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Old 08-05-2013, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,382 posts, read 20,186,364 times
Reputation: 16366

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I don't know where to post this exactly but figured I'd start here (feel free to move if necessary).

We have always fed the squirrels, birds, etc. (putting out bread, nuts, water, etc.) on the deck railing. I tried to wean off the food for the spring/summer - just putting out the water (birds are always taking baths), with the occasional food item.

The last couple days a small squirrel (maybe it's more than one? they all look the same, LOL) has taken to climbing up the wood trim of the screen door to the deck! When I confront him/her, it goes to the close railing and looks at me!! I assume it's hungry and put something out - it goes a few feet away while I do this then immediately goes to eat.

I obviously don't want the climbing to continue but I don't want the poor thing(s) to die of starvation either, any thoughts?

They/it are really runts. Another issue: my tomatoes are being eaten - I have to pick as soon as they start to ripen and bring them in or they are toast

I'm not going to kill or poison or anything but hoping for any tips.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:56 PM
 
7,933 posts, read 9,659,084 times
Reputation: 13960
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flamingo13 View Post
I don't know where to post this exactly but figured I'd start here (feel free to move if necessary).

We have always fed the squirrels, birds, etc. (putting out bread, nuts, water, etc.) on the deck railing. I tried to wean off the food for the spring/summer - just putting out the water (birds are always taking baths), with the occasional food item.

The last couple days a small squirrel (maybe it's more than one? they all look the same, LOL) has taken to climbing up the wood trim of the screen door to the deck! When I confront him/her, it goes to the close railing and looks at me!! I assume it's hungry and put something out - it goes a few feet away while I do this then immediately goes to eat.

I obviously don't want the climbing to continue but I don't want the poor thing(s) to die of starvation either, any thoughts?

They/it are really runts. Another issue: my tomatoes are being eaten - I have to pick as soon as they start to ripen and bring them in or they are toast

I'm not going to kill or poison or anything but hoping for any tips.
The squirrels and birds will NOT starve if you stop feeding them. I promise. You've trained them to come to you for food. Once you stop providing it, they will go elsewhere for food.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,382 posts, read 20,186,364 times
Reputation: 16366
Thanks.... that's why it was the occasional but it/they have stepped up the game! LOL - occasional wasn't good enough. I guess I do have to go tough, NO FOOD (easier said than done.... is there a 12-step?)
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:07 PM
 
24 posts, read 32,549 times
Reputation: 61
Wild animals belong in the wild with no need for your help. Your big heart will only create more monsters if the food continues, as they'll begin to associate houses with food. Squirrels have enough habitat as not to be endangered (especially around here!) which means they have plenty of the food they have always eaten and will continue to eat, without any human help. If he breaks in, call animal control.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:25 PM
 
1,825 posts, read 2,588,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williardium View Post
Wild animals belong in the wild with no need for your help. Your big heart will only create more monsters if the food continues, as they'll begin to associate houses with food. Squirrels have enough habitat as not to be endangered (especially around here!) which means they have plenty of the food they have always eaten and will continue to eat, without any human help. If he breaks in, call animal control.
Believe me, they will manage. Many years ago I had a neighbor who was feeding the wild life, to the point of peanut butter on bread for the raccoons. She had squirrel trails leading to her house. She did eventually stop and the wild life have all survived. Now they just all feed off my apple tree every June.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:16 PM
 
320 posts, read 400,957 times
Reputation: 476
I can sympathize with your soft heart, but, as other posters point out, the critters will be fine without your snacks. All you really need to do to discourage them is to stop feeding them -- no need for more drastic measures.

I once had a neighbor who left whole peanuts out for the squirrels. The squirrels ate their fill and then would bury the excess peanuts in my backyard. Naturally, my dogs sniffed out, dug up, and ate the snacks. So in the end, my neighbor wasn't feeding "starving" squirrels, but rather was providing my dogs with extra treats!
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,562,744 times
Reputation: 3656
Alternate solution: Get a dog. Mine keeps my deck nice and squirrel free

(but yeah, stop rewarding their begging!)
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:52 PM
 
34 posts, read 37,590 times
Reputation: 57
The squirrel now thinks that running up the wood trim is the way to get a snack. I would throw the snacks off the porch to avoid insects and droppings. My mother loves to feed the animals on her deck. She puts a handful of shelled peanuts on a table, and her most frequent customers are bluejays. A bluejay lands, picks up one peanut, shakes it, drops it, picks up another and shakes it. He repeats this pattern until he finds one he likes, and then he flies away with it. I guess they're weighing the peanuts before picking the heaviest one.

One year, my dad had a small apple tree in the backyard. The squirrels would get in the tree, pick an apple, take one bite, and decide they didn't like it and throw the apple on the ground. Then the next day, well, they apparently forgot that they didn't like the apples, so they just had to try tasting a fresh one again. In about two weeks' time, every apple was lying on the ground with just one bite out of it. My dad was mad. Not just because he didn't get any apples, but because those squirrels were being so wasteful!
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:09 PM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,757,888 times
Reputation: 3943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flamingo13 View Post
I don't know where to post this exactly but figured I'd start here (feel free to move if necessary).

We have always fed the squirrels, birds, etc. (putting out bread, nuts, water, etc.) on the deck railing. I tried to wean off the food for the spring/summer - just putting out the water (birds are always taking baths), with the occasional food item.

The last couple days a small squirrel (maybe it's more than one? they all look the same, LOL) has taken to climbing up the wood trim of the screen door to the deck! When I confront him/her, it goes to the close railing and looks at me!! I assume it's hungry and put something out - it goes a few feet away while I do this then immediately goes to eat.

I obviously don't want the climbing to continue but I don't want the poor thing(s) to die of starvation either, any thoughts?

They/it are really runts. Another issue: my tomatoes are being eaten - I have to pick as soon as they start to ripen and bring them in or they are toast

I'm not going to kill or poison or anything but hoping for any tips.
Just feed gradually less and less and then stop. There is plenty of food around now for squirrels, and this one is certainly smart enough to survive without your handouts. The squirrel is not starving anyway - he's just smart. And aggressive. Squirrels do not view the world the way we do - he is not grateful to you in any way. In his view, he is the boss and you are weak. They are actually pretty aggressive animals and some have become so used to people that they will actually threaten them for food. It's really not good for the animals when we feed them. Just gradually drop off the food and then stop it all together. If you must give something, put out some fresh water - that way you can enjoy the wildlife in your yard without causing overpopulation and aggression among the small mammals.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:38 AM
 
1,256 posts, read 3,518,966 times
Reputation: 778
Sure it's a squirrel and not a chipmunk?
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