What to Feed Squirrel in Backyard? (What Do Squirrels Like To Eat)

As with birds, squirrel watching can be a pleasurable, relaxing, and low-cost pastime. All you require is a squirrel feeder and some squirrel food for a start! But, what do squirrels like to eat?

Squirrels will devour almost any food you offer them. However, like many people, you might not be aware of the best ways to feed your squirrels within your yard.

In this article, we’ll review the top and worst food items for squirrels to feed so that you can start.

what do squirrels like to eat

Benefits Of Having Squirrel Feeder In Your Backyard?

Some are against feeding squirrels and could say it’s a bad idea. Though feeding wild squirrels with hands can become dependent on humans.

Using a feeder for squirrels within your yard is an excellent idea to help the squirrels!

Here are a few reasons why you should have a squirrel feeder in your backyard.

1. Keeps Them Away From Bird Feeders

If you own an existing bird feeder, you’re aware that squirrels love to steal all the food that birds eat. Certain bird food items don’t offer the essential nutrition for squirrels, and clearly that if they consume everything and leave, the birds do not get much.

And, not only that, squirrels can damage the bird feeder, which can make it difficult for all those involved. One method to prevent squirrels from your bird feeder is to offer squirrels their own.

Squirrels are known to eat at the feeder closest to them, which is why there are feeders designed specifically for squirrels. The pet squirrel can have a more nutritious alternative to food sources, and the birds that live in your yard can have a great time eating once more.

2. Gives Them Easy Access to Water

Although water might seem like the last thought that pops up when deciding what to offer squirrels, they require water to lead a happy existence. Like humans, squirrels need the ability to drink clean water, but they aren’t always able to access it.

Some feeders for squirrels include the capacity to be filled with fresh water. Keep this in mind when selecting the squirrel feeder. In winter, you may also put the water in an enclosed birdbath heated for squirrels to drink from.

3. Helps Squirrels Better Survive Winter

Squirrels must ensure that they have enough food in their freezers as the time for hibernation approaches. The capacity to get food makes the procedure more palatable for them.

Additionally, it provides them with a comfortable place to retreat to when needed something else.

What Do Squirrels Like To Eat?

Many people feed squirrels with corn, birdseed, or food scraps from the table. While sure these items aren’t wrong, they’re not the most nutritious, also.

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However, there are plenty of squirrel-friendly foods to eat that are nutritious for them. They include…

1. Nuts

It goes without saying that squirrels love nuts. If you have a tree that produces nuts, you’re already providing squirrels living in your yard with an excellent food source! If you don’t already have one and would like to have more squirrels around your property and want to plant a few nuts-producing trees.

Directly from the tree, or otherwise, nuts in their shells are among the most nutritious food you can offer squirrels. It’s especially beneficial for squirrels if you supply squirrels with a variety of nuts so that they can benefit from all the advantages.

All nuts are not alike, but certain varieties could cause harm to squirrels. So be cautious when choosing the suitable nuts to give them. Below are the top and least nutritious nuts for squirrels below.

The best squirrel-friendly nuts are:

  • Hazelnuts
  • Butternuts
  • Hickory Nuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • White Oak Acorns (Low Tannin)

Worst nuts for squirrels to eat:

  • Raw Peanuts
  • Red Oak Acorns (High Tannin)

It is also possible to offer squirrels roasted peanuts and pistachios with a moderate amount; however, they’re not the best nuts to provide them with.

2. Fruits

Squirrels are fond of eating various fruits. Like nut trees, squirrels are awe-inspiring at climbing fruit trees and taking a bite of delicious, sweet fruit. If you already have a fruit plant and want to keep the fruit for yourself, rather than giving it to hungry squirrels living in your backyard.

Small parts of fruit, such as grapes, cantaloupes, apples, or strawberries, should be removed. Strawberry and watermelon can also be left out, and they usually prefer non-citrus fruits.

3. Vegetables

If you’ve got a vegetable garden, it shouldn’t surprise you that squirrels devour any vegetable they can lay their hands on. Fresh vegetables are a fantastic food source for squirrels, and they enjoy eating them. Serve them leafy greens like broccoli, carrots and peas, and zucchini, as well as yellow squash.

4. Seeds

Squirrels always play the game and take food from your bird feeders, which means they must like seeds. Although they can take seeds in and aren’t bad for them, they aren’t the most effective choice.

Feeding squirrels seeds with moderation are fine, however. Feel free to throw the pumpkin seeds you’ve left after carving the pumpkin, and the pumpkin seeds will be eaten and perhaps some shells as well!

What To Avoid Feeding Squirrels In Your Backyard

Junk or Processed Food

Humans know that junk food isn’t doing well for us in terms of nutrition. Candy, chips, and other processed food items are low in nutritional value and don’t work for squirrels. Squirrels aren’t able to digest cellulose. Therefore, feeding them food items like bread or cellulose may cause them to become sick.

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Be aware that if something does not grow and thrive in nature, it isn’t the ideal choice for wildlife.

Peanuts

While most nuts are safe for squirrels, peanuts are a completely different story. Peanuts, particularly raw peanuts, can contain a fungus that could be harmful to squirrels. Peanut butter or roast peanuts are safe to give them a little bit here and there; however, they aren’t the most suitable option for their health.

Niger Seeds

Positively it is true that the birds are fond of nuts! If you have an outside bird feeder, you can mix in some niger seeds to discourage squirrels from stealing your birds’ food.

Corn

Cobs of corn could be one of the squirrel’s favorite snacks, but it’s not doing much nutritionally for them. Corn is essentially junk food for squirrels. Feeding squirrels with corn in moderation is okay, mainly if you offer them healthy daily options.

Other Foods Squirrels Eat

Bones

Although squirrels mostly live an omnivore lifestyle, bones are an excellent food source for calcium in squirrels in the wild. There are many species of squirrels that consume the bones of animals or deer antlers.

While squirrels might love the bones of animals, However, you must consider whether it’s a good idea for your yard. When you’ve dogs that might choke on bones, you should stay with the other suggestions discussed in the article.

Insects

If squirrels cannot obtain any fruits, nuts, or vegetables, eating small insects will provide them with protein. The most popular insects for squirrels are caterpillars, winged bugs, crickets, and butterflies when they can grab hold of them.

Fungi

Squirrels are awe-inspiring foragers. They do not only hunt in trees. According to the season, it is possible to find a variety of fungi that squirrels will devour. If you’re willing to, you can plant some mushrooms close to where you’ll feed the squirrels for a small reward for the squirrels!

Final Thought

Squirrels can be opportunistic foodies and will happily devour cake or pie throughout the day, and they’ll eat everything you give them. If you want to ensure they’re correctly taken care of, selecting what you feed squirrels in your backyard is vital.

Install a squirrel feeder, and fill it up with plenty of fruits, nuts, and other vegetables to eat or save for the future. If you’re able to select a feeder with a holder for water is an excellent option for squirrels.

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