As someone with years of experience observing and interacting with squirrels, I can confidently say that yes, squirrels do eat wood. But don’t worry! In this blog post, I’ll share some tips on how to prevent them from destroying your deck. From understanding their behavior to providing alternative food sources, you’ll learn the best ways to keep your deck safe from these furry critters. So read on to find out how you can protect your deck from hungry squirrels!
Squirrels do not eat wood. However, they may gnaw on it for a variety of reasons such as to create a nest, to sharpen their teeth or for other activities related to food. Squirrels primarily feed on plants and animals, nuts, berries, fruits, fungi, insects and eggs.
Table Of Contents
Do Squirrels Eat Wood?
Squirrels are known to eat a wide variety of food, including nuts, berries, fruits, fungi, insects and eggs. But did you know they also eat wood? Many species of squirrels enjoy chomping on tree barks and logs, however, they mostly bite wood to sharpen their teeth.
What Does Squirrel Chewing Damage Look Like?
If a squirrel is chewing on your deck boards or posts then you will likely see fresh bite marks that have a yellowish tint. There could be chunks of wood missing from the area being chewed and exposed fibers will be visible all around these bare spots.
- Fresh Bite Marks
- Chunks Missing
Naturally hollowed-out trees provide shelter for baby squirrels while they grow up in the wild; some species may chew actively on wood in order to create nesting materials like packs of bark chips that make suitable homes.
Eating acorns is one popular way for squirrel feeding behavior; since acorn shells require more effort than other foods when trying to get at the tasty prize inside, chewing through harder log surfaces might help them prepare for this endeavor.
Why Do Squirrels Chew on Wood?
Squirrels chew on wood to access the sap and other nutrients inside. It helps them keep their teeth sharp and healthy. They also use wood for shelter and as a source of insulation. By chewing, they create an entry point for themselves into structures such as decks, where they can build nests or find food.
Sharpening their teeth on wood is a natural behavior for squirrels. Their incisors grow continuously throughout their life, and they need to keep them short by chewing on things like trees, logs, or even the wooden decks of our homes. Chewing on hard things helps them to keep their teeth at the right length, improving their ability to eat and survive in the wild.
The hustle and bustle of springtime can bring more than just wildlife to our homes; squirrels, in particular, may start to cause household disruption as they look for materials to create a nest. To prevent the little critters from infiltrating your deck or balcony, there are several tactics you can employ. Start by eliminating any sources of food, such as fallen fruit or bird feeders.
Spraying a spicy concoction like cayenne pepper around the base of the structure will help deter them from entering. Installing chimney guards can also help block their access points. Finally, make it harder for them to get at potential nesting materials by trimming nearby branches or trees that could be used for construction.
Other Activities Related to Food
Squirrels not only chew on wood but also engage in foraging for food. They scavenge for seeds, nuts, fruits, leaves, and insects. They can even store food in their dens or bury it in the ground! Most of the time they’ll be looking to make a quick meal out of something they find while scurrying around.
What Do Squirrels Actually Eat?
Squirrels may appear to eat wood, but on closer inspection we can see that they are actually consuming a variety of different things. They feed on nuts, berries, fruits, fungi, insects and eggs – all of which they find in their surroundings. In addition to this diet rich in plant-based food sources, squirrels have been known to supplement with small animals such as frogs or lizards.
Plants and Animals
Since these animals are omnivorous, they’re able to consume both plant foods and small animals as part of their diet. As far as plants go, squirrels primarily prefer nuts like acorns or hazelnuts. But they’re also known to eat mushrooms, shredded bark from trees or shrubs and seeds from different types of grasses. For their animal sources of food, small birds and other mammals such as mice can be found in their dietary history.
Nuts, Berries, Fruits, Fungi, Insects and Eggs
Squirrels are known to dine on a variety of tasty treats, including nuts, berries, fruits, fungi, insects and eggs. Nuts are an especially popular choice; they provide essential nutrients and keep the animals energized throughout the day. Berries also provide important antioxidants and minerals while helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Don’t Let Them Destroy Your Deck – Tips to Stop Them!
Here’s the best squirrel repellent to keep the squirrels away from your deck:
The Best Squirrel Repellent
Identifying Signs of Damage
The foremost way in knowing if your deck has any chew damage done by squirrels is visually inspecting it for any tell-tale signs. You should look for bite marks along the edges (often accompanied by sawdust) or holes chewed out from underneath railings. Be sure to check corners where exposed joists may be hollowed out from repeated gnawing. In some cases, even the post caps can become victims of chiseling claws.
Exclusion techniques are a great way to ensure that you can keep squirrels from destroying your deck. The most important thing is to make sure that they cannot access the area in the first place so it will not be damaged. Trimming any trees or shrubs around the deck is an essential first step as these provide lots of cover and easy access for squirrels. You should also install physical barriers like wire mesh or netting to prevent them from climbing onto your deck.
Trimming Trees & Shrubs Away from the Deck
Trees, plants and shrubs often host a variety of wildlife including birds, insects, and most importantly squirrels! Having even small amounts of vegetation near your deck increases chances for damaging gnaw marks on wood because rodents use it for nesting material making homes under fencing or decks. Trimming back overgrown vegetation will restrict their access.
- Cut down larger tree limbs that hang over your property line in order to discourage squirrels from jumping onto your deck.
- Prune nearby bushes which may attract pests searching for shelter within its branches.
- Remove any potential cover such as stacked firewood or stored toys/furniture that could invite hiding spots away from open areas where squirrels would feel exposed.
Installing Barriers Around the Deck
Installing physical barriers around the edges of your deck is another technique you can try out to help keep those pesky critters far away – Even if they do manage to climb up, they won’t be able to get past these obstacles! Using chicken wire mesh along with some kind posts staked into the ground, you’ll create an effective fence around all sides of your wooden structure.
- Place a section of chicken wire mesh around each post so that when all four sections are joined together it forms a circle.
- Within this fenced-in section, bury some hardware cloth underneath – this will act as an additional layer between pesky creatures and potentially chewed up wood.
- Bolts should be secured inside drilled holes at both opposite ends of each post so that everything stays secure during rainstorms (or wind gusts) without needing constant maintenance or upkeep
The Best Squirrel-Proof Barriers
How to Make the Deck Less Appealing to Squirrels
Making it harder for squirrels to find food sources on your deck is a great way to minimize their presence. Removing things like bird feeders and fallen fruit from trees can help keep them away since these attract scavenging animals, including squirrels. Placing mesh over decks can be an additional deterrent as well, since the screening makes it more difficult for them to get into trouble.
A key step in discouraging squirrel activity around decks is reducing hiding places. Trimming trees and shrubs away from decking will discourage climbing creatures from getting close by and creating nests. Keeping grass cut short also helps prevent hiding spots near ground level that may provide shelter for squirrels.
You can also use this effective repellent around your deck:
Remove Food Sources
Best Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
Reduce Hiding Places
- Trim trees/shrubs back away from the deck
- Keep grass neatly trimmed around the home
Prevent Access by Sealing Gaps in the Deck
Securing decks with screws or nails will ensure that any spaces between boards can’t be used as access points by intruding wildlife. A ny openings should also be caulked or sealed for extra protection.
Other Repellents and Deterrents for Keeping Squirrels Away from Decks
- Motion-Activated Sprinklers: Installing motion sensors will trigger water jets whenever a wild animal moves nearby, scaring off would-be invaders.
- Lights: Installing bright lights around your property may act as a strong visual deterrent.
- Wood Spray: Those solutions usually contain peppermint oil which has been found to repel many small mammals, including squirrels. It’s applied to fence posts, outdoor furniture, mailboxes, etc – anything you want to protect against pesky chewers!
So, do squirrels eat wood? Yes, unfortunately they do. The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to limit their destructive behavior and protect your precious decking materials. Start by installing a high fence or thick shrub around the outside of the deck to keep them from digging in; use repellents or traps to catch any stragglers that may have already found their way on; and lastly, be sure to check for signs of damage frequently so that you’re able to act quickly if needed.
Overall, it’s important to remember that if your favorite outdoor escape has been affected by these woodland creatures, there are measures you can take to protect what’s yours – so don’t give up hope just yet. A little advanced preparation goes a long way when it comes to ensuring your wooden decks remain safe and healthy – and away from hungry squirrels!
You may also be interested in reading: