A squirrel with an acquired taste for garden vegetables may not be a gardener's best friend. Ground and tree squirrels living around urban and rural garden plots, tend to investigate the tasty garden morsels from time to time. On a constant search for tree nuts, which they store for winter hibernation, squirrels are always on the look out for an easy meal. Garden vegetables provide much needed, high-energy carbohydrates to keep them going.
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Tree and Ground Squirrels
Tree squirrels spend most of their time up in the tree tops, but come down to forage the ground for food. They build nests out of twigs and leaves inside hollow trees and in the crotch of branches. These high-wire acrobats love to feed on the sweet vegetables and fruits in gardens when they're not searching for nuts. Ground squirrels live in burrows beneath the ground and feed on the vegetable seeds cultivated by gardeners. They also feed on the roots, fruits and leaves of common vegetable varieties.
The Vegetables Squirrels Like
Squirrel like anything easy to get and pleasant to taste. Preferred garden vegetables and fruits include: carrots, squash, watermelon, cucumbers, peas, beans, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, corn, oranges, cherries, avocados, apricots and apples. When these items become ripe, the squirrels eat them to gain energy from the sugary carbohydrates. Squirrels aren't picky eaters and will graze on most garden vegetables and fruits.
Saving Your Prized Fruits and Vegetables
Remember, if squirrels can't get it, they won't eat it. Build an enclosure around your garden to keep out squirrels. A less-invasive and inexpensive alternative to an enclosure is covering your garden in netting. If you've been feeding the squirrels table or garden scraps, stop.
Removing the Squirrels
The No. 1 pest in the United States is the tree squirrel, according to the National Pest Control Association. These pesky mammals have also been known to damage flowers, vehicles, lawns and homes. Pest control companies come with a price and if you can afford it, go for it. Squirrels can carry diseases which can be harmful to humans. Don't attempt to remove the squirrels if you lack the proper training and expertise.