Found in almost every continent (except Australia), squirrels are a familiar animal to most people. These tiny mammals have much worth appreciating, which is why they even have a day to themselves (National Squirrel Day is on the 21st of January—mark your calendars!)
Aside from being adorably furry creatures, squirrels are also highly intelligent. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these large-eyed, small-bodied animals use their intelligence to avoid predators, as well as to find, store, and protect their food.
Speaking of their eating habits, squirrels have a diverse diet, eating everything from nuts to vegetables to herbs—yes, our furry friends love to munch on herbs!
In general, squirrels are omnivores: they eat both plants and other smaller animals. That being said, their natural habitats tend to offer primarily vegetation rather than a meat-heavy diet. Below is a list of just some of the things squirrels love to eat.
- Vegetables, especially leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, and arugula
- Nuts, although this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Some of their favorites are peanuts, hazelnuts, etc. Be sure to check out some of the best nuts for them and where to get them.
- Fresh herbs from your garden.
Squirrels’ diets are typically rich in protein, fats, and carbs, so it should come as no surprise that they often integrate herbs into their diet. Check out these five herbs squirrels enjoy eating.
5 Herbs Squirrels Can Eat
Both cilantro leaves and seeds are edible, and it’s not only squirrels that enjoy munching on them. Rabbits and raccoons are also fans of this popular herb, which makes sense given that cilantro leaves are rich in vitamins.
While cilantro seeds have a much lower vitamin level than cilantro leaves, they are rich in calcium, iron, and magnesium, making them a popular snack among squirrels.
Closely related to oregano, thyme is an herb prevalent in both the culinary and medicinal realms. Its pungent odor, high percentage of healthy fats, and antioxidant properties make it an herb of many uses, including providing a healthy snack for squirrels.
Used as a garnish in many world cuisines, parsley is probably one of the most popular herbs out there—and not just for humans, but squirrels as well.
Parsley is also a source of antioxidants. It’s also rich in vitamins, which is why squirrels don’t shy away from munching on this herb.
Squirrels are among a long list of animals that enjoy eating basil. This plant comes in many varieties and is easy to digest, so it’s no surprise that squirrels take a particular liking to the herb.
Finally, another herb you’ll often find squirrels happily chomping down is dill. Hailing from the celery family, dill leaves and seeds are both edible and highly aromatic. Again, this herb is rich in vitamin C, magnesium, and Vitamin A.
It is also known to be an anti-inflammatory, making it great to treat pain, tissue damage, and arthritis. Like us, an aging squirrel will have to deal with aches and pains.
Are Herbs Safe for Squirrels?
For the most part, fresh organic herbs will be safe for these rodents. Herbs grown in the garden may contain toxic pesticides that can poison these critters.
What Herbs Squirrels Hate
Believe it or not, squirrels don’t like eating all types of herbs. If you’re having trouble with squirrels eating the herbs in your garden, you may want to consider planting the following herbs.
- Garlic (commonly used spice or herb)
When feeding your pet squirrels or backyard squirrels herbs, make sure they do not contain pesticides. Always wash the herbs thoroughly and start with a small amount.
Are There Herbs They Won’t Eat?
With over 80 different herbs available throughout the world, there have to be some that will repel squirrels, right? Well, according to this forum, squirrels love to eat most herbs.
Other herbs they love are rosemary, ginger, cilantro, vanilla. Like humans, some will prefer eating certain herbs and spices because they taste better.
It may take time to find which herbs your squirrels love to eat. Unlike dogs and cats, squirrels don’t need our help with feeding. These scavengers can easily survive by finding food in their surrounding environment.
Yet, many homeowners love filling feeders with wild squirrel food to keep them visiting their backyard. If you start feeding them herbs or other human food, they will eventually notice your garden.
Eventually, you’ll be looking for ways to keep them away from your herb garden. If you’re going to feed them, I’d recommend putting a feeder in your yard that is far away from your garden.
Should You Feed Squirrels Herbs and Spices?
Don’t feed wild squirrels herbs. Instead, provide them nuts, wild squirrel food, other vegetables. If you have a pet squirrel, you can feed them some herbs because you don’t have to worry about them tearing up your garden!
How To Feed Squirrels Herbs?
It’s not hard to find videos of squirrels eating vegetables, herbs, candy, etc. If you’re reading this, you likely want to see if your squirrels will eat herbs, so how do you feed it to them?
Well, it’s easy, just put some fresh clean herbs out by their feeder and walk away. The squirrels will be curious and will investigate it first.
Once they feel it is safe, they’ll either eat it or they won’t. If it is a herb they don’t like, you’ll notice they won’t come back to the feeder until you throw out the herb.
If you have a pet squirrel, you can just hand feed them a small amount.
Squirrels’ diets are quite similar to those of rabbits, in the sense that they both tend to eat whatever they can get their hands on. They aren’t very picky eaters, which works in their favor since they are scavengers, which means they find and bury food to prepare for the colder seasons.