Squirrel in the garden

Many children are absolutely thrilled by the cute squirrels with their long tail and soft fur. But hobby gardeners know about the ambiguity with which you can meet the rodents: Even if squirrels look friendly, they are predators that feed not only on nuts and berries, but also of bird eggs. Birdwatchers are therefore anxious to drive out squirrels. Nevertheless, many garden owners are happy when squirrels come to visit - the animals can become really friendly. But should you even get used to animals and additionally feed them? We will explain how you can support squirrels in an appropriate way.

Squirrel in the tree

Contents: Squirrel in the garden

  • A life in the Kobel
  • Squirrel in winter
  • Should you feed squirrels?
  • Rain barrels become a trap
  • How do I help a sick squirrel?

A life in the Kobel

Squirrels are often referred to as calibration cats or hangovers and are considered rodents. Their coat color varies between reddish and brownish nuances and their bushy tail serves as a tax when the little acrobats jump from branch to branch. While squirrel used to be found mainly in forests, they are now increasingly sighted in the vicinity of humans:

They live in city parks and home gardens, as they find sheltered nesting sites and additional food sources.

The Kobel is wind and waterproof.


The rodents live in a so-called Kobel, which is easy to discover by its characteristic round design high up in the treetop. The building materials are flexible branches, branches and leaves, while moss and grass are used as upholstery. Thanks to a special construction, the Kobel is almost waterproof and keeps warm enough even in winter.

By the way: One of the two kobel openings points down as squirrels always climb from the bottom into their nest.

If you want to lure squirrels into the garden, you can also acquire squirrel housing in the form of a kobel and hang it around six meters high in a tree. The species-appropriate nesting aid is often accepted as a bed and a nest.

Squirrel in winter

Squirrels find their food supply poor in the deep snow.

Squirrel in winter

Unlike hedgehogs and dormice, squirrels do not hibernate, but only become less active. Therefore, you can also observe squirrels in the fall when collecting nuts and other tree fruits, which are then buried in different places in the garden. The rodents fall back on this stock during existing food shortages in freezing and cold weather.

From December the squirrel mating season begins. With a wearing time of around 38 days, the first offspring in the Kobel can already be expected at the beginning of February. The mother animals must therefore at the turn of the year take a lot of food in order to be sufficiently fortified for the survival-important suckling of their young.

The winter foraging looks problematic when there is high snow and the ground is frozen. Even autumn gardening destroys the squirrel neatly applied markers, with which they find their way back to their food supplies. Now man comes into play with a targeted winter feeding.

Should you feed squirrels?

Squirrels should not get used to humans too much.


In general, the topic of winter or year-round feeding is ambiguous. Even animal welfare organizations see both advantages and disadvantages in being too close to humans. Squirrels are intelligent animals that even eat with a bit of patience. This behavior is cute, but carries many dangers for the animals: The loss of their flight instincts lures the animals in residential areas, where they become the prey of free-range cats or cars fall victim.

Those who feed humanely should start setting up feeding stations in the garden in early autumn. It is important to make sure that the food, which is also polluted by birds and other small animals, changes every day, because at feeding sites diseases can quickly break out that threaten whole populations. Those who want to avoid contamination by feces and dirt resort to special squirrel feeding stations, where the rodents have to open a flap to get to delicious nuts. You can also purchase special feed mixes for squirrels containing seeds, nuts and corn. But also sunflower seeds, dried bananas and unsalted peanuts, as well as fresh fruit, such as quartered apples or small pieces of pear, are gladly accepted.

Did you know that squirrels always eat upright to keep an eye on their surroundings?

Squirrels are very intelligent:

feeding station

A lid on the feeding station...

feeding station

... is effortlessly open. Good Appetite!

feeding station

Rain barrels become a trap

Those who attract wildlife to the garden should always cover well watered areas with steep walls. Thirsty or curious animals could otherwise fall into the water and drown. Rain barrels and also the swimming pool are therefore always expertly closed with a lid or big tarpaulins. Alternatively, a long, stable branch as an exit aid - optionally in several places - inserted. Self-erected, unfilled flower pots can become a death trap for small mice when rainwater accumulates in them and the thirsty mouse falls into it: on the steep walls, the animal does not stop and dies. Therefore, even small vessels that could be filled with water are covered or turned over as a precautionary measure.

How do I help a sick squirrel?

Young animals are born in February.

young animals

Those who find a weak or supposedly sick squirrel on a walk should first observe the situation from a few meters away. The wild animals are naturally shy and particularly nimble. However, if the animal is apathetic and barely moving, you can approach it gently with a towel. Make yourself as small as possible and avoid fast movements so as not to look like an overwhelming predator.

Danger: Even weak animals can bite fast or inflict deep cuts with their sharp claws. After a bite you should consult a doctor as dangerous pathogens can be transmitted.

Carefully wrap the towel around the animal and carry it to a quiet room, where you can quietly examine it in a box for possible injuries: Does something seem to be broken? Is the animal clearly malnourished? Does the coat look dull and straw? As a first aid measure, you can offer sugar water and small apple pieces without peel. Supercooled pups should be additionally warmed with a hot water bottle.

Inexperienced people should not spice up wild animals, Contact a veterinarian: Here you can give the animal or get contact information for a possible foster home.

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