Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Ok, a question for you: "Are squirrels good things or bad things?"

Grey squirrel eating from the bird-feeder

I spotted this one eating sunflower seeds from one of my bird-feeders, and I thought to myself: should I be dissuading it or not? The bird-feeder is primarily for feeding birds, but is there any real justification for saying that it shouldn't also be used by other wild creatures, like squirrels for instance? What do you think?

In favour of squirrels:-
1. They look cute and endearing (though we are led to believe that they may be riddled with fleas and such-like)
2. They are pretty clever -- they soon work out how to steal food even if you don't want them to. Anyway, how would they know what food is intended just for the birds and what is not??
3. They depend on the environment for their food, just as birds (and we humans) do. As humans, we have an impact on the environment, such as reducing natural habitat for wild animals. Do we not therefore have a moral obligation to help wild animals to survive?

Against squirrels:-
1. They have voracious appetites, and eat a lot more than birds do. If we undertook to support them in the way we feed birds, we would soon be seriously out-of-pocket. A squirrel can empty one of those bird-feeders in about two days!
2. I don't like they way they dig holes in which they hide food for winter use. OK, I know they probably NEED to do this in order to survive, but I would rather they did it somewhere other than in my garden -- although I must say it is less of an issue since I removed the grass and replaced it with shingle!
3. Squirrels allegedly damage trees by eating fruits, buds, nuts, cones etc - even tree bark I think. Well, I have never seen them going for any of my fruit (although there is in any case precious little of that), and we have plenty of very big pine trees very close by, so the squirrels have loads of pine-cones to eat.

Do you have any views on this subject? If you do, please write a Comment...


  1. Mark - I had a squirrels that were eating me out of house and home. I did but up some feed corn on the cob for them but they insisted on the bird seed. A generous dusting of cayenne in the seed discouraged them and pointed them back to the corn.

  2. I have had squirrels chew larger holes in my plastic feeders so I think it would be better to discourage them as well.

  3. Becky, I used to have a couple of bird-feeders which were made of metal wire with plastic fittings. I filled them with peanuts. The squirrels bit through the plastic pieces quite easily, and tipped out all the nuts. Since then I have moved on to metal-only bird-feeders.

  4. I think humans hate squirrels because they are clever and opportunistic, traits we share.


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