Can Squirrels Climb PVC Pipe? (Find Out Now!)

Dennis Howard
by Dennis Howard

Squirrels can be an entertaining sight in your backyard as they perform the gymnastic moves through the tree limbs. However, if you are like me and are more entertained by the birds attracted by your birdfeeder, squirrels are more of a nuisance. People suggest several methods to stop squirrels from raiding your birdfeeder. We wonder if squirrels can climb PVC pipes.

Using the naturally slick surface of PVC pipe to keep squirrels out of a birdfeeder will work. The PVC pipe must be larger than four inches in diameter and at least four and one-half feet up the support pole. The large diameter of the PVC pipe combined with the slick PVC surface will keep squirrels from raiding your birdfeeder.

Adding a large diameter PVC pipe to the bottom of your birdfeeder support pole may stop squirrels from climbing the pole. However, you must remember that squirrels are not only acrobatic. They are clever and inventive. You must also consider the other ways squirrels may gain access to your birdfeeder.

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Common Squirrels – Gaining an Understanding

Squirrels have adapted to most urban environments in the US. The eastern grey squirrel is the most prolific. Most urban and suburban residents are well acquainted with the eastern grey squirrel. These rodents adapt quickly and well to almost any urban environment and can become a nuisance

Squirrels are voracious feeders and will quickly find and utilize any resource available. You understand the frustrations if you have tried to raise a garden with a healthy grey squirrel population. Birdwatchers also suffer from the grey squirrel’s fondness for the same types of seeds and grains provided in birdfeeders.

Grey squirrels can be potent adversaries when combining their appetite and acrobatic climbing ability. Almost no birdfeeder is safe from these relentless foragers when they spot a potential food source. You must consider every avenue of approach a grey squirrel may use to gain access to the treats meant for your birds.

What Should I Look for to Prevent Squirrels from Eating My Birdseed?

To adequately protect your birdfeeder from squirrels, it is necessary to think like a squirrel. Squirrels are adaptable and smart. They can solve problems and work out solutions that may astound you. To protect your birdfeeder from squirrels often requires a multilayer approach.

An orderly approach to protecting your birdfeeder is your best defense. Start at the ground ad work your way up. The pole from which your birdfeeder hangs can be the most direct route to a meal for a hungry squirrel. Squirrels can easily climb most metal and wooden posts.

The PVC Pipe Solution

PVC pipe, on the other hand, poses some challenges for squirrels. The slick surface of PVC pipe offers squirrels no way to get a secure grip. In general, protecting the support post of your birdfeeder from squirrels requires some minimum dimensions.

  • The minimum diameter of PVC pipe to protect your birdfeeder is four inches. Many people prefer six-inch or even 8-inch PVC. The larger the diameter, the less chance a squirrel can find a purchase to climb the pipe.
  • The PVC pipe protecting the support for your birdfeeder must be at least four and one-half feet from the ground. Squirrels can easily jump upwards 4 feet or more. Many professionals suggest making the PVC pipe as tall as possible to prevent the squirrels from jumping to the top.
  • If you place a 4 to 8-inch PVC pipe around the support pole for your birdfeeder, be sure to cap or cover the opening at the top to prevent small birds from falling into the pipe.

Thinking Three Dimensionally by Looking Around

Protecting your birdfeeder from the ground is one requirement. You also need to consider the other avenues of approach that squirrels routinely use. Everyone knows that squirrels make trees their favored habitat. This opens your birdfeeder to attach from a range of different angles.

If there is anything around your birdfeeder that provides a launching point for a squirrel, your birdfeeder may still be in danger. A patio railing, another lamp post or fence post, even overhanging branches can be access points.

Squirrels can easily jump horizontally four to six feet. Anything within a range of four to six feet makes a place to approach your birdfeeder. You must carefully plan your birdfeeder’s location to exclude any of these possible launching points.

Tree branches overhanging your birdfeeder are another problem. Squirrels are arboreal and are skilled tree navigators. A tree limb that conveniently hangs over your birdfeeder can be the easiest access point for a squirrel.

Consider Some Commercial Solutions

Protecting bird feeders from squirrels is not a new problem. People have been looking for solutions to the squirrel problem for years. This has led to many different inventions and devices to thwart squirrels. Some of these inventions work, and some don’t. In many cases, you may need to try a combination of these devices to protect your bird feeder from squirrels.

  • Barriers – Barriers are popular. These collars go around the pole and prevent squirrels from climbing around the barrier. Many people see some success with pole barriers at first. However, squirrels typically soon find a way to circumvent the barrier.
  • Squirrel Proof Feeders – Several designs for squirrel-proof bird feeders are on the market. Most of these utilize a counterbalance system that closes the birdfeeder or tilts the birdfeeder when a squirrel climbs aboard. Unfortunately, squirrels soon learn that climbing on the birdfeeder spells problems and simply learns to hang from the chain or rope holding the feeder.
  • Offer Other Opportunities – Many avid birdwatchers suggest offering alternatives to your birdfeeder. Setting up squirrel feeding stations that don’t require the extra effort to access your birdfeeder may keep the squirrels happy. Something as simple as a squirrel feeder that holds an ear of dried corn can tempt the squirrels from laying siege to your bird feeder.

In truth, keeping squirrels out of your birdfeeder will require a combination of several alternatives. Squirrels are diligent and adaptive, if nothing else. So, it can be a fun challenge to find innovative ways to protect your bird feeder from squirrels.

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Start with PVC Pipe and Rise to the Challenge

Putting a PVC pipe guard around your bird feeder support pole is a great place to start. However, the challenge may continue as the squirrels adapt to your solutions. The PVC pipe will help but may not be the end of the squirrel assault.

Dennis Howard
Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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