We’ll cover the best squirrel food and what to feed squirrels in the backyard, so you are better prepared.

Squirrel watching, like bird watching, can be a relaxing, fun, and inexpensive hobby. To get started, all you’ll need is some squirrel food and a squirrel feeder.

Squirrels can eat almost anything you feed them. Like most people, it’s understandable if you don’t know what to feed your backyard squirrels.

What To Feed Squirrels In Backyard

Many people feed corn, birdseed, and food scraps to squirrels. But what do squirrels like to eat the most?

Although some of these items aren’t bad, they aren’t the favorite food of squirrel in terms of nutrition.

Best Squirrel Food

  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Seeds

Let’s go over a variety of items that squirrels enjoy which are both healthy and easily available.


Squirrels enjoy a wide range of fruits. They love climbing above fruit trees, as much as they enjoy nut trees, and grabbing some sweet and delicious fruits. If there is already a fruit tree, you’ll probably want to have the fruit for yourself instead of feeding it to the neighborhood squirrels.

Fruits like grapes, cantaloupes, apples, watermelon, and strawberries can be left out in small chunks. They generally prefer fruits that are non-citrus.


Squirrels are well-known for being fond of nuts. If your backyard already has nuts growing on trees, you’re already providing a great source of food for the squirrels! Planting a few trees that produce nuts in your yard is one way to attract more squirrels.

Nuts in their shells, whether or not straight from the tree, are the best squirrel food. It is particularly useful if you have different types of nuts in order for them to enjoy the full benefits.

However, all nuts won’t work. Squirrels may be harmed by certain varieties, so you have to be cautious about selecting the nuts for feeding them.

Best Nuts (Favorite Food Of Squirrel)

  • Hickory Nuts
  • Butternuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • White oak acorns (less tannin)
  • Walnuts

Not Good For Squirrels

  • Red oak acorns (more tannin)
  • Raw Peanuts

Squirrels can be fed lower amounts of pistachios, peanut butter, and roasted peanuts, but they are not the favorite food of squirrel.


If there are vegetables in your garden, you probably know that squirrels like to eat almost any vegetable they can get a hold of. Squirrels enjoy fresh vegetables because they are a rich in nutrition. Leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, yellow squash, peas, or zucchini can all be considered as the favorite food of squirrel.


Squirrels are notorious for stealing from bird feeders, so they should enjoy seeds, right? They would eat seeds, and while they aren’t bad for them, they aren’t the best squirrel food.

However, eating seeds in moderate amounts is fine. After pumpkin carving, you can leave out any remaining pumpkin seeds. They’ll consume the seeds and a bit of the shell as well.

Foods To Avoid


Although most nuts work for squirrels, peanuts are a bit different. Squirrels can be harmed by a fungus found in peanuts, especially raw peanuts. Roasted peanuts or peanut butter are fine occasionally, but they are not the best squirrel food.

Processed Or Junk Food

As we all know, fast food has poor nutritional value. Chips, candy, and other processed items aren’t healthy, and they are also unsuitable for squirrels. They find it difficult to digest cellulose, giving them bread or other cellulose-containing food can get them sick.

Remember that if something doesn’t grow in nature, it’s probably not the best choice for feeding wildlife.


Cob of corn might be the favorite food of squirrel, but it isn’t particularly nutritious for them. For squirrels, corn is essentially junk food. Squirrels can be fed corn in moderate amounts if you also provide them with healthy options on a regular basis.

Niger Seeds

If you leave niger seeds, nothing bad will happen, but squirrels dislike them.

Birds, on the other hand, enjoy niger seeds. Hence, if you’ve got a bird feeder, throw in some niger seeds to keep squirrels away from eating all the available bird food.

Other Items


If squirrels are unable to obtain fruits, nuts, or vegetables, small insects would meet their protein requirements. Caterpillars, crickets, butterflies, and winged bugs are some of the insects they consume.


Squirrels enjoy foraging in a variety of places, not only in trees. There are a variety of fungi that squirrels enjoy eating, depending on the environment. Some mushrooms can be planted near where the squirrels are fed as a treat for them.


Despite the fact that squirrels mostly consume vegetarian options, bones are a good source of calcium. Some types of squirrels nibble on deer antlers or animal bones.

Even though they like animal bones, you’ll need to think about whether it’s good to have that in your yard. It’s best to go with the other suggestions in this post if you have dogs that could choke on them.

Reasons To Feed Squirrels

Certain people are adamantly opposed to squirrel feeding and might even advise you against it. Although feeding wild squirrels with your hands can make them reliant on humans, installing a squirrel feeder in the yard is a nice way to help them! We’ll go through some reasons as to why it’s a good idea to feed squirrels in the backyard.

Helps Them Access Water Easily

Water might not be what most people think of when it comes to feeding squirrels, but they do need it to lead a healthy life. Squirrels, like humans, want clean water, which isn’t always easy to come by.

Certain squirrel feeders come with a place to hold clean water, so take that into consideration when making your selection. You can also use a heated birdbath to place water for squirrels to use during the winter.

Prevents Eating Out Of Bird Feeders

If you already have a bird feeder, you’re aware that squirrels tend to creep up and eat bird food. Squirrels don’t always get the best nutrition from bird food. If they eat everything, the birds wouldn’t get it.

Not just that, the squirrels also damage the feeder, making it difficult for everyone. Giving squirrels their own feeder is one solution to keep them away from the bird feeder.

Squirrels end up eating from whatever feeder is nearest to them, which is why squirrel feeders are available. The squirrels would have a better source of food, and the birds in the yard can enjoy their snacks.

Beneficial For Surviving The Winter

As the time approaches for hibernation, squirrels need to ensure that they have enough food to last them through the winter. Offering them access to eat makes it easier for them and it also provides them with a safe place to go back to when they want more.


Squirrels are adept eaters who would if given the opportunity, eat cake or pie. They’ll eat almost anything you put out for them. But, if you want to ensure they’re fed properly, you’ll need to know the best squirrel food for your yard.

Fill a squirrel feeder with a variety of vegetables, fruits, and nuts that they can eat or come back for later. If you have a choice, picking a feeder with a water holder is especially beneficial for squirrels.

See: Best Rabbit Repellents To Protect Your Garden

By Robin M

Robin remains an active participant in the skilled trades community. His hands-on involvement in projects, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for helping others succeed in their home improvement pursuits, reflects his commitment to empowering readers with the knowledge they need to tackle projects confidently.

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