A Homeowner’s Guide to Enjoying Backyard Squirrels

October may be squirrel awareness month, but far too often the homeowner is only made aware of the havoc these bushy-tailed rodents cause when they find access into an attic. Did you know learning how to cohabitate with your backyard squirrels lets you enjoy their antics peacefully? Just a few gardening tasks protect vegetable and ornamental plants. One simple step lets you keep your trees’ bark intact. Follow simple advice for preventing a population explosion in your backyard, and you are well on your way to enjoying backyard squirrels.

Tree Wrap Prevents Bark Stripping

Experts from the University of Wisconsin know that occasionally some squirrels will exercise their incisors by gnawing the bark off trees. Avoid this problem by protecting affected tree trunks with metal sheeting wrap. (If you have been neglecting your squirrel feeding duties, take a hint.)

Wooden Nest Boxes Offer a Habitat Solution

Keep squirrels out of the attic by offering attractive nest boxes made of untreated wood. Boxes made of metal are another option. Plastic or plywood boxes are not worth the cost; the material cannot withstand squirrel teeth.

Natural Food Sources Prevent Yard Overpopulation

One or two squirrels are cute; a group of five becomes a nuisance. If there are easy food sources available — from your backyard birdfeeder to the corncob holder — you most likely end up with too many squirrels. The University of Florida knows how to get out of this Catch 22: plant native squirrel-friendly vegetation. If you can find a space for “oaks, hickories, sugarberry or hackberry and pecans” in your backyard, the squirrels will thank you.

“Scare Squirrels” Prevent the Rodents from Snacking in the Veggie Garden

Put dog fur around the stalks of your tomato plants, the food and nutrition specialist from the North Dakota State University’s advice. If you have not yet built a good relationship with a local groomer, try pieces of cloth dipped in vinegar. Staple these cloth strips to stakes that you place in the garden. The movement may scare off the squirrels.

Wire Mesh Keeps Squirrels and Bulbs Apart

If it is the bulbs you planted that the squirrels are after, a simple layer of wire mesh is sufficient to keep flora and fauna apart, PETA explains. Just be sure that the mesh is big enough for the growing plants to come through. (And do plant non-food flora, please.)

Eastern Gray Squirrels are Great Swimmers

There is no need to give up on the backyard pool or koi pond when trying to lure some Eastern gray squirrels to take up residence near your home. Educators from the Fairfax County Public Schools explain that Sciurus carolinensis, which is what the biologists call this type of squirrel, is a natural swimming talent.

Leave Endangered Squirrels Alone!

You may have decided that cohabitating with the squirrels in the neighborhood is just not your cup of tea. Be careful before you try to trap or hunt the furry rodents. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service identifies several species as being endangered or currently under review for this designation.


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