How to get rid of squirrels & rats in the walls

Written by brittany tucker
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How to get rid of squirrels & rats in the walls
Squirrels and rats seek shelter, food and water behind walls. (Plasterer making good hole in studwork wall image by Bryan Clark from

Squirrels and rats enter homes in search of food, water and shelter, and often live behind walls. If not removed in a timely manner, squirrels and rats can wreak havoc on your home by chewing through dangerous wires. Also, if the animal happens to die behind the wall, a foul odour will encompass your home and it can be very difficult to remove. Learning how to properly remove squirrels and rats from behind your wall is essential if you want to keep your home in an inhabitable condition.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Live trap
  • Duct tape
  • Power saw
  • Peanut butter/bacon
  • Protective gloves
  • Self-adhesive wall patch
  • Plywood
  • Caulking
  • Steel mesh wire

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  1. 1

    Purchase a live trap. Live traps are used to capture animals without causing them injury. You can purchase live traps at pet and hardware stores.

  2. 2

    Determine the exact location behind the wall where the squirrels and rats are most active. Wildlife specialist Michael T. Mengak of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources recommends listening for gnawing or scratching in the walls or attics, especially at night when the critters are most active. Mark the spot on the wall where you hear the most activity with duct tape.

  3. 3

    Use the power saw to cut a square hole in the wall big enough for the live trap to easily fit in and out. Cut the hole a foot above the duct tape marking to prevent accidentally cutting into the critters.

  4. 4

    Bait the live trap with peanut butter or bacon and place it into the wall. Check the trap at dawn and dusk when rats and squirrels are most active.

  5. 5

    Release the captured animals back into the wild or take them to your veterinarian or humane society.

  6. 6

    Place a self-adhesive wall patch over the hole in the wall. You can purchase self-adhesive wall patches at hardware stores.

  7. 7

    Locate and seal all rat and squirrel entrances in the walls and around your home to prevent the critters from coming back. Squirrels usually enter walls via the attic, while rats commonly enter walls through small holes or openings at floor level. Use plywood, caulk or steel mesh wire to permanently seal off all floor, attic and other openings around your house.

Tips and warnings

  • When setting the live trap behind the wall, place it in an easy-to-reach area to prevent having to cut another hole into the wall.
  • Leave the trap in the wall until you're sure there are no more squirrels or rats left behind the wall.
  • Always wear protective gloves when dealing with the captured squirrels and rats, as both critters carry and spread disease.

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