Squirrels are easily frightened and can be scared off with certain noises or movements that humans are unaware of. 

You can use these methods to frighten them if they’re being pests around your house, or you can simply observe what frightens them to learn more about their behavior.

Continue reading to learn more about what frightens squirrels, why they act like they do, and what you can do to keep them away from your home or garden.

What are Squirrels Afraid of?

It turns out that squirrels have many fears and they vary depending on the type of squirrel. They are all afraid of being chased, by predators, and other animals that they can’t defend themselves against. 

Interestingly, trees make them feel more secure because it’s harder for these natural enemies to get to them in those areas. And if you live near overgrown trees or large oak trees, there will likely be many squirrel families living in your backyard. 

Squirrels will also fear birds like crows and jays, but not because of their squawking and noise-making abilities as many people might think. Rather, they’re intimidated by their size and aggression. 

For Example – Cats will scare almost any rodent so this should come as no surprise. Birds of prey such as hawks, owls, and eagles are another major threat to a squirrel since they’ll fly down from above or pick one up off the ground when hunting with ease.

What Animals Frighten Squirrels?

There are a lot of things that frighten squirrels. In some cases, even things that most people would not think would scare them. Here are the list of animals that scare squirrels most:

Dogs and Cats

The big type of predator is usually the most dangerous for squirrels – namely, the dog and cat.

I know what you’re thinking, dogs do not attack squirrels. This is not true, there have been many documented cases of dogs attacking and killing squirrels because they view them as prey. 

The thing that dogs and cats have going for them is that they can run faster than squirrels, giving them a greater chance of successfully catching their prey. 

Plus, they have sharper teeth and claws, which means they can inflict more damage on an unsuspecting rodent before the squirrel has time to escape or become aggressive in its own defense. 

If you have cats roaming around outside (you should if they are inside!), you can train them to scare away or fight off squirrels by setting up a trail of food leading up to the area where they typically hang out and watch them as they eat their meal. They may take some time before they start chasing after any furry creatures 

One study found that cats killed an average of 3,000 rodents per year! That’s terrifying for any small animal.



Squirrels tend to shy away from human presence and scurry into bushes and holes when a person walks by. A squirrel will try to become small, lie flat on the ground, or hide behind large trees. 

Foxes are a danger to most squirrel species because foxes will hunt in packs; thus, killing off all of the squirrels in the pack’s territory. 

When you find that your backyard has many scattered tree limbs with paw prints (fox), it is time to cut down the trees or wire them together so they cannot be climbed upon by the foxes. If this does not work, then install an electric fence around the perimeter of your yard.


Squirrels, like most other rodents, are mostly scared of owls. In night time an owl’s eyes shine red which is usually enough to send a squirrel scampering away. Occasionally they’ll venture out onto the street or into someone’s backyard in the daytime to grab some food. 

With all of their senses alert for any sign of danger. It’s not just the brightness of our days that scares them, but there’s also their excellent hearing. The sound of cars passing by on a busy street can be quite frightening as well as the echoes from nearby buildings during rush hour traffic.

Mammals will use anything available to help escape if it means saving themselves from potential death: burrows, trees, and bushes are two examples. And then there’s always running; while they may not be fast, they can certainly get away quickly enough if need be!

Also, Read – Can Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter?

What Flowers Frighten Squirrels?

For some reason, Sometimes squirrels really frightened by the smell of flowers. Most people have no idea why this is so, but it’s a well-known fact among biologists that this phenomenon occurs in many other animals as well. 

Here is a list of some flowers which will help you to deter squirrels from your garden.


One of the most effective and easiest ways to deter squirrels is to plant daffodils. The intense perfume will repel squirrels and other unwelcome animal pests. 

As an added bonus, your yard will be full of pretty flowers in early spring! If you have a favorite place for planting, place them there and keep a perimeter around them with a 2-3 foot space to keep those pesky squirrels out.

This type of flower is originally from Europe and can range from three to twelve inches in height. One distinguishing factor of this type of flower is that it opens up when the sun comes out and closes in the morning. 

Also, some believe that the population of squirrels has been declining in recent years due to habitat loss and human encroachment on their homes.



Sprinkling peppermint leaves or garden mints around your garden can help deter squirrels. The smell is too strong for them to handle, so they will find an easier target. 

Additionally, you can also try hanging tea lights on the outside of your window that has a view of your garden. This will provide some light at night and deter rodents.

What Sounds Frighten Squirrels?

Some things, like the rattling of a TV inside an empty house, can be disturbing. So too are a variety of sounds to squirrels. Whether it is the hissing of snakes, the rumble of a storm, or another surprise like an angry cat coming from around the corner, there are lots of potential things that could frighten a squirrel.

The fear or thrill in any situation can depend on how well you understand what it means for the animal. The noise might seem harmless or not even be noticed if it is part of everyday life; then again it could signal some larger threat and potentially lead to panic and escape behavior. Either way, they are responding as they see best.

Dog Barks

Some people think that dogs make great pets for keeping squirrels away from their property. But in actuality, it may not be the dogs themselves who frighten the squirrels, but the barks they make. 

The barks often emit a high-pitched frequency that causes anxiety and startles nearby animals. So in order to get rid of squirrels once and for all, one might do well to invest in an alarm or horn that emits a low-frequency sound. It’s time to frighten squirrels with something new: noise! 

Studies have shown that while some animals like raccoons, bears, and coyotes can’t hear this frequency as humans can, squirrels can hear up to 50 kilohertz – which is pretty close to the range where these horns are usually found according to the researchers at Cornell University

Ultrasonic Sounds

Acoustic weaponry is a new way to scare animals away from an area. It relies on the use of high-frequency sound waves, and in some cases, can be heard by animals but not humans. 

Ultrasonic sounds (between 20 and 60 kilohertz) are generally only audible to dogs, cats, bats, elephants, whales, and dolphins as well as some insects and songbirds. 

The concept behind ultrasonic sounds is that the sound irritates the animal’s inner ear causing discomfort or distress which causes them to leave the area. If you’re looking for ways to deter animals in your yard without harming them, this may be the way that suits best to you.

Bottom Line on What Frightens Squirrels?

Squirrels are mainly frightened by human activity, but being hunted also terrifies them. When humans go on a hunt for squirrels, they flush them out and shoot them from their tree holes or homes in the ground. 

Some people like to play a game where they try to scare and capture the animal with loud noises and chase it up into the trees with sticks. One of the best ways to catch a squirrel is to sit very still under its home. 

If it feels that there’s no danger below it, then it will come out of its hole looking for food – right into your arms!

If you’re not so patient, you can use bait such as nuts or other types of food and put them nearby (make sure not to put it too close) to lure the animals out.

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Meet Tomas Clayton, a seasoned plant gardener who has been passionate about horticulture since he was a child. Tomas John developed a love for the natural world and a strong appreciation for the beauty of plants while growing up on a farm.

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