squirrels,canoes& worries

I live amongst hundreds of Pin Oak trees. There are so many squirrels and they like to eat and chew about anything they can. The only place to store my canoe will be in the backyard. Have you had problems with squirrels chewing on your Royalex canoe/kayak? What were your best solutions to this problem? Poison, traps, guns are not an option (nor cutting down the trees).


I had my

– Last Updated: Jan-10-07 5:17 PM EST –

rental (RX) canoes stored in a similar location.
Never had any problems with 'my' squirrels.
I don't think they prefere plastic over pine cones :-) The dropping the pine cones on the boats can become a pretty anoying sound, though...
I even had a paddle holder mounted to one of their favourite trees and they left the paddles (wooden and plastics) alone as well.
Of course, I also had my dog outside during the days.......
But the resin spots are hard to get off the RX hulls. If you don't want those, you'll better build some kind of shelter-direct tarp on the RX is not recomended and might lead to rot in the wooden canoe parts in addition if you block all air circulation.
Happy paddling!

would an electric fence work?

We have dozens—
of squirrels here at our place. I don’t think they ever mess with the canoes. I built a very simple canoe rack from downed tree limbs to get the boats a few feet off the ground. I’ll email pics if you’d like to see it. I built this rack in about 30 minutes using only a chainsaw and about 6-8 feet of copper wire—very simple, but functional. My reason for getting the canoes off the ground was not squirrels, but mice. Mice had been getting up under the bow and stern decks and were nesting in the Styrofoam flotation material.

I agree with canoecamp that the squirrels are probably not very interested in chewing on your hulls with all of the natural food in their environment, but removing the temptation from them may put your mind at ease. Have you considered non-poisonous chemical repellants? Some organic gardening folks mix up concoctions of household stuff to repel moles, rabbits, squirrels, etc from the garden. Maybe a vinegar-based solution would make them head for other chew-toys.


"There’s no accounting for taste"
I tend to agree that it seems unlikely that squirrels will want to chew on a Royalex canoe with vinyl gunwales, but you never know. I’ve learned that gray squirrels seem to have a penchant for the undercoating that’s used on late-model General Motors trucks. A couple years ago, my dad noticed squirrels always running out from under his Chevy pickup, but didn’t know why. One day, the automatic transmission wouldn’t shift out of first gear when in ‘Drive’. Closer examination revealed that the squirrels had been eating the undercoating at many locations under the truck. In the process, they had bitten through an electrical wire that tells the transmission what the speedometer reading is, one of the things the computer needs to know for shift to higher gears. To prevent future troubles, my dad smeared a nasty concoction of chassis grease and cyan pepper onto all the vulnerable spots which had undercoating on them. It seems to have worked.

I don’t recommend smearing chassis grease on your canoe!

I’ve had the biggest problem with cats. I often leave my glass canoe on the wagon ready to go and I now have more scratches running down the sides of my boat (I assume from mounts and dismounts) than I do running along the long axis. Arrgh.

I like the pepper idea
To keep rabbits out of our garden we mix up some hot pepper into water and spray the plants. Every morning the plants needed a new treatment, but after a week or less the rabbits had learned and so no further treatment was needed.

If you do have a problem, that may be a good strategy – spray the canoe with hot pepper every morning for a week.

Pepper may work…
Or may not. I read that mixing cayenne pepper with the seeds would keep squirrels from raiding the bird feeder. I tried it. The squirrels in Southwest Virginia loved it.

Squirrel killing time. I’ve noticed that
when the squirrel population gets too large, they turn from cute to destructive. Every few years our neighborhood goes on a squirrel reduction program using traps and pellet guns.Some years we have removed closer to 100 squirrels and still we have plenty.

Fun to watch…

– Last Updated: Jan-11-07 4:53 PM EST –

Fun to watch the squirrels trying to climb a metal pole that one of my bird feeders is mounted on, after I coat the pole with 10W40 motor oil.

Haven't tried it yet, but want to try coating the pole with 303 this Spring.

Wonder what their reaction to Icy Hot would be?


P.S. When my boats were outside, many years ago, there was a pair of Carolina Wrens who nested in the decking area(boats were upside down) every year. I let them; fun to watch the young ones hatch & grow up. One year I needed
to move the canoe. I mounted a coffee can on one of the crossbars & put the nest & eggs in the can. Adults quickly found it; eggs hatched.

No problem with the boats
I have two plastic kayaks, on a rack made from an old ladder. The “tree rats” leave them alone. The BIG holes in the garage roof are another matter.

BTW Pin Oaks are the homeless people of the tree world.

slingshots are fun
crossbows and blowguns can be challenging

nothing like a well-placed rock though

seriously though
I think the squirrels without any oak trees are the ones to worry about.

those and porcupines, those buggers will eat anything.

now THAT would be fun
Or perhaps add an electrical charge to the pole with a remote switch (and maybe some industrial strength glue?)

No prob yet
I’ve stored my canoe in the backyard for 2 seasons without the squirrels bothering it.

They seem to be more interested in chewing holes in the gas line of my Weber grill. I’m on the third freakin gas line in 6 months.


– Last Updated: Jan-11-07 6:27 PM EST –

with low temps and sling shots:
might blow a hole in a plastic boat......

carpenter squirrels
Picked up a real nice 1936 Old town that would have been in great shape except for 8 perfect ribs that were gnawed to oblivion.

Squirrels will travel long distances to return ‘home’, so take them for a long ride. In NJ it is illegal to trap and release ‘game animals’, but that’s what many people do. Of course there was the guy from Newark who beat a rat to death as it tried to squeeze out of his cage trap. The poor guy was issued a summons for animal cruelty. He insisted on his day in court to make a statement even though the judge dismissed the case. There were two PA municipal workers fired for spraying a squirrel with red paint.

What happens in the backyard should stay in the backyard.

Just an fyi, took a tour of a college owned forest where a synthetic wood bridge had been constructed. Turns out the fake wood contained a large amount of calcium and what ever lived out there and gnawed chewed the brige to smithereens.

Slingshots and cats
slingshots are fun, but cats are far more effective

Yeah, but to get any…
… real distance with a cat you need one of these:


squirrel diet
My little homestead has 15 or so very large, fully mature Red & White Oaks growing near house. They’re always alive w/ numerous Grey & formerly, more distructive Red Squirrels. Hesitated to do so but finally decided to eliminate the Reds. They would chew on most anything (except canoes)& heard them every night running around in my attic. Still lots of nightly noise in attic by the Greys (can’t seem to baracade them out) but have never seen any damage to 6 canoes stored here. Wood, fiberglass, royalex, kevlar, tuf-weave, graphite, they’ve never chewed on any of 'em.