When people think of squirrels diets, one of the first foods that typically come to mind is nuts. Squirrels traditionally eat nuts, seeds, fruits, small insects, and are often curious about new foods they come across. Pecans are generally near the top of the list of nuts squirrels like to eat. Knowing this, it can be difficult to prevent them from eating your pecans.
If you do not want squirrels eating your pecans, finding them an alternative is the next best thing. No matter what you do, placing a bird feeder outside will attract more than just birds. Squirrels, chipmunks, and even bears have been known to frequent outdoor bird feeders. Preventing wild little critters from coming around is tough. Fortunately, there are several nuts squirrels love aside from pecans.
Alternative Nuts for Squirrels
The top three nuts squirrels cannot get enough of are acorns, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Each of these options offers excellent health benefits for squirrels. These nuts are also a normal part of their traditional diet.
As they move from tree-to-tree or scamper across fields, they tend to use a lot of energy. Their movements require strong muscles and bones. They also need tough teeth to eat a hearty meal of nuts, seeds, and other dried foods. Nuts that provide important vitamins and minerals are what squirrels need to stay active and healthy.
Acorns are one of the most common nuts squirrels will eat. These nuts are ripe with nutrition containing healthy amounts of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They need to consume adequate calories to replenish their energy, especially because squirrels are constantly running, jumping, and exploring.
These nuts contain vitamins A and E, along with iron, manganese, and potassium. Vitamins A and E are known to support eye health, prevent inflammation, and strengthen the immune system. Iron contributes to the body’s energy stores and helps regulate body temperature. Manganese plays a role in regulating glucose levels and supports bone health. Potassium helps the muscles contract and communicate with the rest of the body. Because squirrels love to explore and are surprisingly elusive, including enough vitamins and minerals in their diet to promote healthy muscles is a must.
Although lower in carbohydrates, walnuts are a popular choice for squirrels. They are high in protein, which is essential for strong bones and muscle mass. Protein is one of the main building blocks of your skin, hair, nails, blood, bones, and muscles. Knowing this, it’s important to include protein-rich options in anyone’s diet, from animals to humans.
Walnuts are also a great source of vitamins and minerals. They provide copper, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and manganese. Phosphorus is another mineral walnuts can provide. Phosphorus is present in your bones and helps promote strong teeth. This mineral also plays a role in growing, maintaining, and repairing tissues and cells within the body. Squirrels are fast, using lots of energy to move from tree to rooftop to the telephone line. Phosphorous is known to help the body manage and store energy as well as reduce muscle cramping and pain. Walnuts are a perfect option for highly-active squirrels.
High in healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, hazelnuts are another inviting choice for squirrels. They are rich in vitamin E, copper, and manganese and also provide thiamin and magnesium. Copper, when combined with iron, is necessary for maintaining healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and overall immune function. Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, helps the body’s cells convert carbohydrates to energy.
Magnesium is a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, steady heart rhythms, and supports strong bones. Active squirrels need balance in their diets. What better way than providing them with nuts rich in vitamins and minerals that keep them happy, strong, and energized.
What can deter a squirrel from eating what you put out?
If you just love adding pecans to your bird feeder or outdoor animal trail mixes, then squirrels are going to come around. However, if you want to keep them away here are some choices that will have them searching elsewhere.
Safflower seed, nyjer seed, and canary seeds are just some of the options that squirrels will not like. They are also not fans of canola seeds or millet. On the other hand, they tend to try anything when they are hungry. For overtly curious squirrels in your neighborhood, try adding some seasonings to the mix. Capsicum, or hot pepper, for instance, is a spice squirrels do not enjoy. It also carries an aroma that will keep them at bay. Not to worry, these seasonings are not harmful to small animals. Just remember to use non-powdered pepper forms. For example, try hot pepper seeds, hot peppercorns, course ground hot pepper, or hot pepper flakes.
Trying to prevent squirrels from coming after your outdoor treats can be complicated. Especially when they are known to be curious, hungry, or just habitually like to stop by for a visit. This is often the case for wild squirrels that live in your area. They generally venture within a certain radius of their nests, which could mean your bird feeder is where they like to have lunch. To keep them from gobbling up all your pecans, try switching up the nuts. If you don’t want them to come by too often, adding some prime seasoning could do the trick.