The squirrel is one of the cutest rodents that you are ever going to see. Often seen during the fall season or during spring, squirrels usually like to feast on nuts, and they stay well away from humans.
Therefore, many people consider it to be a special achievement when they notice squirrels in their yard. However, attracting squirrels to your yard is anything but easy. One of the things that you need to understand about squirrels is that they are incredibly fast.
They are able to run through gardens and climb up trees in a jiffy, so it’s pretty difficult to even get a good look at them. However, you can easily identify a squirrel by its long and bushy tail, which they use for support and balance.
Squirrels usually eat a variety of foods, with nuts being their prime delicacy. You might have heard a bunch of stories about squirrels stocking their nuts, and often forgetting about them. That is absolutely true; they often stock acorns and other nuts in different areas, and completely forget about them.
However, squirrels don’t just eat nuts. They also love to eat different kinds of fruits and veggies. In fact, most of the popular types of squirrels are vegetarians, and they usually prefer to stick with fruits and veggies.
They aren’t even that picky when it comes to food, and will eat anything that they can get their hands on. They often snack on fruit that has dropped from the tree on the ground. Some of their favorite foods include broccoli, squash, and mushrooms.
Other than that, they love nuts. Walnuts, peanuts, and acorns are some of their favorites, and they love storing and snacking. Squirrels aren’t all that territorial, so you can expect them to leave the area if they feel that their safety is being threatened. That is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to attract squirrels to your backyard or your garden.
However, if you follow a series of different steps, you might be able to see a few squirrels popping up in your backyard every now and then. Who knows, it might even lead to a small squirrel nest in your backyard.
So, how do you attract squirrels to your backyard? The first thing you need to do is create a suitable environment for attracting squirrels to your backyard.
1 – Provide Some Natural Cover
Take a look around your backyard, do you see any kind of natural cover? Squirrels need quite a bit of natural cover, because they don’t like being out in the open. So, the first thing you need to do is add some natural cover to your garden. You can use a number of different things.
For instance, you can take some dead wood and create a bit of shade by placing them on an angle. Or, you can let the shrubs grow in your garden. Tall grass and shrubbery provides adequate protection. Stacking logs or wood is also a great idea because it provides the adequate amount of cover that these rodents need.
2 – Install a Squirrel Feeder
If you really want to attract squirrels to your backyard or your garden, one of the best things that you can do is install a squirrel feeder. Squirrel feeders are designed in such a way that they can be accessed only by these tiny rodents.
They are usually placed at an elevation so that the squirrel can easily climb up, feed itself, and leave. However, simply installing the feeder isn’t enough. You have to make sure that you keep it full consistently.
In the beginning, you might notice that only a few nuts or acorns are taken from the feeder. But, within a while, you will notice the feeder being emptied on a consistent basis. If you stand near the feeder or even close by, it’s probably going to deter the squirrels, so the best thing that you can do is maintain your distance.
If you want to make sure that the squirrels are feeding, the best thing to do is fix a camera in position and check the footage the next day. You will be able to record excellent footage of squirrels coming up and taking the food from the feeder.
One of the most popular things that squirrels love to eat is the sunflower seed. Just fill up the squirrel feeder with sunflower seeds, and it won’t be long before you notice an influx of squirrels in your backyard.
3 – Plant the Right Trees
You need to understand that not all trees are friendly for squirrels. In fact, there are some trees that are actually much better. For instance, planting some nut trees in your backyard is obviously going to attract more squirrels. You can easily buy these trees from your local nursery and put them up. Look for trees that have hollow branching structures, as they allow squirrels to easily build their nests.
However, these trees are usually quite big, so you have to make sure that you keep them properly pruned and trimmed. If the branches start touching the roof of your house, it could provide an entry point for pests, and squirrels, to enter your house.
You certainly don’t want that, because these tiny rodents scare easily, and are probably going to wreak havoc in your house if they find their way in.
4 – Provide Water
Like all living things, squirrels need plenty of water to survive. In most cases, these tiny rodents are unable to find a decent, clean source of water. If you are able to provide clean water to squirrels, they are going to keep on returning.
If you want to take things to the next level, creating a pond in your garden or your backyard is a fantastic idea. It’s an excellent DIY project that is going to improve the aesthetic appeal of your place by a considerable margin. Or, if you want to keep things simple, a pail of water is more than enough.
You just need to make sure that you clean it on a regular basis and refill the water. It won’t be long before other animals, and birds, start drinking the water as well. This isn’t a problem, because most squirrels don’t mind sharing their water source with other animals.
5 – Plant Some Deciduous Hedges
Deciduous trees and hedges are a favorite for squirrels because they provide plenty of shade and natural cover for these tiny rodents to move about. Popular shrubs such as Hornbeams are a great choice because it provides a feeling of security to the animal.
While they don’t really mind moving about on railings or on beams, it’s best to add some deciduous hedges to your garden. Again, it’s all about creating a place where squirrels can feel calm and secure.
6 – Your Presence
What good is attracting squirrels to your garden or your backyard, if you can’t be around them? However, it’s virtually impossible to tame a wild squirrel and make it friendly enough to come close to you. What you can do, however, is make them comfortable with your presence.
Keep in mind that if you try to go close, they are going to run away. That is why it’s important that you maintain your distance. Once you have observed the time that the squirrels visit your backyard to feed, you should stay out, but keep your distance.
You will notice the tiny rodents becoming wary of your presence. Some might run away altogether, and not show up, but once they realize that you are not coming any closer, they are going to become more accustomed to your presence.
You will see them going around near the feeder. It’s going to take a few days for you to gain the trust of the squirrels, but once you do, it won’t be a problem.
7 – Cover up the Traps
Squirrels are incredibly wary creatures with very fast reflexes. If there are any holes in your backyard or shallow spaces, you might want to cover them up properly. If you have a pond in your garden, you might want to place a plank in the middle that the squirrel can grab hold of.
This is going to make it easy for them to move around your garden or your backyard without having to worry about drowning. More importantly, you also need to do something about the gutters. If there is an open gutter on your property, cover it up right away. If you can’t, the best thing to do is to add some wire protection to the gutters.
8 – Install a Nesting Box
If you want squirrels permanently in your garden, the next best thing that you can do is offer it some shelter. Place a nesting box in your garden or your backyard, and watch the magic happen.
However, when you keep the nesting box, do make sure that you widen the hole so that the squirrel can get through easily. The best thing that you can do is hang the box with at least 8 cm sides that open up high on a tree to shelter the squirrels. Keep in mind that during the spring season, the squirrel might start feeding on the broods.
Perhaps the most important bit of advice that you should follow is to remain patient. Once you have made all the arrangements and feel that the garden or your backyard is adequate for squirrels, there’s no need to rush.
As long as your house is located near a woody area and there’s not a lot of disturbance, it won’t be long before you notice the squirrels in your yard. However, if your house is located in a busy neighborhood, it’s going to take a while.
Squirrels will probably discover the garden by chance, so you have to be patient. It might take upwards of 15 days, but you are going to notice these squirrels in your garden over the passage of time. Just leave it be, and you will slowly notice the squirrel population growing in your garden.
Don’t Feed Direct Peanuts
A common mistake that many people make is that they tend to feed peanuts directly to the squirrel. If you are putting these peanuts in the feeder, you need to stop immediately. Peanuts are a very rich source of protein, and they contain a fungal toxin, known as aflatoxin.
Aflatoxin is a carcinogenic, and if consumed in large quantities, it can prove to be incredibly damaging to the liver. Moreover, aflatoxin can also increase the risk of cancer in humans, so be careful before you pop some in your mouth! However, roasting the peanuts is a wise idea, because it reduces the potency of the aflatoxin, though it isn’t going to eliminate it altogether.
Obviously, this is a lot of work, so you might want to skip putting in peanuts in the feeder altogether.
While it’s obviously a heartwarming feeling to see these wild rodents running in your garden or your backyard, you also need to be wary of potential problems that might arise. For starters, if you have fruits and vegetables growing in your garden, you should know that the squirrels are going to cause a lot of damage.
They are going to bite into fruits and vegetables, and leave them hanging to rot. Moreover, it’s going to be virtually impossible for you to protect these plants. You can’t use any kind of repellent, because it might be poisonous for the rodent.
At the end of the day, there are a number of factors that come into play regarding attracting squirrels to your garden. For instance, where you live is going to play a big role. If you live near the city center, in the busy streets, it’s obviously going to be more difficult to attract squirrels to your garden. However, if you live in the suburbs or the countryside, they are going to come to your garden quite quickly.