Kill trapping can be a useful management option when California ground squirrel numbers are in low to moderate densities. The primary advantage of kill trapping over live trapping is that the trapper is not responsible for euthanizing the captured ground squirrel. Kill traps include box traps, tunnel traps, and Conibear traps.
Note to homeowners: Kill trapping is not usually a practical solution in residential areas because of the potential hazards it poses to pets, some nontarget wildlife species, or small children.
Box and Tunnel Traps
Box and tunnel traps can be more effective if California ground squirrels become accustomed to taking bait from them through the process of pre-baiting. Place baited, unset box or tunnel traps near squirrel burrows or their runways. Use oats, barley, nuts, melon rinds, or some other attractant for bait. Ensure that the bait is secured behind the trigger. Leave the traps unset for several days. Once squirrels become accustomed to the traps, set them.
Because traps are set on the ground, they can be a hazard to nontarget animals and children. A box with entrance holes 3-4 inches in diameter can be set over the trap to reduce this risk.
Pre-baiting is not necessary for the Conibear trap No. 110. The trap is placed directly in the burrow opening so that the squirrel must pass through the Conibear jaws. The trap has a jaw spread of 4.5 x 4.5 inches, so it may be necessary to fill in the space between the trap and the burrow entrance with soil to prevent the ground squirrel from slipping past the trap. Multiple traps can be used on multiple entrances to the same burrow system. If traps are not placed in all burrow entrances, the remaining entrances may need to be filled and blocked to divert animals towards traps. Some trappers find it useful to offset the trigger slightly to one side of the trap; when left directly in the middle, the ground squirrels may view this as an obstruction and prefer not to enter. Stake the trap to the ground to prevent scavengers from running off with the carcass and the trap.
Any animal that enters the Conibear trap will be captured. Do not use this trap where nontarget captures (e.g. small pets) are a concern.
Ground squirrels carry many diseases. It is important to never handle any rodents with bare hands. To dispose of kill-trapped ground squirrels, you may: