How to Keep Wildlife Away From Your Sprinkler Box

Got some rodents who have decided that your sprinkler box makes for a tasty treat? If you’re trying to figure out how to keep wildlife away from your sprinkler box, then you’ve come to the right place. It can be extremely frustrating (and expensive) to find that a rat, gopher, or coyote has gotten into your sprinkler box and caused havoc. Luckily, there are some helpful ways in which you can critter-proof your sprinkler box in Sacramento, CA.

Wildlife in Your Sprinkler Box

So you want to keep wildlife away from your sprinkler box? Okay. But first, what kinds of animals are getting into your sprinkler box in the first place? We’ll outline a few common culprits and talk about some of the obvious signs they leave behind.


Aw, such cute little guys, right? Wrong. Chipmunks or ground squirrels are easily some of the most destructive wildlife for your irrigation control box. Chipmunks are all teeth, so they can chew through wire, plastic, and more. If they find their way into your sprinkler control box, they can chew through irrigation wire and cost you a pretty penny.


Luckily, there are multiple methods for getting rid of chipmunks. You can spray a repellent inside the sprinkler box, but these can be harmful to pets or children. It’s best to either trap and remove the chipmunks, and also to remove the food source that is attractive the little guys in the first place. Chipmunks especially like lily bulbs, but are also attracted to bird feeders, nuts, and seeds. Make sure to adequately protect your plants and feeders so chipmunks cannot use them as a food source.


Rats and mice are also excellent chewers and ruiners of your sprinkler box. It might be that they are attracted to the relative safety of your sprinkler control box, and decide to make a nest inside – chewing up your irrigation wires in the process. Make sure to check your box for signs of nesting frequently, and consider placing traps inside or nearby the unit.


Much like their rat and chipmunk cousins, squirrels are great at chewing through almost anything. One common complaint is that squirrels are chewing on plastic sprinkler heads. While this doesn’t sound too appetizing to us, it can be a big problem for you. Rather than getting angry and wasting money on new sprinkler heads every time, try this little trick: coat the nozzles with hot sauce.

Say what?

Yep – try putting some hot sauce mixed with water in a spray bottle and coating the nozzles and the surrounding dirt with the mixture. Squirrels will be scared away by the fiery breath this concoction gives them.


Not only will these little critters chew on your sprinkler box and wires, but they can also be very destructive if they tunnel through your lawn. Gophers have been known to chew threw sprinkler pipes and drip lines in order to complete their underground tunnels. Unfortunately, the only way to effectively remove gophers from your home is to use traps or bait. A tell-tale sign that you have gophers is their characteristic mounds, which form when gophers have been tunneling below the surface of your lawn.

Don’t like the idea of harming the gophers in order to remove them? There are a few non-fatal remedies that can be found via a quick internet search. One method involves using plants that deter gophers, including gopher spurge, marigold, daffodils, and castor beans.


Coyotes love to chew through drip lines. Unfortunately for you, a drip line with massive sections missing isn’t going to do much in the way of conserving water (or hydrating your plants). Several customers have said that installing a small rabbit-proof fence was enough to deter the coyotes from entering their yard. Give it a try!


Speaking of rabbits, these little cuties are another main contender for the most destructive for your sprinkler system. Like coyotes, they too enjoy munching on your drip line. But why are they doing it in the first place? It isn’t for the nutrition that plastic provides, that’s for sure. The truth is that rabbits, squirrels, and coyotes are attracted to your drip line because it’s an easy source of water. So what’s the solution? Provide other easy water sources, such as shallow bowls that can collect rain water. This will deter wildlife from munching on your drip line for hydration.

Your Dog

Sometimes the most obvious culprit is the one we overlook. If you have a family pet (or your neighbors do) that is left unattended outdoors for much of the day, make sure to check and see if he is the one screwing up your sprinkler system. Our customers have reported instances of their dogs chewing on the wiring inside their sprinkler box, rendering the system inoperable. Make sure that your sprinkler wiring box is secured and shut tight from your household pets – especially those that like to get into trouble.

Making Sure Wildlife Can’t Get into Your Sprinkler Box

  1. Seal the lid
  2. Seal the bottom
  3. Seal the sides
  4. Seal all openings

Seems straightforward, right? It can definitely get a little tricky. Sprinkler boxes are naturally bottomless because they need to let rainwater drain from inside. You can use a material called VoleBloc to line the bottom of your sprinkler box, or else a simple wire mesh from your local hardware store.

For the top of your sprinkler box, consider adding wire or else something heavy to weigh it down and conceal it from wildlife.

The plumbing openings and other vulnerable spots of your sprinkler box can be stuffed with steel wool or sharp rocks so that wildlife stays away from your sprinkler control box.

Have You Tried Something We Didn’t List?

If you have an effective way to keep wildlife away from your sprinkler box in California, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment below.  And as always give us a call for all your sprinkler repair in Sacramento needs.