People see squirrels in different ways, some think they are adorable while others think squirrels are pests. For those who like feeding squirrels in the backyard, you probably wonder what do squirrels like to eat. Doubt no more because I am going to talk about this specific topic today. That way, you will be able to know just the right things to feed squirrels around your house. So let’s find out what squirrels like to eat with me below.
1. What To Feed Squirrels: Squirrel Food
You probably think that squirrels like and only eat nuts and seeds, but there are many more on their menu. So don’t worry if you cannot find nuts and seeds to feed them, other choices are available too. From flowers to plants and many more, squirrels eat them all. The variety of food that you can feed squirrels is so many, feel free to check out and pick some.
Squirrels are not picky eaters, and fruits are one of their favorite things to eat. With so many nutrients and great taste, your squirrel friends will surely enjoy the fruity treat that you give them. In case you only want the best for the squirrels that you feed, there are some great recommendations below.
1.2. Live Meal
Not everyone knows that squirrels are also carnivores, and this could be a piece of surprising information to many people. This is why squirrels raid bird’s nests sometimes to feed on their eggs for additional nutrients and proteins. It is not a common scene that you will see because squirrels only do so when they are extremely hungry. In case you want to give them some live meals are treats sometimes, here are some of the best options.
- Live moths
Nuts are one of the best food to feed squirrels because they are very beneficial to their health. At the same time, your critter friends can also store them in their homes for winter as well. There are so many types of nuts that you can choose to feed squirrels in your backyard. When you feed them with nuts or seeds, make sure to leave the shells. This is to help them with their teeth since they need to chew some hard shells sometimes. Some of the most common ones are:
- Hickory nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Just like nuts, seeds are also squirrels’ favorite food to eat and stock for cold season and weather. With a wide variety of seeds to choose from, finding the right seeds to feed squirrels is not difficult. Feeding seeds to squirrels also helps with germination around the house which is a total plus. There are many seeds that squirrels like and are good for the surrounding environments such as:
- Almond seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Squirrels do raid vegetable gardens sometimes, and that is not a pleasant thing for garden owners to experience. However, that means squirrels also feed on vegetables and there are some nice options that you can feed them with. Some of the best vegetables to feed squirrels include:
- Healthy: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumber, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potato, and zucchini,
- High-Calcium: arugula, beet greens, chicory, Chinese cabbage, cilantro, collard greens, fresh parsley, kale, radishes, squash, turnip greens, and watercress.
Besides the meals above, squirrels also feed on flowers and wild foods that they can find. Some of the great alternatives that you can give them are:
- Flower bulbs
- Tree buds
- Wild rose hips
1.7. What To Avoid Feeding Squirrels
Although squirrels are not picky eaters, there are still things to avoid feeding them. Some certain foods can affect their health which can result in death or other serious health problems. Meanwhile, some meals are just bad for them if you overfeed the squirrels with those. Below are some of the foods that you should avoid feeding squirrels in your backyard.
- Dried fruits
- Junk food
- Raw peanuts
- Red oak acorns
- Starchy foods
- Sugary foods
2. Squirrel Feeder Ideas For Backyard
Feeding squirrels is also a distraction to keep them away from bird feeders, and you might need some squirrel feeders. Hand-feed a squirrel is not a good idea because it may not work, or the squirrel may bite you. The best way to feed them is to leave their food in a squirrel feeder so that they can eat. You can hand-feed them when they are used to your presence which may take some time. But before that, check out some of the nice squirrel feeders below.
2.1. Corn Cob Holder
For those who feed corn cobs to squirrels on a daily basis, a corn cob holder is the most suitable choice. It is designed to hold a corn cob that you can easily place in for the squirrels to easily access. Make sure to choose a corn cob holder that is visible so that it can turn the squirrels’ attention from your garden. You can also DIY your own corn cob holder if you want to, but buying one is easier and faster.
2.2. Feeding Tray
In case you are the lazy feeders, then feeding trays are the option that you should go for. There is no complication in refilling the food at all since you can just spread it on the tray. It is also easy to install, and it provides plenty of space for the squirrels to sit on and eat. You can even keep it on the ground if you like. This option is actually quite versatile. More than that, this feeding tray is also ideal for areas with multiple squirrels. Also, it is a nice option if you want to feed both birds and squirrels in one area. It has enough space for a few squirrels to come to collect their food at once which is convenient. That way, everyone gets to eat without turning their attention to your garden.
2.3. Mason Jar
Sometimes it is not safe for the squirrels to feed out in the open due to flying predators in the area. This is when you need this mason jar squirrel feeder that provides both food and protection for them. The squirrels can enjoy eating safely in the shelter, and the mason jar also protects the food from the weather. It is a cool and nice design, and it is also easy to install as well.
2.4. Mulch Box
As for this one, it is like a mini-warehouse that stores foods like nuts and seeds for squirrels. The nice thing about this option is that it has a proper cover to protect the food from the rain. You can also easily refill the container, while the squirrels can easily access their daily delicious meal. This squirrel feeding house is easy to install to the fence or tree trunk, and its price is reasonable. Pick the design, and it also complements your garden or yard as well which is a total plus.
2.5. Picnic Table
This is probably the cutest squirrel feeder so far, and it also goes viral on the internet for sometime. Picnic table squirrel feeders have a small table with two side chairs that the squirrels can sit on while eating. The table is large enough to accommodate a corn cob with room to spare for a water cup. You can install it on your fence or on the tree trunk, and it looks really nice.
3. FAQs About Squirrels & Their Foods:
3.1. Do squirrels eat apples?
Yes, they do. You can feed your squirrels with a few slices of apples per day, and that is enough. Besides the food you give them, squirrels still look for other foods nearby. So they often take several small bites from the apple slices before moving on to other meals. This is why giving them the whole fruit or multiple slices is not advisable to do. Things are the same when you feed them with other fruits, just give them a few slices a day.
3.2. Do squirrels eat carrots?
Just like apples, carrots are also one of the best meals that squirrels love to eat. There are many ways that you can feed carrots to the squirrels, but it is best to feed them raw. When giving raw carrots, you can give a whole carrot or chop it into small pieces for the squirrels. Your rodent friends will be able to eat this nice vegetable either way, and it is also a nutritious meal for them.
3.3. Can squirrel eat bread?
Bread is the first thing that you see in the list of things that you should avoid feeding squirrels. Squirrels can actually eat bread, but the thing is that it is not healthy for them to consume at all. You can occasionally give a piece of multi-grain or whole-grain bread to them if you like, but don’t make it a habit. Avoid white bread or don’t give bread to them very often since it contains a lot of sugar. This is not a good diet for squirrels, and you don’t want them to become unhealthy or sick.
3.4. Are peanuts good for squirrels?
Squirrels don’t often eat peanuts because they do not contain rich nutrients that are beneficial to their health. Another thing to know is that raw peanuts may contain a fungus that can affect a squirrel’s health. So if you choose to feed peanuts to the squirrels, make sure to do it right. Always feed unsalted peanuts in a small amount, and you can either keep or leave the shells. There are many good types of nuts to feed the squirrels, so avoid peanuts if you can.
Squirrels are not pests if you know how to make peace with them, and food is how you make a truce. When you feed them regularly, they will also stop raiding your bird feeder or garden in your yard as well. It is a win-win strategy that everyone wins, and all sides are happy. There are so many things that you can feed squirrels, and I list them all for you above already. Now go get your squirrel feeders and start making peace with squirrels around your home, it will be nice!