Can Squirrels Climb Metal Poles? Climbing Skills

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Squirrels are great climbers, and usually, it is the trees that they are seen climbing. All squirrels can climb many things like buildings or pavements, but can squirrels climb a metal pole?

Yes, squirrels can climb a metal pole. They can go up to 8 feet high from the ground. Their phenomenal balancing abilities prevent them from toppling over and going much higher in altitude. However, not every metal pole can be climbed up by the squirrels. 

In this article, you will read more about the ability of squirrels to climb metal poles and what can be done to avoid this. You will explore this topic in detail and learn about metals that discourage squirrel climbing. 

How Squirrels Climb Metal Poles

How Squirrels Climb Metal Poles

A squirrel possesses flexible tails and powerful gripping claws that make it easier for them to climb up the poles much taller than their height. 

Usually, people believe that animals can climb only the tree barks easily, but that is not true with squirrels. These tiny little creatures can climb up to a metallic pole b making use of a technique that is unique to them only. 

They do this by standing on the pole and swinging through their arms to the next bar. To do this, they use both their feet by pulling themselves upwards. Though this takes time and practice, the squirrels are adept at it. 

Some Metal Poles That Squirrels Can’t Climb

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Squirrels can conquer not every metal pole. The squirrels have intricate foot pads that give them significant suction. Some metal posts provide the squirrels with good contact. However, some do not. 

Some metal poles are extremely challenging for a squirrel to climb up. Even if the squirrels make their way to the top, their grip slips, and they lose their footing only to come back down at the bottom. No matter how many times they try, their efforts go in vain. 

Thus, when the researchers noticed this, they started studying the different materials a metal pole is made up of. This made them aware that squirrels cannot climb materials like lead, aluminum, and copper.

Plastic vs. Metal, Which Is Easy For Squirrels To Climb?

Plastic vs. Metal

The metal poles are not as smooth as the plastic ones. The roughness value of the metals lies in the range of 0.015 to 0.06. However, the lead and copper pipes are softer when compared to the aluminum ones. 

The plastic pipes have a larger diameter, making it easier for the squirrels to cling to them and reduce friction. They also provide less friction to the tiny squirrels. The metal poles can also be used as a barrier by people to stop squirrels from climbing up. 

People can convert it into an electrifying pole and induce a small current into the bodies of squirrels. The current is not strong enough that the squirrels die but rather just a significant amount to discourage them from climbing again. 

Steel Pipes And Galvanized Steel Pipes, Which Are Difficult To Climb For Squirrels

Steel Pipes And Galvanized Steel Pipes

The squirrels are unable to climb pipes that are made of steel. People use it in their gardens to keep bird feeders safe from squirrel attacks. The steel pipes are just as rough as the PVC ones, but the older the pipe, the less rough it is. 

The galvanized steel pipes are much rough compared to the PVC ones, and their value is 0.07 to 0.10. These pipes are resistant to corrosion and can also be electrified. The squirrels cannot develop a firm grip on such materials and find it harder to climb. 

The galvanized steel pipes and the steel pipes are combined by people who do not want the squirrels to climb up the poles in their gardens or yards. Once a squirrel realizes it cannot climb upwards correctly, it stays away from such poles. 

Why PVC Pipes Are Not Squirrel Friendly?

PVC Pipes

The PVC pipes are made up of plastic and have a diameter of inches. The squirrels prefer them for climbing upwards. They offer less resistance to a squirrel’s grip and the squirrels rush toward PVC pipe posts.

When compared to a polyethylene pipe, the squirrels find it harder to climb than a PVC one. The squirrels prefer using their claws to reach an altitude, but usually, their efforts go in vain. 

It must also be noted that polyethylene pipes are not cost-effective to many consumers. Still, they indeed make a difference to those looking for a solution that prevents the squirrels from climbing up the poles in their residential areas. 

Can Squirrels Climb A Shepherd’s Pole?

Yes, the squirrels are able to climb a shepherd’s pole easily, given that the bird feeders are hanging from it. This acts as an incentive for the squirrels to climb up poles and obtain food for themselves. 

The hooks of a shepherd’s pole are usually made up of steel or some other metal. Though the pole does not have many diameters, the squirrels can have a firm grip on it and climb on top of it, nevertheless. 

If you are among such people who have a shepherd’s hook in the garden, then you need to look at its material. It is preferable to hang your bird feeders on a pole that the squirrels cannot climb. Otherwise, you are leaving them at the squirrel’s mercy. 

Pole Linings That Keep Squirrels Away 

If you have a metallic pole that the squirrels can climb easily, you do not necessarily need to replace it. You can just line it with something that makes it difficult for the squirrels to climb.

This includes the application of greasy substances like oils, Vaseline, axle grease, or some other product that provides slipperiness. This will cause the squirrel to lose its grip, and eventually, it will fall from the pole to the ground.

All the attempts will go in vain. But you have to take care of the fact that this greasy layer should be maintained at all times. If it starts washing away, the squirrels will be able to climb back to the top in no time at all.

How Do You Prevent Squirrels From Climbing Up Metal Poles?

There are ways by which you can prevent the metal poles from becoming a target for the squirrels. You can do the following things:

1) Attaching A Slinky 

A slinky can be attached to the upper portion of the metal pole near the bird feeder. This will make matters complicated for the squirrels, and the slinky will ensure to keep the squirrels.

2) Adding Cayenne Pepper In Bird Feeders

Cayenne Pepper

The smell of cayenne pepper acts as a repellant and discourages the squirrels from climbing upwards at the top of the pole. The cayenne pepper does not affect the birds as they lack the taste receptors for this particular pepper. 

3) Using Irish Soap 


The Irish soap helps in deterring the squirrels. The taste has got nothing to do with it, it is instead the smell is unpleasant for the squirrels to bear, and they rush away from it. 

Can Squirrels Climb A Thin Metal Pole?

Thin Metal Pole

The diameter or the length of the pole does not matter much. It is the material that matters to squirrels. Whether the metal pole is thick or thin, the squirrel’s paws can grip it and climb on top of it.

The squirrels can climb high on thin metal poles as well. They are also capable of climbing polished thin metal poles. Their tails give them the right balance to climb high and reach metal pole tops.

The bird food compels squirrels to climb either the thick poles or the thin ones. To prevent this from happening, you can try the squirrel repellant poles as mentioned in the article above.

Use Of Squirrel Baffle

The squirrel baffle is a device that people use for preventing squirrels climb up a metal pole. This baffling device is either cone shape or dome-shaped. This device can be attached to the top of the metal poles.

Whenever the squirrel tries to climb and get into the bird feeder, this baffling device prevents them from doing so. As a result, the squirrel slips and falls off the metal pole. These baffles can be made from various materials.

These include plastic, metal, or alloys. The baffles are perfect for retaining the metal pole in your garden and yet keeping the squirrels away from your bird feeders.

Summing It Up

To wrap up, we all know that squirrels are great climbers and can easily make it to the top in no time. They can have access to bird feeders as well.

It is up to you and the methodology you adopt that will keep the squirrels away. You can either get rid of the metal pole or install the ones that the squirrels cannot climb onto.

You can also put a greasy layer onto the poles to keep the squirrels away. It is your choice which one you opt for. Your efforts will keep the bird feeders safe and away from squirrel raids.


Taylor, Brendan & Goldingay, Ross. (2013). Squirrel gliders use roadside glide poles to cross a road gap. Australian Mammalogy.