What Should You Be Feeding Squirrels?
There is no doubt that squirrels are incredibly cute and there are plenty of people who love to see the bushy-tailed critters in their garden. If you’re one of these people you may be wondering what you should and shouldn’t feed squirrels.
Read on for our squirrel feeding guide.
What Food Do Squirrels Like?
The natural diet of the grey squirrel consists of plant shoots, bulbs, acorns, nuts and roots. They’re mostly vegetarian but have been known to take bird eggs. They’re not very fussy eaters though and if you would like to feed them in your garden, they will accept most types of food.
They love most types of nut and will also happily eat fresh vegetables. The RSPCA recommends feeding chopped apple, carrots, bean sprouts, celery, hazelnuts, or walnuts.
However, the easiest way to feed squirrels is to purchase purpose made squirrel food.
The squirrel food we sell consists of whole peanuts (a squirrel favourite), peanuts in shell, black sunflower and whole maise. This provides variety and interest for the animals and is convenient to store at home.
A squirrel food mix also represents better value for money. Anyone who has fed squirrels will know how much food they can consume and if you are continually buying fresh veg and more expensive nuts such as hazelnuts, it can become costly.
Why Use Special Squirrel Food?
Squirrels are notorious for raiding bird feeders and to some homeowners, this can very annoying. By providing squirrel food in a separate part of the garden you can help distract them away from bird feeders.
This is also a handy tip for gardeners who find squirrels keep pinching bulbs, plant shoots or seedlings. However, even with supplemental feeding squirrels are still likely to pinch natural foods from your garden as this is their preferred diet. Providing a small amount of food is a good compromise to keep them away from some of your precious plants!
If you have squirrels in your garden they’re likely going to stay whether you feed them or not so even if you consider them a pest, building a relationship with them via food may help you see them in a different light!
What Shouldn’t You Feed Squirrels?
Although squirrels love nuts, don’t feed them with processed and flavoured nuts like the ones we would eat. Coated nuts, especially salted ones are not good for any type of animals so keep these for your pantry.
Also, try to provide water if you’re feeding squirrels, this is also good for birds and other types of wildlife.
Should You Feed Squirrels?
Finally, we will address the question of whether it is even a good idea to feed squirrels at all.
This can be controversial as squirrels are considered a pest by many people, they are after all an invasive species which now outnumber our native squirrels by a long shot. However, squirrels are here to stay and are far too numerous to do anything about so many people choose to embrace that, provide food for squirrels, and enjoy watching their often-amusing acrobatic displays.
When feeding squirrels it is important to remember that you are not doing them a favour – squirrels are very capable of finding their own food and thriving without our help. Hence why they are now one of the most seen animals in the UK.
Feeding squirrels is mostly because we enjoy seeing them, and that is ok. If you have squirrels in your garden anyway you may as well, make the most of it and embrace these extremely cute and funny animals.
Should You feed Squirrels By Hand?
You may have visited parks with tame squirrels or seen videos of them entering homes to be fed. However tempting it may be to hand feed your squirrels (and they are extremely easy to tame if they think there is a tasty treat involved) or lure them into your home this isn’t good for them and can encourage them to become more of a nuisance.
Most animals have a healthy fear of humans that protects them by keeping them away from busier areas or roads. We wouldn’t encourage trying to tame any wild animal. Simply pop some squirrel food in your garden and observe the animals from a distance or indoors.