Squirrels are one of the most common backyard visitors and they can easily become a nuisance if they’re not managed properly. If you’ve ever wondered what squirrels eat in the garden, this post is for you. Squirrels have a varied diet that includes nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, insects, eggs, and even human food sources like bird feeders! In this article, we will explore the various foods that wild squirrels enjoy eating from gardens and how to coexist with them peacefully.
Overview of What Squirrels Eat in the Garden
Wild squirrels have an omnivorous diet that consists of both plants and animal matter depending on what’s available at different times throughout the year. Some of their most popular foods include nuts (like peanuts), fruits (like apples or pears), berries (such as strawberries or raspberries), vegetables (such as cabbage or peas), insects/invertebrates (like worms or beetles) bird eggs/nestlings and human food sources (like bird feeders).
Wild Squirrel Diet
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts such as peanuts are a major part of a wild squirrel’s diet due to their high-fat content. Other nut varieties like walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, oak acorns and chestnuts can also be eaten by wild squirrel populations although these types may only be found seasonally depending on location. Additionally, some species may prefer certain types so it is important to research what type is native to your area before attempting to provide any kind of supplemental feeding!
Fruits Berries & Vegetables
Fruits such as apples or pears provide carbohydrates that help keep energy levels up while berries like strawberries or raspberries offer vitamins along with sweet taste sensations for these little creatures! Vegetables such as cabbage or peas can also be added to the mix if you want to create an even more diverse menu for your local wildlife population. Please remember that some vegetables may require special preparation methods before being consumed safely by squirrels so make sure you consult with experts first if needed!
Insects & Other Animal Matter
Squirrels enjoy eating insects and other animal matter from gardens. Some of the insects and animal matter squirrels eat include eggs, fungi, grubs, worms and even small birds. Squirrels also eat bird eggs and the occasional mouse or other small mammals if they can find one.
Bird Eggs & Nestlings
Wild squirrels may also help themselves to bird eggs and nestlings when they can find them but this should only be done under supervision as it can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.
Human Food Sources (i.e., bird feeders)
People often provide food sources for wild squirrels in the form of bird feeders that contain various types of seed mixes, suet products and other high-fat foods like peanut butter or sunflower seeds. While this can be a great way to supplement their diet, please make sure that you monitor these areas carefully as overfeeding can lead to obesity or other health issues in wildlife populations.
How Squirrels Forage in Gardens
Squirrels are one of the most common animals found in gardens. They forage for food by digging through the soil, gathering nuts and seeds from trees, and eating fruits and vegetables from plants. Squirrels also scavenge for insects, worms, and other small creatures that live in the garden. By doing so, they help keep the garden free of pests and provide themselves with a valuable source of nutrition. In addition to searching through the soil, squirrels often climb up into trees to search for nuts such as acorns or hazelnuts. This behavior can be quite entertaining to watch!
Digging for Nuts, Roots & Tubers
Wild squirrels will often dig up nuts, roots and tubers from garden beds as part of their foraging activities which helps keep the soil aerated and prevents compaction from occurring. This activity is beneficial for plants growing nearby as well as providing a source of food for these animals so it’s important to make sure they have plenty of space to do so without interfering with your garden.
Eating from Trees or Vines Directly
Another common activity among wild squirrels is eating fruits and nuts directly off trees or vines if available. This type of behavior helps spread seeds across different areas which leads to more diverse plant growth patterns throughout the landscape.
Garden-Friendly Foods for Squirrels
In addition to the items listed above there are some garden-friendly foods that you can offer up to wild squirrel populations such as nuts (including peanuts), fruits (such as apples or pears), berries (such as strawberries or raspberries), vegetables (such as cabbage or peas), birdseed mixes, grain products (such as oats or wheat germ), flower petals/pollen, insects/invertebrates, leaves/grasses/moss and even suet products if desired! Please remember though that while offering some supplemental feeding may help supplement their diets during lean times it’s important not to overfeed them otherwise you risk creating an unhealthy population over time due to too much fat intake per individual animal!
Common Garden Plants That Provide Nutritious Foods To Squirrels
Some popular garden plants that provide a wide range of nutritious foods to wild squirrels include cucumber, spinach, lettuce, beans, and more. Additionally, pine cones can also offer up some additional snacks as well as grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries when in season! Tomatoes, peas and corn are also popular options for these animals although they may require special preparation methods before being served to squirrels.
Deterring Squirrels from Eating Unwanted Plants
If you’re looking to keep wild squirrels away from certain plants in your garden then there are several steps that you can take such as: using deer-resistant species (like Marigolds), growing climbing plants on trellises or fences (to make them inaccessible), installing physical barriers like netting around the base of trees or vines that contain food sources (like birdfeeders), removing fallen fruit from the ground promptly (as it will attract more wildlife), discouraging access to human foods (like suet products or birdseed mixes), planting hot pepper repellent sprays around areas where unwanted nibbling is occurring, using scare tactics with motion activated sprinklers, setting traps when necessary and monitoring activity regularly.
What Do Squirrels Eat In The Garden Conclusion
Wild squirrels are a part of our environment and while they may sometimes cause a bit of trouble it’s important to respect their natural habits and behaviors as much as possible. By providing appropriate food sources like nuts & seeds along with fruits & vegetables you can help supplement their diet while deterring them away from eating other items in your garden with physical barriers & other deterrent strategies. Additionally monitoring activity regularly & taking appropriate action when necessary will help ensure that everyone coexists peacefully! Enjoy observing nature’s little garden residents but remember that safety should always come first whenever dealing with wildlife populations.