September 29, 2023

How to Attract or Deter Backyard Squirrels

squirrelTo each their own as they say. That’s certainly true when it comes to our feelings about squirrels in our backyards.

To some, squirrels can be a menace and you just wish you could  permanently evict them from the premises! It can be maddening when they eat all of the birdseed that you have so lovingly laid out for your bird friends. If you don’t want them, or would at the very least do everything you can to deter them, this article is for you.

To others, you may love their antics and the sheer entertainment they provide. If you don’t mind the furry little critters and would like to offer them some treats; this article will give you the best tips for attracting them.

Either way, here are some tips and facts about squirrels that will help you.

  • 3-4 babies are born in each litter.
  • Squirrels can eat their weight in seed during one week.
  • Because they wear them down eating and gnawing, squirrels front teeth grow 6 inches per year.
  • Squirrels can run as fast as 20 mph.
  • Squirrels are most active the first two hours after sunrise during mild weather and in winter around noon.

Combating Squirrels is war.  Although there is no way to actually keep them out of your yard.  You can however, wage war and take proactive steps in trying to deter them.  We will first take a look at some things to do if you do not want these furry little creatures frolicking around your yard and eating up all of your bird treats.

Then, if you truly love these furry friends, and find joy and entertainment with them during these dull winter days,we will give you the tools you need to attract them for hours of fun.

squirrels_nuts_1525860_l. midsizeSquirrel Proof your yard. Squirrels NOT welcome.

Get any group of bird feeding enthusiasts together and squirrel stories will soon come up!  If you want to keep squirrels from your feeder, most will agree it’s a challenge.  However, through a littel attention to feeder placement and the proper use of “Baffles”, you can minimize squirrel usage and enjoy the feeder of your choice.  If that’s not enough, there are several “squirrel proof” feeders on the marketing.

Here are some of the best ways to keep the squirrels away from your feeders by squirrel proofing your backyard.

Sprinkling Cayenne pepper on your suet cakes will keep the squirrels and raccoons at bay. With just one bite, these little rascals will be running for a drink of water. Don’t worry though, as birds do not taste or smell the way mammals do, this pepper will not bother them a bit.

One way you can  hang a bird feeder to that it will not be disturbed by squirrels, is to string around six empty bottles to each side. You can then punch a hole in the  bottom, feed some wire through the hole and then through the bottles open top. When the squirrels try to run over these bottles, they will spin around and knock them off.

You could also enclose chicken wire around the feeder, this will enable the birds to still reach the food which the squirrels can not.

If hanging your feeder from a branch, protect it by using a baffle above the feeder.  Make sure the baffle is is at least 1/3 larger in circumference that the feeder. Our recommended baffles for hanging feeders are Super Dome Baffle, Hanging Squirrel Deflector Baffle, and Mandarin Hanging Baffle.

If using a pole, use a baffle below the feeder and mounted to the pole to make access difficult.  We recommend the Torpedo Squirrel Baffle.

Use what you know.  Squirrels can jump up as high as 6 feet straight off the ground and across (horizontally), at least 8 feet.  Place your feeders at least 8 feet from any jumping off point and at least 6  feet off the ground. If you are using a baffle below the feeder, place it 4.5 ft off the ground.

If you want to place the feeder someplace where you can’t apply these rules, try using a good squirrel proof feeder.  There are several on the market and they are not created equally.  We recommend the Squirrel Buster Classic Bird Feeder, the Squirrel Buster Plus Bird Feeder, and my personal favorite, (very fun to watch) the Twirl a Squirrel Feeder.

Last but not least, if you can’t beat em, join em.  Squirrels are more likely to stay off of your bird feeders if they have something better to do.  Try putting up a squirrel feeder at the furthest point away from your bird feeders.  A couple we like are Squirrel Diner and the Recycled Squirrel Feeder.

Here’s a video for help on how to combat squirrels.


Attracting Squirrels

Now, for those of you who love the furry little critters and want to attract them, we have some ways to add a little humor and some comic relief to your life by attracting the furry tailed comics.

There are over 365 species of squirrels in seven families.  They include the tree squirrel, ground squirrel, and flying squirrel, plus many squirrel-like mammals such as gopher, ground hog, and prairie dog.  It is the largest group of living mammals on Earth.

Across the United States, the squirrels that most often frequent backyards include: gray, brown, fox, and red squirrels.

An adult squirrel normally lives alone.  But will, in severy cold, share its nest with other squirrels to conserve body heat.  One the temperature rises, the guest will be on their way.

In the summer, squirrels are most active two to three hours after sunrise, and then they rest in teh afternoon, resuming activity again two hours before sunset.  A squirrel will retire to its nest well before dark and rarely leave the nest in the dark.  In the winter, a squirrel will complete activities between dawn and midday, and remain around the next until the next day.

Squirrels are most active in late winter when mating season begins.  Males will chase females and chase off other suitors.  Tjhis rutual of chasing occurs through the trees at top speed, while performing some of the most breathtaking acrobatics imaginable.  Providing feeders for squirrels allows you to witness these acrobatics in your own backyard.

The best way to do it is to use squirrel feeders that attract the squirrels and at the same time keep them off of your bird feeders.  You can best accomplish that by offering foods that squirrels love and making it fun for them (and you to watch).

Sunflower seeds, ears of corn, and peanuts are a favorites of squirrels. There is also commercial squirrel feed you can buy at any feed store.  Feeding your birds other seeds such as safflower,and Nyjer, will make the squirrels less interested in stealing the bird food and more focused on getting what they want.

Making it fun is the easy part.  There are so many feeders that offer irresistible interest to the little furry tailed critters.   A cute and functional squirrel feeder such as the Adirondack Squirrel Chair will do the job and look cute in your backyard.  However, for more fun try something like the Twirl a Cobs feeder or the Squirrel A Whirl Feeder.  The Teeter Totter Corn Feeder and my personal favorite (I have several of these) the Squngee Feeder which is the equivalent of bungee jumping for squirrels.  It’s got a bell you’ll hear ringing when the squirrel jumps on so you wont miss and thing and you just won’t be able to resist the humor of this one!

Lastly, providing a place for nesting will allow you to attract squirrels and watch as they raise their litter.  If you live somewhere where tree cavities are not available this is especially important.  You can either build one yourself or find a good quality one at a feed store.  We use and recommend the Squirrel Condo.

Here is a short video on attracting squirrels for entertainment.

Whether you love em or hate em, we hope you’ve learned a little and found what you need to make your life a little easier.

Happy Squirreling!

P.S. You can find more squirrel feeders in the store in the squirrel department.

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