The second reason that it's good to establish rapport with your squirrels is that you can save a lot of money when it comes to feeding. If you have a squirrel feeding station, the first squirrel to show up usually hogs all the food. It's usually a dominant squirrel who will fight off all the others, and either eat all the food, or take and bury it.
The first step in establishing rapport with squirrels is to spend time with them. Squirrels are more active in the morning and in the evening, so pick a time when you can go out and sit quietly in your yard. I don't normally recommend feeding peanuts, but peanuts in the shell are easiest to use for this exercise.
When a squirrel enters your yard, get its attention by making a sound. It can be a vocalization or handheld clicker. You will need to use the same sound each time to get their attention. When you have the squirrels attention, throw a peanut in their direction. The squirrel will soon learn to associate the sound with being fed by you.
Squirrels are quick learners, it won't be long before you will be able to go out and make that sound and have squirrels come running. One thing about squirrels and food, when one is being fed others take notice. Before long you will have a whole group of squirrels wanting to be fed. This is where you can use the feeding characteristic of squirrels to your advantage. Squirrels are insanely jealous of their food. The bolder squirrels will move in closer trying to be the first fed. If you remain calm and nonthreatening, it won't be long before you will be able to have them accept food from your hand.
I recently saw a video where a man used a board resting against his knee to make it easy for squirrels to come up to his lap to accept food. It seemed to work very well, so I would recommend that you try this technique when the time comes.
I would caution you about holding food between your thumb and index finger the first time you try to get a squirrel to take food from your hand. The reason is that squirrels are very wary the first time they accept food from a human. They usually move very quickly and unless you hold very still, it's possible to get your finger bitten.
The reason for this is the way a squirrels eyes are located on their head. They have 180° vision that enables them to see behind them without turning their heads. The problem with this kind of vision is that they cannot see things in front of their nose. When they make their move to come for the food, the closer they get, the more they lose sight of the target. If your hand moves even 1/4 an inch, your finger could be where the food was a split second ago, and you get bitten. Until the squirrel gets comfortable with you, it's best to hold your food offerings in an open palm.
When you've established this kind of rapport with squirrels, it makes it much easier to treat them if and when they come down with conditions such as mange. By having them accept food from your hand you are able to ensure that only the affected squirrel gets treated. It can also save you a lot of money, because you will no longer have one squirrel eating or burying all the food, and you will actually be able to ensure that the maximum number of squirrels get fed.
The best benefit of all, is to be able to interact up close and personal with these magnificent animals.
For information about how to feed your wild squirrels a really healthy treat, check out our Squirrel Veggie Squares. Each Veggie Square contains the equivalent of a days serving of 35 fruits and vegetables along with the fiber and enzymes. Click HERE for more information.