Squirrels are fascinating, fun-loving, and adorable small animals that practically everyone enjoys because of their charm and cuteness. They enjoy scaling trees and fences. They are often found climbing on your walls here and there, and they quickly dash off if someone comes too close to them. It isn’t easy to catch a squirrel with your hands. But consider how lovely it would be to watch a squirrel in your backyard.

“Caching” refers to the act of burying food for long-term preservation. This is done in order to store food for the long winter months. People frequently place feeders in their yards to assist them prepare for this problem.

Now the question is, how can we entice squirrels to visit our yard? It is self-evident that we can entice any animal by providing it with its preferred food. Nuts and fruits are a squirrel’s favorite foods. As a result, if we plant nuts and fruits that these small animals enjoy, we will certainly succeed in attracting them to our backyard. So, the purpose of this article is to educate you on the dos and don’ts of planting food for squirrels in your garden.

What do squirrels eat?

Squirrels, fortunately, have a diverse diet. In fact, they will consume practically everything they can get their paws on. They are incredibly interested and may attempt to consume anything that they are not intended to eat.

Squirrels mostly graze on plants in the wild, since these superb foragers consume roots, leaves, nuts, bulbs, bark, fungus, and fruits. But, as they’ve come to share their living area with people, they’ve broadened their palates and tasted new foods that they’ve grown to enjoy.

It’s not surprising to find a squirrel eating food scraps left by people in public parks or youngsters in school gardens. Even food left out for your dog or cat is likely to attract a hungry squirrel.

What to feed a squirrel and what not to feed it

There have been several debates over whether or not to feed the squirrels. People frequently say that feeding squirrels are a bad idea. Even the United States Department of Agriculture has issued a statement opposing squirrel feeding. According to the USDA, wild animals cannot determine what or what not to eat.

They are constantly ready to eat whatever is put in front of them. However, for a human being, it is important to know whether it is safe to serve them your domestic or regular meals. As a result, these animals should be left to fend for themselves, as we should not risk endangering their lives by providing unwanted food or food that is not appropriate for their diet, as malnourished food can make them sick.

Aside from that, squirrels become sedentary after they have found their food paradise. They will also invite their pals to their food paradise to eat their free food from your yard. However, attracting too many squirrels to your yard might destroy your garden and potentially spread infections or viruses.

Even so, feeding a squirrel is a human gesture that we should not totally avoid. We can take the appropriate precautions when inviting them to our yards.

Things to consider when inviting squirrels to your backyard

brown squirrel on tree branch during daytime
  • Keep the bird feeders away from the reach of a squirrel.
  • To preserve the bird feeders, we should provide a place for the squirrels to eat.
  • Squirrels should have access to clean drinking water near their eating area.
  • Select high-quality nuts for squirrels, as not all nuts are helpful to squirrels. Some types of nuts may be harmful to their health.
  • Squirrels can eat bird eggs. Thus you should take care of that.
  • You should not offer nuts until the squirrels have completed their healthy diet.
  • Assume you’re still confused about your decision to feed squirrels. In that case, you can seek local, federal, or government advice on how much and how to feed the squirrels in your yards because it is unlawful to feed them openly in parks.

What do squirrels need to eat the most?

Nuts, vegetables, seeds, and fruits are the ideal foods for squirrels. Our ecosystem now has a wide variety of nuts, fruits, and vegetables. So, what’s the best and healthiest option for the squirrel?

Nuts

brown and white nuts on white ceramic bowls

Squirrels, as we all know, love nuts. Planting nut-producing trees in your yard would be a terrific way to attract them. There is no requirement to have nut-producing trees, and one can offer good nuts to the squirrels in their backyard by buying them directly from the market.

Now, caution should be exercised when offering nuts to these tiny wild animals since our ecosystem has several nuts, some of which are helpful to their health and others of which are poisonous. We’ve divided these nuts into best and worst nuts for squirrels for your convenience.

Best nuts for squirrels:

  • Butternuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Walnuts
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Pecans

Some bad nuts squirrels should avoid:

  • Dried Corn
  • Cashews
  • Pine Nuts
  • Oak Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Raw Peanuts

Fruits

bunch of raspberry and grapes

Fruits are the squirrel’s second favorite food after nuts. They frequently climb trees in quest of juicy, sweet, and delectable fruits. Fruits, like nuts, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Once again, the question is which fruit is healthier for a squirrel.

Fruits recommended for squirrels:

  • Apricot
  • Apple
  • Blackberries
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Crabapples
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Honeydew
  • Lemon
  • Mangos
  • Lime
  • Navel Orange
  • Papaya
  • Nectarines
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Pomegranates
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries

Fruits you should avoid in squirrel’s diet:

  • Dates
  • Dried Fruits
  • Figs
  • Fruit Juice
  • Persimmons
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

Aside from these fruits recommendations, we recommend considering the right quantity for the pet squirrel.

Vegetables

Vegetables supply essential nutrients for a squirrel’s diet. If you have vegetables in your yard, you might easily attract these squirrels. However, if this is not possible, we can suggest some healthy vegetables based on a squirrel’s diet that you should plant in your garden. Some of these are as follows:

Squirrel-friendly vegetables:

  • Cucumber Belgian Endive
  • Some Beet Greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Chicory
  • Green Beans
  • Escarole
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Kale Mustard Spinach
  • Purslane
  • Radishes
  • Radicchio
  • Leafy Greens
  • Turnip Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Peas

Vegetables you should avoid in a squirrel’s diet:

  • Dried Vegetables
  • Eggplant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Fresh Corn
  • White Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Palm Hearts
  • Onion
  • Turnips
  • Yams
  • Sprouts

Seeds

Seeds

Squirrels are often seen stealing birds’ food and eggs, and they even get into bird feeders and destroy them. This suggests that squirrels prefer seeds while looking for food when they are starving.

So, pumpkin seeds are the most advantageous seeds for squirrels. However, sunflower seeds, dried dates, and cashews should be avoided.

Creepy crawlers

Creepy crawlers

If soil products are not readily available, a squirrel can meet their need for supermolecules by eating microscopic creepy crawlies.

Caterpillars, grasshoppers, winged beetles, hatchlings, injured butterflies, and crickets are just a few of the creepy crawlies that squirrels eat.

Plants

Squirrels like foraging for plant roots, stalks, leaves, and even bark. They will consume anything that has nutritional value for them.

Because they are delicate and delectable, they love sensitive branches or soft twigs, new growth, young leaves, sprouts, and flower buds.

Having squirrels in your flower garden is typically a significant problem since they don’t mind eating any part of the plant. They have the ability to attack any new development in your garden, putting your flowers and other plants at danger.

Fungi

Squirrels don’t mind eating fungus that grow naturally in their woodland and forest settings when searching for plant roots and leaves. Truffles, oyster mushrooms, and acorn truffles are common foods for squirrels. These fungus can be found concealed beneath the earth, on the bark of trees, or in wet locations.

The animals may also opt to save these mushrooms for later use by drying them and putting them in their hiding area, where other squirrels or animals will not be able to get them.

Birdseed

If you’re a birdwatcher and have a bird feeder in your garden or backyard, you’re certainly aware that other animals will find this bird feeder appealing as well. Squirrels and other rodents in your garden are likely to be interested in the birdseed you store for songbirds and woodpeckers.

Squirrels don’t mind eating grains and seeds, such as black oil sunflower seeds or peanut spread, which you may save for birds in the winter.

The majority of birds tolerate squirrels eating at their feeding stations, but some, such as the Northern Cardinal, can become violent. So, make sure you take precautions to preserve your bird feeders.

Eggs

Squirrels will do whatever it takes to keep fit and alive when food is scarce.

This involves taking other animals’ and birds’ eggs. Squirrels have been observed attacking the nests of songbirds and woodpeckers, as well as eating hatchlings and young birds that fall from their nests.

Eggs are high in protein and keep the squirrel healthy when nuts are scarce. Birds frequently go to considerable lengths to ensure that their nests are well safeguarded since squirrels are astute foragers.

If you have a nest box in your garden for a breeding pair of birds, make sure the entrance is adequately disguised to keep squirrels and other predators away.

Rodent blocks

The rat block is well known for its high nutrient content, allowing squirrels to grow and stay healthy. Because rat blocks are the most balanced meal for squirrels, we highly recommend them for your pet. Squirrels can eat eggs, butterflies, insects, and other things in addition to the foods mentioned above.

Things to avoid if you want your squirrels to have a long and healthy life

It is best to avoid giving squirrels junk food or homemade food. Snacks like chocolate, toffees, chips, and other junk food make it harder for squirrels to digest their food, causing them to become ill.

Although nuts are the most demanding and appropriate diet for squirrels, not all nuts are the same. A raw peanut may harm an innocent cute animal if given to it since it is tough for the squirrel to chew. Furthermore, one can offer peanut butter or roasted peanuts. However, these are not the best options.

You should be aware that squirrels loathe niger seeds. Birds, on the other hand, love these seeds. As a result, we should take advantage of the squirrel’s and birds’ adverse situations. Squirrels, as previously said, frequently destroy bird feeders. To prevent squirrels from invading bird feeders, we should place some niger seeds in their (birds’) nests to avert this issue.

Squirrels love corn. They should, however, be offered on occasion because regular corn in their diet is not a great idea.

FAQs

Squirrels eat peanut butter?

We’re all suckers for peanut butter. Even if you have allergies! However, it is both addicting and fattening! So don’t let them form a habit! And don’t feed them with your hands — they’ll get dependent on you, and you’ll get sick from scratching.

Do squirrels eat meat?

They may consume snakes, small birds, and wet pet food. However, they like nuts and berries. Because they live largely above ground, flying squirrels consume more meat than other species.

Can squirrels eat bread?

Squirrels can eat almost everything (though they tend to dislike onions and garlic). So, yes, they will eat bread if you provide it to them. Too much sugar, flour, and salt, on the other hand, is bad for their intestines.

Do squirrels eat raisins?

You may be concerned about choking concerns, but raisins are not a problem for squirrels. Having said that, raisins are high in sugar. Do you really want to face a sugar-crazed squirrel?

Conclusion

In summary, we may say that squirrels are amusing to watch in your yard. However, most people are unaware of how to deal with these small wild animals. Before bringing squirrels into your yard, you should be aware of healthy squirrel feeding practices.

And many precautions must be taken before introducing them into the backyard because they can be annoying and may injure the birds and other flies in your garden.

It is forbidden in certain countries to feed squirrels since the wildlife care community considers it a crime to make these creatures reliant on humans for food.

It may cause them to become sluggish. Even so, we should be ethical toward them by offering them food that has the adequate nutrition they need for good health.