Squirrels are medium-sized rodents known for their bushy tails and enjoyment of nuts. They might be cute, and they're definitely not as undesirable as mice or rats, but they can be a nuisance if they take up residence in your yard. Squirrels have been known to stash nuts in inconvenient areas, steal your garden vegetables, and tear flashing and covering off of outbuildings. So what attracts these pesky creatures to your yard in the first place?
1. Plenty of cover
Even though squirrels in residential areas sometimes become adapted to humans and will get close to them, most squirrels are shy by nature. They want to protect themselves from predators, and so they look for areas with plenty of bushes, shrubs, and other ground cover. If your yard is surrounded by hedges or you have very full garden beds, it will be a squirrel's paradise.
2. Trees with edible nuts
You've probably seen squirrels eating acorns, but oak trees are not the only trees that attract these rodents. Squirrels also love pine trees; they'll eat the pine nuts from the cones. Hickory, pecan, and even walnut trees are other favorites. Even if these trees are not on your land but are nearby, squirrels may hang out on your property because it is near their food source. They don't pay attention to property lines!
3. Garden plants
Squirrels do not only eat nuts. They also like tomatoes, cucumbers, and other garden plants. If you have a garden and don't protect these foods with netting, the squirrels will keep coming back, again and again, to obtain food. They also love when gardeners make compost piles; the rotting food is a favorite of theirs.
4. A water source
You might call it a birdbath, but to squirrels, it is a drinking pool. Squirrels, like all mammals, need a source of fresh water, which is not always easy to find in residential communities. Birdbaths and ponds attract them, as do wet areas of your yard that frequently develop puddles.
If you are having trouble with squirrels in your yard, take a look around and see what might be attracting them. You might need to trim up your hedges, remove a water source, or add some netting to your garden to keep them away. In many cases, homeowners need to collaborate with their neighbors to keep squirrels at bay, since they can gather resources from multiple yards. Contact a rodent control service for more information.