How to feed squirrels without feeding and encouraging rats?

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We love our backyard squirrels, and have seen a new litter of them this past spring and since we are so present around them, they even eat out of our hand. We've watched them grow up. Recently though, a couple of rats have shown up and while the squirrels try chasing them away, they persist. I DON'T want to encourage them, much less feed them, and they say if you've seen two rats, there are probably ten more lurking in the background. Eww. So is there ANY way to deter them without harming our beloved squirrels family? As it is, I'm worried that the neighbors might put out poison if they see them, assuming they don't have the same relationship with the squirrels that we have. Please help!

  7 answers
  • Tonya Brooks Tonya Brooks on Sep 12, 2017
    You can't. The nasty vermin can smell food on Mars. I wouldn't suggest doing it.
    • Enjoying Gift of Nature Enjoying Gift of Nature on Aug 23, 2020

      I've been feeding squirrels for more than 10 years and never saw a rat!

      I feed them unsalted peanuts in the shell every 5:30 a.m and they recognize me with my dog and pet stroller! I toss some under the trees and are gone from sight by evening until the next day! No rats....no squirrels til next day! I don't imagine the rat people who deem a takeover from the nuts in the shells are an invitation to invite rats to c'mon over and have a feast! Never saw it and never will! Just an exterminators b.s to do a needless job to pacify neighbors who should get a life! As to the birdseed....I had a 2-flat and a birdhouse with seed! I TOTALLY AGREE mice and rats love bird seed! My squirrels are too happy with the unsalted peanuts in the shell and are gone until the next 5:30 a.m appearance of me and my dog! Happy daze to all who condemn rats as I do....Happy days to those who enjoy nature at its finest especially with all the chemicals on planet earth that kill anything that moves(human and animals! )

  • Rose Broadway Rose Broadway on Sep 12, 2017
    Feed them from a hanging feeder and keep the ground free from food that rats can get to.
    • See 1 previous
    • Enjoying Gift of Nature Enjoying Gift of Nature on Aug 23, 2020

      I've been feeding squirrels for more than 10 years and never saw a rat!

      I feed them unsalted peanuts in the shell every 5:30 a.m and they recognize me with my dog and pet stroller! I toss some under the trees and are gone from sight by evening until the next day! No rats....no squirrels til next day! I don't imagine the rat people who deem a takeover from the nuts in the shells are an invitation to invite rats to c'mon over and have a feast! Never saw it and never will! Just an exterminators b.s to do a needless job to pacify neighbors who should get a life! As to the birdseed....I had a 2-flat and a birdhouse with seed! I TOTALLY AGREE mice and rats love bird seed! My squirrels are too happy with the unsalted peanuts in the shell and are gone until the next 5:30 a.m appearance of me and my dog! Happy daze to all who condemn rats as I do....Happy days to those who enjoy nature at its finest especially with all the chemicals on planet earth that kill anything that moves(human and animals! )

  • Kaye Hawthorne Kaye Hawthorne on Sep 12, 2017
    try only putting food out for your beauties at certain times during the day when you know they usually come for food. Without killing the rats, there's not much you can do except to hang something in the air and place your squirrels food in it but the rats will still eat any of the food that falls to the ground. You may be able to figure out a way to place a concave style bowl underneath to catch the food pieces making sure to drill a hole in the center so the rain/water can drain from the catch basin.
    Best of Luck!

  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Sep 12, 2017
    Hi Sophie, Perhaps you can set up a bird feeder type of situation (maybe one for birds with a baffle around the pole to keep squirrels from getting to the bird feed and one specifically for the squirrels) that gets cleaned out ever few days and the area around it cleaned up daily. Try not to use very much birdseed in your squirrel feeder because rats LOVE birdseed. Do NOT make your yard inviting to rats, either; keep brush cleared away, and "snacks" cleaned up from the yard. Remeber that rats like nuts as much as squirrels do and nuts on the ground will attract rats and mice as well as squirrels. Also, rats have poor eyesight (squirrels do not), so rats, like mice, tend to stick to the edges of walls and perimeters so keep the feeders out in the open away from fencing and edges of gardens.
    How to make a squirrel feeder (video):
    HOLEY MOLEY! THIS GUY is most definitely a squirrel lover! LOL
    And for your squirrel watching pleasure:
    THANK YOU for using HOMETALK for solutions ;)
  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Sep 12, 2017
    oh just one more! WOW! this guy has like 10 videos of different obstacle courses for squirrels ... but here's just one more LOL
  • Enjoying Gift of Nature Enjoying Gift of Nature on Aug 23, 2020

    I've been feeding squirrels for more than 10 years and never saw a rat!

    I feed them unsalted peanuts in the shell every 5:30 a.m and they recognize me with my dog and pet stroller! I toss some under the trees and are gone from sight by evening until the next day! No rats....no squirrels til next day! I don't imagine the rat people who deem a takeover from the nuts in the shells are an invitation to invite rats to c'mon over and have a feast! Never saw it and never will! Just an exterminators b.s to do a needless job to pacify neighbors who should get a life! As to the birdseed....I had a 2-flat and a birdhouse with seed! I TOTALLY AGREE mice and rats love bird seed! My squirrels are too happy with the unsalted peanuts in the shell and are gone until the next 5:30 appearance of me and my dog! Happy daze to all who condemn rats as I do....Happy days to those who enjoy nature at its finest especially with all the chemicals on planet earth!

  • Enjoying Gift of Nature Enjoying Gift of Nature on Aug 23, 2020

    I've been feeding squirrels for more than 10 years and never saw a rat!

    I feed them unsalted peanuts in the shell every 5:30 a.m and they recognize me with my dog and pet stroller! I toss some under the trees and are gone from sight by evening until the next day! No rats....no squirrels til next day! I don't imagine the rat people who deem a takeover from the nuts in the shells are an invitation to invite rats to c'mon over and have a feast! Never saw it and never will! Just an exterminators b.s to do a needless job to pacify neighbors who should get a life! As to the birdseed....I had a 2-flat and a birdhouse with seed! I TOTALLY AGREE mice and rats love bird seed! My squirrels are too happy with the unsalted peanuts in the shell and are gone until the next 5:30 a.m appearance of me and my dog! Happy daze to all who condemn rats as I do....Happy days to those who enjoy nature at its finest especially with all the chemicals on planet earth that kill anything that moves(human and animals! )

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