Squirrels are annoying backyard pests that you’ve no doubt had to contend with once or twice in your life. While they can look cute running around the trees and talking to each other, they can actually create quite a bit of havoc in and around your home, especially if they start tearing apart your Christmas lights!

Why do squirrels want to chew my Christmas lights?

There are two main reasons why squirrels are likely to chew up your Christmas lights.

1. Squirrels need to sharpen their teeth – Squirrels are known for their destructive tendencies, especially when it comes to wires and wood beams. The biggest reason that they’ll chew on everything is because their teeth are constantly growing so they need to chew things to file them down and keep them sharp. Usually, squirrels will make a mess of your attic when they get in to create a nest, but when you hang your Christmas lights you are making their hunt for wires so much easier!

2. They mistake them for nuts – The second reason that squirrels may be chewing on your Christmas lights is because they are mistaking them for nuts and want to steal them for their stockpile. While we can obviously tell the difference, to squirrels unlit Christmas lights are the right size and shape so they have trouble with it.

Squirrel Eating-Stealing Christmas Lights

How to prevent squirrels from chewing Christmas lights

While there is no way to completely prevent squirrels from chewing up your Christmas lights, there are a number of things you can do that will make them less appealing.

Look for plastic coating or use PVC pipes

While squirrels do like to chew whatever they can to sharpen their teeth, plastic isn’t something that they enjoy chewing on. Some lights come with their wires encased in plastic piping, but if you can’t find any it’s easy to do yourself. You can also try wrapping the wires in electrical tape or duct tape. Tape likely won’t be a permanent solution but can slow down the effects of their chewing.

Install metal deterrents on trees

If a squirrel is accessing your Christmas lights from a specific tree, you can temporarily install a metal band around the trunk of the tree about 6 feet off the ground. Squirrels aren’t able to climb flat metal, so this can provide a short-term solution to them reaching your Christmas lights.

Use a scent repellant

Squirrels hate the scent of store-bought repellants, as well as many natural items such as pepper spray or capsaicin, garlic, citrus fruit peels, minty mouthwash, citronella or apple cider vinegar. Make a solution with any of these ingredients and either spray your light cords or dip cotton balls in it and leave them around your lights.

Install motion lights

Although squirrels aren’t worried about hiding from light, having a motion detector that turns on lights suddenly might help to scare them away when they get close to your house.

Let your furry friend help

While this may go against your good neighbour instincts, letting your dog out to chase after and bark at squirrels can help discourage them from coming into your yard and targeting your Christmas lights.

Get rid of food sources

Feeding birds is a fun activity, especially in the winter, but you might be unknowingly luring squirrels to your yard. Squirrels are always on the hunt for a good food source and bird feeders are one of their favourites. If you feed your pets outside, ensure their food dishes are put away after every feeding as well.

Time to call a squirrel removal expert

If none of these solutions are helping to keep squirrels away from your Christmas lights, it might be time to call in the experts. A pest removal company can help ensure that you safely and humanely stop them from destroying your lights.


Photo Credits: CBC News