How do we get rid of nesting squirrel?
January 23, 2009 2:44 PM   Subscribe

A squirrel is nesting in my friend's car and it keeps coming back. Does anyone have a (non-cruel, non-lethal) way to convince squirrels to find another warm spot?

My friend took her (brand new) car in because of a broken headlight and it turns out a squirrel was nesting in her engine and chewing up her electrical system. Over $300 later, the auto guys told her to put mothballs in her car which not only did not repel the squirrel (she saw it climbing out of her car two days later), but apparently generates toxic fumes.

Has anyone had this problem and successfully evicted the squirrel? She lives in an apartment building and doesn't have an assigned spot so she can't set traps or anything like that. I found this stuff, but I have no idea if it works. Any advice based on experience would be much appreciated.
posted by Kimberly to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
Spray fox/coyote urine around the area. Can be found at any local bait/hunting shop.
posted by sanka at 2:54 PM on January 23, 2009

Dunno if it would work for squirrels, but ammonia is pretty good at repelling skunks. Pour some ammonia on a rag or paper towel and put it near/under the car after parking (and take your trash with you when you leave). An ammonia-soaked rag convinced some skunks to stop nesting under my back room, so it might be a good squirrel-be-gone device as well.
posted by Quietgal at 3:08 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

What about a liberal sprinkling of cayenne pepper powder all inside? I have no idea if that'd be bad for the engine long term or if it could get sucked into the inside of the car, but cayenne is my go-to for squirrel control.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:16 PM on January 23, 2009

All inside under the hood, that is. Not the interior of the car.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:16 PM on January 23, 2009

Fox urine and mothballs worked for me when that happened so I guess that's not too much help. Just another data point.
posted by dead cousin ted at 3:27 PM on January 23, 2009

What about some sort of squirrel relocation program? Use live squirrel traps, catch the, I mean, little critter, and let him go in a park far, far away.
posted by ASM at 3:37 PM on January 23, 2009

agreement on the mothballs
posted by Drasher at 3:37 PM on January 23, 2009

Mothballs work, but there's a good chance that the smell will get into the interior of the car, and you most definitely don't want that.

I'd get a live trap (you can sometimes borrow them from your local Animal Control agency or the SPCA). Bait it with something really yummy and leave it next to the car. Check often -- you don't want to leave the squirrel there too long.

Find a nice cushy spot to take the squirrel, release it there.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:41 PM on January 23, 2009

I had a friend who had this exact problem. She put a whole box of Bounce dryer sheets throughout her car and, well, we're not sure it worked but she didn't have the squirrel noises coming from her dash anymore after that! And her car smelled AWESOME. I'll ask her if she has any more tips!
posted by bristolcat at 3:45 PM on January 23, 2009

A while back I read an article about someone using strobe lights to get squirrels out of attics. Not sure how handy a xenon strobe is or if your friend wants to mess with setting it up every night and taking it down every morning or explaining why it looks like there is a UFO landing in the driveway, but it would be cheaper than getting your wiring harness reworked.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:02 PM on January 23, 2009

A few autumns ago, I went a few rounds with squirrels, my wiring, and some radiator hoses. You would have thought that downing some antifreeze would have stopped the buggers, but no dice.

My mechanics, after working on the car for the third time, coating all of the wirings and chewables with white lithium grease. I didn't have any trouble after that.
posted by wg at 4:10 PM on January 23, 2009

Ammonia is a good bet -- not speaking from experience of squirrels and car wiring here, but cat urine contains large quantities of ammonia, and if the stench of predator pee doesn't scare the critters off, what will?
posted by cstross at 3:14 AM on January 25, 2009

Mothballs didn't work (now her car smells like an old man, but the squirrel kept coming back) and she didn't want her car smelling like pee on top of that. So what she did was park her car somewhere else. That worked like a charm. Hopefully when the weather is warmer she can go back to parking closer to her apartment again.
posted by Kimberly at 12:15 PM on February 23, 2009

Oh ammonia didn't work either. I guess they were some determined squirrels!
posted by Kimberly at 12:15 PM on February 23, 2009

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