More and more of us are willing to help increase biodiversity. We all do our best in summer by helping the birds, bees and butterflies. In autumn, we must continue helping wildlife in our gardens. Our autumn garden is often visited by animals such as the hedgehog and squirrel. It's an adorable sight to see, but did you know these visitors are beneficial to your autumn garden? Here's how to attract and take care of squirrels in the garden.
What we love about squirrels
It is perhaps the most autumn picture imaginable: a squirrel running around your garden, trying to collect all the nuts he can carry, then disappearing at the speed of light. However selfish the squirrel may come across, he plays a vital role in the well-being of other garden animals. Most people think squirrels only eat nuts, but that's not the case. Squirrels also eat insects, amphibians, small mammals, bird eggs, young bird nestlings and even bones.
Squirrels are only active during the day. That's why we often get the chance to spot one. The squirrel uses its day as one big scavenger hunt. Nuts, seeds, pips: the squirrel collects them all. But unlike other animals, the squirrel doesn't take a well-deserved rest at the end of the day. All the food they've found is well hidden in various spots across our gardens. The squirrel stocks up for winter!
Squirrels are greedy during summer, so they don't get hungry in winter. This is also how the squirrel helps others. The large-tailed fluffy animal sometimes drops a few nuts or forgets some of its hiding spots. He leaves it there for other animals to find and enjoy, saving them a strenuous search for food. So if you're helping squirrels, you're also helping other wildlife in the garden. That's a win-win!
Here's how you can help the squirrel
Like other animals, the squirrel has difficulty finding enough food and water. But this is your chance to help the squirrel out. Here's what humans can do:
- Offer food like unsalted peanuts, walnuts and raisins. They're one of their favourites. You can scatter them around your garden, fill a bowl, or offer fresh water in a covered spot. But keep in mind to place these treats out of reach for cats and other predators. Otherwise, squirrels will never reach your treats.
- Help squirrels nest. When it comes to nesting, squirrels prefer high overgrown trees. If you have a garden full of trees, help the squirrel by leaving the tree's leaves on for as long as possible. The squirrel will appreciate this when building its nesting place. If not, you can consider installing a nest box to offer the squirrel a comfortable home.
Help the squirrel in your autumn garden
Come visit our garden centre in Poynings, Sussex and let our staff advise you on how you can help these fluffy, entertaining animals. Squirrels and other garden visitors play an important role in biodiversity and help keep your garden healthy. Enough motivation to give back to these friendly visitors! Rushfields offers multiple products to attract and take care of squirrels this autumn and winter.