Do Squirrels Eat Vegetables? 5 Facts You Should Know!

Saif Ali

Do Squirrels Eat Vegetables? 5 Facts You Should Know!

The common misconception that squirrels only consume nuts is untrue. Let us explore more about squirrels eating habits and related facts around it.

Squirrels eat vegetables apart from nuts and seeds. A squirrel’s diet consists mostly of plants and nuts, but they can occasionally consume meat if it comes upon a nest of unprotected baby birds or recently deceased animals. Fruits, nuts, seeds, bones, flesh, fungus and eggs are all eaten by squirrel.

A squirrel is not a picky eater. Out of curiosity, squirrels try practically anything that are found in their ecosystem. Squirrels also consume food made by humans including pasta, bread, cakes etc.

What vegetables do squirrels not eat?

Allium species and vegetables from the capsicum family are not consumed by squirrels. Squirrels typically avoid food with strong odor, such as onions, garlic, bell peppers, black pepper, jalapenos, serrano pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli peppers, and bell peppers because they tend to deter squirrels.

The following bulbs are also unappealing to squirrels and other rodents. These include daffodils, fritillaria, snowdrops (Galanthus), grape hyacinths (Muscari), and decorative alliums.

Do squirrels eat raw garden vegetables?

Squirrels eat lot of raw garden vegetables and gardeners are quite aware of this. Squirrels, who primarily enjoy eating raw vegetables are tomatoes, corn, radish, peas, eggplant, okra, cabbage, asparagus, celery and leeks. In other words, they can eat anything their famished tiny paws can get their hands on.

Image Credit : Squirrel reaching out for food on a garden bird feeder by Waferboard is licensed under (CC BY 2.0)

Do squirrels eat vegetable leaves?

Along with vegetables, squirrels also consume the leaves of vegetables. A squirrel will eat any leafy green they come upon, including lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, and arugula.

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Do all squirrels eat vegetables ?

All squirrels do not eat vegetables. Their diet mainly depends on their habitats. Most species of squirrels are primarily dependent on nuts and seeds. For example: Tree squirrels eat mostly seeds (including nuts), buds, leaves, bark, fruit, and fungi that grows on trees in their natural habitat.

Image Credit: Tree squirrel eating nut by Diliff is licensed under (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Truffles (hypogeous mycorrhizal fungi), which have a modest nutritional content in comparison to seeds, are preferred by flying squirrels above other foods. Given that they are omnivores, these squirrel species may consume veggies if given, but their preference will likely differ.

How to stop squirrels from eating vegetables?

It is obvious that squirrels find vegetables in our gardens or farms. Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and figs are main targets for squirrels. 

Here are some tips to prevent squirrels from consuming garden veggies.

  1. Add hot pepper
  2. Planting capsicum family vegetable around the other plants
  3. Clothe the gardens
  4. Insert a dummy
  5. Flowers that squirrel dislike
  6. Spraying peppermint oil
  7. Buy some repellent products

1. Add hot pepper

Capsaicin, a component found in chilli peppers, repulses squirrels’ taste buds and smell. Addition of hot pepper like cayenne pepper, chilli pepper and hot sauce on top of soil can act as natural squirrel repellent.

2. Planting capsicum family vegetable around the other plants

All vegetable from capsicum family contains capsaicin. Planting bell peppers, jalapeno and other peppers around the garden can be effective for avoiding squirrels. Squirrels dislike vegetables from the capsicum family because their odor causes irritation in their eyes.

3. Clothe the gardens

Covering the crop field or garden with chicken wire, row covers, bird netting and hardware cloth will be very useful to get rid of squirrels. Also, watering the plants will become easy.

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4. Insert a dummy

Squirrels are scared off and kept away from gardens by placing the rubber snakes or plastic owls in the garden. They should be moved every day, and if possible, the toys should include some sort of noisemaker.

5. Flowers that squirrel dislike

Adding flowers like daffodils, marigold, snowdrop and hyacinth around the field will naturally prevent squirrels. These little rodents usually do not like the smell of these flowers. Avoid planting the tulips and geraniums in the field, squirrels like them most.

6. Spraying peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is not detrimental for plants as well as squirrels but it help keeps squirrels away from them. Spray some peppermint oil on vegetables and leaves or on the soil, so that squirrels can be avoided.

7. Buy some repellent products

There are numerous items on the market that promise to keep rodents out of homes. ‘Predator pee’ is one such product which creates illusion to little rodents that predator is nearby. Applying this around the  garden may be beneficial.

What food should squirrels avoid?

There are many food which squirrels should be avoided. These include:

  • Sugar containing food like candy, cakes, chocolates etc.
  • Food that contain high starch content (e.g. potato, bread, rice, pasta).
  • Human junk food ( burger, pizza, french fries).
  • Salty food
  • Avocado skin
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fruit seeds
  • Dried corn
  • Pine nuts


Squirrels are best example of foodies, consuming a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and insects. They consume nearly anything made by humans. Plants that emit strong odor typically keep squirrels away.

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