Why we hate squirrels.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Nathan says:

    When I lived on Long Island, I because convinced that the squirrels had some kind of extortion racket going on. They were fearless.

    In Christ,

  2. Neish A. Carroll says:

    Pellet gun?

  3. ChristopherY says:

    I see ads for these all the time in the NRA magazine of note, American Rifleman. You can shoot the squirells without fear of annoying the neighbors or scaring the birds. Plus, squirell is good in a stew.

  4. Jim says:

    I hate them too! I shot one with my .22 when I was a kid. My dad made me clean it and eat it. In a stew.

  5. Peggy says:

    I don’t have a gun, but do you know about those squirrel guards/shields that you can put at the top or bottom of a feeder, as needed? They were effective in our experience.

  6. Athelstane says:

    Tree rats.

  7. Gabriel says:


    Squirrel eat cookie!

  8. Jenny Z says:

    Oh no! Didn’t you have a squirrel guard on that thing? Crafty little buggers!

  9. You could go after them with some #5, but I’d recommend the .22 if you’re looking to catch them in flagrante – using the shotgun would probably damage the feeder.


  10. RJSciurus says:

    From this squirrel’s view, that looks more like the work of a raccoon.

  11. dad29 says:

    I purchased a Gamo 1000 (.17 cal) specifically for the tree-rats and for chipmunks. No noise to speak of, but deadly accurate (without a scope) out to 25 yards or so.

  12. AlwaysCatholic says:

    I love the idea of using the rats with fluffy tails as target practice, but my practical side has had success with these two feeders: and

    Also, I have constructed a “tree” by using a clothes line hanger that has “arms”. You may hand your bird feeders on the “arms” of the “tree.” On the center support pole I used a plexiglass round lid from a terrarium (found it at a flea market). I drilled a hole using a router and place the lid on the pole halfway up.I have secured the lid from underneath by drilling three holes and putting in sheet metal screws to hold the lid in place. By keeping the lid concave, it is impossible for the squirrels to get past the lid.

    However, the improvised “tree” must not be near a roof, tree or fence so that the offender cannot imitate Rocky the squirrel (which he will) and fly from the tree, etc to the top of the bird feeder.
    Please feel free to email me directly if you need directions to constructing your bird tree. I also painted it so it would compliment our home and many neighbors have paid me to make one for them. I’m sure you have someone there that would be willing to make it for you because I know how busy you are.

    From another bird enthusiast, good luck!!

  13. William says:

    Father Z,
    Try safflower seeds. Squirrels don’t eat them.

  14. andrew k. alger says:

    Squirrels may be bad but last year my bird feeder was eaten by a bear, They too seem to like the seeds inside.

  15. MK says:

    Raccoons are the culprits in my backyard – I’ve seen a squirrel or two hanging off the sturdy metal feeder, but when I wake up and it’s completely empty, hanging sideways off its metal hanger, I know something bigger has been getting to it…

  16. Jon says:


    Same thing happened when I hung out an identical feeder. I went to Home Depot, and for about twenty bucks bought a squirrel-proof model, the kind with covers that slide over the openings when the squirrel weights it down.

    Works like a charm.

  17. Mitchell NY says:

    Are you kidding? To hate an animal because it is annoying….I have pigeons all around me, and we all know the mess they make, but I don’t hate them. Kinda strong word for one of God’s creatures. In fact I had a squirrel last winter and spring on my windowsill which had 4 babies. They nested right beneath my air conditioner, which meant in Spring I could not turn it on. I learned to love them. I think they get a bad wrap, in fact people, humans can be more annoying and more harmful than the squirrel, and should we walk around saying I hate them….I know, maybe I should lighten up, but hate even when used jokingly stirs strong emotions.

  18. Dennis says:

    I have a feeder with a weight balanced perch that swings down when a squirrel or heavy bird gets on it. A door is attached to the mechanism and closes off the feed from the squirrel when he gets on the perch. I have it set so the feeder can be seen from the kitchen dining area. The cats and I can be entertained as the squirrels try to figure it out. I have had it for ten years and it has never failed. I my yard, however, I truely don’t mind them and allow them to feed in other areas of the yard.

  19. Supertradmom says:

    Am I committing heresy if I state that I like both birds and squirrels?

  20. Amy says:

    Awwwww, so sorry! New bird feeders are not cheap, either.

  21. Chris says:

    I have a .22, decent shot and will travel.

    I have heard good things about the .17 cal — basically what was said above, less noise and highly accurate.

    I have also heard squirrels do make good stew. My parents have feeders and my dad has entrusted his feeders to squirrel guards.

  22. Squirrels might not like safflower but they’ll still chew through a feeder to find out what it is.

    Squirrels destroy EVERYTHING.

  23. Janet McKeown says:

    You need a Droll Yankee Flipper. ( – watch the video – it’s hilarious!) The songbirds can get to the food, but the squirrels “flipped” off – they aren’t harmed, but they can’t get to the food, either.

    It’s also highly entertaining and would make a lovely subject for your webcam!

  24. Stephanie says:

    Spray the pole with Pam. It not only keeps the squirrels away, but it’s funny as heck.

  25. Gloria says:

    My Grandmother’s 1898 Winchester, pump action .22, hex barrel is in my possession. She used it to shoot squirrels and rabbits for dinner as a young’un in Missouri. I did eat squirrel for dinner once when visiting her family there when I was a teenager. Uncle Frank had been huntin’ & that was the entree. Not bad, but I only shoot targets! I don’t know if you cater to ground feeding birds where you are, but I do -actually towhees, juncos, doves and others prefer to eat on the ground. I have a screen-bottom wooden ground feeder on legs which I fill with black oil sunflower seeds. Those birds and the squirrels eat from that feeder, and I find that then the squirrels leave my hanging feeders alone. Peanuts and cracked corn are good to scatter, as well. If you just want to get rid of the squirrels, well, I dunno. I just like to watch them along with the birds. A couple of wild turkeys came along one day and craned their long necks to eat from the lower hanging feeders. The occasional deer saunters down the street and investigates the contents as well.

  26. Peterk says:

    two things that work

    1. spray the pole that holds the feeder with WD40 the squirrels can’t grip the pole. The climb then slide down

    2. purchase one of those cones that fits around the pole. this prevents the squirrels from completing the climb up the pole, or you can hang off the top of feeder if it is on an arm hanger

  27. I love squirrels. It delights me to watch squirrels at play. Count me a squirrel man.

  28. Jacques says:

    In Provence the squirrels are smaller, more discreet and less numerous than in your countries.
    They live in the pines and are fond of the seeds they find in the pine cones. They avoid to stay close to the houses because they are afraid of the men.
    They seldom make damages, certainly much less than the tree rats and field mouses.
    Nobody here would dare to shot at these red haired, lovely and gracious animals. That would be considered as a crime.

  29. Denise says:

    Don’t spray with PAM – over time it gets sticky, stops working, and is almost impossible to remove. I had great luck with a cone-shaped baffle on the pole just below the feeder – that is, until the black bears discovered me. Bent the pole right down to the ground. Three trips to the local blacksmith later I gave away the feeder and have really missed watching the birds swoop in and out ever since.

  30. Eric Smith says:

    Father, Father, Father…

    Squirrels are among God’s most joyous creatures. They never fail to make me smile. They also make me envious. I mean, wouldn’t you like to be in good enough shape to climb 100 feet in a matter of seconds? Or leap distances that Carl Lewis couldn’t even dream of?

    As Cyndi Lauper sang, “Squirrels just want to have fun.”

  31. Sandy says:

    Pam or WD-40 on the pole – that visual cracks me up! But that’s a shame about the damage. At least you don’t have raccoons running across your roof at night (big ones that sound like ponies), to eat the avocados on the tree – then wasting them, dropping them half eaten! God’s creatures are wonderful!

  32. Kay says:

    I put up a feeder like that and the squirrels ate a “squirrel head sized” hole in it. Now I only use thistle in that kind of a feeder.

    As a side note, we are shopping for a new sliding patio door. We have looked at aluminum as well as vinyl. We were leaning toward vinyl covered wood, but then I remembered that the squirrels have eaten and scratched substantial holes in the hard plastic lawn chairs, chewed Christmas lights, as well as wiring in the car. The thought of a squirrel eating the vinyl coating off a $1200 door is enough to make us rethink our options:-)

    We enjoy watching the squirrels bounce and flit around, but we also like birds. We definitely don’t want to feed any of them lawn furniture, Christmas lights, or patio doors.

  33. Tim says:

    I have bear at my feeders. They take the whole feeder and destroy the pole. Squirrel problems pale by comparison.

    I’m still laughing at “Squirrels just wanna have fun.” And the comment about squirrel agility envy. That was genius.

  34. Will says:

    That’s not a reason to hate the squirrels. Having one climb under the hood of your car and cause $350 worth of damage to the electrical system, on the other hand, is a pretty good reason.

    It puts me in mind of the Rabbi’s blessing for the Tsar in “Fiddler on the Roof:” May the Lord bless and keep the squirrels … far away from me.

  35. Your squirrels are pretty much like mine. They like to destroy plastic! I’ve seen the very thing happen to one of my feeders in the past…

  36. Callin says:

    I thinks squirrels are fun to watch; and we have far too many on my college campus.

    A cone on the pole should do the trick. OR, a metal feeder with a trapdoor that shifts down an inch and prevents access to the seeds if something too heavy sits on it. Only downside is that chipmunks can still get at it, and blue jays can’t.

  37. Girgadis says:

    I’m so sorry about the damage to your feeder but not so sorry that I didn’t
    laugh at the photos. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  38. Denise says:

    Well, I guess I am kinda squirrelly too. And Yes, I know they can cause damage and be annoying, but I would still come down on the side of squirrel baffles over bullets. Killing is a stiff penalty for them, when you consider that they have to eat, too–and are simply using their natural gifts to that end. Plus they are acrobatic, playful and lovely to behold. Please don’t kill it, Father–tell you what, let us squirrel lovers donate toward a baffle!!
    I’ll start.

  39. Denise says:

    I am a woman of my word, Father Z–a small donation wings its way to you, via your donate button, I hope you will consider using it for a baffle!

  40. John6:54 says:

    Chew the Green, Eat the Brown? [ROFL!]

  41. Supertradmom says:

    Ok-today my neighbor brought home from work (university), an injured young squirrel in a cage. It had been attacked by birds, ran up into a tree, and fell out of the tree. My neighbor is trying to help it survive. Those who like squirrels will be sympathetic; the others are probably rejoicing. At any rate, the thought of birds attacking squirrels changes the bird-feeder discussion greatly. Mother Nature seems to be teaching new behaviors! Don’t waste any money, Father Z. on new feeders. Just wait for the birds to wake up to the fact that there are more of them at the feeder than the poor, lonely squirrel.

  42. Latekate says:

    You’re lucky! I wish we had more squirrels. They are very tasty! More dark meat than rabbit.

  43. Phil says:

    A thin coat of lithium grease on the pole of the feeder can produce good– and comical– results.

  44. Terry says:

    But Father! But Father!

    I love squirrels! They’re God’s creatures too!

    And they’re wonderful slow basted with barbecue sauce over hickory and oak wood!

  45. irishgirl says:

    Oh, maaannn-I can see why you’re mad, Father; I’d be mad, too.

    Bushy-tailed bandits, squirrels are!

  46. TerryN says:

    Years ago I used to catch them in a Have-A-Heart trap and then place them in a heavy-duty plastic bag with a vacuum cleaner hose connected to my car exhaust and then gas them. It worked pretty well – but I soon felt guilty and stopped.

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