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Feeding Squirrels in Your Backyard: Best Foods & Tips to Co-Exist (2023)

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what to feed squirrels in backyardAre you looking for ways to coexist with squirrels in your backyard? If yes, then this article is just what you need! We’ll give tips on the best foods to feed these furry critters and teach how to create a safe living space.

Corncobs, nuts, and sunflowers are all great snacks that will help keep them healthy – plus, they taste good too! You should also learn about their habits so you can anticipate when they might visit your garden.

Finally, we’ll answer the question of whether or not it’s legal (and safe) to feed squirrels in a backyard environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Best foods to feed squirrels in your backyard include corncobs, nuts, sunflowers, and shelled nuts.
  • Offering a variety of foods such as tree flowers, buds, mushrooms, and fungi can provide diverse nutrients for squirrels.
  • Avoid feeding squirrels hazardous foods like raw or roasted peanuts, as they can be harmful to their health.
  • Providing clean water and fresh fruits and vegetables can help foster trust with squirrels and create a safe living space for them in your backyard.

Create a Squirrel Feeder Space

what to feed squirrels in backyard 1
Creating a designated feeding area in your outdoor space is an easy way to safely attract and entertain squirrels without disrupting other wildlife or inviting them into your home.

Start by planting sunflower seeds, peanuts, corn, and other foods that are part of a healthy diet for the animals.

Monitor activity around the feeder regularly so you can tell when it needs replenishing or if there’s been too much overfeeding.

Set up a squirrel feeder with wide seed trays to make sure they have enough food at all times during peak hours throughout the day.

With these helpful tips on what to feed squirrels in backyard areas as well as some best ways to control their population size while keeping them safe from predators and pests, you’ll be able to keep both yourself and local wildlife happy!

Serve Corncobs

Serve Corncobs
Offering corncobs on a platform or squirrel feeder can provide entertainment for local wildlife and help keep them away from your cultivated plants.

  • Monitor behavior around bird feeders and switch to squirrel-resistant ones when necessary.
  • Provide variety in the diet by adding shelled versions of nuts such as walnuts, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, and beechnuts.
  • Avoid hazards like raw peanuts or roasted peanuts, which can cause digestive issues with prolonged consumption.
  • Foster trust between yourself and the wild creatures by offering clean water daily along with food options like fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as sunflower seeds and nut-based blends found in mesh designs specifically made for this purpose.

Finally, take social media shares into account before deciding whether or not feeding is right for you – share successes (or failures!) so others can learn too!

Offer Nuts

Offer Nuts
Give squirrels a healthy treat by offering them nuts in their shells! Harvesting and storing various nut varieties can help provide optimal nutrition for local wildlife.

While peanut butter might be the favorite of some, it’s best to limit the sugary snack as an occasional treat. Hickory nuts, walnuts, white oak acorns, and beechnuts are all excellent sources of protein that should form a significant part of any squirrel’s diet.

Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds also offer important health benefits – just make sure you give small amounts at a time so they don’t get overwhelmed!

Additionally, supplementing your offerings with tree flowers or fungi from nearby forests can ensure your furry friends have access to diverse nutrients throughout the year.

Keep an eye on their behavior as well; if they seem too comfortable around human dwellings, consider reducing the food supply until natural curiosity takes over again.

Provide Water

Provide Water
Provide your furry friends with a source of hydration by placing a shallow dish filled with fresh water about one foot off the ground.

Not only does it feel good to provide them sustenance, but also making sure that their environment is safe. Check the water quality regularly for any contamination or parasites. Ensure that safety regulations are followed when placing the bowl outside.

Place food items strategically along squirrels’ paths to keep them interested in visiting your backyard again and again.

To make sure that everyone enjoys this experience together is important – make sure there’s enough room for all visitors at once, including other birds or animals who might want some refreshment from time to time!

Control Pets

Control Pets
Controlling pets is an important step to protecting wildlife in your backyard. Monitor your pet’s behavior and make sure they are vaccinated regularly.

Additionally, discourage feeding squirrels from humans – it can become habit-forming for the animal if done too often. Nichole Bjornlie of the Humane Society advises that it’s best to let nature take its course while enjoying a little human interaction.

For all you squirrel lovers out there who want some furry backyard critters, give them proper food like nuts with shells still intact or bird seed.

So keep our four-legged friends safe by controlling pets around wildlife areas to ensure their well-being while also helping us appreciate their presence more fully in our lives.

Plant Sunflowers

Plant Sunflowers
Consider planting sunflowers in your backyard – they can attract nearly 80% of the local squirrel population, providing an enjoyable outdoor experience while also keeping them away from gardens and bird feeders.

Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein and many other essential nutrients for squirrels, making them an ideal food choice.

You can observe their habits to strategically place these feeds around your yard or incorporate a pear tree to give them even more nutrition.

Not only do sunflowers help keep eastern gray squirrels fed, but you may be able to spot other species such as foxes too! Planting flowers not only helps our environment by providing extra sustenance for our wildlife friends, but it’ll also bring plenty of joy into anyone’s life who loves animals!

Learn About Squirrels’ Habits

Learn About Squirrels
Learning about squirrels’ habits can help you create a more beneficial environment for them in your backyard. Monitoring their activity, tracking patterns of behavior, and identifying potential sources of danger are all important steps to take when interacting with urban tree squirrels.

Creatures of habit, these small mammals rely heavily on natural sources for food and shelter. They will usually stick to the same variety of trees if available. By discovering where they tend to nest or feed during certain times throughout the day or year, you can better plan out how best to provide sustenance without disrupting their habitat too much.

Nuts still in shells like walnuts or white oak acorns make great snacks, as do sunflower seeds. Both provide protein plus other essential nutrients! Additionally, offering water dishes near areas frequented by squirrels is also key.

By understanding what it takes (and not taking) to keep your local wildlife safe and healthy while coexisting peacefully together in harmony, everyone wins!

What Are Squirrels’ Favorite Foods?

What Are Squirrels
Now that you know about squirrels’ habits, it’s time to look at what they love to eat! Squirrels are omnivores, and their diet consists of nuts, seeds, tree flowers, and buds, mushrooms, and fungi.

Their favorite treats include peanuts (in small amounts or as part of a varied diet), peanut butter, pecans, pistachios, grapes, corn, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, strawberries, carrots, apples, sunflower seeds, snacks like Oreo cookies – even suet-cake bins for the winter months!

In addition to these delicious items, you can also offer bird seed such as black oil sunflower seeds, which will please your furry friends just as much! However, avoid feeding them raw peanuts, roasted peanuts, bread, human junk food, niger/nyjer, or anything else that may be unhealthy for them.

You need not worry about finding the best squirrel-proof bird feeders; simply place food items in areas away from your garden plants but close enough so they can easily access it when needed. This is key for successful squirrel coexistence with humans – we must understand their needs to provide adequate care without disrupting natural habitats too much.

Is It Safe and Legal to Feed Squirrels?
It’s important to be aware of the safety and legality implications before you decide to provide food for squirrels in your outdoor space. Squirrel-friendly items such as walnuts, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, beechnuts, and pumpkin seeds are best.

Ensure good access to water by placing a shallow dish about a foot off the ground.

Control pets with containment measures or keep cats inside. This will protect both animals from harm.

Be mindful of local regulations that may prevent intentional feeding around certain areas like parks or gardens where pests can become an issue due to animal-based material left behind after eating sessions have finished up!

Consider health risks associated with contact between humans and wild animals – use gloves when handling feeders filled with nuts and other supplies if necessary!

Understanding what type of foods squirrels enjoy most, along with these tips, will help create successful coexistence between humans and wildlife while avoiding legal issues related to improper feeding practices.

Follow appropriate guidelines regarding safe food sources as well as proper disposal methods for any uneaten materials so everyone involved remains healthy during their interactions – human included!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best way to attract squirrels to the designated feeding space?

Attract squirrels to their designated feeding space by providing nuts with shells, corncobs, apples, and other unprocessed foods. Offer water in a shallow dish for them and plant sunflowers nearby to draw them in.

Is it okay to feed squirrels bird seed?

Bird seed can be a nutritious snack for squirrels, but it’s best to offer them nut-based blends and black oil sunflower seeds.

What precautions should I take when feeding squirrels?

Take precautions when feeding squirrels, such as controlling pets and providing water. Offer nuts in shells for dental health, fruits and vegetables for entertainment, as well as birdseed in designated feeders.

Plant sunflowers to attract them away from cultivated plants. Observe their habits to strategically place food along their paths.

How often should squirrels be fed?

Feed squirrels in your backyard 2-3 times per week with natural food sources such as nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Is there anything else I can do to prevent squirrels from entering my garden?

Protect your garden by installing barriers such as fences or raised beds. Trim overhanging branches to reduce access and make sure garbage cans have secure lids. Plant shrubs with prickly leaves, like holly or rose bushes, that act as a natural deterrent for squirrels.


Feeding squirrels in your backyard is a great way to observe their natural behavior and help them thrive in the wild. But it’s important to do it responsibly. Make sure to follow local laws and regulations, and stick to a diet of natural foods like nuts, fruits, and veggies.

Pay attention to their habits and needs, and you’ll be able to coexist peacefully with these amazing animals.

Plus, you’ll get the added bonus of watching them interact with each other. So, what are you waiting for? Take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature and share your backyard with these fascinating creatures.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.