Squirrels can spread tree seeds and provide endless entertainment with their antics. If you want to bring more squirrels into your yard, the most important thing to provide is a constant source of food. Squirrels enjoy areas that are heavily wooded with trees, shrubs, and other plants. Keep in mind that squirrels tend to hide. If you want to bring squirrels out of their hiding places, you can use a squirrel call to let them know that it is safe.
- Fill a squirrel feeder with corn, sunflower seeds, and nuts. You can use either a feeder specifically made for squirrels or a bird feeder. To fill the feeder, take the top off of the feeder and fill the container up to the top. You can buy feeders at garden or hardware stores. You can sometimes find squirrel food mixes at pet stores or outdoor stores.
- The food will automatically dispense as squirrels eat it.
- Do not buy a “squirrel-proof” bird feeder. These feeders are designed to prevent squirrels from eating from them.
- Refill the feeders once a week or when they are empty.
- Scatter corn, nuts, or seeds at the bottom of trees. If you don’t have a feeder, you can still attract squirrels by scattering food that they enjoy at the base of trees and shrubs. This may encourage squirrels to nest in your yard.
- Place corn cobs and nut balls up in trees. Stick these on high branches or near hollows where squirrels may like to nest. This will bring squirrels into your trees. You can buy corn cobs and nut balls at pet stores and garden supply stores.
- Put out bowls and fountains to provide water. Water is just as important as food to squirrels. Make sure that the squirrels have a clean source of water somewhere in your yard. Natural sources of water are ideal, but you can also put out basins of water.
- A bowl, basin, or bird bath is a cheap and easy way to give water, but you must change the water everyday.
- Fountains will provide a constant stream of fresh, running water. They may be more difficult and expensive to install, however.
Creating a Squirrel-Friendly Yard
- Plant trees near feeding areas. Squirrels use trees to travel safely between areas. The more trees you have, the more likely you are to attract squirrels. Furthermore, squirrels will nest in trees, which means that you may have squirrels for generations to come. Visit a local nursery or tree farm to find already grown trees.
- Choose trees that are suited to your climate. Squirrels especially like trees that produce nuts and develop hollows for them to nest in. Good trees include willows, aspens, spruces, and pine trees.
- Plant shrubs and other ground cover. In addition to trees, squirrels like having shrubs and bushes to hide in if they get scared. Shrubs that produce nuts or berries are especially attractive. This may be an easier and cheaper option than planting trees.
- Some good bushes and shrubs for squirrels include hazelnut plants, hedgerows, and any berry bush, including mulberry, elderberry, blueberry, and raspberry.
- Allow dying trees to remain on your property. If you have a tree that is dying or already dead, let it naturally decay on your land. Squirrels like nesting and hiding food in dead trees. Just make sure that the tree is not in danger of falling on people or buildings.
- If you’re worried about whether keeping a dead tree is safe or not, contact an arborist in your area. They can evaluate the tree for you.
- Install nesting boxes on trees and fences. Nesting boxes give squirrels a place to live and store their nuts. You can get special nesting boxes for squirrels online. You can also use bird nesting boxes or houses. Mount the box to a tree, fence, or pole. Alternatively, you can hang boxes from branches.
- To entice squirrels to use the nesting boxes, you can place nuts or sunflower seeds inside. Just remember that you might attract birds and other rodents instead.
- Keep pets inside as much as possible. Dogs and cats can frighten or even hunt squirrels. Try to keep pets out of any areas where you want squirrels. If you have animals that go out into your yard often, try to section off an area just for the squirrels.
- Outdoor cats can kill large numbers of squirrels and other wildlife. Consider keeping your cat inside to keep the wildlife safe outside.
- If you have a large yard, try fencing off part of it for your dogs. Make sure the dogs can’t get into the area where you want to attract squirrels.
Using Squirrel Calls
- Buy a squirrel call at a hunting store or outdoor store. Squirrel calls will typically have a wooden or metal end and a rubber end. Most squirrel calls will fit into the palm of your hand. They may cost between $10 and $30 USD.
- Face slightly away from where you think the squirrels are hiding. Look towards trees, bushes, shrubs, and other woody plants. These are popular places for squirrels to hide. Stand facing slightly away from that direction to avoid scaring the squirrels off.
- Tap the squirrel call against your side with 1 hand. Hold the call by the wooden end and tap the rubber end against your side. You can also tap the rubber end against the palm of your other hand. Each tap will make a squirrel noise. Tap it repeatedly to make a series of noises.
- Squirrels usually make a series of noises that start off loud and fast and become quieter towards the end. You can use the squirrel call to make a similar noise.
- Squirrel calls will not bring squirrels out to you, but they can make squirrels come out of their hiding places. The squirrels may think it is safe to come out if they hear another squirrel.
- Rub 2 bolts together to make your own squirrel call. Hold the bolts by the top or head. Rub the threads (or the grooved ends) together. This will make a sound like a squirrel eating a nut. Other squirrels may hear it and think that there is food nearby.
- You can also roll 2 coins together for a similar effect.
- Squirrels can carry diseases like Hanta virus. Never handle wild squirrels with your bare hands.
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