Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ground Squirrel deterrent

So I think I have mentioned our problems with holes in the lower pasture.  None were worse than the ground squirrel holes, and ground squirrels are the one thing that makes holes which I will not tolerate on the property.  Their holes are large enough to fall into and break an ankle (or leg if you are some kind of livestock). Ground squirrel fleas have also been known to carry both Hanta virus as well as bubonic plague in this state, and since we generally like to avoid both those things, the ground squirrels cannot stay on our property.

But as native and very cute creatures, I have nothing personal against ground squirrels, and so removing them from our property created a conundrum.  I did not want to kill them if at all possible, I just wanted them to relocate.  But since it's spring, I was afraid the squirrels would be breeding soon, and so I needed a solution sooner rather than later.

Squirrel trapping is a rather intense activity, if you are trying to keep the squirrel alive.  You need to check the trap several times daily and prepare to relocate the animal to a good area as soon as you find one inside your trap. So for awhile instead of trapping them and being tied down to Squirrel Watch for several days, I instead just tried filling in their holes as they created them, but they just dug them out again the minute I went back up to the house.

Until I filled the holes with used kitty litter.

I am not sure how I came up with this idea, but my general thought is that perhaps the waste product of a predator might cause the squirrels to avoid the holes they'd dug, if I filled them with enough litter.  Plus the clumping clay is highly scented, and forms a pretty gooey ball once moisture hits it.  And there's no question that when it's been used, it smells pretty bad.

And so I tried it.  Within a week the eight holes I had went down to two...then one....and now they are completely gone.

Meet solution.
If you have good drinking water close to the surface, you might not want to do this due to the possible spread of toxoplasmosis, which cats are sometimes known to carry, but with our own water table several hundred feet below the surface, I feel safe in doing this.

The nicest thing is that I have not harmed the squirrels in any way, just pooped up their home, and redirected them to the unfenced and unowned land across the street to do their squirrely business.

And if they come back, as long as I have an indoor cat, I have a solution.


  1. Wow! That is an amazing solution. It seems you tapped into what is called your "inner knowing". How wonderful you were able to find a use for the kitty litter and not harm the squirrels in the process.

    1. Yes, Molly, my conscience definitely feels better about this choice. Ground squirrels are destructive, but I have a hard time killing wild, native mammals unless I have to. Plus I'm "recycling" the cat litter, which gives it a whole new purpose lol!

  2. That is so smart! You'll have to keep us updated if this continues to work! They are very cute though! Have you guys decided on any new animals?

    1. It's such a dilemma, but we ARE putting in fence posts in the next couple of weeks which will give us the ability to have animals and do rotational grazing. Good fencing is 3/4th of the preparation! We are also in discussion with our neighbors about possibly sharing some sheep, which might be a great compromise...all the weed eating for half the cost!