The 10 Best Squirrel Feeders
10. The Squirrel Shop Picnic Table
9. Stokes Select Lunch Box
7. Heath Outdoor Products Corn-Mount
4. Erva Tool & Die Metal
3. Songbird Essentials Squngee
2. Heritage Farms Diner
1. Kaytee Cedar
Selecting A Squirrel Feeder
If there is one thing few squirrels have trouble doing, it's finding food. In fact, squirrels are famous (if not outright notorious) for their cunning abilities and daring tactics when it comes to foraging for fallen leftovers, braving the heights to get to bird feeders, and, of course, collecting natural food sources such as acorns, nuts, and more.
Given that squirrels tend to need little help finding food, it makes sense that most of the squirrel feeders on the market are not simply designed to give a squirrel easy access to nutrition, but rather serve as outdoor decoration for your yard or as objects of interest or amusement for nature lovers who are watching the intrepid little critters.
Choosing the right squirrel feeder for your property first involves knowing about how many squirrels you might be dealing with at any one time (and keeping in mind that your new feeder will likely increase the volume of these visitors). If you seldom see more than one or two squirrels in your yard at any one time, then you can feel free to choose a squirrel feeder based on its aesthetics and charm; if you regularly see multiple animals scampering about simultaneously, then you may need a larger feeder that can accommodate several squirrels at the same time.
Assuming you think it's prudent to choose a squirrel feeder designed to feed just one animal at a time, next consider whether you want a unit that blends in with the overall look of your yard, or if you want a bold statement piece. There is a plethora of subtle, handsome squirrel feeders made from wood (choose cedar or redwood, both of which weather well) or from steel painted a demure color like a forest green.
Many of these feeders are designed with the nature watcher in mind; they put an unwitting squirrel on full display as it feeds, allowing a human a closer, uninterrupted view of these occasionally pest-like, but always cute, mammals. Such feeders lure squirrels without drawing much attention to themselves -- especially when not being actively used -- and are a great choice for the smaller yard or for the property where a minimalist or naturally inspired landscape design prevails.
And then in the other category you will find multiple squirrel feeders that span the range from amusing to playful and downright ridiculous. These include squirrel feeders that have moving parts designed to confound squirrels even as they feed, creating a lasting diversion for the animals that will prevent them from causing other trouble (see below for more on this). Others create humor by placing a squirrel on what looks like a diminutive piece of human furniture or by leading the squirrels head into a mask where the food reservoir is housed, creating a hilarious image you, your family, and your guests will love. Squirrels are a fact of life for many properties ranging from the rural to the urban -- you might as well have a laugh at their expense even as you feed and care for your four-legged neighbors.
A Few Reasons Squirrel Feeders Make Sense
If you want a squirrel feeder simply as another decorative piece for your yard, to be enjoyed both for its own aesthetics and for the charming creatures it attracts to your home, that is reason enough to get one. But there are several practical reasons you might want a squirrel feeder. And perhaps ironically, one of the most common reasons people get squirrel feeders is not actually to attract the animals, per say, but rather to keep them away from another area of the property.
One of the most common reasons people get a squirrel feeder is to draw the animals away from a bird feeder. Squirrels home in on bird feeders with alacrity, often scaring away the feathered friends for whom the units were intended and rapidly devouring much of the bird feed within. A strategically placed squirrel feeder can keep the animals away from your birds and their food.
In these cases, one of the squirrel feeders that has moving parts that create a distraction and add difficulty to their feeding can keep the squirrel engaged and distracted for longer. Such feeders are also great for keeping squirrels from foraging in your garden or scavenging about your patio or deck. You can also help keep squirrels safer with a squirrel feeder by reducing their need to cross roads or city streets in search of food.
Another reason you might want to consider a squirrel feeder is a sense of duty. If you have created a yard in which squirrels have become accustomed to living based on the bird seed they eat, the scraps they scavenge, or the plants on which they feed during the spring, summer, and early fall, you might need to keep on feeding the animals through the winter to prevent their starvation. Squirrels are highly adaptable, sometimes to their own detriment. If your squirrels depend on you for sustenance, then you may feel you owe it to them to keep them fed at all times.
A Few Words On A Few Squirrels
Squirrels are members of the Rodentia order and in the Sciuridae family. These remarkably adaptable animals exist on every continent of the globe except for Antarctica, and are native to all continents on which they thrive save for Australia.
In the United States, there are five types of squirrel, three of which are the most common and likely to come to mind when you picture a squirrel. The first of these is the Gray Squirrel, which is subdivided into two species, the Eastern Gray and Western Gray. Also common are much smaller Red Squirrels, which live mostly in northern states, preferring pine forests and well-adapted for cold weather. Finally we have the Fox Squirrel, the largest tree squirrel species in America, which are common throughout much of the east and midwest and are quite comfortable in forests and in urban environments.
Fortunately, all three of these types of squirrel (and their subspecies) can all thrive on the same feed, with one type of food the most ideal: when possible, feed squirrels nuts still in their shells. The gnawing required to open the shells helps keep their teeth trimmed and healthy whether they are working on a walnut, a beechnut, or an almond.