I am becoming sympathetic to squirrel murder

I’m coming around to Iris‘s point of view. I have a bird feeder just outside my office window. It’s supposed to be squirrel-proof (nothing is squirrel-proof).

Birds are constantly coming by. Our cat sits there twitching, watching them.

Unfortunately, these big meaty monster squirrels keep climbing up on it, terrifying the birds. There’s a bar for the birds to perch on, to the right, but it’s hinged so that when a heavy rodent climbs on it, it folds down, closing access to the seeds inside. So far, so good.

Only now what the squirrels have figured out is that they can climb onto that silver roof and twist that red handle until it unlatches, and then get on the bar and pop the roof off, allowing them to climb right in and wallow in bird seed. It’s very annoying to find the roof removed and a brushy-tailed rat inside, indulging in gluttony.

I’m trying something different now. I’ve put a line of sriracha sauce all around the roof, and also dabbed it on the latch. We’ll see how well that dissuades the thieves. Otherwise, I wonder if a line of squirrel skulls would work.

Anyone else have other suggestions?


  1. says

    My personal view is flip it onto the other side.
    Work WITH the squirrels and have fun creating obstacle courses for them.
    The birds will get their feed and you will be doing something creative.

  2. sqlrob says

    I knew someone that tried to dissuade squirrels from eating the bird seed by putting ground cayenne pepper in the seeds.

    All that did was make him end up with squirrels that liked spicy food.

  3. says

    One of my worries about humans and this planet is we tend to destroy everything that gets in our way of achieving our goal.
    Why not start small and learn to stop doing that and stop thinking like that is our right as a species?

  4. komarov says

    Perhaps a bird-proof squirrelfeeder right next to the birdfeeder? Of course the last thing nature would ever do is to cooperate, so I wouldn’t put it past the critters to trade places to maximise annoyance.

    Plan B involves boobytrapping the feeder. It doesn’t have to be high explosives, but it could be high explosives.

  5. smellyoldgit says

    I’d recommend two huskies and a door near the feeding domain. The furry fuckers either get the message …… or eaten!

  6. nomdeplume says

    How about a metal sleeve around the post? Either a funnel shaped one, like they use on the mooring ropes of ships (to stop rats), or just wrapped around the post so that the squirrels can’t get a grip on the shiny surface (in Australia this is done in country areas to stop possums climbing the power poles). There are also organic but repellent sprays available in Australia (and I guess America) which sprayed on the pole repel possums.

  7. brucej says

    Make the latch lockable, so they cannot get into the bin. Sure it’s a little more trouble for you, but unless there are locksmith squirrels out there, they won’t get inside.

  8. Tethys says

    I will second Nomdeplume’s suggestion of a cone of sheet metal on the post. It should fit loosely so it will tip under the weight of any squirrel who attempts to hang on to the cone. They work well, as long as the feeder is sited away from any trees or roofs within the range of a motivated squirrel.

  9. BACONSQAUDgaming says

    Our cat was an excellent mouser, but never succeeded in catching a squirrel.

  10. magistramarla says

    We have a replica of that bird-feeder sitting on the patio, waiting for my husband to get around to putting it on a post. Thanks for all of the tips for dissuading the squirrels.
    I’m hoping that the heavier birds, as in the awful murder of crows who come around here, will also be too heavy for the feeder.

  11. Jazzlet says

    We have succeded in keeping the squirrels from our bird feeder by turning it into a balance, the feeder is hung below one end of a smooth plastic covered pole*, the other end of the pole has three bricks attached and the pole is balanced on the balcony rail. If a squirrel tries to walk along the pole toward the feeder the pole swiftly tilts downwards shooting the squirrel off the end, so far (about eighteen months) none of them have managed to get to the food, and we can be heard giggling manically when they try.

    used to support a badminton net I think, it was left by the previous owners

  12. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    It’s the hooved rats that really empty out the bird feeders around here. I put one on a wire rope hanging off a horizontal pole ~8ft up on the house so I could easily lower it for filling then raise it well out of reach. Kept the squirrels away for a while until one figure out it could climb the screen on the porch to get up to the pole. My brother’s solution was to put up a heavy modular/ornamental steel fence at a couple feet clearance around the feeders on 4~6ft shepherd’s hooks.

    For the fuzzy-tailed rats, I had been thinking about putting a bigger feeder on a vertical pole with a bunch of electrically insulated metal rings/segments acting as nodes in a Cockraft-Walton generator to put ~100V between each segment. Then do the same with metal patches on the overhanging roof of the feeder below a small solar panel.

  13. says

    The sriracha is working! They keep climbing up the pole and stopping at the sriracha…which, unfortunately, is only going to last until the next rain.

    I like the idea of putting something around the latch so they can’t manipulate it.

  14. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Switch to suet feeders. Better to encourage the birds that munch on bugs.

  15. hemidactylus says

    Or trained hawk or falcon squirrel assassins. But if the run out of squirrels they might start attacking the birds you want to attract.

  16. says

    As someone else stated above, get a cone baffle for the pole, just make sure you put it at least 4 feet off the ground. Those little bastards can jump that high from a standing start. It’s quite amazing, really.
    This, of course, assumes that the can’t jump down from above from a roof or a tree branch.

    Also, wax the roof with automotive wax and watch ’em slip & slide.

    Or go detente: get a ground platform feeder and some critter mix feed. They’ll generally go for the easy access food.

  17. chesapeake says

  18. jellorat says

    I leave out an easily accessible bowl of peanuts and I find the squirrels are pretty lazy. If they have peanuts, they leave all my bird feeders alone. If I forget to keep upon the peanuts, they are dangling form the suet feeders, literally in my open sunflower feeder, and breaking everything. If I keep the peanut bowel full, they eat breakfast and dinner, and never touch the rest.

  19. springa73 says

    I know that a lot of people hate squirrels, but I actually kind of admire their persistence and ingenuity in getting to rich food sources.

    Then again, I don’t have a bird feeder.

  20. larpar says

    Maybe recorded carillon bells played on a loop would keep the squirrels away. : )

  21. says

    Drill a hole through the latch and secure it with some wire. Preventing the squirrels from turning it. Of course they may chew through the wire eventually.

  22. says

    Make squirrel mazes and puzzles. Record the squirrels on camera. Upload to youtube. Monetize the best of. Profit!
    Squirrels are potential reality entertainment and they won’t join a union!

  23. jimnb11 says

    A squirrel baffle worked great for my feeders until the bear appeared. Damaged the feeders and consumed everything.

  24. says

    I can live with having to share the bird feed with the squirrels. It makes my wife mad, but to me, critters are critters, and it doesn’t bother me if they have wings or fuzzy tails, it’s all free window TV as far as I’m concerned.

    But if we are talking about growing tomatoes, then it’s war, all out war. Me versus them. I wouldn’t even mind sharing my tomatoes with them, if they left me my own fair share, but they are complete sociopathic jerks: they ruin them all by taking one huge bite of each tomato, ruining it, and moving on the next, then the next, then the next. I know they are doing it on purpose, just to try and provoke me.

  25. maggie says

    If the squirrel gets the hot sauce in its eyes, that would be extremely painful. I have the exact same bird feeder and it is not squirrel proof. I found that greasing the pole and/or the roof with margarine works pretty well. It doesn’t wash off in the rain and if the squirrel gets some on its fur, it isn’t toxic like grease would be.

  26. lochaber says

    I don’t have any relevant experience with this, just stuff I’ve seen/read, so…

    But, yeah, I think putting one of those guards on the pole might help, and putting a simple hasp (even if not locket, and just secured with a cheap carabiner or twist of wire) might be just complex enough to keep them from opening it.
    (for now…)

    then again, this is coming from someone who generally enjoys squirrel antics, especially if they are being smart about antagonizing dogs….

  27. Ridana says

    You could try planting peppermint around the pole. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ll have fresh peppermint for drinks and salads.

  28. aronymous says

    I agree with covering the latch. Something heavy or a metal screen attached to the roof or the side of the feeder.
    And I like 24@jellorat’s suggestion to feed them peanuts.Just don’t let Iris find out.
    I had a couple ravens coming to the hanging bird bath in my yard to soak things like stale bread and who knows what else; and also to occasionally shit in it. I put a loop of drip tubing about 6″ up the chains and 2 saucers of water on a table about 10′ away. The drip tubing won’t keep them out but why bother? One saucer ends up with little bits of somethings unknown and the other stays reasonably clean.

  29. Rob Grigjanis says

    lochaber @33:

    especially if they are being smart about antagonizing dogs….

    They certainly antagonized our Max. He hated them as much as he hated crows and gulls (though he was fine with smaller birds), and they seemed to delight in taunting him by staying just out of range. Minutes after Max’s body was carried out of the house by the vet and his assistant, the squirrels had a party on our front porch. Seriously, I’d never seen so many of them in one place. I didn’t begrudge them their revels. He’d have killed them if he could’ve caught them.

  30. forodrim says

    Embrace the squirrel, they are cool. Also they are pretty good at solving obstacle courses:

  31. Cutty Snark says

    My own modest proposal would be to continue putting out food – eventually the squirrels will get so obese they won´t be able to climb anymore…

    [Just to reassure you, I am an unbiased source – and definitely not a squirrel with an internet connection for watching Nutflix]

  32. says

    Just put out more feeders. We have four feeders on our porch, we at times have squirrels and up to 6+ birds at the same time. Each happily munching away.

    The key is to have a squirrel feeder that feeds squirrels something they like more, like whole peanuts. They don’t touch the bird seed, and they stick with their feeder while the birds do their thing.

    I wish I could leave a picture here, it is like a Disney princess scene on our back porch.

  33. says

    This sounds a bit species-ist to me! If you are going to put out nuts for the local wildlife, then those nuts should be available to all the local wildlife, not just the ones you deem “acceptable”.

    After all, what is the substantive difference between refusing to bake a wedding cake for a couple because they are gay, and refusing to provide nuts for some members of the local wildlife because they are squirrels?

  34. Artor says

    I predict that all attempts to make the pole unclimbable will fail. The feeder is close enough to the house that squirrels can leap from the roof.

  35. christoph says

    Peppermint oil spray would work-rodents hate the odor of peppermint and avoid it. It works on squirrels and also mice. There’s a website that sells spray bottle of it, http://www.rodentsherriff.com I think Walmart and Home Depot sell it too.

  36. bcw bcw says

    By mid-winter our squirrels got hungry and thin enough to jump 5 feet from the ground or 7 feet from a wall. Impressive.

    Sounds like you just need to improve the latch for now.
    We did have some squirrels learn to hang down from the feeder roof to grab seed.

    Bird seed on the ground will also support local rat populations.

  37. skeptuckian says

    Squirrels and rats diverged about 70 mya according to timetree.org. Please refrain from lumping rats into your problem!

  38. thewolf says

    vaseline on the pole. its fun to watch them slide down. downside–needs frequent reapplication.

  39. says

    They make bird seed that is already impregnated with sriracha or other hot sauces. A simple Google can find it. I assume it’s more expensive but you wouldn’t need to use it all the time. Conditioned response actually works better when you vary it up some.

  40. Tethys says

    I’ve got huge patches of peppermint in my garden. The squirrels do not mind it at all, and the rabbits like to hang out in it, so I doubt the oil would be an effective repellant.

    I am genuinely curious about the low quality troll’s need to infest threads with childish arsehole commentary.

    What exactly does showing your ass in public accomplish?
    Were you dropped on your head as a child?
    Why so hateful?
    Why such incredibly stupid taunts? What is the point of acting like a rabid fool?

  41. says

    @Tethys 57
    This time it’s alternating portraying people as abusive to animals (DARVO given the attempted harassment), and attempts at enjoying the suffering of others.

    It might feel good if they feel we are hurting their social world through social justice activity. Feeling like they are mockingly pointing out supposed abuse of animals. All to hide that they want to hide the abuse of people. The enjoyment of the suffering of others is dominance behavior. It goes with the use of other groups in dominance displays like the fallatio as insult.

  42. ffakr says

    On the 2% chance some of the criticism is not just pathetic trolling..
    As cute as squirrels are, they are still rodents (even if they’ve diverged from Rats a long time ago) and they can be incredibly destructive.
    As much as I like watching them frolic around in the trees, I don’t like them feeding off my bird seed either because my feeder is next to my 133YO farmhouse, and I prefer to keep the critter residency inside my hollow walls down to a minimum.

    So far, I’ve found surprisingly little damage in my attic, even though we hear critters (most likely, most often.. field mice) in our walls fairly regularly. I’ve seen what they can do in other places though. Squirrel got into the side of my mom’s house.. ate halfway through a 2×4 in wall of upstairs rental unit before we found and blocked the hole by nailing a board over it.. squirrel came back and pulled at it till it pulled the board off the siding.. nails and all.

    Sure they’re cute, but they’re also little rat-bastards.. and god forbid you get a nice juicy one that’s died in your wall cavity.
    Or worse, they chew through your electrical and burn your house down.

    Personally, I’d be perfectly happy if we didn’t have any in my neighborhood. I’d be happy just keeping them closer to other houses than to mine.

  43. reeder says

    1. Allow squirrels to eat seed.
    2. Shoot and eat squirrels.
    I found this in old bird feeding book.

  44. captainjack says

    Red squirrels in Colorado are a foreign species and have completely displaced the native gray squirrels in many (most?) areas. They’re not an endangered species here, but song bird populations in the southwest are declining from starvation. Too bad the birds can’t eat the squirrels.

  45. davidc1 says

    @68 ,Oh go piss up a rope ,go play on the motorway ,take up chainsaw juggling ,take a long walk off a short pier ,your choice .

  46. davidc1 says

    @72 hah ,you don’t rate the last A .So you are a Jew hater as well as a dickhead .
    Comments about peoples mothers is the lowest point in the great interweb swamp .
    So you are a gay hating gay are you ? I bet you are a trump supporter ,and hates them demoncrats .
    Got any nasty comments about black people .
    Can i have your real email address ,you sound like a very interesting person ,would live to chat more in private .

  47. davidc1 says

    Hi Mr fatguy ,I take it as read that you are a christian repub ,so how do you like having a POTUS who is not barking mad ,
    or a liar ,cheat ,or a rapist .
    How about a jebubs joke to lighten the mood .
    Roman soldier at the nail the son of god event .
    “Would you mind crossing your legs Mr Jesus , only have one nail left “.
    That’s a cracker .

  48. davidc1 says

    @75 Again with the insults of my mother ,who is dead ,so nothing your perverted mind can think up will hurt her .
    Was going to say something about your mother ,but not going to sink to your level .
    So what are you really angry about ,what is getting your knickers in a twist that you spend your time posting childish insults on Dr Myers web page ?
    Eastern Orthodox ,Happy new year .I bet you wish you were around in the Balkans during WW2 ,you could have murdered any number of Jewish women and children ,all for free .
    Not quite a gay hating gay ,but you are gay are you not ?One of those who are so far in the closet ,you are in Narnia .

  49. davidc1 says

    @78 Ah ,fooled you i don’t have a sister .I have a three year cousin ,might be a bit old for you .
    I have read up about it. The Chetniks wanted to slaughter the Jews ,but the Italians stopped them ,
    I am not gay ,dumbass yourself .
    How cam one person destroy the atheist movement .
    PS, it was King Boris who saved the Jews ,fuck knows that would have happened if the buggers had any say in it.

  50. says

    In fact this can be an opportunity to pick apart antisemitism with an object example. It’s going to be more than one thing but insecurity related to money via historical scapegoating stands out to me. Fatwahhhhguy seems to be separating it from finance and is using it to double down.

  51. Cutty Snark says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite @ 79

    I fear you flatter them most outrageously when you suggest they rise to the height of object lesson. Personally, what I find disappointing is the low quality of the insults offered – one would have thought that if someone is going to go around abusing people, they should at least try to put some level of effort into it.

    Sadly, this is quite clearly not the case – no brilliant witticisms or sarcastic commentary, no remarks carefully constructed to puncture and deflate, no clever insights devastatingly levelled to great effect. And this, of course, is quite telling: if someone has actual cause for complaint, they can voice it; if someone has a critique to make, they can offer it. But if someone is unable to proffer anything more than the sort of droning dross that would be considered embarrassingly unimaginative by the average schoolyard bully, one can´t help but suspect that they are not exactly the modern age´s answer to Jonathan Swift.

    People who impact the world can at least make a mark (for good or for ill); they can offer a good discussion of the issues or – at a bare minimum – at least rhetoric sufficiently well-crafted it will linger in the minds of those to whom it is directed. But is there anything offered here that anyone could remember the second their browser closes? I fear not – and this lack of ability and content says far more about them than those they are trying (and failing) to provoke.

    One suspects that they are someone who has been sadly hindered by their complete lack of talent – unable to create they seek to destroy, but they lack even the base ability required to manage that. It is, I suppose, understandable that the knowledge of how completely irrelevant and what an absolute failure they are might explain the anger. They have, after all, entered in a duel of wits completely unarmed and still in their metaphorical pajamas – failing to clear even the low bar of “successful internet troll”, they have tripped, concussed themselves, and now proceed wandering around in a rhetorical daze trying desperately to cover themselves in their own excrement in the hopes that this increases the chance of smearing it onto others.

    And so, all we are to get is this tedious and monotonous liturgy of hatred, and the mouthing of unimaginative insults – clearly, to be as generous as possible, the mediocre product of a mediocre intellect. And that is all they will ever be – a fleck of human detritus, not even noteworthy in their toxicity; a brief discordant note in the symphony of life, completely drowned out by the cacophony of other, far superior tunes. A momentary unpleasantness, forgotten within seconds – unable to critique they have sought to provoke, but instead failed to evoke even disgust or anger. Sadly, the most they may be able to elicit is the faint weariness one feels at encountering another example of the sediment one finds at the bottom of the barrel.

    Frankly speaking, I think it is time to demand a better class of troll.

  52. davidc1 says

    @82 Priests ,yeah right .I know there were no Italians in buggerland ,I was talking about another part of the Balkans ,either Bosnia ,or Croatia.As for Italians in buggerland ,maybe there were a few on Holiday .
    So that the truth is coming out ,you hate women as well .

  53. Rob Grigjanis says

    fatwaguy @78:

    Actually in Bulgaria ppl are proud they have saved all of the country’s 50k jews from the nazis during the war.

    No Jews were deported from Bulgaria proper. However, Bulgaria did deport Jews from Bulgarian-held territories to Germany, and even charged the Germans for the transportation. Bulgarian police also participated in the massacre of Jews from northern Greece.

    As for Jews in Bulgaria, they were merely stripped of their rights, heavily taxed, and put in forced labour battalions under increasingly harsh conditions. Read up on it. So much to be proud of!