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How to Keep Squirrels from Eating Your Pumpkins

Tired of finding your jack o' lanterns chewed up by hungry neighborhood critters? Here are some tips to safely keep them away.


©Pixabay / Jlewoldsen


We've all had this happen before: you and your kids spend a weekend pumpkin-picking and carving jack o' lanterns to put out on the front steps or patio, but by Monday they've been devoured. Your former masterpieces look defeated with hunks of dark orange flesh missing and seedy guts strung along the concrete.

Is there anything you can do to keep squirrels away from your masterpieces without harming them? Few things can outsmart a hungry squirrel, but they're all worth a shot. Protect the fruits of your labor by trying one or more of these easy tricks.

Petroleum Jelly

A think coat of gunky, sticky ointment will keep squirrels at a distance. Don't have any petroleum jelly in the house? Try vapor rub.

Hot Sauce

Make your own concoction using about a gallon of water, a small bottle of hot sauce and a teaspoon of liquid soap. Fill a spray bottle with your DIY sauce and coat your gourds. But be careful not to stain the porch (and FYI, it may stain your pumpkin, too).

White Distilled Vinegar

Have you ever gotten whacked in the face with that nostril-tingling smell after opening a bottle of vinegar? Enough said.

Pet Hair

If you have a cat or dog in your home, gather up enough of their hair to put a layer under or around your jack o' lanterns. Squirrels are instinctively scared of your furry friends (especially your cats) because they consider them predators.

Peppermint or Garlic Spray

These are natural repellents available at many garden stores. If you can't find one to buy, try making your own.

Deer Repellent

Get one that contains "putrescent whole egg solids," which is code for rotten eggs. 

Distract 'Em

Squirrels target your pumpkins for the seeds inside. If you put a plate of seeds or uncooked corn kernels on a plate away from the pumpkins, they may get their snacks there instead.

Scare 'Em

Get your crew in their costumes and yell "BOO!" at any critters that come near your pumpkins.

Just kidding; an owl statue should work just fine.

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