Are squirrels pests or pets?

Whether we love squirrels or hate them, they certainly seem to like us! Squirrels have different effects on different people. For some, squirrels are pests, for others, they treat them like pets.

Watching them in or around your yard, garden or neighborhood, you have probably asked yourself, “Do they benefit my home or garden in any way?”  You might feel less inclined to get angry at the sight of your empty bird feeder or the nibbles in your tomatoes if you know they do something helpful..but all they seem to do is eat! (Groundhogs, moles and chipmunks don’t contribute much either, unfortunately!)

Are Squirrels Helpful?

One of the biggest benefits of squirrels in your neighborhood?

  • They gather and hoard nuts, seeds, and pinecones, burying them in varying locations under trees and bushes. The ones they neglect to dig up for food during the winter can sprout in the spring and become new growth.  Voila – trees!
  • Squirrels are also, in a word, prey. They are a source of food for coyotes, foxes, birds, snakes, owls, skunks, even domestic dogs.
  •  Of course, squirrels are cute and mischevious. They can provide a lot of laughs if you’re so inclined to enjoy them, evidenced by numerous videos and squirrel clips on YouTube, for instance, chronicling their antics.

Are squirrels pests or pets? Are squirrels beneficial in any way to homes and gardens?