Why Are Squirrels Afraid of Owls?Squirrels' self-preservation instincts may make them wary of any large animal that appears to be a predator. Nevertheless, owls pose particular threats to squirrels for many reasons. Owls hunt and kill by swooping down close to the ground and taking hold of their prey with their strong talons. Squirrels are approximately the perfect size for an owl to grasp and carry away. Owls and squirrels both live in trees, so the squirrels may be convenient for the owls to catch, while the owls may pose a constant threat of danger to the squirrels. However, it is not when the squirrels are up in the trees that they are most vulnerable. It is when they are down on the ground, especially if they are out in the open with no tree nearby to escape to.
Do All Owls Hunt Squirrels?Whether or not an owl hunts squirrels depends heavily on its size. Large owls may hunt squirrels with no hesitation. Smaller owls are less likely to hunt squirrels, though they may be driven to it if threatened by conditions of extreme scarcity of food. Smaller owls have less of a size advantage over squirrels and may be less likely to successfully catch them.
When Do Owls Hunt Squirrels?Owls are iconic as nocturnal animals while squirrels are diurnal, meaning that they are more active during the day. It may seem as though owls would never encounter squirrels to hunt them. However, the active periods of squirrels and owls may overlap with one another during the hours of dawn and dusk. These are the times when owls are most likely to encounter squirrels to hunt and kill them.
How Can You Leverage a Fear of Owls To Deter Squirrels From Your Property?If it appears to a squirrel that there is an owl on your property, it may be too scared to stick around. You can make it appear to encroach on squirrels that they are threatened by an owl by putting up a decoy on your property. Squirrels may think it is the real thing and avoid your property. It may also be effective against other types of nuisance wildlife, such as mice and birds.
How Do You Use an Owl Decoy Effectively?Here are some tips for effectively using an owl decoy:
- Find a decoy that is as realistic looking as possible. Choose a fairly large size because smaller owls rarely hunt squirrels. Therefore, the squirrels may not see a smaller decoy as a threat.
- Place the decoy in a place where an owl would naturally perch. Make sure it is higher than the spot in your yard where the squirrels spend the most time.
- Choose a decoy with features that mimic natural movements, such as a head that moves in response to the wind or eyes with solar-powered lights so the squirrels can see them in the dark. Enhance the effect by playing owl sounds.
- Put up multiple decoys if you have a large yard.
- From time to time, take the decoy down or move it to a different spot. This prevents the squirrels from getting used to it. Otherwise, they may no longer see it as a threat.