Squirrels can cause all sorts of mayhem in your garden. Grey squirrels are opportunistic in nature, and their expansive diet often brings them into conflict with gardeners all over the country. But how do you know if the havoc in your garden is a squirrels handiwork?
Watch for clues:
- Shallow Holes- Look around your garden for golf ball sized holes. Freshly planted seedbeds are a huge favourite for squirrels as they love to unearth and eat all the fresh seeds.
Missing Fruit- If you have bite marks or fruit in your garden completely missing, such as tomatoes, then you know you will have a squirrel in your garden. Other favourites are cucumbers, aubergines, and beans.
Seedheads-Squirrels love sunflowers especially. So if you find nibbled seedheads which have been eaten from the outside edges, you can guess who is to blame.
- Hiding Nuts-In a quest to bury their nuts, squirrels will often unearth potted plants. So if your pots of vegetables, flowers, and herbs are constantly being ransacked; you know it’s a squirrels handiwork.
The best way to know for sure that a squirrel is responsible for this is to catch them in the act. If you have noticed any of the above, it’s worthwhile paying just that extra bit of attention when you’re in the house.
For Bird Lovers
For all you twitchers and bird lovers, the most irritating thing to see is a chubby squirrel hanging off your precious bird feeder. Squirrels will chow down an entire feeder in no time, before leaving a mess by tossing the rest on the ground. What is a bird lover to do? Here are some tips to get you on your way
Squirrel Proof Feeder
This is one of the most effective ways to keep squirrels off your feeders. Some of them are weight sensitive, so that when the squirrel sits on them, the feeder will close and shut the food away. Some other types of squirrel proof bird feeders incorporate into the design a metal cage, which allows smaller birds to pass through. These are not as effective because squirrels may be able to wiggle their way in. Read more about them here
Use a slippery post
If your feeders are perched on top of wooden poles, consider switching to a PVC or metal pole. These kind of hacks make it hard for the squirrel to climb, and in turns help you save your food for your intended birds. For added protection, cover the pole in oil to make it more slippy.
Use food squirrels don’t like
Squirrels are not really fussy when it comes to bird seed, but there are a few they don’t like. Safflower seeds, for example, are appreciated by most birds, while not appreciated by squirrels. Another cheeky method to deter squirrels can be to add some cayenne pepper into the food mix. The spice levels will not affect the birds, but will dissuade squirrels. These little hacks should help keep birds away from your feeder, which means that your birds will be happy
Feed the squirrels
This may sound like a contradiction to previous comments, but feeding the squirrels with their own feeder can help to keep their mitts off your bird feeder. Now that they have their own food source, they will be less likely to look at other ones.