Squirrels are probably the only rodents that a lot of us like. They are small, cute, and absolutely adorable. If you’ve come across one and are wondering how to feed squirrels, this is the article for you!
If you’re only interested in the squirrel food, you can skip over to that subheading.
LIST OF FOODS THAT WILD SQUIRRELS CAN EAT:
It’s no secret that squirrels eat nuts present in your back yard. I mean, I’m quite sure that when we all picture squirrels, at least one of the ten images that we see in our heads contains a squirrel chewing on a nut.
Squirrels like nuts of different kinds. Here are some of their top favorites:
- ACORNS: These are the nuts of the oak tree. Squirrels absolutely love acorns and they benefit the squirrels in return. Acorns are packed with various nutrients
- ALMONDS: Almonds are another type of nuts that are heavily favored for their taste and plethora of uses. Squirrels in your backyard are equally crazy about them.
- HAZELNUTS: Hazelnuts are another delicious type of nuts that you can give squirrels and they love. Apart from their great taste, they are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also packed with healthy fats as well as antioxidants.
- MACADAMIA NUTS: For humans, the expensive Macadamia nuts are known to do quite a lot. This includes improving diabetes as well as lowering the risk of heart disease risk. Squirrels need these nuts seeds too.
- PEANUTS: Peanuts are a constant favorite; everyone loves them. Squirrels are particularly fond of them and often work diligently to break them out of their shells. However, they don’t eat them so often and so, your squirrel might only eat peanuts occasionally.
- PINE NUTS: Pine nuts are perhaps the least popular on this list. This, however, obviously doesn’t bother squirrels. Pine nuts are the seeds from the pine tree. They are often called piñón and are quite rich in vitamins and minerals.
- WALNUTS: Walnuts not only taste great but are also packed with loads of benefits. They are a stark favorite of squirrels.
Wild squirrels in your backyard love their veggies. There are quite a number of leafy greens vegetables that you can feed a squirrel. Here are some of the top ones:
- BEANS: Beans are another veggie that you can feed a squirrel. However, not just any bean goes. You’d be better off sticky to bean sprouts and green beans.
- BROCCOLI: squirrels eat broccoli a lot. Taste aside, it is no secret just how healthy broccoli is.
- CORN: Corn is a good option that wild squirrels. They are unrepentant corn thieves, although farmers know this better than we do. However, just like peanuts, do not feed them too much corn.
Fruits are yet another great thing to feed a wild squirrel. Not only do squirrels love them, but they are also healthy for them- and for you too. Here are some of the best fruits your squirrel would love.
- APPLES: Squirrels loves apples. Luckily, they are nutritious and healthy. Be sure to cut the apples into small pieces to make it easier for them to eat.
- WATERMELON: Squirrels love watermelon- and it isn’t hard to see why. Not only does it quench their thirst, but it also tastes amazing. However, like apples, it is safer to chop them for the squirrel.
- GRAPES: As it stands, squirrels are proving to have excellent taste. Grapes are packed with fiber and potassium and like most other berries, they are wonderful to eat.
Squirrels are regular seed fans. In fact, they constantly steal bird food. Here are two seeds squirrel food favor:
- BIRD SEED: If you buy packaged bird seeds to feed your birds at the local grocers, chances are your squirrel will eat those two.
- SUNFLOWER SEEDS: Black oil sunflower seeds are a special favorite of squirrels. Luckily, it is as healthy for your birds as it is for your squirrels.
- PUMPKIN SEEDS: Pumpkin seeds are a nice choice of seed to feed your squirrel.
- SAFFLOWER SEEDS: Another seed you can feed to a squirrel is safflower.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Now that you know just what should be contained in wild squirrel food, there are several things that you should know in addition.
IT MIGHT NOT BE SAFE TO FEED A WILD SQUIRREL
I know this sounds like bad news. However, it is important to remember it. Once you start feeding squirrels, chances are it would begin to cross several roads to get to you which makes it very possible to get hit by a car.
Must read: Do Squirrels Hibernate?
Another possible negative outcome is that they will begin to eat out of bird feeders. This makes them more vulnerable to other animals; predators. Cats are one of the most common predators that squirrels look out for.
Lastly, when you feed squirrels, they could slowly forget how to hunt for their own, thus making them dependent on you. What happens when you can no longer feed squirrels?
HOW CAN YOU FEED SQUIRRELS?
CREATE A HABITAT FOR THEM: If you plant trees, you can easily home squirrels. This way, you can feed squirrels, keep them in good health and eliminate any road crossing.
ADOPT ONE OR THREE: If you have an injured squirrel, it would be a nice idea to keep it- if it is young and has shown willingness to be kept. However, remember that if you keep a squirrel and release it into the wild later on, it will most certainly die.
Also, if you are keeping an injured squirrel, be ready to care for it and foot any bills from your veterinary.
TIPS TO HELP YOU KEEP WILD SQUIRRELS SAFE
- If your squirrel constantly eats from bird feeders and you do not mind this, ensure that your f is large enough so that it doesn’t get stuck inside the bird feeders. On the other hand, squirrel feeder can be constructed.
- Aim for your squirrel feeder to have these dimensions (approximately): 60cm x 50cm x 28cm x 25cm (back height x front height x width x depth)
- Protect trees as they often house a lot of squirrels.
It is a proven fact that squirrels can remember animal faces. Remember to treat them kindly and with patience. It isn’t much different from a new cat or dog, in that respect.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.