Is it legal to trap squirrels in the garden of a residential area?
Do you need a licence for trapping squirrels?
Q: I have been told that I am not allowed to catch grey squirrels in my garden because I am not licensed, and because my garden is in a residential area and not adjacent to farmland or woodland. Is this true? Can I still catch them?
A: It is not true, and it is amazing how many people are told such things by self-proclaimed experts. You do not need a licence to control grey squirrels or set traps for them and you can do it in your garden, regardless of where your house is. If you are new to trapping there are some excellent instructional videos on YouTube that include choice of trap, instructions on how to set them and legal obligations relating to trap siting, trap checking and the despatch of any live animals.
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BASC says: “Grey squirrels have limited legal protection and can be controlled all year round by a variety of methods including shooting and trapping. It is an offence under section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) to introduce and release grey squirrels into the wild. Under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 any person responsible for a squirrel trap, would only be responsible for any animal caught by it but not its offspring still in the wild. Under the act, it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a kept animal (this includes live caught animals).”
A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers Organisation advises: “ The licence for use of warfarin to control grey squirrels ended in September 2014. There are no mitigating circumstances.
“Existing stocks of warfarin held by individuals needed to be ‘used up’ by the end of September 2015.
“It is illegal to use warfarin labelled for grey squirrel control. The sensible thing is to dispose of it safely in accordance with the law. Killgerm offer a very reasonably priced collection and disposal service.”