10 Best Squirrel Bait Options

Rodent Guide
Written By Rodent Guide

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

Looking for a squirrel bait option? If you are, you have come to the right place because we will cover the 10 most successful options here on this page.

The squirrel bait that you choose will drive your success in getting rid of squirrels. If you are using bait that isn’t going to be touched, then your success levels will be very low!

For this reason, you should be using one of the best squirrel bait options, and here are 10 of them.

What you will learn from this post:

  1. 10 of the best squirrel bait options
  2. Frequently asked questions

Squirrel Bait Options

10 Best Squirrel Bait Options For Increased Success

10 Best Squirrel Bait Options

Here are the most successful squirrel bait options I have used in the past. Although these are all good options, I usually decide which bait to use depending on the weather and situation.

For instance, if I have not seen a squirrel, but I want to set up a trap anyway, I will use peanuts. If it is a hot day, I will leave a couple of oranges in the trap (but keep them in the shade). If I know there is a squirrel near my house, I will load up with peanut butter and nuts or seeds.

10 Best Squirrel Bait Options For Increased Success

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is an excellent bait option for just about all rodents, squirrels included!

It has never failed for me. If there are squirrels around my yard or home, I’ll load up a trap with peanut butter (usually with some peanuts too). I usually catch a squirrel within days.


Peanuts are my go-to squirrel bait and are usually added with other options.

The reason why peanuts are good is that you can leave them for months outdoors in a trap. They have a very long lifespan, which is a huge bonus. You can set and forget!


This sounds like it is barely believable but let me tell you… I have caught squirrels by using marshmallows as bait!

Again, use marshmallows with other options for an increased chance of successfully trapping a squirrel. Options such as peanut butter are perfect to use, along with marshmallows.

Sunflower Seeds

If you have bird feeders in your yard, then you already know how much squirrels love them!

In fact, it is one of the reasons why I don’t have bird feeders in the yard! Not only do they attract squirrels, but they also attract rats to your yard and mice too.


Hazelnuts have a strong smell, which makes them excellent to use as squirrel bait.

They are also a good squirrel bait to ‘set and forget’ traps, to an extent. When I say ‘set and forget,’ I mean you can check in on the trap every 2-3 days. You do not have to reapply the bait.


On a hot day, I will absolutely use fruit as squirrel bait.

Squirrels need to drink, and they get also of their fluids from fruits, especially in the summer months.

squirrel eating orange
Squirrel eating an orange.

Use this knowledge to your advantage by using them to trap squirrels!

The only drawback is that you have to check the trap and swap the fruit regularly, especially in direct sunlight.


We have all seen pictures of squirrels eating acorns. That is because it is a very common food for squirrels to eat and bury in your yard.

I often see squirrels burying acorns in local parks in the fall, and if you go out during the Spring, you will see squirrels digging them back out again!

squirrel digging
Squirrel digging for nuts.

Hazelnut Spread

Sticky, sweet, and nutty! Hazelnut spread is the perfect bait to catch squirrels with!

If you are using a cage to catch the squirrels, then you will need a bait platform to place the bait. Most come with a baiting station; however, if yours doesn’t, you can use a small piece of wood.


Walnuts are another food that squirrels like, which makes it perfect as a bait choice!

squirrel eating walnut

As squirrels eat walnuts in the wild, they will be attracted to them in a trap. Walnuts are another bait that you can set and forget.

Let’s face it; any nuts can be used as bait for squirrels because they eat them in the wild. I usually opt for the ones with a stronger scent because they are more successful.

Pumpkin Seeds

Again, if you have bird feeders in your yard, you will know how much squirrels like seeds!

Pumpkin seeds are an awesome bait option for squirrels. I know this because I have had some pumpkin seeds disappear from my yard because they were dug up by a squirrel!

Also, in the Spring, squirrels take plant shoots as soon as they appear through the earth. Plants such as pumpkin plans are a prime target for squirrels. Bear that in mind if you are growing things!

Should I Use Poison To Bait Squirrels?

I am against using poison to bait any animal for two reasons:

  1. You do not know where they will die! Not knowing where an animal is going to die leaves you needing to be lucky! If you have squirrels in your attic, you do not want them to die up there; you want them to be outdoors where it will not cause a strong odor.
  2. Risk of secondary poisoning. If a squirrel eats poison and then gets eaten by a predator, then that predator will be affected by the poison.

If you decide to use poison to catch squirrels, then I suggest that you use a trap designed to keep the squirrel captive until the poison takes effect. That way, you know where the squirrel will die, and there is no risk to other wildlife (as long as the trap is not big enough to let bigger wildlife in).

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions about squirrel bait

What is the best food to attract squirrels?

I use different foods depending on the weather and situation. If it is hot, then I will go for oranges or other fruits. At any other time of the year, I will go for peanut butter or hazelnut spread. I will always back it up with nuts and seeds. These are all excellent squirrel bait options.

What smells attract squirrels?

Nuts, seeds, fruit, peanut butter, hazelnut spread. These odors will attract squirrels which means they are perfect squirrel bait options!

What time of day do squirrels come out?

Most squirrels are active during the day, which is unlike many other rodents, such as mice, and rats. There are some species of squirrels that are nocturnal though. For the most part, you should expect to see squirrels early in the morning, or during the later hours of sunlight.


If you are looking for squirrel bait options, then you can’t go wrong with the 10 options on this page! I have personally used each one of them and can confirm the fact they are successful.

As I mentioned in this post, I swap the squirrel bait around depending on the climate at the time. Hot weather means squirrels need fruit, but I will always back it up by placing some nuts in the trap too.

Squirrels can potentially carry some nasty diseases, so you do not want them around your home. Whilst they may visit your yard often, it doesn’t mean that you have a squirrel problem. It should start alarm bells ringing, though!

Good luck!


About the Rodent Guide

I’m an expert in do-it-yourself rodent control. For more than 20 years, I’ve dedicated my life to helping people live harmoniously alongside these critters by sharing rodent control solutions that are effective and kind.

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

2 thoughts on “10 Best Squirrel Bait Options”

  1. I am having difficulty with a red squirrel that even though the catch and release cage is baited with peanut butter and a peanut, it refuses to go inside. I have tried luring it in with a loose peanut and it quickly picks up the peanut and exits before tripping the peddle at the back. What to do?

    • Hey Maureen

      Thanks for the comment. I have a few ideas that may help you. Firstly, I would try more bait options. Try fruit with hazelnut spread and place it at the back of the cage. Secondly, try to disguise the trap with leaves and twigs (use gloves to do this), but be careful not to render the trap useless by placing leaves or twigs or the trigger.

      Finally, you mentioned it is a Red Squirrel. I am sure you have, but check to make sure you are allowed to catch them. Some places forbid catching Red Squirrels.

      Thanks, and good luck!


Leave a Comment