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I have a metal planter on my patio. Why do squirrels come up and chew on the sides of it? Are they sharpening their teeth?

  • I speculate that they like the taste because they get small amounts of some essential nutrient. When we regrouted our patio, squrrels licked the grout, again probably because they got some essential ingredient. What is the metal? – ab2 May 16 at 21:49
  • They also like chewing plastic insulated wires; have to ask the squirrels why. – blacksmith37 May 17 at 16:11
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It is most likely that instead of sharpening their teeth, they are actually shortening them.

Like all rodents, squirrels' incisor teeth grow continuously, and need to be worn away, which is achieved by gnawing on things like wood, or in your case metal. Soft metals like tin are suitable for this purpose because they are hard enough to wear away the teeth, but not so hard as to cause damage to the teeth.

I suggest that you get a sacrificial block of wood such as hickory, oak or ash and place it in your garden. The squirrels are likely to transfer their chewing habits to the more suitable wood.

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  • I think it is tin. That is so interesting. Thank you I would never have guessed that. We have 9 to 11 squirrels daily that come for seed and and peanuts. A couple will even come in the house... – susan walton May 17 at 3:24

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