The first step to squirrel gazing 🐿👀 is attracting squirrels!
This is usually done by handing out snacks to these furry foragers. 🌰
But, what should you be filling your feeders with?
To find out what wild squirrels like to eat 🍕🍪🍿 I went to my local grocery store and purchased a sampler of every type of nut and seed they had! (This does get you some weird looks at the checkout stand! 💁🏻👀)
Next, I counted out 40 of each food type, mixed them all together, and placed them on a tray. It’s like a squirrel Hometown Buffet.
Let the food preference test begin!
Everyday for six days, at 5pm I would place the tray at the base of the favorite tree of my loyal crew of 12 fox squirrels 🐿in the botanical garden 🌻🌲 on the UCLA 🐻 campus .
The tray would remain in the garden for two hours. At the end of which I recorded how many pieces of each food type was left behind. 🌰
The results are in! 🔎 📊
The favorite food of the UCLA botanical garden fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) are Walnuts! Followed closely by a tie between peanuts and hazelnuts.
Close to 80% of all the walnuts placed on the food tray over the six testing days were chosen by the squirrels. Compare that to the least liked food, sunflower seeds 🌻, where only about 10% of the items were taken!
The information I gained by completing this food preference test will help inform what types of squirrel snacks I should fill my data collecting feeder with!
Here is a video montage of squirrels selecting their favorite foods! 🐿👀🎥