The Q&A Archives: Fox Urine

Question: I live in the middle of Philadelphia and I had a problem with squirrels last year. My question regards fox urine, which is supposed to keep squirrels away. I seriously doubt that the squirrels who invade my garden have ever seen a fox, so how do they know, by scent (or sight, for that matter), that a fox is their predator? I am considering purchasing fox urine, but don't know if it would be effective as a deterrent to a squirrel who doesn't know any better!!! Is there a more effective controlfor these city squirrels? Thanks!

Answer: Well, let's put it this way...we human types generally rely on sight, and to an extent, instinct to tell us when to steer clear of danger, lesser mammals tend to rely on scent and instinct. Chances are, you've never been head to head with an alligator, siberian tiger, or shark, but, you know they just might eat you. Same for squirrels, they don't have to have experience with a particular predator to know it may make a meal of them. Generally, these predator scents are effective, but, theyneed to be applied continually and, the "pest" animal (squirrels in your case) sometimes learn that there is no real threat. Squirrels are very, very intelligent. Anyone who has seen them engineer their way past a squirrel proof birdfeeder willattest to that fact. Here are a few deterrents you can try; unfortunately, there's no sure-fire way to eliminate squirrels from your garden. Try sprinkling the plants with cayenne pepper, cayenne pepper spray, or sprinkling red pepper flakes around the soil. (You can purchase these inexpensively in bulk at many natural food stores.) Garlic and garlic sprays have also shown some efficacy. Since squirrels' natural predators include snakes, owls and hawks, look for inflatable or concrete versionsof these predators at your local garden center. Placed conspicuously around your garden, they just might scare the squirrels away--at least for a while. Spreading lime around the base of your plants may deter them for a while (and it's good for the soil.) Also, have you considered a cat?

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