Squirrel Poison: How Do I Get Rid of Squirrels Permanently

Squirrel Poison: How Do I Get Rid of Squirrels Permanently

Dealing with a squirrel infestation can be incredibly frustrating. These bushy-tailed rodents can damage your home, yard, and garden. While some people opt for humane trapping and relocation, others look to more permanent solutions like poisoning. However, the use of poison raises many questions and concerns.

An Overview of Squirrel Poison

An Overview of Squirrel Poison

There are a few main types of poisons used to kill squirrels:

Anticoagulant Rodenticides

These are some of the most common squirrel poisons. They prevent blood clotting, which can result in uncontrollable bleeding and death. Popular ingredients include warfarin, brodifacoum, and bromadiolone.

Brand names you may see include d-CON, Generation, Havoc, and Talon. Rodenticides are usually formulated as pellets or blocks.

Non-Anticoagulant Rodenticides

These poisons attack the nervous system or organs rather than thinning the blood. They contain active ingredients like bromethalin, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), and zinc phosphide. They are sold under brand names like Fastrac, Rampage, and Kaput.


Fumigants like aluminium phosphide or gas cartridges release toxic gas to kill burrowing rodents. However, these are impractical and dangerous for squirrels to use above ground.


In products like Rozol Prairie Dog Bait, methylxanthines like caffeine and theobromine are toxic to rodents. They cause a heart attack or respiratory failure.

Is It Legal to Use Squirrel Poison?

Before reaching for the most potent squirrel poison, understand the law. There are several regulations regarding pesticide and rodenticide use:

Federal Laws

In the United States, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) controls pesticide sales, distribution, and use. All products must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Using unregistered products or using registered products off-label is against the law.

State and Local Laws

Check with your state’s Department of Agriculture or environmental protection agency about any additional rules for your area. Some communities prohibit certain ingredients or require licensing to apply poisons.

HOAs and Landlord Policies

If you live in a neighbourhood with a homeowners association, check the CC&Rs for pesticide restrictions. Renters will need approval from the property owner or manager before placing any poisons.

Violating pesticide laws involves hefty fines and penalties, so do your homework!

Pros of Using Squirrel Poison

Poison may seem like the most convenient and effective option for those determined to kill squirrels on their property. Here are some of the advantages of this method:

Highly Effective

Poisons are designed to kill rodents quickly, usually with just a single feeding. This means you won’t have to keep trapping and releasing squirrels repeatedly.


Setting out poison bait takes only a few minutes compared to setting traps. Bait stations can be left unattended for weeks or months before needing to be refilled.

Delayed Visible Effects

Because anticoagulant rodenticides work slowly, you likely won’t see gruesome scenes near your home. The squirrels die unseen underground.

Target Specific When Placed Correctly

Placing bait in squirrel nests and travel routes targets them while avoiding harm to most pets, kids, and other wildlife.

Long-Term Population Reduction

If used repeatedly, poisons can kill a large number of squirrels quickly and, thus, long-lastingly reduce your local population.

Cons of Using Squirrel Poison

However, there are also several drawbacks to using poison for squirrel control:

Safety Hazard

Squirrel poison can be hazardous to humans and curious children who might eat the bait. Even minor exposure can cause vomiting, eye damage, and skin burns.

Harm to Pets

Dogs and cats are susceptible to rodenticides since they attack the same blood clotting process. Be sure to place and secure bait where pets cannot access it.

Slow, Inhumane Death

An anticoagulant rodenticide can take 3-7 days to kill a squirrel. This ultimately leads to a painful death from internal bleeding and organ failure.

Danger of Secondary Poisoning

When hawks, coyotes, foxes, and other predators eat poisoned squirrels, they can become sick or die themselves. Rodenticides accumulate up the food chain.

Mess and Bad Smells

Dying squirrels often seek shelter in hard-to-reach places like attics and crawlspaces. Their bodies will decompose there, leading to foul odours, flies, and potential pathogen growth.

Limited Bait Options

Due to secondary poisoning risks, many commercial baits labelled for squirrels were taken off the consumer market. Only a few speciality products are available now.

Using Squirrel Poison Effectively and Responsibly

Using Squirrel Poison Effectively and Responsibly

If you do opt to use rodenticides for your squirrel problem, following some best practices can improve success and reduce risks:

Choose an Appropriate Bait

Look for baits specifically labelled for use against squirrels, like Rozol Prairie Dog Bait. Single-feeding baits with “micro-encapsulated” ingredients reduce the hazard for pets.

Use Bait Stations

Placing rodenticides in a tamper-resistant bait station protects kids and pets. It also shelters bait from the weather and allows squirrels easy, safe access.

Limit Access

Only set out bait in targeted areas, such as known nests or travel routes. Never scatter it broadly across your yard. This helps minimize risks to children, pets, and other wildlife.

Dispose of Bodies Properly

Wearing gloves, double-bag any carcasses you find and toss them in outdoor trash receptacles. Never compost poisoned animals.

Stop Use After Problem Resolves

Don’t continue baiting for weeks on end. Halt usage once squirrel activity ceases to prevent poisoning other animals that move into the newly available habitat.

Consider Alternatives First

Explore repellents, exclusion, habitat modification and trapping before turning to poisons. A holistic IPM approach brings the best results.

Non-Toxic Ways to Get Rid of Squirrels

If you’re not comfortable with the risks of poisons, many alternative options exist:

Frightening Devices

Sprinkling predator urine granules, installing ultrasonic repellers, or applying scent repellent can scare squirrels away from an area.


Sealing entry points to buildings and blocking burrow access controls future infestations without harming squirrels. Metal chimney caps and wire mesh help exclude squirrels.

Habitat Modification

Pruning trees and plants to remove squirrel nesting sites makes your property less attractive. Removing bird feeders deprives squirrels of an easy food source.

Live Trapping

Humane squirrel traps allow you to relocate pests at least five miles from your home to prevent them from returning. Release squirrels only in suitable habitats.

Signs of a Squirrel Poisoning

If you suspect your pet, another animal, or child has ingested squirrel poison, look for these symptoms:

  • Lethargy, weakness, or appearing dazed
  • Bruising easily with bloody noses or gums
  • Blood in urine or faeces
  • Abnormal bleeding from minor cuts
  • Heavy breathing or collapsing

Seek veterinary care immediately for poisoning. Call 911 or the National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 if a child shows symptoms. Try to take the poison container with you to help identify the toxin.


Can I use warfarin rat poison for squirrels?

Warfarin products are toxic to squirrels but rarely formulated at concentrations deadly enough. Look for labels listing ground squirrels, prairie dogs, or similar-sized rodents.

How long does it take squirrel poison to work?

Anticoagulant baits take 2-7 days to kill rodents. Once vitamin K is depleted, death results from internal hemorrhaging. Fast-acting poisons like cholecalciferol or zinc phosphide can work in under 48 hours.

Where should I place poison to kill squirrels?

Focus placement near known nests, entry points, and high-traffic areas. For example, put bait blocks in attics, crawl spaces, or burrow entrances squirrels use. Just be sure to keep them inaccessible to kids and pets.

Can I use poison bait outdoors?

Using poison bait outdoors comes with additional risks and isn’t always legal. Before applying any bait, make sure your state’s Department of Agriculture or local ordinances allow outdoor rodenticide use. Carefully follow all label safety precautions.

Only use outdoor bait stations designed for squirrels, as they limit access to bait by other animals. Place the stations near active burrow openings or high-traffic areas like beneath bird feeders. Check the stations frequently to monitor if the bait is eaten and replace it as needed.

Avoid scattering loose pellets or grain bait across your lawn, as this can inadvertently poison any animal that finds it. It’s also recommended to temporarily restrict pets from the bait area until squirrels are under control. Remove and safely dispose of outdoor bait stations once squirrel activity ceases.

Will a dead squirrel smell if poisoned?

Like any dead animal, a poisoned squirrel will start to decompose and give off an odour within a day or two. The smell may not be evident if the body is deep in an inaccessible location. If you notice foul odors, look for flies congregating or maggots near suspected sources. Wear gloves, double-bag the carcass, and discard it in outdoor garbage receptacles.

Can you eat squirrels killed by poison?

It is never advisable to eat the meat of an animal killed by rodenticides or other poisons, regardless of when it died. The toxins accumulate in the tissues and organs long before death occurs. Consuming contaminated meat can cause severe illness and bioaccumulate the food chain to even more hazardous levels.

Do owl pellets contain poison if they eat poisoned squirrels?

Owl pellets are the undigested fur, bones and teeth of prey items that owls cough up. While the remaining flesh of poisoned squirrels holds toxins, the indigestible matter that forms pellets contains minimal residual contamination. Basic hygiene, like gloves and washing hands after handling, is recommended.


Controlling a squirrel problem is never easy. While lethal squirrel poisons offer a permanent solution, the risks often outweigh the benefits. First, focus on non-lethal exclusion, repellents, and habitat modification. Then, if issues continue, explore live trapping and relocation.

Learn the secrets of keeping squirrels out of your garden with our Gardener’s Guide, emphasizing the use of rodenticides only as a last resort in compliance with laws and label directions, ensuring the safety of your family, pets, and local wildlife, while maintaining a balanced Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach for effective control without unnecessary cruelty.

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