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Squirrels are often considered as herbivores, home and property owners believing that they simply eat berries, nuts, seeds, and other types of plant matter. This is simply not the case, however; many squirrels are very easily tempted by a tasty meat-based dish, and you'd be amazed by how many meat products these critters are known to eat. It might make you think twice about throwing certain leftovers into unsecured trash cans in the back yard, that's for sure.
We all know that squirrels like to eat nuts, seeds, berries, fruits, vegetables, and other leaf or plant forms, but what many of us aren't aware of us is that these creatures will happily prey on small insects, especially at times when other non-meat based foods are rare or difficult to come by.
The tastes of squirrels have grown, it would seem, and as well as fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods that have been thrown out into trash cans and bags, meats such as cat or dog food, sandwich meats, leftover dinners (roasts, curries, stews, etc.), and a whole host more are all being preyed on by rogue squirrels. Their little palettes have adapted over the years, and as well as learning that humans mean food, they've also learned that humans mean a tasty smorgasbord of various tasty delights. That's why they've started following us — encroaching on our territories. They know that it will only be a matter of time before some household or another throws a garbage bag outside the back door, thinking it will be safe with a fence around the back yard. Squirrels aren't easily kept out with a fence, sadly, although installing a fence around the perimeter of your property will go some way to protecting you against wild critter and pest animal attacks.
Cat and dog food isn't safe either, just in case you were wondering. Squirrels have been recorded on camera phones taking morsels of food away from cats and dogs, literally from right under their noses in some cases. These squirrels have no fear for humans these days, and they aren't all that worried about household pets either. A few years ago, that situation would have been very different.
The behavior of all wild animals seems to be changing, especially the more we cut down and destroy their original, wild spaces. Deforestation and other forms of human activity is quite literally tearing down the outdoorsy and wild spaces that animals just like squirrels would once have lived in quite happily. That's why they are coming closer to use. We're taking away their potential nesting spots, so they need to find new ones. We're talking away their potential feeding spots too, so they need to find new ones of those too. Your home usually presents both in abundance — plenty of food to devour, alongside a plethora of hiding spaces to call a nesting or den site. Essentially, many back yards and even homes (or commercial properties) in your local area are working as five star hotels for some of these wild species, especially if they are not being inspected and maintained as regularly or as thoroughly as they should be.
Paying attention to and understanding what a squirrel eats will go a very long way to learning how to get rid of them By removing all sources of food that the squirrel would have preyed upon, you can encourage the pest to go elsewhere. By continuing with this food avoidance tactic, the squirrel will have absolutely no reason to hang out in your back yard. They'll want to be close to their source of food, and if that source of food isn't in your home … Well, neither will the squirrel be.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does squirrel removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of squirrels - my main squirrel removal info guide.
Example squirrel trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Squirrel job blog - learn from great examples of squirrel jobs I've done.
Squirrels in the attic - what to do to solve the problem.