Do Squirrels Eat Herbs? (What You Should Know)

Do Squirrels Eat Herbs?

Do squirrels love eating herbs? Most people believe that squirrels only enjoy eating nuts and may be surprised to find out that their herb garden has been raided by squirrels. Squirrels are quite similar to rabbits, they love ravishing a variety of plants as long as they can get access to them. 

Squirrels love just about any green plant they can find but there are exceptions. Herbs like parsley, basil, dill, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and lavender are beneficial to squirrels. While herbs like mint, cayenne pepper, witch hazel, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg are usually avoided by squirrels because of their strong fragrance and flavor.

Naturally, squirrels are omnivorous, they can feed on both vegetables and meat. But most times vegetations are all that is easily available to them. They usually get attracted to healthy-looking plants to get all the important nutrients that they need. 

This article will go into details on herbs squirrels eat and tips on how to keep your garden safe from squirrels.

Do Squirrels Eat Herbs? 

Squirrels do eat herbs but they are quite selective about the herbs they eat. It is said that they stay away from plants that are heavily fragranced or flavored. Watercress, rosemary, arugula, parsley, dill, cilantro, lavender, basil, and oregano, are herbs that squirrels feast on.

It is a pattern for them to dig out or bury nuts and other seeds around herb gardens, so don’t be surprised when you see them digging around your garden.

However, nuts and seeds are the most preferred food of squirrels but when they can’t find them and they may turn to herbs. The eating patterns of squirrels depend on the species and their regions. Every species of squirrel has a sharp sense of smell, and the aroma from your garden can attract them.

They can easily tell if a herb is healthy or not. 

What to Feed Baby Squirrels In Your Backyard
Image: Envato Elements

What Herbs Do Squirrels Eat?

Now that you know squirrels love to eat herbs but not all herbs. If you are wondering what kinds of herbs squirrels love to munch on, here’s a list;

1. Parsley

Parsleys are very beneficial for squirrels. Parsley is a healthy leafy green that has a lot of nutrients. It keeps a squirrel’s kidneys active. People don’t always consider parsley when it comes to healthy foods but they are well-packed with vitamin K and antioxidants that are essential for the blood and bones. 

2. Dill

Squirrels love dill for a very good reason, it is a great source of protein, vitamin c, and calcium and is very high in fiber. Dill is very useful to pregnant squirrels or for those nesting and good for preventing constipation. Dill is also a perfect choice to give your dinner some much-needed flavor. 

3. Rosemary

Do you know that squirrels enjoy rosemary? They are not only meant in the kitchen, squirrels also find them delicious. Essentially, the oils in rosemary are strong and when squirrels don’t take them in proportion they can get sick. 

4. Oregano

Oregano is very rich in protein; it gets its unique zest from carvacrol, which possesses healing properties. It also has vital nutrients that are crucial for squirrels’ immune systems to perform well. Oregano fights respiratory illnesses as the fragrance eliminates the mucus from the nose for proper airflow.

Oregano Companion Planting Guide

5. Lavender

Lavender contains a good amount of calcium that keeps squirrels’ bones strong and healthy. Squirrels find them very delicious as they also contain magnesium and vitamin C. Lavender is not only good for their bones but also helps them to maintain soft fur. 

6. Thyme

Thyme is quite similar to oregano, thyme has both culinary and medicinal properties. It is healthy for squirrels as it contains antioxidant properties and good fats. Your squirrel will love this treat. 

7. Basil

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.

How To Keep Squirrels Away From Your Herb Garden

Sometimes squirrels can be problematic, they are known for digging up plant seeds in gardens to munch on as snacks and destroying vegetables. Fortunately, there are ways to curb their invasion to the barest minimum;

1. Mint

Mints are tiny, unobtrusive plants to grow in your garden. You can choose to grow peppermint or spearmint as both work well for repelling squirrels. You can plant them in between other plants or around the edges of your garden. 

Planting mints are the best way to keep squirrels away from the garden. But if that’s not an option, you can sprinkle mint oil or extracts around your garden.

What bugs does mint keep away?
Source: Realestate

2. Cayenne

Squirrels have very sensitive noses, and sprinkling dried and grounded cayenne pepper around the corners of your garden will make them stay away from herbs. There are other spicy alternatives such as chili powder and hot sauce but they are quite expensive.

3. Witch Hazel

Also known as winter bloom, they are shrubs with leaves that are used to produce witch hazel astringent. Witch hazel has a very bitter and tangy taste. And spraying witch hazel extracts in your garden may help prevent squirrels from invading your herb garden.

4. Black Pepper

Black pepper is quite similar to Cayenne, it has a strong spicy smell that doesn’t often go well with squirrels. It is always best to use fresh black peppers as it has a more spicy effect. Always use a peppercorn grinder to put powdered black pepper on plants in the garden.

5. Cinnamon And Nutmeg

Like the others, cinnamon and nutmeg contain repellent properties, quite similar to mint leaves. It is best to sprinkle fresh cinnamon powder or nutmeg seeds around every nook and cranny of the garden.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I keep squirrels out of my herb garden?

A natural way to keep squirrels far away from your garden is by applying hot and spicy pepper to your herbs. The heat in the pepper is what drives them away. Spatter a good amount of fresh black grounded pepper on the soil of plants that needs protection. Alternatively, you can use cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or chili powder.

What herbs do squirrels not eat?

Squirrels naturally do not like herbs with strong fragrances, they always tend to stay away from them. Herbs like peppermint, lemongrass, cinnamon, clove, and cayenne are mostly avoided by squirrels. These herbs can also be used as repellents.

Do chipmunks and squirrels eat herbs?

Yes, they do. Chipmunks and squirrels are like cousins and they are both omnivores in nature but most times feed on plants that are primarily what is available to them. However, they love herbs like parsley, dill, basil, and lavender. These herbs have all the nutrients, vitamins, and proteins that are vital for the well-being of squirrels and chipmunks.

What herbs repel squirrels?

As much as squirrels enjoy munching on herbs, they are not a fan of so many other herbs, these herbs include marigold, white hazel, garlic, mint, peppermint, cinnamon, and chives. Planting or applying these herbs mentioned repels squirrels, it makes them stay away from your herb garden because of the fragrance which is too strong for their over-sensitive noses to handle.

Summary

Squirrels are scavengers which means they eat whatever they can lay their hands on but they are quite picky when it comes to herbs. They love eating specific herbs, especially the ones with little or no fragrance. While they avoid those with strong fragrances.

 However, squirrels could be a thorn in the flesh as they are often fond of invading a herb garden and digging up roots or seeds to feast on, thereby stopping or killing the growth of your plants.

Using natural repellents mentioned in this article can help prevent them from invading your garden and damaging your herbs. 

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