A lot of people don’t know this, but squirrels eat asparagus. Yep, the same furry little guys who scamper up trees and over fences to steal your bird feeder will also take a nibble of your garden asparagus if it’s in reach.
So why do squirrels eat asparagus? There are a few reasons that come into play: First, they love the taste. Second, there are some pretty good nutrients found in the vegetable which make them healthier for eating. And third... well you'll have to read on to find out what other reason I have for why squirrels enjoy eating this plant.
In addition to giving you an idea about these critters' favorite food (and what you can do about it if they're eating your veggies), I'll also give you some tips on growing your own asparagus in the backyard. So keep reading to see if this plant is something that the furry rodents in the neighborhood enjoy every bit as much as you do!
When and where squirrels eat asparagus
There are several times throughout the year when squirrels get turned on to eating asparagus. The most common time for them to start munching down on these plants is early spring or late winter, so between January and April. They might think of it just like any other vegetable at first, but, once they get a taste of how sweet it really is, they’ll be gorging themselves on asparagus whenever they can get their little paws on it.
So, if you notice that your asparaguses are getting smaller by the day, know that squirrels are the main culprit. And if one day you see your vegetables have been torn apart and half eaten, it's probably not a mere coincidence.
Nutrients in asparagus for squirrels
What does asparagus provide to squirrels? Believe it or not, this veggie has good nutritional value for squirrels… well actually pretty much all animals. It contains several vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, and iron. These nutrients make it a great source of natural energy for the squirrels who eat them.
How Squirrels Eat Asparagus
When you think of feeding squirrels in your yard, what usually comes to mind? It is probably not asparagus. But these animals will not hesitate to enjoy a nice, crisp spear or two if they come across them. Squirrels will eat asparagus both raw and cooked.
So now that you know why squirrels might like this plant so much, let’s go over how they eat it. First off, with their sharp teeth and claws (and yes, that includes their front ones) they'll easily be able to tear the spears apart. After doing so, they'll eat the tender tips of the asparagus first and work their way down to any leaves on them. They might chew the stalks up a bit if your animal happens to have teeth or you feed it cooked asparagus vs. raw, but for the most part, squirrels do not normally swallow plant matter (unless they're young) hence why they'll sometimes leave behind the tougher parts of the plant like the stem or base.
You’ll find that this is pretty much how all animals eat asparagus; by biting into them and chewing them to pieces. The only real difference between how squirrels eat asparagus and other types of veggies is that they don’t tend to swallow the plant matter.
Squirrels will also eat vegetable oils found in canola, soybean, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, palm (and others) to get an energy boost when things get lean. They might find these oils in your trash.
How Can I Prevent Squirrels From Eating Asparagus?
This depends on whether you want to prevent them from eating it while it's still growing in the ground vs. trying to keep them away after they've already harvested it.
If you are growing this plant for its shoots/leaves then the best way for you to protect your plants would be to surround them with a very low fence or to tightly knot chicken wire around the base before you plant it. This will keep squirrels out of your garden, but be careful when you come in contact with this wire - it can cut.
If these animals have already dug up and eaten your plants (or any other vegetables for that matter) before you could harvest them, there is nothing you can do about what has been taken. You can, however, put cayenne pepper or spicy oil on some of the plants that remain in your garden. When the squirrels return to eat more, they will have a big surprise waiting for them.
That being said though, yes, there are methods you can use to try and prevent them from coming back. For example, you could set up motion-activated sprinklers to let loose the moment they approach your garden. Another thing that also works is to put up bird netting around your plants. This will make it difficult for the squirrels to get around should they decide to come back again once they've already eaten what was there.
Is eating asparagus dangerous for squirrels
Asparagus is safe for squirrels to eat in moderation (there's actually not much reason why it wouldn't be other than allergies). As with all foods though, only feed them this plant sparingly. Too much isn't good for them, even if it is healthy in moderation. Also keep in mind that poisonous plants are not good for them to eat, but again in the case of asparagus this shouldn't be a problem.
Do squirrels eat asparagus summary
Yes, squirrels eat both raw and cooked asparagus. How do squirrels eat asparagus? They'll tear off the tender parts first and then chew through the tougher parts of it. When and where do squirrels eat asparagus? Usually at your trash cans should it not still be growing around your yard during their peak seasons (or other vegetable season). Are asparagus dangerous for squirrels to eat? If fed in moderation, there shouldn't be anything to worry about. How can I prevent squirrels from eating asparagus? You could set up a low fence, tightly knot chicken wire around the base of your plant before planting it. or use some sort of animal repellent to keep them away from your garden.