Decorating your porch with pumpkins is one of the best parts of Halloween. That is until your beautiful display is destroyed by hungry squirrels. The trick is to repel them before they can cause damage. This guide will teach you how to keep squirrels from eating pumpkins on your porch.
First let’s start by looking at why squirrels eat your pumpkins, and why you need to stop them.
Why are squirrels attracted to Halloween pumpkins?
Pumpkins on your porch attract squirrels as it’s an easy food source for them. It’s even better that you’ve cut through the tough skin and given them easy access to the fleshy insides.
Squirrels are omnivores and will take the opportunity to eat what they can. A hungry squirrel will detect the scent of a freshly carved pumpkin and head straight to it.
Pumpkins are vegetables that provide a lot of energy and nutrients for squirrels. This benefits them by helping them to stay healthy and also put on weight for the upcoming winter months.
The most damage will be done from squirrels nibbling on the flesh of your pumpkins. Yet you may see some pumpkin guts strewn around your yard. That’s because pumpkins can take the seeds and cache them away as a winter food supply.
Why you need to keep squirrels away
There has long been a debate about whether it’s ok to feed wild squirrels or not. I’m guessing since you’re looking to keep the squirrels away that you don’t want to attract them to your yard. Let’s take a look at a few reasons, that you shouldn’t be encouraging squirrels to feed on your Halloween pumpkins.
Pumpkins may be dangerous
Depending on how you decorate your pumpkin, it may be unsafe for squirrels to eat.
Adding decorations such as paint, glues, and glitter can be dangerous for squirrels to ingest and may make them unwell. The burnt and scorched parts on a pumpkin are unhealthy for a squirrel to eat.
If you choose to use some of the deterrents suggest in this guide, don’t then try to offer the pumpkin to the local wildlife when you are done with it. You’ll defeat the purpose of trying to deter the squirrels in the first place.
Squirrels carry disease
Like any wild animal, squirrels are known to carry disease. Although there are only a few that transfers to humans, it’s still possible for them to make you ill. If you have pets then squirrels can pass on diseases to them too.
Having a big tasty pumpkin in your yard will encourage squirrels to visit your porch and possibly poo and urinate around the area too. Clearing up squirrel waste is where you’ll put yourself most at risk of contracting any nasty bacteria or virus they carry.
Squirrels can be Vicious
Although squirrels are portrayed as cute and funny creatures, they also have a vicious side to them.
Encouraging squirrels to lose their fear of humans can turn nasty. If they get too friendly with humans they start to rely on them for food. Then if they don’t get the food they want, they can attack. Squirrels can easily bite and claw, causing a good bit of damage to you. They will attack adults, children, and even your pets.
Squirrels are destructive
One reason for not inviting squirrels onto your property is that they can cause a lot of property damage.
Squirrels can easily invade the nooks of your home and cause damage to the insulation or by gnawing on wires. The damage won’t just be to property but also to your landscaping. Squirrels will eat your plants, herbs, crops and even empty your bird feeders.
The reality is that squirrels in your yard will normally cost you money somewhere down the line.
The best way to stop this is to discourage them from thinking your home is a reliable food source for them.
Let’s look at how you can do this during the Halloween season.
How To Keep Squirrels From Eating Pumpkins
1. Use Repelling Smells
This tip involves using scents or taste that squirrels hate. The idea is that you spray or rub these onto your pumpkin and it will deter the squirrel from coming near.
There are a lot of different smells and taste the squirrels really don’t like including:
- Hot peppers
- White Vinegar
- Peppermint Oil
- Coffee Grounds
- Citrus peel
You may want to try just rubbing these directly onto the flesh of the pumpkin. You can also leave some of the foodstuffs inside to keep a strong aroma through the Halloween season. This is preferable as smells can be washed off in the rain and you may need to reapply each time.
Remember to choose a scent that you don’t mind smelling each time your walk past your porch.
If you don’t want to do a DIY option then you can buy a ready-made squirrel repellent spray (like this). These sprays can be a bit hit or miss and they’re not the most welcoming scent. That is unless the putrid scent adds to your Halloween display!
2. Use Hair
As weird as it may sound, squirrels hate the smell of human hair. It’s a sure-fire way to deter them from your pumpkins.
If you have an upcoming trip to the hairdressers, ask them to keep any clippings for you to take home. If not then try to clean any old hair out of your hairbrushes. You can then sprinkle the hair in or around your pumpkin display.
If the thought of using your own hair freaks you out then some readers have had luck with using their dog’s hair. If you regularly brush your dog down, try to collect their hair and use it near your pumpkins.
The squirrels will believe a human or a dog is close by and will likely scarper. This technique works well if your squirrels are still wary of humans. It won’t work as well if the squirrels are used to being around humans.
3. Use an electronic repellent
Squirrels can be easily started by sudden high-pitched noises as they’ll think it is a predator. You can buy a motion-controlled device that will emit sudden high-frequency noises when the squirrels walk by. The Broox animal repellent is my top pick.
This electronic repellent is ideal for guarding your pumpkins as it can be set up to cover the area where your pumpkin is displayed. Any time the squirrel goes near it will emit a sound they hear but humans don’t. Sticking around to eat your pumpkin will become too uncomfortable for them.
These repellents are fantastic as you just need to put in in place and forget about them. The solar charging area means you don’t even need to worry about replacing batteries.
Once Halloween is over you can use the repellent in your yard to deter other wildlife pests without harming them.
4. Use foil
One tip you can use when carving your pumpkin is to line the inside with aluminum foil. This will help your pumpkin to shine brighter during the night.
The reason for using aluminum foil lining is that squirrels hate the feel of this on their teeth or claws. If the squirrel starts trying to munch inside the pumpkin or even from the outside they’ll likely hit a bit of the foil.
The reflection on the surface may also be another reason why squirrels are scared off by a layer of foil.
5. Preserve the pumpkin
Preserving your carved pumpkin is a great way to help it look fresh and keep the squirrels away. The taste from a preserved pumpkin is not nice for squirrels and one bite will be enough.
There are a few ways that you can preserve a pumpkin. Most of these you’ll probably have in your home already.
Popular pumpkin preservers include:
- Furniture Polish
Whilst these methods will most likely work for keeping the squirrels away there is a better option.
Tom over at extreme pumpkins did an experiment with 14 different pumpkin preservatives. He found that Clorox clean-up with Bleach was the most effective. He noticed that it not only preserved the pumpkin but also kept the squirrels and bugs away.
Choose any of the preservatives you have to hand and spray it onto your pumpkin both inside and out. This will give a preserving layer that will leave a horrible taste for any nibbling squirrels.
This solution sounds appropriate for a Halloween display. Bloodmeal is a fertilizer made from dried and ground animal blood. Squirrels don’t like bloodmeal due to the smell and the fact that they associate blood with predators.
Bloodmeal can be used inside your pumpkins or even spread in a nearby display. Bloodmeal looks a little like soil so it can be used for a realistic effect if you have a creepy Halloween display alongside your pumpkins.
One issue with using bloodmeal is that it will likely wash away after any heavy rainfall. So if you commit to using it then you’ll need to reapply it after the rain.
7. Use a Predator
A great way to keep squirrels away from your yard is to fake the presence of a predator.
One simple solution is to use an owl decoy that they’ll think is the real thing. Squirrels are petrified of owls. A fake owl can help to add to the look of your Halloween display and won’t look out of place in the fall.
A predator eyes device can also be used close to your pumpkins. This also won’t look out of place during the Halloween season. It will simply look like your displaying creepy eyes as part of your porch display.
Predator and decoy devices are often more successful deter squirrels if you move them around. This means they won’t lose their effectiveness when the squirrels become accustomed to them.
8. Use fake pumpkins
Depending on the type of display you have then you may want to consider using a set of decorative pumpkins rather than the real thing.
This gives you the chance to still show off a lovely Halloween display without risking the squirrels destroying it. Then you can use the same pumpkins year after year.
You can buy all kinds of realistic-looking displays. Check out this selection of pumpkin displays you can use instead of a real pumpkin.
This may not be an option if you have kids who like to carve pumpkins as part of your family’s Halloween traditions.
9. Distract Them
What if nothing is working and the squirrel keeps coming around to nibble on your beautiful display? Then you may need to consider outsmarting the squirrels. This may also be an option if you don’t want to use fake pumpkins.
This option goes against the fact that you shouldn’t be offering food to the squirrel in your yard. Yet if they are very determined to eat something, it’s best to try and deter them from eating your pumpkins.
Offering a selection of food especially for them will hopefully help them stay away from your pumpkins. Placing foods such as cracked corn and peanut in another area of your yard will attract your squirrels much more than any carved pumpkin will.
It’s a risky strategy as they may just eat all the food and then move on to your pumpkins. But it’s worth a try as a last resort.
If you’re having trouble with squirrels destroying your Halloween pumpkins there are a few ways to stop them. To keep the squirrels away you have to make the pumpkins unappealing. Or you can make your porch an uncomfortable place for them to eat.
These 9 methods are easy and effective for keeping squirrels away from your pumpkins. If you have a determined squirrel you may need to use a few of these methods together.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time and expense from having to deal with a squirrel problem. Hopefully, your pumpkin display is squirrel-free in no time.