Home » How to Poison Squirrels: Best Squirrel Poison and How to Use It

How to Poison Squirrels: Best Squirrel Poison and How to Use It

Searching for guidelines on how to poison squirrels is no one’s idea of a good time. So if you’re reluctantly looking for the best squirrel poison to get rid of your furry problem, we feel you.

It’s not an easy task and yet, there comes a point in the squirrel battle where we just want to be rid of the problem. Stat.

BEST OVERALL

just one bite poison for squirrels

Just One Bite Poison Bait Blocks

BEST VALUE

squirrel poison bait

JT Eaton Peanut Butter Bait Blocks

BEST OUTDOORS

ground squirrel poison bait

Ramik Ground Squirrel Poison Bait

We humans are sometimes guilty of having a strange attitude toward animals. Some are our friends, while others we treat quite badly. And often, the way we treat an animal depends to a large degree on how it looks.

Squirrels are something of a special case. They’re pretty cute, which usually keeps animals safe from us. However, squirrels can also be a massive nuisance.

When they find their way into houses, they will tear up attic insulation and chew wires to make a nest. And when that happens, these creatures have to go, no matter how cute they may be.

Luckily, there are lots of ways to get rid of squirrels. Deterrents, repellents, and trapping are all often used. But depending on the law where you live, you may also have the option of using a squirrel poison.

So let’s take a close look at what squirrel poison is, what it does, and how to use it.

What is Squirrel Poison?

Because of the legal issues surrounding their use, there are currently no legally registered squirrel poisons on the market. However, there are poisons registered for use on rats, mice, gophers, ground squirrels, and other rodents.

These products are all capable of killing squirrels too.

In fact, since all of these animals are mammals, the same poisons that kill them can kill humans too if consumed in the right concentration. For that matter, you could probably kill a blue whale with squirrel poison if you used enough of it and found a way to convince the whale to eat it.

Poison, however, probably isn’t the best way to deal with an infestation of blue whales in your attic.

If a chemical will kill a rat, a mouse, or gopher, it will kill a squirrel too.

How Does Squirrel Poison Work?

How a squirrel poison works depends on the ingredients used in them. There are several chemicals you’ll find in rodent poisons such as Warfarin, Bromadiolone, Brodifacoum, and Diphacinone.

But most, if not all, of them are anticoagulants. These chemicals thin the blood, and are sometimes used in human medicine for people with heart conditions.

When used as a poison, anticoagulants cause an animal to hemorrhage. This will eventually lead to death in a few days from blood loss.

Other chemicals such as strychnine and zinc phosphide are also capable of killing squirrels. However, these chemicals are hard to get hold of without special licenses because they are so dangerous.

Due to the risk of secondary poisoning, it’s better to stay well clear of these compounds.

Pros and Cons of Using Squirrel Poison

For most of us, ordering a bucket of squirrel poison is often a last resort. If you’re in the unenviable position of needing to get rid of squirrels but still on the fence about whether you should go the poison route, here are a couple pros and cons to consider.

PROS

  • Dead squirrels can’t damage your home, garden, or lawn.
  • You won’t need to deal with an angry squirrel inside a trap.
  • No cleaning up dead squirrels in traps.
  • It’s easier than climbing into the attic and setting traps or screening your house from the outside.

CONS

  • It may be illegal, depending on where you live.
  • It makes you feel like a villain.
  • You have no control over where squirrels die.
  • Poison can get moved around. These poisons are as dangerous to dogs, cats, and humans as they are to rodents.

Of the downsides of using squirrels poison, the last two are the most practical concerns you’ll encounter.

The anticoagulants used in squirrel poison baits can take up to a week to kill a squirrel, and in that time, they could end up hiding somewhere in your attic or inside your walls. Dead squirrels stink. If you want to avoid that, you’ll want to stick to using poison bait outdoors.

But of course, that raises issues as well. Which is why you’ll want to know how to use squirrel poison safely and effectively.

How to Poison Squirrels: Top Tips

You want to know how to poison squirrels to get rid of your squirrel problem. And in the process, you definitely want to avoid harming yourself, your family, your pets, and local wildlife.

Here’s what you need to know.

Protect Yourself

Keep in mind that these poisons aren’t just harmful for squirrels – they can also be harmful for you and your family. So always handle with care. Use gloves when you’re touching the poison.

Protect Others

When it comes to setting squirrel poison, bait boxes are a must. These make it impossible for curious pets and children as well as other wildlife from accidentally ingesting the poison you laid out for squirrels.

You can use rat bait stations like this one or go for a tube-style bait station, like the one below.

Both are great but we prefer the latter as it is very easy to place on trees, fences, or other higher locations that animals have to climb to get to.

That will give you peace of mind that no rabbits or other non-target animals will get into the poison.

Be Strategic

You already know how to be strategic when setting up your poison bait: place it in the areas where you’ve seen the most squirrel activity.

But another factor you’ll want to consider is whether you should use poison bait indoors, outdoors, or both.

We recommend that when it comes to poison, you stick to doing it outdoors. Why? Because once a squirrel is poisoned, there’s no way of knowing where it will eventually die. Poisoning can cause squirrels to die in walls or other inaccessible areas and stink up your whole house.

For that reason, it can be very risky poisoning large rodents such as rats or squirrels inside your home.

But if you use the poison bait outdoors – safely placed in bait stations, of course, the squirrels will eat it outdoors and die outdoors. It simultaneously prevents squirrels from getting into your home and you don’t have to go searching for dead squirrel bodies inside your walls. Win win.

How to Choose the Best Squirrel Poison

Squirrel poisons all have the same basic purpose – to kill squirrels. But if you want to choose the best squirrel poison, there are a couple factors you’ll want to consider.

Here are the most useful questions to ask yourself.

Single feed vs Multiple feed?

When looking at squirrels poison, you will soon come across these terms. Basically, a single feed rodenticide is a poison that will kill an animal that feeds on it only once.

That doesn’t mean the kill is instant, by any means. But it does mean that once the rodent has ingested some of the poison, its fate is sealed.

Multiple feed poisons, on the other hand, require an animal to come back and feed on the poison several times before a lethal dose builds up inside the body.

This is especially effective with rats because these creatures are quite wary about new food sources. They are reluctant to try anything new, and when they do, they will often try only a small amount, then wait to see if it makes them sick.

Multiple feed poisons overcome this by having no effect until the animal has gotten used to feeding on it.

Of course, single feed poisons work much quicker. And squirrels aren’t as wary as rats. Single feed poisons are usually effective on squirrels – if you can get them to eat them in the first place.

When are you using it?

There are times of the year when it can be more difficult to get squirrels to eat the poison bait you lay out for them.

Here’s what we mean: Squirrels are mostly herbivores and their preferred food sources are the plant, fruit, and vegetable variety. They’ll eat flowers, roots, shrubs, fungi as well as nuts, seeds, and fruit.

If there are a lot of their favorite foods available, the bait you set out might not be as attractive.

Case in point: the summertime is ripe with berries, fruits and succulents. Alongside these delicious options, the poison bait you strategically place will appear less appealing.

Similarly, the fall offers a wide bounty of food options for squirrels so again, they may not be as enticed into consuming the bait.

On the other hand, early spring is a difficult time for squirrels because most of their food sources are still in the growing stage and not much else on the food scene is available. At a time like this when food is scarce, bait looks a lot more appealing.

If you’re trying to use bait during times when food is plentiful, it’d be wise to go with a flavored bait that’s naturally enticing to squirrels, such as JT Eaton’s Peanut Butter Bait Blocks.

Where are you using it?

One big factor to consider when choosing the best squirrel poison for your needs is whether you’ll be using it indoors or outdoors.

Not all squirrel poison is intended for outdoor use. So if you’re planning on using it outdoors, make sure you opt for one that is weather-resistant. Otherwise, it will become unusable as soon as it rains.

What is the Best Squirrel Poison?

If you’re going to use a squirrel poison, you want to make sure that it is the most effective you can get your hands on. Here are your 3 best bets and the pros and cons of each.

Just One Bite Poison for Squirrels

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Convenient single feed
  • Very effective

CONS

  • Pricey
  • Poisonous to pets and humans

While it may sound like your grandmother trying to get you to eat something, this product is actually designed as a rat poison. Its active ingredient is bromadiolone, which makes it an anticoagulant.

Remember that this product is not registered for use against squirrels, and using it to kill squirrels is illegal. Remember also that any poison capable of killing a rat is also capable of killing a squirrel. And you, for that matter.

As the name implies, Just One Bite is a single feed rodenticide. If a squirrel feeds on this stuff even once, it is doomed. However, it will usually take four or five days for the poison to take effect. During this time, the rodent will go on living his rodent life but will become weaker and weaker through blood loss.

The blocks of this bait have ridges that appeal to a rodent’s desire to gnaw on the edges of things to keep their teeth short. The poison is mixed with grains to make it attractive to animals.

Also, the 2-ounce blocks have a hole in the middle so they can be used with a bait station. These devices prevent rats or squirrels from carrying the bait away from where you placed it. If you don’t have a bait station, you could even use nails driven into a board to stop the bait from being dragged away.

There’s no doubt that Just One Bite works. The active ingredient is the same as that used by professionals in the pest control industry to kill both rats and mice.

The only downside of this product is the downside of virtually all rodent baits. You have no control over where the creature will die, and if it dies inside your house, you’re going to have bigger problems than just some scratching in the attic.

JT Eaton Peanut Butter Bait Blocks

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Appealing flavor
  • Proven effective
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Multi-feed
  • Poisonous to pets and humans

Formulated and labeled for rats and mice, JT Eaton’s rodenticide bait blocks are also capable of killing squirrels. The active ingredient here is diphacinone. Like most rodenticides, this is an anticoagulant.

Unlike Just One Bite, however, diphacinone requires multiple feedings before a lethal dose is consumed. This works great on wary creatures such as ground squirrels and rats, but it does mean that it can take longer for the poison to start killing the animals that consume it.

However, the chances of this happening are greatly enhanced by the fact that this bait is peanut butter flavored. Squirrels love peanuts, and peanut butter makes one of the best baits for these creatures.

Additionally,  this product comes in blocks that are difficult for squirrels to drag away and spread through the house. The blocks are designed to be used inside bait stations, and have a hole through the center so they can be staked down.

Thanks to their peanut butter flavor, these JT Eaton bait blocks are far more attractive to squirrels – and therefore far more effective – than other baits. And to make things even better, these bait blocks are some of the most affordable you’ll find.

But remember that these baits are not designed to kill squirrels, nor are they registered for that use. Using any pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its label is done at your own risk.

Ramik Ground Squirrel Bait

PROS

  • Very effective for ground squirrels
  • Weather-resistant
  • Easy to use
  • Proven effective
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Multi-feed
  • Poisonous to pets and humans

Neogen Ramik is labeled and designed for the control of ground squirrels, which are different from the tree squirrels you get inside your attic. However, their biology is similar, and what kills one will kill the other.

Using the same active ingredient as the JT Eaton bait blocks, diphacinone, this bait requires the squirrels to feed on it more than once before a lethal dose accumulates in their bodies.

Still, this product will kill any squirrels that eat enough of it. The problem is getting them to eat in the first place. Ground squirrels have a different diet from tree squirrels, and different behaviors, too.

This product comes in small granules that can be poured into a ground squirrel’s burrow and can’t simply be pushed back out by the animal, which makes it great for killing burrowing creatures.

But tree squirrels don’t live in burrows and are less likely to consume small granules of food like this. That’s not to say that they definitely won’t; if they get hungry enough, squirrels might try some of this product. But if there’s other and better food available elsewhere, chances are good that this bait will go untouched.

This is why this product is best used for ground squirrels.

Also, because of the small granules it comes in, it’s very easy for this poison to be spread around. If squirrels knock over a container of this poison, it’s hard to know where it will end up. For these reasons, this is not the best option for killing squirrels in your home.

Does Rat Poison Kill Squirrels?

It certainly will. Rat poisons available on the market today are usually anticoagulants, and they will kill just about any mammal that consumes them if they eat the right amount.

Now, you don’t need to worry about accidentally killing yourself with rat poison; given how much bigger humans are than rats, you would have to eat several pounds of rat poison for it to have any effect. But squirrels and rats are close in size, so poison that kills a rat is more than capable of killing a squirrel.

However, rats and squirrels have different dietary preferences. Most rat poison uses grains as a bait, which squirrels may eat. But if they have a better food source somewhere else, they may not take to the poison as readily as a rat would.

Is Squirrel Poison Safe for Dogs?

If you have a squirrel problem – and pets – you have an additional layer of worry. Because squirrel poison is definitely not safe for dogs. Or even humans, for that matter.

Rodenticides are, in essence, poisons. And in large amounts, they can harm anyone.

This is why we absolutely insist on placing squirrel poison in bait boxes where pets and small children cannot get to them. This is especially important if you have curious pets at home.

Will Poisoning Squirrels Solve the Problem?

We’re going to be very blunt with you: if squirrels have already gained entry into your home, simply poisoning them usually won’t solve the problem.

Ultimately, if squirrels get inside your attic, poisoning them is, at best, a Band-Aid solution. As long as holes exist in your home that allow squirrels to get inside, you run the risk of having more of these creatures move in.

Plus, there’s the unfortunate fact that poisoning the squirrels living in your house means having those squirrels die in your house. Decomposing squirrels smell very bad.

For these reasons, poisoning squirrels inside the house is usually a bad idea. It’s far better to find out how they are getting in and then remove them with a one-way door or live trap.

Read: What is the best squirrel trap?

While poisoning squirrels can seem like the easy solution, in the long run, it will lead to much more work and far less effective results than more humane solutions.

On the other hand, taking care to place squirrel poison in bait stations outdoors can help make a dent in your squirrel problem by preventing more squirrels from getting into your home.

But for the most part, poisoning squirrels is not a complete solution.

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