Do Squirrels Eat Garlic? (Let’s Find Out!)
We all have seen squirrels, and most of the time, we have seen them eating. There is no doubt that squirrels love to eat. They are wildlife foodies. Although they like to eat most things, it does not mean everything suits their health.
If you have a garden regularly visited by these little friends, you must have found your garlic cloves missing. That is why you must be wondering: do squirrels eat garlic? Yes, squirrels eat garlic only when they have no better option.
Squirrels staple diet is vegetables and seeds. They tend to avoid spicy things like garlic, but you can see squirrels eating garlic cloves often in food shortages and satisfy the calories needed.
Many people who own squirrels as pets will tell you the same things. So garlic as a squirrel repellent theory is in jeopardy.
So, if you want to know “can squirrels eat garlic bulbs”, then you are at the right place. I will provide you with all the answers in this article.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Garlic?
Squirrels are herbivorous creatures which means their diet mostly contains plants and seeds. On normal occasions, they usually like to eat nuts, root vegetables, seeds, fruits, grasses, fungi, insects, and bird eggs.
But the sad part is squirrels generally depend on forests for their diet, and as you know, urbanization is one of the main reasons that squirrels usually find it hard to locate their food source.
When they cannot find their favorite diet course, like a seed pod or vegetable, they look for another way to fulfill their calorie requirement. Squirrels have a fixed quota of calories for a day. Their agile body and fast movement require a minimum of 1800 calories daily.
This number of calories is low compared to other animals, but still, squirrels have a hard time reaching this goal for many reasons. To overcome their food shortage, or you can say calories, they will forage any kind of food they can get their hands on, even if it is garlic cloves.
Garlic is readily available for squirrels, as many people like to grow this plant in their gardens. So when squirrels search for food, garlic bulbs are readily available instead of seeds and vegetables. Plus, garlic plants are also readily available in wild areas.
That is why if you are using garlic as a squirrel repellent, it might not work for you if there is a food shortage for squirrels. Squirrels have a strong sense of smell which is why they do their utmost to avoid strong smelling food items. That is why if you offer them a choice between garlic cloves and vegetables they will never choose garlic.
Benefits Of Garlic for Squirrels
Garlic holds numerous benefits of nutrients like high vitamin C, zinc, iron fiber, and flavonoids. It also offers minerals like potassium and calcium, improving digestion and bone health.
The expected benefits of garlic are available for every living being, but squirrels get additional benefits from eating garlic. They are as follows:
- The garlic contains antioxidants that prevent cells from free radicals and make squirrels’ coats shine brighter.
- Garlic contains a good amount of sulfur, so feeding squirrels garlic can help them balance amino acids in their stomach as it produces amino acids in their bodies.
- Garlic provides them with minerals like calcium and potassium.
- It also improves the immunity of squirrels due to antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects.
- It improves their stamina.
However, no conclusive research proves garlic is beneficial for squirrels. But we all know garlic has been used as an herb for many centuries. Therefore providing garlic to squirrels in an adequate amount will undoubtedly prove beneficial.
How To Keep Squirrels Away From Garlic?
Now you know that squirrels can eat garlic, you must wonder, “how do I keep squirrels away from garlic” well! I have good news for you. Even though Squirrels can eat garlic, it does not mean they enjoy eating your garlic cloves.
You will be surprised that the most famous squirrel repellents have water, vinegar, and garlic in them. The alternative to garlic is jalapeno pepper but it is not used as much as garlic because of its better availability.
However, if you are dealing with weird squirrels who like eating garlic and you want some protective measures to prevent it from happening again; you can follow the methods I have given below:
1. Squirrels Can’t Stand Smell of Capsaicin
As I have already told you squirrels abhor spicy and hot scents. So it’s unsurprising that capsaicin, commonly found in hot peppers, deter squirrels. It creates an irritating sensation which is why most people scrunch up their noses when smelling hot pepper, and their eyes and nose get watery when they consume spicy foods.
So hot peppers or capsaicin smell alone is sufficient to keep squirrels away from the area you don’t want them entering. You can use white or black pepper or chili powder, as they are a great source of options for capsaicin.
On the other hand, chili powder is a pulverized form of chili peppers available in a large variety. Using pepper and chili powder will keep squirrels and insects away, as they are natural insecticides. So making chili and pepper solutions for your garden is an excellent idea.
2. Peppermint Oil Works as Natural Squirrel Repellent
Essential oil has a lot of health benefits, but do you know some essential oils can even keep pests away from your home and garden? One of the vital oils that squirrels hate is peppermint oil. For squirrels peppermint smell is overpowering, and they avoid it as much as possible.
You can use peppermint to deter squirrels: spray it or soak a cotton ball or cloth and place it where you do not want squirrels. The spray is an excellent choice to keep pests away from your garden. On the other hand, the cotton ball is perfect for stuffing the place where rodents have found their way to your home.
But before using peppermint spray, remember to dilute it. You can use 20 drops of peppermint oil for 16oz of water. There is no need to add vinegar or soap. Also, keep an eye on your garden and use it only whenever pests return.
3. Squirrels Abhor White Vinegar
If you are looking for a method to keep squirrels away from your garden for the long term, there is nothing better than creating your own spray. The homemade spray will undoubtedly take effort, but it will also be affordable.
Vinegar is one of the most used ingredients in many famous squirrel repellents. You can also make a homemade vinegar spray by mixing ingredients like water and essential oil that squirrels hate. If you like, add vinegar with pepper oil and keep them in a plastic bottle for spraying at some intervals.
Although homemade squirrel repellent is beneficial in many ways, you should still keep in mind vinegar’s acidic nature. If you apply vinegar overly, it can cause damage to plants, especially delicate ones.
So if you plan to use vinegar spray on plants, use diluted vinegar and keep close eyes on your plants to see signs of any damage. The best vinegar method is spraying it on a nearby stone or object so it does not harm the plant.
4. Cinnamon Is a Great Method To Keep Squirrels Away
How can you forget cinnamon, considering squirrels hate strong smells? Cinnamon powder and cinnamon are effectively easy-to-get ingredients that can work as squirrel repellent. You just need to sprinkle a large amount of cinnamon on the area where you do not want to see squirrels entering.
However, you must apply this method in large amounts to become effective. Also, remember that the wind can easily blow away cinnamon, and you must keep sprinkling after 4 to 7 days. A better way to use cinnamon is to take cinnamon oil and mix it with peppermint oil, then soak a cotton cloth in it and tie it around the post near your vegetable and fruits.
5. Coffee Grounds Naturally Deter Squirrels
Are you tossing away your coffee ground? Do not do that from now on, as they are a natural repellent for squirrels. They hate the smell of coffee. Although there is no scientific evidence, many people have found this effective.
Coffee’s unfamiliar smells not only help in alarming squirrels of humans and keep them away, but it also works as natural compost, which is excellent for your garden.
What Do Squirrels Like to Eat?
Squirrels are shy but not picky eaters when it comes to food. They often like to eat most of the fruits, leaves, and seeds of plants easily found in their surrounding environment. They usually prefer eating fruits, tree leaves, insects, vegetables, and nuts.
So if you are feeding squirrels one of these things, you can’t possibly go wrong as they have a large variety in their diet. That is why feeding squirrels is so easy, whether they are domesticated or wild, as they eat whatever they can get their hands on.
If you have pet squirrels, there is one common thing in food that your pet squirrels will enjoy: cheese. You can occasionally give your squirrels some cheese. It is not a popular feed for squirrels, but squirrels enjoy eating cheese blocks.
Another surprising thing is that squirrels relish dog and cat foods. You should protect your squirrels from your dogs and cats’ food, as it can harm their health. So if you find your dog is sharing its food with squirrels’ sister and brother, stop it before your squirrels get sick.
Here are the best foods for Squirrels available on Amazon:
Q1: Does Garlic Repel Squirrels?
Yes, garlic does repel squirrels because they hate its pungent smell. You can simply spread finely crushed garlic in the area from where you want to repel the squirrels.
Q2: What Animals Eat Garlic?
Many animals eat garlic, like moles, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, rats, skunks, gophers, birds, insects, leaf miners, opossums, cows, voles, and Woodchucks.
Q3: Is Garlic Harmful to Wildlife?
No, garlic does not cause harm to wildlife, but there are some species, like birds, in which garlic can cause anemia if they overeat.
Q4: What Food is Poisonous to Ground Squirrels?
The food poisonous to ground squirrels is wild mushrooms, cycad palm, and flowers from florists.
The simple answer to the question “Do squirrels eat garlic” is they do eat it but rarely. In fact, you will see them avoiding garlic as much as possible. That is why garlic is one of the main ingredients in many of the squirrel repellents available in the market.
So if you want to share something with your little furry friend, offering nuts is better than garlic. Similarly, crushed garlic can be effective if you want to protect the vegetables in your garden.