Does Chilli Powder Deter Squirrels?

Squirrels are very sensitive to smells and can quite often be repelled from a garden by the presence of certain scents. Is chilli pepper one of them? Does chilli powder deter squirrels and how can use this to our advantage if it is?

Yes, chilli powder can deter squirrels as they dislike strong odours. Spicy smells such as chilli or black pepper can work as effective squirrel deterrents.

Do Squirrels Like the Smell of Chilli Powder?

Chilli powder leaves a spicy smell, which squirrels do not like. Spicy smells are uncomfortable for squirrels so they will avoid areas where this smell is prevalent.

They dislike all kinds of different chilli powder because they all smell spicy and therefore are all off-putting for squirrels. So, how can we use this knowledge?

How to Deter Squirrels Using Chilli Powder

Squirrels are intelligent and crafty rodents, so it is no surprise that gardeners have always had difficulty in dealing with them. You can buy squirrel proof equipment but after some time, the pesky rodents will likely figure out how to crack it.

However, smells are something that they cannot avoid nor properly get rid of which is why deterring squirrels using natural scents has become a popular choice for gardeners trying to keep their land squirrel-free. 

Using chilli powder to deter squirrels is a very easy process. All you need is some chilli powder, the spicier the better, and sprinkle it on the soil around affected flower beds.

If you still want to see squirrels but just want to keep certain areas of your garden undisturbed, then you can just sprinkle a very small amount in the one concentrated area.

However, if you don’t want squirrels anywhere near your garden, it is a good idea to sprinkle this chilli powder in multiple locations. Sprinkling it all the way around your perimeter should help with squirrels not even coming close to your garden. 

Will Chilli Sauce Deter Squirrels?

You can use chilli sauce to deter squirrels however you can’t use it in the same way as chilli powder. Applying sauce directly to the soil surrounding your plant may cause them some damage. Instead, what you need to do is make a spray: 

All you need to do this is some hot sauce of your choice and water. Mix one small bottle of hot sauce with a gallon of water. Stir the solution thoroughly and then pour it into a spray bottle.

Before applying this spray to all of your plants, it is always a good idea to do a test spray to make sure your plants won’t incur any damage. To do this, simply spray the solution onto one or two leaves and leave them for a couple of hours.

If there is no sign of damage to any of the sprayed leaves then your solution is safe to use. If there is some damage, your solution may not be dilute enough. 

Chilli Sauce Deters Squirrels

Are There Chillies that Squirrels Like?

No, there does not appear to be any type of chilli that squirrels like.

There have been times when the smell has become less pungent and so squirrels have tolerated it to get to food sources, but this simply means that you need to remember to top up your chilli to make sure the smell is still strong.

Squirrels seem to be deterred by anything with a remotely spicy smell, including black pepper. 

What Other Smells Deter Squirrels?

Chilli is by no means the only smell that you can use to deter squirrels. In fact, these rodents have many different types of smells that they hate, all of which can be used in your garden.

Here is a list of some different types of smells that you may want to utilise to keep your garden squirrel-free:


Whilst coffee smells delicious to most humans, squirrels dislike the smell. It is very bitter for them and also quite off-putting. Using used coffee grounds in your garden can help to repel squirrels.

Wet coffee grounds smell very strong and sprinkling them on the soil of often disturbed plants will help keep the squirrels at bay. 

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Squirrels Away


Squirrels do not like the smell of peppermint and will often not disturb any areas of land close to growing peppermint because of the strong smell.

To keep squirrels away using peppermint, you can either grow some yourself or alternatively dilute some essential peppermint oil in water to make a repellent spray. 


If you have a cat or a dog in your home then you already have a bit of added extra protection from squirrels. Whilst they may not smell like much to us, squirrels have a much more sensitive sense of smell and will be able to smell predators quite easily.

You can get some pet hair clippings and sprinkle them into the soil throughout your garden. This smell will then alert squirrels to the presence of predators to which they will flee out of fear.

However, after some time squirrels may learn that the threat is not actually real, so it is a good idea to change it up once in a while. 

Whilst all of this is true and all have been cited as good deterrents by many gardeners, it should be noted that they are not all 100% effective.

Some squirrels will simply deal with the unappealing smells if their desire for food outweighs their discomfort. This is why you should combine different methods of repelling so that you can keep the squirrels on their toes. 


To summarise, squirrels do not like chilli powder and the smell of chilli powder can be used to deter squirrels. Sprinkling chilli powder on the soil of flower beds will keep squirrels at bay.

You can also make a repellent spray using water and chilli sauce. Squirrels seem to dislike all kinds of chilli powder. Other smells that squirrels dislike include peppermint and coffee. 

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