Did you know that there are more than 200 different types of squirrel species? Whether you have tried to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder (and failed) or you enjoy watching them, feeding the neighborhood squirrels is a great hobby.
Feeding squirrels is a great way to disperse nuts and seeds, and they can cheer you up on a bad day. How do you start feeding squirrels on your property? Keep reading to learn how to attract squirrels, what to feed them, and how to live in harmony.
How to Attract Squirrels
If you want to feed squirrels, the first step is to attract them to your yard. The best way to attract squirrels to your yard is to put out food. If squirrels are living nearby, they will start coming to your house soon after you put out the food.
Because food can become scarce at times, squirrels are always looking for the next meal. If they learn that your house consistently has food, they will hang around knowing that they are going to get fed.
If there are already a lot of squirrels in the neighborhood and your neighbors are feeding them, it may take them longer to find the food at your house. When squirrels are content with their current food source, they will be less likely to seek out other sources.
If you have plenty of trees and bushes in your yard, squirrels will be even more inclined to visit. They love having trees to play in, build a home, and hide in.
Create a Squirrel Feeder Space
In addition to having trees and bushes, squirrels will be more likely to visit your yard if you have a nice squirrel feeder space. This will deter them from feasting on your garden or at the bird feeders.
You can get creative with your squirrel feeder space and create a feeder out of a tree branch, set up your own DIY squirrel restaurant, or use cute, recycled squirrel feeders by Nature Niche.
Not only will the squirrels enjoy the space, but you will also love watching them.
Types of Food to Feed Squirrels
Once you have attracted squirrels to your yard, what should you feed them? While squirrels will eat almost anything, you should feed them specific types of food. Here are some of the best foods to feed squirrels:
- Leafy greens
- Peanut butter
- Pumpkin seeds
- Squirrel seed
- Sunflower seeds
Over time, you may notice that different types of squirrels prefer different foods. Study your squirrels to learn what they like the most. What do they eat first and what do they save for last?
Foods to Avoid
While squirrels will eat almost everything, that doesn’t mean they should eat everything. Squirrels that do not maintain a healthy diet are likely to develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Metabolic Bone Disease happens when a squirrel doesn’t get enough calcium. MBD can lead to seizures, fractures, unusual bone growth, and paralysis.
To prevent MBD, squirrels have to eat more than nuts, seeds, and corn. They need to eat foods that are high in calcium, such as fruits and vegetables.
You should avoid feeding squirrels processed human food, nuts with salt on them, and be sure to give them a good variety of foods. If you only ate peanuts all day, you would be unhealthy too!
Don’t Forget About Water
If you are going to feed the squirrels, it is important that you also give them water! Like any other living creature, squirrels get thirsty after eating.
When setting up your squirrel feeder space, be sure to include a bowl of water. If you want to get creative, you can install a cute outdoor fountain. This will give the squirrels water to drink, the birds a place to bathe, and create a relaxing atmosphere for you.
If you don’t give the squirrels a good spot to drink, they may try to chew on water hoses or sprinklers. They can sense that there is water, and they will try to get it.
Protect the Squirrels
If you are going to feed squirrels in your yard, be sure to protect them from other critters. Dogs and cats may try to hunt squirrels if they get the chance.
Be sure to scare off the squirrels anytime you let your pets go outside. You also can limit where your dogs can go while outside and keep your cats indoors if possible.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders
Are the neighborhood squirrels eating food out of your bird feeder? If so, there are a few different things you can try to deter them. First, set up a designated squirrel feeder away from the bird feeder. This will make them more likely to eat their own food.
If that doesn’t work, you can try to buy a squirrel-proof bird feeder, you can try applying a shield, or you can use squirrel hot sauce. It may take time and experimenting to determine what keeps your squirrels out of the bird food.
Storing Squirrel Food
Did you know that you need to properly store your squirrel food? If you leave the food near windows, doors, or a crack in your home, squirrels will find a way to get into your house.
The best way to store squirrel food is in air-tight containers. You should store these containers away from any openings in your home. While squirrels are cute, it is best if they stay outside.
Are You Prepared for Feeding Squirrels?
Feeding squirrels is a great way to learn about nature, have entertainment, and ensure that your neighborhood squirrels are getting enough to eat. If you want to start feeding squirrels, create a squirrel space, feed them the right foods, and protect them from pets.
Did you enjoy reading this article on how to feed squirrels? If so, check out the nature category for more helpful nature advice!
Pixabay.com royalty-free image #2371509, ‘squirrel, animal, wildlife’ uploaded by user Sophkins, retrieved from on August 9th, 2021. License details available at – image is licensed under Creative Commons CC0 license.