Squirrels do not like the smell of any herbs that have got a strong smell, hence they absolutely dislike the smell of catnip. The smell of strongly crushed catnip leaves can end up affecting their scent picking up ability, so avoid being around such herbs.
Let’s deep dive into this topic…
What is catnip?
Catnips are herbs belonging to the mint family. It contains a substance called nepetalactone, which is known to have a strong effect on members of the cat family(even the larger cats like tigers).
The chemical is thought to activate various regions of the cat”s brain and that leads to a wide variety of behavioral outputs.
They can start rolling, acting a bit strange, and can ultimately sit on their own in a very relaxed state. The effects generally last for 10 to 15 minutes.
However, catnips are also known to have an effect on about 50% of the cats and have absolutely no effect on the rest. Catnip sensitivity is something that is hereditary in nature.
Is catnip okay for Squirrels?
Squirrels like all rodents have a very strong sense of smell and hence are known to not like catnips at all. In fact, catnips are often advised to use in your house if you wanna keep squirrels away. They are known to act as strong repellants.
All members of the mint family, including herbs like peppermint and catnip, have got a very strong odor that can heavily affect the scent picking up receptors of these little animals. Hence the majority of them avoid being around such herbs.
What does catnip do to Squirrels?
Rodents have got a very strong and sensitive scent picking up ability. They cant afford to let their smelling ability get affected by any sort of a strong smell as that will prevent them to detect predatory presence and food.
Squirrels may not get affected in any way some of the cats do by the smell of catnips, but the strong smell is enough in most cases to keep them away. However, for this to work, the smell must be strong enough and will be only that way if the catnips are fresh and a bit crushed.
Also, catnips as the name suggests are something that attracts cats out in the wild. If you have catnip plants outside you may often notice them being destroyed as the cats will try to squash them to experience the chemical sensation properly.
So something that will attract cats will act as a repellant for rodents like rats, squirrels, etc by the law of nature.
Catnip Alternative for Squirrels
If you don’t wanna deter away these little furry animals and just wanna feed them some yummy snacks then instead of catnips you can provide them with the following food items:
Squirrels absolutely love chewing on lettuces. They are known to give lettuces special preference over other vegetables. Moreover, it is superbly healthy and is rich in vitamins A, B, and K. Also it contains minerals like calcium, potassium, and calcium which are often required by the squirrels in large quantities.
Kale is stuffed with calcium, potassium, manganese, etc.
It is also rich in vitamin C, B, K, etc. Kale also has got a high amount of antioxidants in them.
However you need to feed them kale in moderation as they have really high levels of calcium and oxalates in them, squirrels need a regular supply of calcium but an abundance of these items on a regular basis can lead to stone formation.
Arugula is something rodents absolutely love! They are also known as rocket leaves and is stuffed with vitamins.
It also contains a suitable amount of folate and magnesium in them. Moreover like kale, it is rich in calcium and antioxidants. Again as it is rich in calcium, you need to feed them this item in moderation.
Squirrels like all rodents like chewing on small leafy food items. Moreover, basil leaves have got a sweet and pleasant smell that attracts them to these herbs. They are rich in zinc, fatty acids, and antioxidants which means they enormously boost the immune system of the squirrels.
Can Squirrels have catnip toys?
There is no strong evidence out there that will suggest that squirrels shouldn’t have catnip toys.
But if you plan to let your little friend play with these sorts of toys, make sure they never manage to destroy the toy and ingest the ingredients inside the toy. There is not enough data out there that will show that catnips will have no bad effect on them.
However, you may find some squirrels getting repelled by the toy that smells like catnip. But this varies a lot and depends a lot on the squirrel itself.
You may find that they are not getting affected by the smell at all, because they don’t like the smell of freshly crushed catnips as those possesses a very strong smell but the smell of a dried out catnip inside a toy may make a huge problem for them at least in terms of the smell.
That’s it, folks! IF you have any comments let me know in the comments.