What To Feed Squirrels In Backyard

How Much Water Do Squirrels Drink

Squirrel Backyard Feeding – What To Feed Squirrels

On average, youll find that squirrels need roughly 3 teaspoonfuls a day. Thats really only 7 tablespoons per week total. However, depending on the size of the squirrel and the species, some larger breeds may require even more water than that. If theres some sort of drought or lacking water in the area, you can buy a pet bottled water dispenser that will last quite a while.

What Food Not To Feed Squirrels

Peanuts Be careful about feeding them any peanuts, especially raw peanuts. Peanuts are legumes and the shells can get a mold thats toxic for the squirrels. This was pretty surprising since most people say to feed them all the peanuts. They can have some, but make sure the nuts are roasted if you do throw some out for the critters.

Corn on the Cob People like to feed corn to the squirrels, and the squirrels do like them. Unfortunately, the dont give the squirrels any real nutritional benefit and are low on the minerals needed for their diet.

Sunflower Seeds Same problem with sunflower seeds. This is pretty much junkfood for the squirrels. So if you do feed them these ites, make sure to limit them.

What Do You Feed Squirrels In The Winter

Squirrels do not hibernate for the winter.

In fact, they are often more active than ever as their food sources are limited while they still require a set daily calorie intake. Wild squirrels will look for foods with high-fat contents, namely nuts, to keep them nourished through the winter.

If nuts and other high-fat items are low in quantity, wild squirrels will also eat insects, bugs, mushrooms, and even animal bones during the winter.

The winter does not change what a squirrel wants to eat it just limits what is available to eat. These insects and mushrooms are not squirrels preferred meals, so they will more than appreciate any food you leave out for them.

Because of this limited availability, purposefully feeding squirrels in the winter is one of the best times you can help support a squirrels needs. Offering the best nuts for squirrels, particularly those high in fat, like walnuts and peanuts, in squirrel feeders will help ensure your squirrel buddies are able to maintain the body fat they need to withstand the cold weather and to outlast any limited food days.

In the winter months, you may find that other animals, like birds, are raiding your squirrel feeders. You may consider installing a bird proof feeder, especially in the winter months, and fill it with food specifically meant for squirrels. This will ensure your backyard squirrels can access the nutritious resources they need to make it through the winter.

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Things To Keep In Mind

There are a few important things to keep in mind when feeding squirrels.

Firstly, its essential to keep food as natural and raw as possible. Try to avoid feeding squirrels salted, roasted or flavored nuts and seeds, because those excess ingredients can disrupt their digestion.

Its also worth doing a bit of research into whether certain nuts and seeds that you want to feed squirrels are native to the area youre living in. This helps to keep their diet as natural and as balanced as possible.

Also note that squirrel food can attract other wild animals that you wouldnt necessarily want to have in your backyard. Its recommended to keep an eye on the feeder and its surroundings to see if other unwanted animals have discovered your outdoor space as a food source.

Attracting Squirrels To Your Backyard

What to Feed Squirrels (and How to Peacefully Co

I love watching the squirrels bounce from branch to branch in my backyard, especially in the fall when the leaves droop and you can watch the display from your windows.

But if food is becoming scarce, then you might not see them around all that much. And this is a common problem in the winter when food is less readily available for them.

If you have a resident squirrel population in your area, then attracting squirrels to your backyard shouldnt prove too difficult. They love to eat, and providing the right kind of food is a surefire way to invite them over for a picnic.

In fact, if youve got a bird feeder set up in your garden, chances are youre already seeing visits from these furry friends.

Did you know there are over 200 species of squirrels?

According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System , and they are categorized into three types: tree squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels.

These three categories are further broken down into many squirrel types, such as Albino, Mountain Tree, Antelope, Spotted, Grey, American Red, Douglas, Fox, Pygmy, Northern Flying, Southern, Arizona Gray, Idaho, Arctic Ground, Alberts, Franklin, Richardson, Rock, White and Black squirrel.


To make the whole process even easier, consider a pre-made starter pack. It comes with food, a nesting box, nesting material, treats, a water bottle, and a food dish. Dont miss the super-cute picnic table feeder below though, squirrels appreciate style as much as we do!

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Is It Legal To Feed Squirrels

A number of states and municipalities have laws on the books that make it illegal to intentionally feed squirrels. The reason these measures are enacted is to keep wildlife from becoming dependent on humans. These laws also try to protect people from being bitten or otherwise attacked by an overzealous squirrel. Finally, the rules against feeding squirrels are aimed at keep the squirrel population in check, without which they could become a public nuisance.

All that being said, its best to check the specific rules for your state and municipality. Some areas may limit feeding squirrels on public land, but not on privately owned property. Further conversations with a local game officer may help you understand how such a law applies to you.

Also remember that if your squirrels become too tame and too used to your presence, they can become nuisances. This is most likely to happen when they decide their outdoor nests arent comfortable enough and try moving into your attic. Without their natural fear of you as a potential predator, then theyre less likely to think twice before invading your space.

What To Feed Squirrels In Your Backyard

Feeding squirrels is easy, there are enormous foods that squirrels love. Mostly nuts and seeds.

But there are some foods that you should never feed a squirrel. In this article, were going to take a look at the best foods for squirrels and foods to avoid.

Also, different ways to feed squirrels will be discussed in a minute. Lets start:

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Is Feeding Squirrels Illegal

Many people wonder what to feed squirrels and whether its safe, but you need also check with your local government to see if its legal.

They dont want people to feed squirrels for a variety of reasons.

You dont want squirrels to grow reliant on people. If the squirrel is not indigenous to the region, it may pose a threat to local fauna and plants. Its possible that overcrowding may occur. Check with your local government to determine whether intentionally feeding squirrels is unlawful.

What Can You Feed Squirrels

How To Hand-Feed Your Backyard Squirrels

A squirrel is an omnivore, which means that it likes to eat both plants and animal matter.

The diet of a squirrel is quite varied, but mainly consists of seeds, nuts, fruits, fungi, eggs, insects, and even small animals.

Please do note though that when humans try to feed squirrels, they will get to consume things that they would usually not find so easily in the wild.

For example, we can feed squirrels strawberries, zucchini, and pecans, just to name a few food items. But these are mostly foods added to their natural diet. And because these are additional foods, its important to not overfeed squirrels, to avoid replacing their natural diet.

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What Are Squirrels Favorite Foods

Most people think that squirrels only eat nuts and seeds, but thats not the case. While a large portion of their diet revolves around plants, they also eat some animal-based material. For example, the Eastern Gray Squirrel is known to eat insects, amphibians, small mammals, bird eggs, young bird nestlings and even bones.

Still, plant-based material makes up the vast majority of their diet. In a setting without any human interaction, squirrels enjoy nuts, seeds, tree flowers and tree buds from a variety of trees including butternut, cedar, dogwood, elm, hackberry, hemlock, hickory, maple, mulberry, pine and spruce. They also snack on mushrooms and fungi from time to time.

When humans and squirrels interact, additional food enters their diet some of which is quite good for them and derived from natural sources. Other favorites arent exactly natural, but the squirrels love them anyway. These additional foods include peanuts, peanut butter, pecans, pistachios, grapes, corn, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, strawberries, carrots, apples, sunflower seeds and even snack items, such as Oreo® cookies.

How Do Foxes Hunt Squirrels

For anyone whos ever watched a fox stalking its prey, its clear that these cunning creatures are experts at hunting.

But how do they manage to take down such fast and agile prey as squirrels?

It turns out that foxes use a variety of strategies to find and capture their furry quarry.

Perhaps the most important tool in a foxs hunting arsenal is its sense of smell.

A fox can use its keen nose to sniff out a hidden squirrel, even if the animal is buried beneath snow or leaves.

Once a fox has located its target, it will often stalk the squirrel without making a sound, slowly closing in for the kill.

If the squirrel notices the fox and tries to flee, the fox will give chase, using its powerful legs to run down the fleeing animal.

In some cases, a fox will also use its sharp teeth and claws to climb trees in pursuit of squirrels that have managed to scramble up into the branches.

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Human Junk Food Or Processed Food

Humans are all well conscious that eating junk foods does not do well for us in terms of nutrition. Foods like chips, candy as well as other processed food items are low in nutritional value and dont work for squirrels.

Squirrels arent able to process cellulose which is why feeding them food items like bread or any other with cellulose may cause them to get sick.

Keep in mind that if it does not grow and thrive in the natural world, it isnt the ideal choice for wildlife.

One Woodlink Going Green Squirrel Munch Box

Squirrel Food: What Are The Best Things To Feed Squirrels?

As the name indicates, this is an environment-friendly product. Woodlink Going Green Squirrel Munch Box happens to be one of the most popular items among squirrel lovers. The feeder is made from recycled plastic. Theres a clear plexiglass wall that shows how much food is left inside. A wooden ledge on the side of the feeder allows the squirrel to stand on it and enjoy a delicious meal.

The feeder can hold up to 17 pounds of mixed seeds. Theres a nail on the ledge that allows for the placement of one ear of corn. In terms of attachment, the back panel can easily be fastened to the trunk of a tree. All of the nails and the necessary attachment components are included in the kit.

Because its made of relatively thick plastic, the feeder is durable and it will remain in a good condition for years to come. Squirrels can easily reach the food and larger birds will be incapable of getting to the grains. On the downside, some buyers report that squirrels like to chew on the plastic a fact that can potentially lead to the destruction of the feeder.

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Wild Squirrel Delight Squirrel Food

My backyard squirrels love the different types of Wild Squirrel Delight foods and the best part is that it provides all the nutrition they need. We give them both the Wild Delight Shelled Peanuts, as well as the Wild Delight Corn on the Cob, which they absolutely love.

Wild Delight Crunch N Nut Wild Squirrel food will help you attract wildlife to your backyard. Its a hearty blend of sunflower seeds, unprocessed peanuts, and corn that squirrels absolutely love.

Not to mention, its packed with amino acids, electrolytes, minerals and vitamins that are great for squirrels.

What Do Squirrels Usually Eat

Squirrels love to eat nuts and seeds above all else, and this is the go-to food that most people associate with them, as it is their main source of nutrition!

This is why they are always searching around the base of trees, where nuts and seeds will fall. And they will especially love finding some fallen acorns!

The reason why squirrels love nuts and seeds so much is not only because it provides them with the nutrition they need, but also because they have to bite into the hard surface, and this actually helps them keep their teeth healthy!

Oh, and fun fact about squirrels and seeds, they will often get rid of the hard outer shell with their teeth, and will then bury the seed inside, so that it is safe.

In their minds, it is so that they have a stash of food to go to when they are hungry. However, squirrels almost always forget where they buried the seeds, meaning they end up forgotten, they germinate, and they grow into new trees!

So really, squirrels are like gardeners, and welcoming them into your backyard can be quite beneficial!

All that being said, squirrels dont just eat nuts and seeds. They also like to eat some vegetables and fruits, and we have included some in our list of things to feed them.

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Give Squirrels Their Own Food And A Challenge

Setting up a feeder with healthy food for squirrels will guarantee theyll pay you a visit. Keep them coming back by making your garden a fun and safe place to visit.

Set up an obstacle course so they have to work physically and mentally to get the food. Theyll love the challenge as much as you love watching them.

If you are looking for a squirrel proof bird feeder check out my review on five top-rated squirrel proof feeders here


Where To Put Squirrel Food

What Happens When you Feed Squirrels in Your Backyard? (Precautions to be Aware Of!)

I always put squirrel food in a tree mounted feeder that is at least five feet off the ground.

Squirrels are often eaten by hawks and foxes, or killed by cats and dogs, so it is critical that they can eat someplace where they can escape from potential predators.

If you have a choice, put the feeder in a tree with large, overarching branches to protect the squirrels from hawks as much as possible.

Do not try to attract squirrels to an exposed Shephards hook type feeder in the middle of an open yard or on your deck rail. It is too easy for cats, dogs and other animals to catch and kill squirrels when they are openly exposed and distracted by food.

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What Is Digging Up My Lawn At Night

Raccoons and skunks are two common grub-eating nocturnal culprits for digging in yards. … If you have wild animals digging in your yard at night, they are almost certainly seeking either shelter, in the form of an underground burrow, or food, such as the grub worms many animals eat that live in the soil beneath the turf.

Using Squirrel Feeders Around The Garden

This is one of the most popular methods, especially for people that want to be able to see squirrels in their backyard as often as possible.

You can get squirrel feeders, that have been designed especially for these furry little animals, from many animal stores, and they come in all sorts of designs, shapes, and sizes, depending on what you would prefer.

They can then be installed in various locations of your backyard, on trees, walls, or stood upright on a pole, or similar.

This is probably the best method for observing squirrels from the window, as you can place the feeders somewhere where you will have full view, and they will also require the squirrels to jump up, climb, or perform various acrobatics.

Some people have even created full-on obstacle courses with their squirrel feeders!

The problem with squirrel feeders, however, is that they are an incredibly easy food source for the squirrels, which can cause them to become lazy.

Squirrels can end up relying on the feeders if there are too many of them or they are always full, which will then cause the squirrels to lose natural abilities and skills, making them vulnerable out in the wild.

So you can use feeders, but make sure youre not just creating a massive free for all feast, as squirrels should consume from these feeders in moderation!

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Living In Harmony With Squirrels: Feeding & Exclusion

Shayna Hartley* Note: this blog contains only feeding and exclusion methods proven to be effective for Eastern Gray Squirrels. For tips on excluding Red Squirrels & Chipmunks, click here.

Eastern Gray Squirrel asking, “More food please!”
Eastern Gray Squirrel drinking from a WBU Heated Bird Bath

Feeding Squirrels

Gray Catbird feeding on Hot Pepper Bark Butter
American Goldfinch & Northern Cardinal feeding from an Eliminator feeder

Squirrel Exclusion Methods* Note: In the Province of Ontario, squirrels can be trapped and relocated 1 kilometer from where you trapped them. They can easily travel that 1 kilometer distance back to your house. Moving your squirrels also makes room for more squirrels to enter the habitat, with one gone its neighbour will move in. So the most effective way to deal with squirrels is to accept that they are a part of your yard and invest in a good pole system and baffle. Putting a feeder out just for squirrels will not do much to distract them from your other bird feeders it may simply attract more to your home.Happy trails!