As a homeowner, you work hard to maintain your home’s exterior and lawn and you take pride in your hard work. It can be frustrating to look out of your window and notice that something has caused damage to your property or garden and ruined something you worked hard to maintain, especially if they’re weasels!
The most common indicators of weasels in your yard are weasel tracks, scat and burrows near your foundation. Weasels notoriously live alone, go after livestock and eat small animals. Remove or seal off any potential food sources and keep your grass short to help deter them.
Other signs that you may have weasels in your yard are if you notice holes around the foundation of your house, or if you had a previous rodent problem that suddenly seemed to solve itself! Weasels also like to burrow underground so finding holes that are likely connected to a weasel den is another telltale sign that weasels are living in your yard.
What Attracts Weasels To Your Yard anyways?
Weasels love to eat and are always looking for their next meal. They are carnivores and feed on smaller animals as their primary source of nutrition.
If you live in a highly wooded area that is filled with critters such as squirrels, voles, mice, and rabbits, there is a decent chance you may have weasels living nearby too.
What’s attracting weasels also determines where they decide to live! Head on over to our article to learn more about where weasels live – and why, the places may surprise you!
Chickens Are a Weasel’s Favorite Meal
These four-legged mammals also love livestock, so if you or a neighbor has a chicken coop weasels are likely nearby. This Petsfit Outdoor Chicken Coop is a great option to keep weasels out while keeping your chickens safe.
Weasels are well known for attacking chickens and a chicken coop is an enticing attraction they just can’t resist.
They also LOVE eggs (I mean, who doesn’t) but go out of their way to raid poultry coops.
A Nearby Water Source is a Major Attraction for Weasels
As much as weasels search for their next meal, they also need water to stay comfortable and hydrated. If your property has any water source such as a small creek or pond, weasels will want to set up a home nearby.
Even something like a fountain or bird bath may attract a weasel if it is staying filled consistently with water for them to drink.
Bird’s Nests Entice Weasels
So not only do weasels love bird eggs and birds themselves as one of their favorite meals, but they are also extremely skilled climbers. These two things put together mean that weasels are always on the lookout for nests in trees and around your yard.
If you have a heavy population of birds in your yard you will likely be attracting weasels without even realizing it!
Because birds also make nests in shrubs and other areas around a home, weasels are often on the lookout for their next favorite meal around your yard.
Weasels Like to Hide in Tall Grass and Shrubs
When stalking their prey, weasels like to be hidden. One of their favorite ways to hide is behind overgrown grass or shrubs. Keeping your yard maintained with regular lawn maintenance can take away any potential nesting spots for these weasels.
When you eliminate the things that attract weasels the most to yards, you will be more likely to succeed at keeping weasels out in the future too.
How Do I Know If I Have A Weasel In My Yard?
Although weasels are curious, they are also sneaky creatures that can be hard to spot and they are too clever for their own good sometimes.
If you are lucky enough to catch a weasel in action, it can be helpful to be able to identify what a weasel looks like.
As nice as it would be to just try and be on the lookout to try and catch your unwanted yard guest, you will likely have to do some searching for signs in order to be sure that your yard problem is being caused by a weasel – let’s talk about those below!
Just remember the saying “you’re a weasel” comes from somewhere – because these little guys are sneaky, smart, and sly, so it may take some time to catch them!
Sign #1: Tracks May Give Hints That You Have Weasels
You may not have thought that identifying weasel tracks in your free time would ever be on your to-do list, but this is one of the best ways to confirm whether or not the animal culprit wreaking havoc in your garden or livestock is in fact a weasel.
Weasels have 5 toes, but their tracks typically only show 4 toes due to the shape of their feet.
The length between tracks averages around 15-20 inches depending on the type and size of the weasel.
Take a peak at our guide on where weasels live so you can get a sense of where they may be entering your property from.
Sign #2: You Have Found Weasel Scat
Scat is another way to help identify weasels in your yard. Weasel scat is thin and long with one end of the scat a little wider than the other. It can vary in color between black and brown but it is usually a darker shade of those two colors.
If you identify both the tracks matching a weasel’s foot as well as the scat as described, you can feel pretty confident that you have a weasel as an unwanted guest in your yard.
Sign #3: Weasels Leave Behind Putrid Smells
If you have been spending time in your yard and have noticed what you thought was a disturbing odor left behind by a skunk, you may actually have a weasel instead.
The smell that weasels leave behind is often mistaken for skunks because of the pungent odor that lingers in the air – which is a scent that weasels excrete as a defense mechanism!
Sign #4: Damaged Livestock
Remember that weasels’ main goal is to find their next meal.
If you have noticed eggs being damaged or missing from your chicken coop, there is a good chance a weasel has snuck into the coop for a meal.
Weasels also tend to attack chickens on the neck so if you notice this when assessing the damage that can be used as a sign that a weasel was the animal that caused the attack.
How To Get Rid Of Weasels In Your Yard
Now that you have likely figured out that the unwanted guests in your yard or chicken coop are weasels, there is good news: there are a variety of options to use to help keep them out of your space. It takes some work, but you can get rid of weasels indefinitely with our article!
Weasels are curious creatures which means that you may have to trick them a few times before they learn to stay away. Using tools like motion-activated sprinklers and strong scents are great ways to get rid of weasels.
Because they are curious, traps can entice them if all else fails. According to experts at the University of Missouri, suggest that using some sort of meat is the most efficient way to lure weasels to where you want them.
But before getting to that point it is worth trying other techniques first and we always recommend contacting a professional when it comes to catching weasels and especially using traps.
Scare Weasels Away with Motion-Activated Sprinklers
Even though weasels need a water source nearby to drink from, they don’t exactly enjoy being sprayed with water. In fact, they downright despise it.
Installing motion-activated sprinklers like this Abcotech Motion Activated Sprinkler near the spots that weasels have been visiting, will help keep them at bay. These motion-activated sprinklers are specifically designed to deter unwanted animals.
Not only will the sprinkler do the work for you since it is motion activated, but the strong spray of water will cause the weasel to run in the other direction keeping your yard and animals safe from harm.
Trick a Weasel’s Nose With Strong Scents
Weasels rely on their strong sense of smell when searching for prey. Although scientists have figured out that the scent that will truly deter weasels from entering your yard is another predator’s smell, there are things you can use around the house to help too.
Sometimes all it takes is a few strong scents to keep a weasel away like coffee grinds and mint. You can use mint oil, or even plant mint around your yard, to trick a weasel’s sense of smell, and hey – you will gain the benefit of a fresh herb in your garden.
Using mint combined with your leftover coffee grinds may do the job to keep these pesky weasels gone for good. If you are an avid coffee drinker as many people are, collect your leftover coffee grinds each day and spread them around the yard.
For a full list of scents that weasels hate, head on over to our article! And get this, most of these scents are scents that we humans – love!
Keep Weasels Away with an Electric Fence
Weasels are constantly on the lookout for their next meal. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin, weasels need to eat at least half their body weight every day. They can be determined to find a way to eat no matter what which means they may persevere no matter the different methods you have tried to get rid of them.
If you have consistently had a weasel problem or any other unwanted animal visitors, it may be time to think about installing an electric fence.
As long as the fence is installed correctly and you regularly maintain it to keep it working properly, it should work to keep weasels away. Just remember that weasels can get through a space as small as an inch in diameter, so any breaks or holes in the fence mean they can make it through.
This is why maintaining the fence is important.
When All Else Fails, Hire a Professional
If you have tried the sprinkler trick and gone out of your way to place mint smells and coffee grinds around your yard and you are still struggling to get rid of these clever creatures it is probably time to contact the experts.
If it seems like there are numerous weasels causing damage, it is worth working with experts that can help you trap the weasels for good.
That’s A Wrap!
This a quick reminder of what to look for to determine if you have a weasel problem!
- Look for tracks that are close together and have a mark of four toes.
- Keep an eye out for scat that is dark brown or black and longer in length.
- Any smell that reminds you of a skunk may in fact be the smell left behind by a weasel.
If you have weasels – here’s what to do!
- Use a motion-activated sprinkler to spray away these sneaky critters.
- Spread strong smells around your yards such as mint or coffee grinds to keep weasels away.
- Professional traps can catch weasels when using fresh meat to entice them.
- Electric fences help keep weasels out when they are maintained regularly.
- Keep your grass cut short and keep up on maintenance with shrubs to take away any hiding spots.
Remember not to get discouraged if you figure out you have a weasel problem. There are things that can be done to keep these pesky and sneaky creatures out of your yard. Using the tips and tricks in this article can help you get rid of weasels for good.
Sullivan, T. P., & Sullivan, D. S. (1980). The use of weasels for natural control of mouse and vole populations in a coastal coniferous forest. Oecologia, 47(1), 125-129.
Quick, H. F. (1944). Habits and economics of the New York weasel in Michigan. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 8(1), 71-78.
Henderson, F. R. (1994). Weasels. The Handbook: Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage, 43.
Fetisoff, A. S. (1936). Biology of the Siberian weasel. Journal of Mammalogy, 17(1), 36-38.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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