure how it holds up outdoors though.

chrisn 08-07-2012 03:11 AM

A .22 would do wonders:yes:

zircon 08-07-2012 02:20 PM

I think I will give the repellant a try. Can't use a .22. No firearm discharges in our county.

He escaped again last night. He took the nuts and the cage was locked closed in the morning empty. Looking at it, the only thing I can think of how he does it is about 1/2" of the wire that locks the door closed is accessible from within the cage. That is the part of the wire that drops down into the hook that is formed on the door. When he pushes against the door, he may be able to push the wire up out of the hook.

boman47k 08-12-2012 09:11 PM

I it possible it is reaching inside the bait area to steal the bait thereby shaking the trap and causing it to go off?

Ihave known cases with cats in which the bait area had to be covered to prevent the reaching in.

user1007 08-12-2012 09:57 PM

"And a partridge in a pear tree" gets changed to "And a squirrel in a pear tree"

Have you tried kryptonite?

zircon 08-13-2012 09:33 AM

I picked the last dozen or so that he had not gotten to. They are ripe enough to finish ripening on the window sill. I am going to attach a metal plate with pop rivets to the inside of the doors of the trap so he can't access the wire hook from inside so I will be ready for battle next year.
side note-It's pretty sad to see a grown man trying to match wits with a squirrel who is obviously smarter than I am.

user1007 08-13-2012 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by zircon (Post 987372)
It's pretty sad to see a grown man trying to match wits with a squirrel who is obviously smarter than I am.

I hope you do not think you are alone?:no::no::laughing::laughing:

A hundred years or so now, one of the first presidents of the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign brought ONE box of gray squirrels over from England to beautify the campus. Lacking predators and being disease resistant, the only thing that thins the millions that now exist are cold winters. Every year the community rallies to come up with new attack plans! Some institutions consult animal behaviorists at great expense---usually the taxpayers. None work very well but trapping them and relocating does. I swear they just charter buses and move back though.

They tend to have different behaviors depending on where they live. They pass the behaviors to new generations.

Around my part of Urbana they were mainly a nuisance and they freaked people out running along ceilings and things. Unless they tear up insulation, cat5 wire and so forth they really do not hurt anything but their ingress and egress holes provide access for other creatures that can be dangerous. Champaign Urbana had to poison starlings for example they got so heaviliy populated. It really was something out a Hitchcock film with the birds scaring kids as they fell dead in day care center playgrounds. They followed squirrels into attics and things. Wasps too.

In West Champaign they tend to rip apart auto wiring for nests or something. The community college loses the wiring on 6-7 cars each year and damage is in the thousands. My Godparents had to completely replace the wiring on an Accord when they left it out for just a couple of days to make room for building supplies.

My Godparents loved attracting wild birds and tried everything you could imagine for keeping the squirrels from the seed in their feeders. No luck whatsoever. Somewhere on this site I posted a link to a guy that set up a robotic water cannon to get the little suckers.

In the garden they are extremely annoying. They forget where they bury things so dig everything that smells like fresh dirt up in the spring including fresh planted bedding plants. As you know, they take exactly one bite out of every single apple or pear on a tree if they can. Same thing with tomatoes and so forth.

boman47k 08-13-2012 11:21 AM

Send....donate it to your neighbor.

user1007 08-13-2012 06:59 PM


Originally Posted by boman47k (Post 987499)
Send....donate it to your neighbor.

:thumbup::laughing::laughing::laughing::laughing:: laughing: The spinning bird feeder base, in slow motion and regular motion as an additional clip is hilarious also!

boman47k 08-14-2012 02:52 PM

Heheh, I cam imagine the squirrel thinking, " WTH?!"

user1007 08-18-2012 04:47 AM

Chicago Reader article on "Chicken of the Trees"...

dogris 08-18-2012 10:17 AM


Originally Posted by sdsester (Post 991395)
Chicago Reader article on "Chicken of the Trees

I use to think of squirrel as "chicken of the tree" until I saw a squirrel on my roof gnawing the lead flashing of a plumbing vent. No more local squirrel meat for me. No thanks!

dogris 08-18-2012 10:21 AM

Hey ZIRCON, any more Houdini escapades this past week?

zircon 08-18-2012 08:51 PM


Originally Posted by dogris (Post 991468)
Hey ZIRCON, any more Houdini escapades this past week?

I have admitted defeat for at least this season. I had three grand kids staying with us for a week and they were rooting for the squirrel. They let me know they would be disappointed if any harm came to him. I was sitting out this evening near my now pearless pear tree and the squirrel stopped by and sat about ten feet away. His little paw was up and it looked like his middle digit was raised.

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