Show me one person who doesn’t like to spot a squirrel on a tree while walking in the forest. These small neat animals are incredibly agile, jumping from tree to tree as if they were playing a game. And maybe they are playing one, because what do we know about animals and their true intentions after all? Squirrels in forest are great, but most people won’t enjoy seeing them in their gardens. These little beasts aren’t picky when it comes to food selection. Sure enough, nuts are their favorite food, but they will eat just about anything, including fruits, veggies, flowers, trees, plants and snacks we forget on the verandah. But what about succulents? Will squirrels savor your favorite plants?
A quick answer to the question in YES. Squirrels eat succulents, and in certain cases they may easily eat your entire succulent garden. As it is almost always the case though, things aren’t that straightforward with animals and succulents. Some people have squirrels in their gardens but they do not touch their succulents. How it is possible? And what can you do to prevent squirrels from devouring your succulent garden for dinner? We will try to find the answers on the following lines.
Squirrels eat succulents, but they prefer other food
If you place a bowl of nuts, a ripe apple, and a pot with a succulent (such as jade plant, snake plant, ponytail palm, aloe) in front of a squirrel, it won’t take any interest in the succulent whatsoever. It will feed on the nuts, and, if still hungry, may take a bite from the apple. What I try to say here is that well-fed squirrels don’t have the slightest reason to bite holes to your succulents. And in ideal case it would be so.
But we do not live in an ideal world. Climate change, and the way in which we treat nature, puts a dent to the balance of our ecosystems. Many plant species die, the nuts suffer from all sorts of plagues and almost do not grow in wild nature, and many animals lose their natural predators. What happens is that they overpopulate a certain area. Suddenly they lack their favorite food, and have to opt for risky endeavors, such as jumping into your garden and eating whatever is available. If they find nothing better, or if they come in bulk, they will eat your succulents.
Unless you bring your pots indoors, you cannot prevent squirrels from reaching your succulents
Do not waste your time trying to place your succulents on some high spot, or hanging them from a tree. Squirrels are excellent jumpers and climbers, and it is almost impossible to find a spot that they cannot reach. What’s more, they enjoy jumping and exploring the area, and a seemingly inaccessible placement of a succulent pot may attract them even more to it.
If you want to make sure they won’t eat your succulents, try to provide them better food. You can try fruits that you picked or bought but did not manage to eat, you can also try planting various trees around–that is, if you still want squirrels around your house, but do not want them to eat your succulents. In case you want to get rid of them, check the following remedies.
How to get rid of squirrels making sure they won’t eat your succulents
Before we look at some great remedies against squirrels, I want to point something out: Just as almost nothing will stop a desperate man, it is very hard to get rid of a desperate animal. If you live in an area heavily overpopulated with squirrels, and at the same time it lacks nut trees and pines and other stuff squirrels like, and hence they are always hungry, no remedy will really work 100%, or even 50%. When animals are hungry they will take risks they would not normally take. Keep this on your mind before you deem any remedy ineffective. Let’s move to particular remedies.
- Get a dog, especially one that enjoys chasing squirrels. Almost any terrier or hunting dog will do, but many hybrid dogs will also chase squirrels. I guarantee you that squirrels will keep distance from the succulents, especially if your dog can reach them as well. Of course if the pots hang up high–squirrels can reach them but dogs can’t, this remedy isn’t going to work.
- Place plastic owls and hawks around the garden. In my opinion this solution works only in short term, unless you move the plastic imitations once in a while, and keep squirrels doubting whether they aren’t real. Hawks, eagles and owls in particular pray on squirrels. The little animals prefer to keep safe distance. Hence a plastic imitation of an owl (or more of them) will often do the trick.
- Install motion activated water-sprinklers. Squirrels do not like to get their fur wet. And they also do not like sudden surprises :). That’s why motion activated sprinklers tend to work well with them. This remedy has a flip side though. First of all the high initial costs, and secondly it may scare away also other animals from your garden, animals you’d like to stay there.
- Plant flowers that squirrels hate. Squirrels don’t like the taste of snowdrops, allium or hyacinth (and other plants, you can Google for the full list). If you plant them around your succulents, they may discourage squirrels from getting close to your beloved plants. You can also spray a taste repellent on the leaves of your succulents, which in combination with right flowers around the pots makes for a powerful combination against squirrels.
Squirrels do not prefer succulents, but when they lack other food or overpopulate in your area they eat them, and in some cases they may destroy your entire succulent garden. As you can see now, you can apply a variety of remedies, such as getting a dog, using taste repellents, installing motion-activated water sprinklers, and so on. Keep in mind though that if the squirrels are heavily overpopulated in the zone, and desperate for any food, they will take risks, and no remedy will prevent them from touching your succulents. Hope this helps, and I wish you good luck with your plants!
May also interest you: Are succulents good for air quality?