Chilling in a hammock while a gentle breeze cools you down and the hammock’s rocking motion puts you to sleep is a picture-perfect summer day. That is unless you discover that your hammock hangs oddly and that ropes are no longer tightly woven due to the gnaw marks in the shape of some rodent’s teeth. Could it be a squirrel? Do squirrels eat hammocks? If they do eat them, what to do about it?
Squirrels are proof that looks can be deceiving. All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, these cute animals have teeth that are constantly growing and can cut through hammock ropes, string lights, and electrical wires. Pesticides should be your last resort in dealing with squirrels. Spraying mint mouthwash or citrus solution are some tactics that can come in handy when combating this menace.
Stick around for more useful tips on what to do about this nuisance pest eating your hammock. Make sure to check our blog to find more about animals that can pose a problem when camping. You will also find the answer to a commonly asked question of whether perfume attracts animals when camping.
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Do squirrels eat hammocks?
To cut to the chase, yes, squirrels eat hammocks. When squirrels eat your hammock, their intentions are actually good. In their defense, they are probably collecting fiber from your hammock strings to make nests for their babies. Your hammock strings happen to be just the type of organic material that squirrels need for nest making.
What to do about it?
Even though this occurrence can be quite a nuisance, there are a few things you can do to prevent hammock eating from happening. Squirrels can be annoying and can damage your hammock, but always attempt a more humane way of getting rid of them. Here are a few suggestions:
- Provide them with nesting material – throw some pieces of yarn, string, or Easter basket hay around the hammock for squirrels to use. That way they will hopefully leave your hammock alone.
- Place a wind chime nearby – the sound will discourage the squirrels from coming closer.
- Consider purchasing a hammock stand – a hammock stand might help since hanging your hammock between two trees makes it easy for squirrels to approach it. Read our blog to also find out how you can hang a hammock with one tree.
- Hire a hammock bodyguard – not only is your dog a good camping companion but it can also protect you and your hammock. Need more tips on RVing with dogs and camping with pets? Our blog has it all.
- Try different ready-made products – you can try spraying your hammock with hairspray, mint mouthwash, or citrus solution. The smell of these products should deter the squirrels. Keep in mind that you should reapply these products at regular intervals and particularly after the rain.
- Avoid pesticides – pesticides and rodent sprays contain chemicals that can be harmful and you never know what unintended creature can suffer because of this poison. Plus, in some states, it is illegal to use them unless you are a professional exterminator.
- Pack your hammock when you don’t use it – it can be annoying to do this every time, but it will work.
Squirrels like to gnaw on the cottony ropes of hammocks. DuraCord hammocks, on the other hand, are made from synthetic materials, which are less attractive to these critters. The fabrics of such hammocks are denser and thus more difficult for squirrels to chew through.
How do you not attract animals while camping?
Squirrels are just one of the many creatures that you don’t want to attract while camping. The great outdoors is home to many animal and plant species and we are just visitors. As such, we should abide by certain rules in order to minimize the disturbance we cause to wildlife.
It is vitally important that you also learn how to protect yourself from wild animals while hiking. These are some of the things that attract wildlife in the first place:
- Dirty dishes
- Dirty cooking utensils
Next, we present you with tips on how to keep wild animals away from your campsite. Check out our blog to also find out which bugs you should worry about when camping.
Store your food properly
Wild animals won’t yield to the temptation of stealing your food if you store it properly. Wildlife is attracted to the smells and you should strive to store all of your food and utensils in special camping canisters.
Hanging your food on a tree doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be out of bear and other creatures’ reach. It is advisable to do so for your own safety, but you would be surprised at just how easy bears can climb even a 70-foot-tall tree. Another solution is to hide your food somewhere in the woods, provided that it is in a safe container such as a bear canister or a bear box.
When it comes to preparing food while camping, if possible, avoid cooking meat and pack freeze-dried food instead. Bears have a much more acute sense of smell than we do. This means that cooking food with strong smells can attract them from far away. By the same token, never eat inside your tent, as the smell of food can linger.
Keep your campsite spotlessly clean
All of your cooking utensils should be washed before and after you use them. All of the food, clothing, trash, etc. should be packed away when the night falls. Mice, flies, and toads are attracted to the smell of food and they can attract other animals, such as snakes. Learn if snakes will crawl in your sleeping bag when camping.
Dispose of trash properly
Certain campsites have established methods when it comes to taking care of trash. You can get more info from the campground staff. If your campsite doesn’t have a way to dispose of garbage, you should bring garbage bags with you.
Use odor-proof bags, and double-bag your trash. Store the trash away from the main camp, as high as possible. Never bury or burn your trash, as it can produce toxic fumes. When it comes to trash, simply pack out everything you pack in.
Pick a good camping spot
Staying somewhere where campsites already exist is the best and safest way to camp. A good rule of thumb is to stay in an open area with low grass and no bushes. That way you will keep snakes and bugs away.
Heavily wooded areas are often home to bears, raccoons, and other critters. It’s ok to have a few trees around since you will need tree branches to hang your trash bags. Don’t stay too close to water sources, no matter how tempted you are to choose a picturesque spot by the lake or stream. Choose a place at least 200 feet away from water sources and trails.
Use only natural methods to repel animals
Many animals find repulsive a lot of scents that smell nice to us. With that in mind, you can use the following methods to ward off unwanted animal visitors:
- Garlic – a few cloves of garlic can help keep mosquitoes, raccoons, and various rodents away.
- Coffee – coffee grounds are great mosquito repellents.
- Cinnamon and clove – this combination of smells repel snakes.
- Flashing lights – nocturnal rodents and bears dislike lights.
- The smell of fabric softener sheets – many animals hate this smell and this smell can also disguise the smell of food. Place these sheets in your tent, backpack, and sleeping bag.
Avoid using artificial scents
Using any artificial scent can lure a wild animal to your campsite. This is true for deodorants, lotions, and even soap and toothpaste. When you are outdoors, there’s nothing wrong with smelling like it.
If you absolutely have to use these products, use them in the morning, so that the smell wears off by nighttime. Always change into clean clothes before bed. Put the scented clothes into an odor-proof bag and store the bag away from the campsite.
Make some noise to ward off the animals
Oftentimes animals visit your campsite, unaware that there are humans around. To prevent this from happening, let the animals know that you are there. It shouldn’t be some unbearable noise, as that will cause disturbance to everyone, but light classical music or just human voices can keep the animals away. Always observe the hours when noise restrictions are implemented.
Last, but not least
While you don’t want to encounter any wild animals, make sure that you also leave no trace in their natural habitat once you leave the campsite. Any human activity should be at least 200 feet away from the water source to avoid contaminating the water. Use only natural, biodegradable toiletries and dump dirty water from the dishes at least 200 feet away from the water source.
Pack out every tiny bit of trash before you leave the campsite. Always properly put out the campfire. It is vitally important to leave your campsite the same way you found it, if not better. Always be respectful to animals and your fellow campers.