“I gave away two dogs years ago because I felt guilty at not being able to give them the time and attention they deserved. I now regularly feed an army of squirrels and wild birds around our house.”

Mike Farrell, Actor

Pros and Cons of Feeding Squirrels

advantages and disadvantages of squirrel feeding

You always wanted to know whether it is ok to feed squirrels or not?

Great! This article is exactly for you!

In fact, I show you all the pros and cons of feeding squirrels in the following chapters so that you can get a better impression regarding how you want to proceed with this question in the future.

Advantages of Feeding Squirrels

  1. You will attract more squirrels if you feed one of them
  2. Squirrels are cute and nice to watch
  3. Squirrels don’t need that much food
  4. You will not have any responsibility
  5. You can help them survive in heavy winters
  6. Feeding squirrels can be fun
  7. Especially nice in case you have children
  8. Squirrels can be almost like pets
  9. You can provide a natural habitat for them in your yard
  10. You learn about natural processes
  11. You can get an awesome squirrel feeder
  12. Your children may spend more time in your garden
  13. Kids may want to come over to see the cute squirrels

You will attract more squirrels if you feed one of them

One advantage of feeding squirrels is that you will attract more of them over time.

If you have a big garden and don’t have any pets, it may just feel pretty empty and lonely in there.

Prepare the soil!

However, if you feed squirrels, you will have some guests who will also come back to your home sooner or later and the more squirrels you attract, the higher the chances that you wake up in the morning and have company right from the beginning of your day.

Hence, feeding squirrels can be great for lonely people who barely have any friends or relatives left and are looking for a purpose in life.

Of course, this is not only true for this group of people. Also if you are in your prime years, it can be great to experience the encounter with squirrels since they can just make your day much better and interesting.

Squirrels are cute and nice to watch

Many people also really like our little friends due to their cute appearance and their innocent looks.

While not many people want to feed ravens since they look kind of creepy, squirrels are quite on the top of the popularity list.

Consequently, not only you will profit from feeding squirrels.

Chances are that also your family and friends will be really happy to see them and will often ask you to come over to your home.

Squirrels don’t need that much food

Another benefit of feeding squirrels is that they simply don’t need that much food.

Compared to feeding other animals or having your own pets like dogs or cats, squirrels don’t need much and are often happy if you only give them a few nuts a day.

This also means that your costs will be rather low compared to having bigger pets which you have to feed quite a lot.

Thus, while you can still have animals around you, you will still have more money to spend on other things.

You will not have any responsibility

Compared to owning a pet, you will also not have the same level of responsibility for your little friends.

Sure, you will feed them and make sure that they feel as good as possible in your garden.

However, you will not be legally responsible for squirrels that might come over to your home and if you forget to feed them, they will just get their food from other people.

You also don’t need a squirrel sitter if you want to go on vacation.

All those things make you much more independent compared to owning your own pet and squirrel feeding can therefore be great for people who want to have animals around but don’t want to care for them on a regular basis.

You can help them survive in heavy winters

Squirrels will be quite thankful if you feed them, especially during heavy winters when they barely find any food at all.

Some squirrels may even die if you don’t feed them during those times, especially those who haven’t managed to prepare themselves properly by storing nuts and other foods in secret spots.

Hence, you can literally be the hero for those squirrels and chances are that they will be really grateful for what you are doing for them, even though they might not tell you this directly 😉.

Feeding squirrels can be fun

It can also just be quite a lot of fun to have squirrels around you in your garden.

Those little friends are full of energy and will always do something unexpected.

Over time, they will also lose their fear of you and will come pretty close to your porch.

This can be quite interesting since you will never exactly know what happens if you have squirrels around you and it can make your day just much more interesting and exciting.

Especially nice in case you have children

While having squirrels in your garden can be pretty nice and exciting for yourself, it is especially nice for your kids.

In fact, kids love playing around with squirrels in your garden and often can’t wait to see those cute friends again.

You can also teach your kids about nature and why it is important to protect it as best as possible.

Squirrels can be almost like pets

For many people, squirrels are more than just wild animals.

Some people build a real connection with their cute friends and since they often come back to your yard if you feed them, squirrels are almost like pets for some people, even though they might disappear for a while and come back a few days or weeks in the future.

Hence, if you don’t have pets right now, feeding squirrels can be a good substitute for you and can also give you an impression of what having a pet looks like.

Sure, it is not the same. Yet, you can still learn from these experiences and can also better evaluate whether you want to have other pets in the future.

You can provide a natural habitat for them in your yard

Another upside to feeding squirrels is that you can provide a natural habitat in your garden for them.

This is not only good for squirrels, but you can also give many other animals and plants a home if you design your garden in a natural manner.

This means letting it grow instead of just removing all weeds so that you can provide a natural biotope in your yard and attract local wildlife.

You learn about natural processes

In general, you will also be able to learn a lot about nature if you feed squirrels.

You will soon realize how to attract them and how they behave.

You will also begin to understand what motivates them to come back to you and what to do to make them stick around in your garden for longer.

This can also give you a stronger connection to nature and chances are that you will also behave eco-friendlier in your life in general since you become more aware of how important it is to protect our environment to provide enough natural habitats for squirrels and other animals.

You can get an awesome squirrel feeder

If you decide for feeding squirrels, you can also install an awesome squirrel feeder.

In fact, squirrel feeders come in various different shapes and colors and there are many awesome different squirrel feeders out there.

I have even seen one that had the shape of a horse head and this can just be great to have in your garden.

You can also just make your own squirrel feeder if you want to have a unique one in your yard and preparing these squirrel feeders can turn into a nice hobby as well.

Your children may spend more time in your garden

Since you will have those cute friends in your garden, your kids will also be more likely to spend more time in your yard and also get more fresh air compared to a state where they just sit inside your home and play video games or watch TV.

In turn, chances are that they will also grow up healthier and get more exercise than most other kids.

Kids may want to come over to see the cute squirrels

Not only your own kids can benefit from your squirrel feeding, but also the kids from your neighborhood may want to come over and see those squirrels jumping around in your yard.

This gives your children plenty of opportunities to make new friends and to socialize with other kids in your neighborhood.

While there are indeed many advantages of squirrel feeding, there are still also many downsides related to it that I will show you in the following chapters.

Disadvantages of Feeding Squirrels

  1. Squirrels may become dependent on you
  2. You have to invest some money
  3. You may attract rats and other unwanted guests
  4. Feeding squirrels cannot be considered natural
  5. Squirrels may even bite you
  6. Transmission of diseases or fleas
  7. Feeding squirrels can lead to ecological imbalance
  8. Squirrels may mess up your garden
  9. Your squirrels may get hit by cars
  10. Many people don’t use proper feed for squirrels
  11. Some things may break since squirrels jump around all day long
  12. Squirrels may wake you up in the morning
  13. You don’t have control regarding whether your squirrel will come back or not
  14. Squirrels may enter your home
  15. Problems with your neighbors
  16. Feeding squirrels may be prohibited by law

Squirrels may become dependent on you

One problem with feeding squirrels is that they will simply become dependent on you.

Animals are smart and once they see that you feed them, they will likely come back for a quite long time and will expect that you feed them.

This also means that squirrels and other animals you feed can get into serious trouble one day when you quit feeding them and they may no longer be able to survive since they just lost their natural instincts and their knowledge regarding how to find food without needing humans for it.

You have to invest some money

While squirrels don’t need that much food, it can become a problem if you attract too many of them since your expenses for squirrel feed can add up to substantial amounts of money.

Moreover, you also not only have to buy food for them.

You might also need a squirrel feeder which costs additional money and if you are on a budget right now and need every dollar, squirrel feeding may also not be for you.

You may attract rats and other unwanted guests

Another downside to feeding squirrels is that you might also attract some other unwanted guests.

In fact, animals are smart and as soon as animals see that there is food in your garden, they will often not care that you intended to feed squirrels with it.

In fact, by feeding squirrels, you will automatically also attract rats, martens and other unwanted guests to your home and it can be hard to get rid of them once you gave them the feeling that there is food waiting for them in your yard.

Feeding squirrels cannot be considered natural

Squirrels are also still wild animals and feeding them cannot be considered natural at all.

Sure, they may look cute and not giving them food may seem like the wrong way to go.

However, you interfere with natural processes every time you provide food to your little friends and this may lead to a state where squirrels will act in a quite unnatural manner.

Squirrels may even bite you

If you are not careful, squirrels may even bite you.

This is especially true if you want to feed them right by hand instead of using a squirrel feeder.

If they have a bad day and are aggressive, they will often bite you in your finger.

Of course, this could also happen by accident. Nevertheless, you also have to expect some minor injuries from squirrel feeding sooner or later.

Transmission of diseases or fleas

While most squirrels may be healthy, some of them can also carry serious diseases like rabies.

Moreover, many squirrels also carry fleas and other unwanted microorganisms with them and you may get infected with those unpleasant things if you are not careful during your squirrel feeding activities.

Feeding squirrels can lead to ecological imbalance

Another disadvantage of feeding squirrels is that you will simply interfere with natural processes and this can lead to significant ecological imbalance and may also affect the whole food chain.

If you feed squirrels, chances are that they will increase in population since more food also means a competitive advantage in the natural competition.

In turn, this can lead to a state where there is an excessive number of squirrels around and animals that are eaten by squirrels may significantly decrease in population.

In the long run, this can lead to a state in which some species may become endangered or even extinct and whole ecosystems may get out of balance, with unpredictable effects on nature in general.

Squirrels may mess up your garden

Many people also underestimate how messy squirrels really are.

While they are cute to watch, they often also mess up your garden and do some weird things and they will generally not care about the appearance of your garden at all.

Hence, you might just wake up one day and may find your yard looking quite poorly since squirrels may just have dug many holes to hide and store nuts and other food for bad times in the ground.

Your squirrels may get hit by cars

You should also not build a too strong connection to squirrels due to the fact that they may also get hit by cars or will not come back to you due to various other reasons.

In fact, it will be time to say goodbye sooner or later and if you build a strong connection with your little friends, this can be quite hard.

Thus, feeding squirrels may also not be the right thing to do for you if you have emotional problems with letting them go when the time has come.

Many people don’t use proper feed for squirrels

Another problem with squirrel feeding is that many people also just don’t know what squirrels eat in nature and how to feed them properly.

This leads to a state where people try to get rid of food waste of several different types and squirrels may have a hard time digesting those things.

In turn, the chances that these squirrels get sick sooner or later increase significantly and you should really make sure that you only feed them with things that also wild squirrels eat.

Hence, make sure to inform yourself about the diet of squirrels if you really come to the conclusion that feeding squirrels is a good idea.

Some things may break since squirrels jump around all day long

Squirrels will also not care about your belongings that much.

They will jump around in your garden and even on your table and chances are that they will also break things sooner or later.

Thus, also make sure that you take these risks into account and that you may have to buy new stuff sooner or later for your garden.

Squirrels may wake you up in the morning

Squirrels usually also don’t sleep as long as humans.

This means that they will get up pretty early in the morning or even wake you up in the middle of the night by jumping around on your porch.

In turn, you may not get that good sleep and this can also greatly negatively affect your overall quality of life.

You don’t have control regarding whether your squirrel will come back or not

You will also never know how loyal your squirrels are.

Your neighbor may just offer better food than you or provide a better overall habitat for squirrels.

In the long run, chances are that your squirrels will be gone in such a case and it can also be hard to tell your children that their loved squirrels will likely be gone.

Squirrels may enter your home

Many people don’t know it, but squirrels not only populate the garden.

In fact, they often feel pretty comfortable in the attic and if you are not careful, you will just have many squirrels inside your four walls which can greatly damage your home.

Hence, if you feed squirrels, at least make sure that they stay outdoors and that you close your doors properly so that they will not be able to enter your home.

Problems with your neighbors

Even though you might love squirrels, your neighbors may have a different attitude and may not like them at all.

However, if you feed squirrels, chances are that they will also enter the yard of your neighbors and your neighbors may get really angry in case there are too many squirrels around due to your feeding activities.

Feeding squirrels may be prohibited by law

In some states, feeding squirrels may even be prohibited by law.

While it is allowed in most states, you should still check out the local rules and regulations in your area to make sure that you comply with the law so that you don’t get into trouble in the long run.

Top 10 Squirrel Feeding Pros & Cons – Summary List

Squirrel Feeding ProsSquirrel Feeding Cons
You can attract cute squirrels to your yardFeeding squirrels can create dependencies
Feeding squirrels can be helpful in winterSquirrels can transmit diseases
Squirrels can be entertainingSquirrels are messy
You can learn more about natureYou interfere with natural processes
Your kids may spend more time outsideSquirrels may bite you
Squirrels don’t need that much foodTime to say goodbye sooner or later
Squirrels can be substitutes for petsYour neighbors may not be happy at all
You can get a nice squirrel feederSquirrel feeding may be prohibited by law
Can give you motivation to get upSquirrels can mess up your garden
Squirrels will often surprise youSquirrels are not loyal

Should You Feed A Squirrel?

Now that you got all the pros and cons of squirrel feeding, it is time to take some time and to evaluate all the arguments yourself so that you can make a profound decision whether you still want to feed squirrels at home or not.

If you come to the conclusion that feeding squirrels is a good idea, at least make sure that you feed them in the most natural manner and that you also don’t feed them too much to avoid any dependencies that may backfire in the long run.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squirrel

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/squirrels/

https://www.livescience.com/28182-squirrels.html

About the Author

My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.

In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.

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