Squirrels are frequently seen stealing a variety of seeds and nuts from various bird feeders. But are monkey nuts ones that they hope to steal?
What are Monkey Nuts?
Essentially, monkey nuts are peanuts. But the main difference between the two is that monkey nuts are still completely encased in an intact shell.
The monkey nut itself includes the shell whereas the peanuts are simply the kernels that are held inside the shell.
Do Squirrels Like Monkey Nuts?
Squirrels love monkey nuts. They are a big fan of them and will often store the shelled nuts in the ground to eat at a later date.
They are apparently very tasty to squirrels and they will often choose monkey nuts over more nutritional sources. This can be bad for them so, if you are wanting to feed the nearby squirrels some monkey nuts, be careful to not give them too many.
Will Squirrels Eat the Whole Monkey Nut?
As a monkey nut is classified as the whole nut including the shell, no, squirrels do not eat the whole monkey nut. They merely break the shell so that they can consume the nut kernels inside.
Whilst this is technically classed as just the peanut, squirrels can still be fed monkey nuts because they know to avoid the shell and they know how to break it apart.
Are Monkey Nuts Good for Other Wildlife?
There are benefits to using full monkey nuts that you don’t get with just the peanut kernels. As well as with squirrels, birds will have to spend time breaking through their shell to get to the nutrition source inside.
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This encourages natural foraging behaviour, which is great as some scientists are worried about wildlife becoming too reliant on humans for their food sources.
Monkey nuts appear to be very popular for wildlife, particularly species in the UK. As well as squirrels and birds, some people have even cited badgers foraging for the shelled peanuts.
Can Monkey Nuts Attract Pests?
Squirrels are actually classified as pests so, yes, having monkey nuts in your garden will attract pests as it will attract squirrels.
Using bird feed that does not include monkey nuts is the best way to avoid attracting squirrels to your garden. After all, it is much easier to prevent squirrels from visiting than it is to get rid of them.
What Can Monkey Nut Shells be Used for?
Using a full monkey nut may be undesirable as it requires you to clean the discarded shells. However, they can actually be used to help your garden.
Monkey nutshells can be great when used in mulch or a compost pile. You could even bury them around some of your plants to try and provide them with more nitrous content and help them grow better.
That being said, you may risk squirrels digging up around your plants if you have buried these shells in an attempt to find the peanuts.
Squirrels do eat monkey nuts.
Monkey nuts are classified as a whole nut which includes the shells and the kernels inside, which are peanuts.
Squirrels do not eat the shell of the nut, only the kernels. Using monkey nuts rather than peanuts is beneficial to both squirrels and other wildlife, like birds, as they need to break the shell of the nut, meaning they are encouraged to forage naturally.
Avoid bird feed containing monkey nuts if you do not want squirrels to come into your garden.
The discarded monkey nut shells make for a great addition to compost or mulch. They can also be buried near plants to provide them with a source of nitrogen and to help them grow healthily.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden