How Do I Get a Squirrel Out of My Basement?

Squirrels look cute scampering around in the backyard, but no homeowner would want them to take up residence indoors.

Squirrels can cause extensive damage to your home.Squirrels can cause extensive damage to your home.
Squirrels are actually rodents that can be very destructive. In addition to being noisy, they chew up the home's insulation and gnaw on your wiring. Additionally, squirrels expose your family to viruses and bacteria. Poisons and traps are the best options for squirrel removal. Poison is undesirable to most people, not only because it is less humane than trapping but because it could cause a bigger problem if the squirrel dies inside of your walls. Trapping is the better option.

Purchase or rent a humane trap. The HavaHart trap manufactured by the Woodstream Corporation is the most commonly used by professionals.

Read the directions carefully to understand how to operate the trap.

Bait the trap with peanut butter or a mixture of oatmeal and peanut butter. Most rodents are attracted to the smell and taste. Because of the texture of peanut butter, it is not as easy for an animal to grab it and run.

Place the trap in a location that is easy for the squirrel to gain access to or where you have seen evidence of squirrel activity or droppings in the basement.

Leave the basement. Check the trap every few hours to see if the squirrel has been trapped.

Check with animal control authorities in your municipality for information on what to do with the trapped animal. Some communities impose a fine for releasing a squirrel locally, so don't be tempted to let it out in a nearby park. Squirrels are also territorial. If released nearby, they are likely to return.

Put on protective gloves. Check the basement thoroughly to be sure that the squirrel has not left offspring behind.

Look for the area where the squirrel entered and make repairs. At a minimum, nail a length of hardware cloth over the entry hole until you can make more extensive repairs.

Things You Will Need

  • Squirrel trap
  • Peanut butter
  • Hardware cloth
  • Hammer and nails
  • Protective gloves


  • Avoid going near the squirrel. Some can be very aggressive, and it might carry rabies or other viruses.

About the Author

Lee Weal began writing and editing online content as a corporate intranet administrator in 2000 and was also the publisher and editor of a monthly employee newsletter. Her articles specialize in children's issues and home improvement.