What To Feed Squirrels in Backyard?

The charm and cuteness of squirrels are universal, and almost everyone likes them. They like to jump, too. It’s quite easy to find, as they’re all over the place.

Now we must figure out how to attract squirrels into our yard so we can enjoy watching them. Any animal can be tempted by offering them their favorite foods. However, it may be a challenge to understand what squirrels love to eat the most.

You can learn what can I feed squirrels to attract them without making them venture too far from their natural habitat in our guide. Besides, it would help if you were certain whatever you feed them contains the right nutrition.

red jacket and squirrel

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of how to feed the furry little creatures that can keep you amused for hours in their hunt for food. (Learn How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden)

Is it OK to Feed Wild Squirrels?

You can find many experts who say feeding wild animals can cause more harm than it does good. One of the most significant issues being hand-fed wild animals loses any fear they have of humans.

It is much safer and better for the squirrels to be fed from a feeder than from your hand. Here are a couple of reasons why it’s not a good idea to tempt squirrels to enforce the reasoning for this.

Feeding wild animals such as squirrels in your own backyard, local park, or when on vacation isn’t such a good idea because:

  • Food fit for human consumption isn’t good for animals. Human foods don’t offer the same nutrition for animals, which leads to health problems, especially if they eat such foods regularly.
  • Wild animals lose natural fear of humans, and other larger animals can become too comfortable in residential areas. Once animals learn, they can venture into these areas without effort; they quickly become a nuisance or a safety risk. Wild animals depending on people for food may cause injury or spread disease.

people feeding squirrel

Feeding squirrels

Before you think about feeding squirrels, check if it will cause them for you or your neighbors.

Offering food for squirrels can put them in danger, for instance:

  • You encourage squirrels to cross a road, resulting in them being run over
  • Squirrels eating from feeders can make them prey for cats

Squirrel Population

If you feed squirrels too much, they can start to be reliant on artificial food sources. Providing food in these areas can lead to an increase in the squirrel population above a natural threshold.

An increase in population means more demand for food, which means they become pests as they scavenge.

Squirrels are Good Food Finders

It could be better to let squirrels find their own food. In most cases where you find squirrels, there is a supply of nutritional natural food.

It can be better to encourage them and enjoy their company by planting suitable trees in your garden.

What Food Can I Put Out for Squirrels?

If you decide to leave food for squirrels in your garden, there are some things to consider.

Squirrels eat nearly anything you offer, so you have to make sure you don’t offer them junk food. Squirrels need a mix of fruits, vegetables, and a healthy dose of protein. In basic terms, they need foods high in nutritional value. (Read What Does Garden Lizards Eat)

The key reason being squirrels suffer from metabolic bone disease, where bones weaken. Squirrels love things such as peanuts and sunflower seeds, so it can be too easy for people to feed them too many.

While they appear healthy, these foods don’t offer the right nutritional value for squirrels. Raw peanuts are hazardous as they can contain toxic mold.

Squirrels need a balanced mixture of nuts, seeds, corn, fruit, leaves, fungi, and bark. Besides this, you will find wild squirrels get calcium from chewing or gnawing on animal bones or antlers.

Squirrels need to drink lots of water, especially in warm weather, when pregnant, or during lactation. You can get squirrel feeders that have fresh water attachments.

Whatever foods you offer, it has to be natural to them. A good example being in Wisconsin, the most natural food for squirrels would be the hazelnut. Depending on where you live, you could find the common food is something different. (Read BBQ Party Games Ideas For Adults)

What Do Squirrels Like to Eat the Most?

During the winter, squirrels will be active for a few hours a day, and in this time, they have to find all the food they require. Squirrels may often lose their hiding places, so giving them a helping hand in the right way can help.

If you feed squirrels, you’ll find what you feed them is based on the season. Squirrels tend to eat flower buds, nuts, and seeds along with chestnuts and can snack on some types of fungi.

To feed squirrels, make sure you have a mixture of hazelnuts, walnuts, carrots, sunflower seeds, chopped apples, and water.

Set up your squirrel feeding stations in different locations so squirrels can avoid each other. Apart from this, if you set-up a dedicated squirrel feeder, you’ll make sure birds or animals can’t get to the food.

In addition, it will also help keep them off your bird feeders as they search for fresh food or a snack on bird seed.

The best food for squirrels can be seen here:

  • Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Beechnuts, Chestnuts, Almonds
  • Hornbeam seeds, Roasted Pumpkin seeds
  • Dried maize kernels, Leafy Greens
  • Sour or Sweet Cherries, Raisins, Apple, Pear
  • Peas, Carrot, Cucumber, Courgette, Broccoli
  • Peanut (must be aflatoxin-free)
  • White Oak Acorns
  • Strawberries, grapes
  • Spinach, Green Beans, celery
  • Boiled eggs chopped and insects

Shredding squirrel food prevents issues with squirrels burying food in your garden. Also, any feeders or feeding stations should be cleaned with fruits and vegetables replaced regularly in your backyard to reduce disease risk.

Read more: Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas

What To Feed Squirrels in Backyard (2)

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