This relates to the German red squirrels. Squirrel species in other countries might have other needs. And in some countries you are not allowed to feed wild animals.
Since I am asked again and again, what you should feed squirrels, here is again the detailed info about it. Not everything is suitable, not even everything that is offered in stores – there are actually also special squirrel food.
You can feed squirrels without any problems, because they never get used to only one food. In fact, it makes a lot of sense to supplement feed the squirrels. Because especially in spring and summer they do not find enough food and nuts are not yet available in nature.
Ideal is a raised feeding place, for example, on a tree, so that they are better protected from enemies and can quickly flee to the tree. It is also good to offer several feeding places, then the squirrels can avoid each other.
Sometimes there is so much food on the platform that the squirrel has no place to sit at all 😉 .
Nuts are ideal, of course, but they should be native nuts. So walnuts and hazelnuts. They also like the nuts of the tree hazel, these have a slightly harder shell and are not quite as aromatic. They also like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cones, beechnuts and also fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, zucchini, grapes, pears, watermelons. However, they do not tolerate cabbage! But they also like chestnuts and even mushrooms. Please note that in winter during frost should not be fed vegetables and fruits, this can lead to colic.
It is best to feed the nuts and also sunflower seeds with shell, the squirrels need this so that their teeth, which are constantly growing back, are worn.
Please do not feed peanuts. They are not a native food in Germany and do not count as a species-appropriate diet. They are legumes and not nuts. In addition, they are often infested with mold due to the long transport route. The shell is too soft, so the teeth cannot wear off.
By the way, we once did a test. At a place in the squirrel forest, where there were many peanuts, we put a walnut to it. The squirrels always chose the walnut!
Important, please do not feed almonds! These can be poisonous for the squirrels! Because the sweet almonds, which can be bought here, always have a few bitter almonds on the tree. These can not be filtered out, because that would be too costly. But exactly these bitter almonds are poisonous for squirrels because of their low body weight.
If you collect walnuts yourself, you should note that they should be dried so that they are not infested with mold. Under this link you will find instructions on how to properly dry walnuts. In short: do not wash the nuts and do not dry them in the oven. It is best to spread the nuts out in a dark and warm place and dry them for four to six weeks at a room temperature between 22 – 25 degrees. Turn the nuts over again and again.
Our forage winter stock while drying!
Squirrels should definitely be fed from winter through summer. Since they do not hibernate, they go in search of food every few days during the winter. And in spring and summer, the food supply is usually not yet so great, until then the first fruits and seeds ripen. Due to the long drought in the last two summers, I even recommend feeding the squirrels even in the fall.
When we first started feeding, we eventually ran out of nuts. Then we continued feeding with sunflower seeds. And have found that these are very popular with the squirrels! And the leftovers are eaten by the birds!
There are regionally quite different preferences with the squirrels. Our squirrels also like apples and carrots, but carrots are the most popular. They don’t like grapes and they don’t like chestnuts.
We get our hazelnuts from Martl’s nut store and are very happy with them, and the squirrels love these nuts!
Squirrels would buy hazelnuts and walnuts! 😉
We have now also found a good source for walnuts, we order them here at the Waldkobolde store.
Quality test passed by the squirrel for the walnuts from the Waldkobolde store! 😉
In addition, Hansemann’s team also has two balanced food mixtures that were developed together with the squirrel aid Stuttgart. Our squirrels were even allowed to test it in advance, here is a video about it 🙂
And always offer a bowl of fresh water, because squirrels need a lot of water. But always refill it and also clean again and again, so that no germs spread.
Have fun feeding and watching the squirrels 🙂