Leon the squirrel gets a fancy snack of almonds and sunflower seeds from a well-meaning local, who really should be leaving Leon to his own foraging devices. (Submitted)

Leon the squirrel gets a fancy snack of almonds and sunflower seeds from a well-meaning local, who really should be leaving Leon to his own foraging devices. (Submitted)

Squirrels don’t need your nuts, thanks

Consider birding instead of wildlife feeding, SPCA suggests

Squirrel feeding is out of hand in Oak Bay, according to local resident Deb Williams.

“The squirrels are just everywhere. Yeah, they’re cute, but somebody is feeding them peanuts in the shell. Everywhere I look there’s peanuts. The squirrels are digging up flower pots, gardens and even lawns to hide their peanuts everywhere,” she said, saying it didn’t used to be like this.

Simply put, squirrels don’t need your nuts.

Yes their stuffed cheeks and tiny paws are very cute, but they are still wild animals with specific dietary needs that peanuts do not satisfy, said Wallis Moore Reid, the SPCA’s Wild Arc senior wildlife rehabilitator.

“Peanuts offer no nutrition, it’s like giving them popcorn. It’s the last thing you’d want to feed them.”

Feeding wild animals also encourages habituation, she said, which puts animals at risk of coming into conflict with humans, our pets and in some cases, our neighbours.

“You might love and respect wildlife but your neighbour might not,” Moore Reid said. Your pseudo-pet now thinks humans are safe, and could choose to nest in your neighbour’s soffit. But some folks look at that as a nuisance, not a cute work-from-home perk.

The slower life of the pandemic has encouraged many people to pay more attention to wildlife in their backyards, and some have gone so far as to welcome the creatures with custom picnic tables.

Feeding wildlife can lead to what look like adorable connections between humans and animals, as any browse through Reddit or TikTok’s “aww” channels will demonstrate, but it really does more harm than good to the animals, Moore Reid said.

As an alternative cute wildlife fix, she recommends investing in a pair of binoculars, and maybe taking up birding.

“You can bird by ear as well as eye, so you can learn their songs and calls. There’s a whole fascinating bird world that’s very rewarding if you learn about it.”

“You can go ‘mammaling’,” she suggested.

Look, photograph, even name them, but don’t feed.

BylawsEnvironmentWildlife

Just Posted

The entrance to one of the tiny homes in Victoria’s Tiny Home Village. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
Victoria Tiny Home Village resident evicted for lighting small fire

No damage or injuries, but zero-tolerance rule stands

The Victoria Police Department is seeking information on an assault that occurred in downtown Victoria on May 10. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police investigating downtown Victoria assault on youth

Witness also attacked after trying to intervene

Howard English Hatchery volunteer Joscilyn Jupp poured one of many buckets of salmon fry into Douglas Creek on May 11, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
35,000 salmon fry released in Saanich park during closed event

Chum from Goldstream Hatchery trucked in to restore Douglas Creek salmon spawning

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A game camera near the Klahoose reservation on Cortes Island caught this glimpse of a truck leaving the woodlot at around 2:30 on Sunday morning. Photo supplied by Klahoose First Nation
Indigenous cutblock vandalised on Cortes Island, anti-logging element suspected

Ribbons pulled down, gravel poured into gas tank at Klahoose First Nation site

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

The Nanaimo Timbermen and Victoria Shamrocks compete in Western Lacrosse Association action in Nanaimo during the 2019 season. (News Bulletin file photo)
WLA cancels another senior A lacrosse season due to COVID-19

Western Lacrosse Association, Major Series Lacrosse announce cancellation of Mann Cup

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Most Read