Keeping small mammals out: what solutions have worked for you?

rat DIY home solution rodent humane

While lumpy pillows and purposely overcooked food may work with the in-laws, finding humane solutions to keeping small mammals out of your home isn’t quite as simple.

Small mammals, particularly rodents like rats, mice, chipmunks, and squirrels, will frequently try to find their way inside a home, under a shed or deck, or into another area where we’d rather they not settle down. Prevention remains the best method of stopping this kind of conflict, and our usual tips, such as removing attractants (particularly food-related), should always be a first step. A good second step might be contacting a humane removal company like AAA Wildlife Control in BC or Ontario, who will help safely, and humanely, remove animals, and secure potential entryways.

But many of us are DIY-ers – that is we’d love to find simple, at-home solutions to keeping animals from finding their way into our living spaces. A few ideas that we and our supporters have experimented with include:

  • Putting a rag into a margarine container, and putting some diluted bleach or ammonia (but not both) into it; seal the lid and punch some small holes in it, and place around potential entryways. The smell can deter small mammals (though we’ve heard that ammonia can cause extended irritation – we are investigating this currently).
  • Position a radio on a talk station near the area where small mammals are exploring, attempting to enter, or nesting. The ongoing noise can make them uncomfortable enough to find somewhere else to go.
  • Leaving a flashlight pointed at their entryway or potential nest. They want to avoid detection, and a brightly lit spot will make them uncomfortable, and less likely to rest in that spot.

We want to hear what humane solutions have worked or failed for you, so we can create a comprehensive list of DIY home ideas to prevent wildlife conflict with small mammals. Just comment on our social media profiles, or send us a note at We’ll investigate each one to see if there’s an established scientific principle at play, or enough anecdotal evidence to support it.

Remember, no matter the size, all wildlife want the same thing as we do: a safe place to raise their families. Let’s work together to find ways that we can compassionately co-exist – outside of our homes.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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