The Squirrel Story page 2 - Trap and Deport
I had built a trap years ago to catch a possum that was getting
my tomatoes before I could pick them. We adapted it to squirrels
by making it a little bit more sensitive.
I had to remodel the trap twice in 2008, first because
some squirrels were actually able to escape from the trap, and
then again because we were getting too many false positives (the
trap would close with no squirrel inside), and too many false
negatives (the squirrel could get in the trap and back out without
That old saying about engineers always building a better mouse trap -
well this applied. I developed a scale-based trigger whereby the
squirrel would crawl up a ramp to get the nuts. When the
ramp tilted based on the squirrel's weight, it pulled down a coat-hanger, which
then allowed a specially slotted license plate fragment to slide
freely. A heavy lock on the end of a string provided the force to
slide the plate, which then pulled another coat hanger out of an
eye bolt, allowing the trap door to fall shut.
We started catching squirrels. My first instinct was to summarily
execute them, but this idea was not very popular with others in my
household. Instead, we would take them out west and release them
in the woods far, far away from my lights.
I figured I might catch 4 to 6 squirrels that frequented our yard.
But they kept coming. Six, seven, eight, nine - we've got to be
close to catching the last squirrel - ten, eleven, twelve - are
you sure these squirrels aren't finding their way back home again?
Thirteen, Fourteen, and eventually a total of 17 squirrels
caught and deported.