The Great Squirrel Relocation Project (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada)


“Critters” seems to be a reoccurring theme in our life. We’ve had bat situations and ant invasions. We have dealt with raccoons invading shed and garden and mice moving into our house. The latest encounter has been the squirrely-est squirrel we have ever seen.

It all started innocently enough. Sometime in the summer a squirrel moved into one of the huge spruce trees in our front yard. He spent the summer scampering about and doing what squirrels do. Come fall the squirrel went into winter preparation mode, frantically collecting and storing cones from our trees. It was all very interesting to watch. However last week the squirrel experience took a turn.


Last week the squirrel became too brave. It all started when he decided to start eating the cones while sitting on our deck rail. He was getting a little too close to the house. We remember what happened to the family across the street from us and we didn’t want it to happen to us.  Squirrels invaded their house resulting in having to replace their deck, roof and siding. Of course it doesn’t help that the lady next door was (and still is) FEEDING the squirrels. Why would anyone encourage a problem?

So the squirrel progressed from eating on our deck to bringing cones on to the deck and storing them in our planters. Then he started burying them in our planters. As the cones started to pile up we knew we had to discourage our furry friend, so we started getting rid of the cones. Then the squirrel started to dig up the planters. There was dirt everywhere. We’d clean it up. An hour later, again there was dirt everywhere. At one point we even covered the top of a planter with one of our son’s big toy diggers, and the squirrel tried to dig around it. The squirrel wasn’t getting the message.

Dirt everywhere from the planters.

Dirt everywhere from the planters.

Digging up the planters.

Digging up the planters.


It was time to relocate our fluffy tailed friend.

Thanks to our ongoing mouse situation, and my husband’s new hobby of buying traps, we had a brand new live squirrel trap in the basement (as you do!). An accidental purchase thanks to our four year old of peanuts provided the perfect bait. We threw in a few of his cones for good measure.

blog squirrel being relocatedWithin an hour Mr. Squirrel had found a way into the live trap, eaten the peanuts and was ready for his trip to greener forests.

We popped him in the back of the truck, and my husband covered the cage with a tarp. He says it was to keep the squirrel calm. I don’t know. Perhaps it was too similar to classic kidnapping techniques you read about………he was just making sure the squirrel didn’t know where he was going so he didn’t come back.

blog squirrel being releasedWe took the squirrel down to the nature sanctuary. My husband lifted the door and the squirrel was gone in a flash. We’ve never seen a creature move so fast.

blog squirrel runs into the trees

Gaetz Lake sanctuary, Red Deer, AB, Canada

We think the squirrel will be much happier here, even though he will probably miss the steady diet of peanuts our neighbor fed him.

6 thoughts on “The Great Squirrel Relocation Project (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada)

  1. I enjoyed your squirrelly story. It reminds me of the time I sat by our window gazing up at the sky when I saw a racoon climb up the down spout on the outside of our house, look me directly in the eye and pushed the soffit up with his little hand and climb in under the roof. We had a humane animal service come and get him out, drive away with him and release him into the wild. He was back the next night. This time hitting up my next door neighbour because the animal removal service had caged all our racoon entry points. Our neighbours called the humane animal service and the the same process we had was repeated. Well, the next night guess who was back two doors down. The racoon hit every house down the block and the humane animals service made out like bandits.

    • I love your story.

      We have racoons at our place on the coast. They even come up to the patio doors and stare at us. They used to get into the garbage can until my husband bought an “animal proof” one. The garbage can works really well, but the raccoons beat the thing up all over the yard in an attempt to open it.

      Some day I will have to share our bat story.

      Thanks for reading our adventure.

  2. Hello Deb, I’m visiting via Dancing Beastie and from Scotland. I was interested in your comments on separation referendums in Canada. We know BC quite well, and I can understand the feelings of people there regarding the independence issues. Here in my family we are very relieved that we had a No vote and that Scotland will stay part of the UK. In the darkest days before the referendum I completed the immigration questionnaire on the Canada immigration site to see if we would qualify for emigrating. Given our age it seems that we wouldn’t, at least not without a firm job offer. I can understand that! So our plan B had been to move to Europe in the 2 year window that Scotland would still be a member, before other EU states started blocking entry to an independent Scotland. However our daughter (currently a university student) may well end up becoming a Canadian!
    So funny about your squirrel trouble. Here red squirrels are endangered, so people put up with a lot to have them around. But maybe not as much as the constant digging up you had.

    • My husband only became a Canadian 1.5 years ago, and he is so relieved to have done it.

      Is your daughter studying in Canada?

      We were very happy about the “no” vote too, we watched the count as the numbers came in. It would have been a disaster if it had gone “yes”. It would have crippled Scotland. We always laugh at the Quebec separatists as they seem to think they can pick and choose what they will keep of “Canada” and what they will toss. It doesn’t exactly work that way.

      You should have been able to claim refugee status in Canada……everyone else does. A Dutch person a few years ago tried it because she didn’t like the Dutch school system and felt persecuted.

      We used to live in the Liverpool area (even have a child with the middle name Anfield…my choice!) and there was a squirrel reserve nearby. It was such a wild concept for me to grasp …a reserve for squirrels…….and people would drive quite a way to visit it. Chances are there will be a sequel to my squirrel post as our garage has several living in it. Once we have it re-roofed, it will be eviction time as we turn it into a studio/workshop.

      Thanks for the note!

  3. very wise move Deb, I worked for a while for a family that had big problems with the grey squirrels, they had made the roof unsafe and eaten through thick electric cables, the animal removal men said they were amazed they hadn’t electrocuted themselves and the electric company had to be called in to replace all the cables, the squirrels had to be taken quite a long way to stop them coming back, Frances

    • We relocated another one yesterday that was spending way to much time on the roof of our house. Hopefully they will be happier in the nature sanctuary.

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