Living with squirrels

Living with squirrels

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Squirrels can be divisive little creatures. Some of us love to watch their entertaining antics in our gardens and, for a lot of people, they are the only wild mammal that can be easily viewed from the comfort of our own home. However, many of us also dislike seeing squirrels interfere with our bird feeders, and there's no denying that they can be a disruptive influence, both in terms of eating food and damaging feeders in their attempts to do so.

If you fall into the latter camp, it would be a good idea to invest in some squirrel-resistant bird feeders. A wide range of feeders have been designed to keep squirrels out, while ensuring food remains accessible to birds. 

Squirrel resistance

Squirrel Buster feeders provide the ultimate protection against these cheeky rodents. Once a squirrel climbs on to the feeder, its weight will automatically close the feeding ports, without harming the animal in any way. Provided they are hung with at least 47cm clearance all around - forcing the squirrel to actually climb on to the feeder rather than lean over from a tree branch - the squirrel has no way to access the food inside. 

Squirrels are much heavier than the birds you'll be hoping to attract to the feeder, so they will still be able to access the food with ease. Squirrel Buster feeders also prove effective at deterring larger birds such as Wood Pigeons, which are similar in weight to squirrels. 

Avoiding damage

Some people don't mind squirrels taking their share of the food they leave in the garden, but do resent the damage they can do to feeders while trying to get in. For such small animals, squirrels can do a surprising amount of damage to a feeder in a short space of time. 

The way to get around this is to invest in a feeder, such as this Jupiter model, that still allows squirrels to access food, but offers resistance against any damage they may cause. Feeders that fall into this category are marked with the symbol showing a squirrel inside a green circle on our website. You can view our full range of squirrel-resistant feeders here.

Attracting squirrels

What if you're the sort of person who enjoys seeing squirrels scamper around your garden? You can attract the creatures by investing in a squirrel feeder. These products are specifically designed to give squirrels easy access to food. This deters them from trying to take food from bird feeders, which often requires a good deal of acrobatics and hard work on their part!

Indeed, investing in a squirrel feeder is worthwhile for any garden birdwatcher, as it drastically reduces the chances of the rodents taking an interest in your bird food. Like all animals, squirrels are drawn to the easiest source of food and will quickly work out that the squirrel feeder represents a much simpler way of securing a meal.

Grey or Red?

For most of us, the squirrels we see in the garden will be grey, but if you live in Scotland, parts of Wales, northern England, the south-west and the Isle of Wight, you may be lucky enough to be visited by a Red Squirrel. The latter is the UK's only native squirrel species, but its numbers fell dramatically following the introduction of Grey Squirrels - which naturally occur in the eastern United States - in the 19th century. 

Unfortunately, Grey Squirrels are carriers of a disease that doesn't affect their own health, but can be fatal to their red counterparts. Combined with the fact Grey Squirrels are generally better suited to the available habitat in most of the modern UK, Red Squirrels have disappeared from much of the country. It should be noted that greys haven't physically displaced reds, interaction between the species is rare, but the latter's numbers have simply declined due to a combination of ecological factors.

Thankfully, the Red Squirrel population decline has been stalled somewhat through the efforts of conservation projects and work is ongoing to help the species recover. If you live in an area where the squirrels are present, why not invest in a Red Squirrel house? That way you'll be playing a small part in the preservation of the species and can enjoy seeing one of the UK's rarest mammals in your garden.