Should I feed squirrels for fun?

Squirrel watching has become a worldwide pastime. All over the world fans of the squirrel put out for specific food (and feeders) for the squirrels.

If you are going to feed squirrels, here are some facts to be aware of. After all, you are trying to be kind to the squirrels and don’t want to inadvertently harm them right?

When setting up your feeders:

• Go for their natural food. Seeds, hazelnuts, grains, and dry fruits are squirrel favs. The more varied the seeds and nuts the better it is for the squirrel! (Moreover, they love it).
• Adding in fresh goodies like raw apple, berries, and carrot is good for them. Squirrels need vitamins and minerals too!

• Set up a source for calcium- You can attach a piece of deer antler to a tree, or by a calcium block at the feed store, either works. The squirrels will nibble it away. Calcium is important to squirrels.

• Keep your feeders clean and dry! Squirrels can pick up diseases from your filthy feeders. Wash and then clean with a broad-spectrum disinfectant. Be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly before refilling.

• Feed your squirrels year round. People think food is scarce in the winter, but summer is actually the time of year when there is the least natural food available for squirrels.

• Be conscientious in your feeding. You may think that it is cool to have a squirrel eat out of your hand, or visit you every day, but it is not. A squirrel is a wild animal and should never be encouraged to give up its fear of man or animals. Nor should it lose the desire to forage and depend on you for its sole survival. Not everyone is as nice as you, and you will not be around to feed them forever.

• .If squirrels become dependent on your feeders, and they are not filled, they may become aggressive in seeking it out. A squirrel in search of feeder food has been known to run birds off feeders and pets off food dishes. There have also been reports of squirrels that have trashed a porch in search of food. While all this may sound like negative press for feeding your furry-tailed friends, we have solutions. You can still enjoy squirrel watching in your yard, and you can encourage them to visit in ways that are more natural. Here are some examples:

• Encourage squirrels to visit by planting native trees and shrubs that bear foods squirrels love, like nuts and berries.
• Keep a fresh water supply like a birdbath or small fountain
• Leave woody debris and deadfall around in small amounts as nesting material.
• Keep poisons, chemicals, and other hazards secured
• Discourage squirrels from riding bird feeders or pet food bowls by making them inaccessible.

Responsible squirrel watching/feeding is good for you and the squirrels!

Read the How to get rid of squirrels page for helpful information and to learn more about Should I feed squirrels for fun?

Should I feed squirrels for fun?

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