What foods do squirrels consume? If you’ve seen squirrels in the wild or even in your own yard, you might be asking yourself this question. What meal is it specifically that draws them in?
As omnivores, squirrels consume a wide range of foods, including nuts, seeds, fruits, fungus, plants, eggs, insects, and meat. Because they are opportunistic feeders, squirrels frequently consume unhealthy foods. Squirrel pups will consume their mother’s milk for the first six weeks after birth.
Squirrels have a varied diet, so they don’t solely eat nuts for food. Depending on the kind of squirrel, their surroundings, the availability of food, and the seasons, this will vary greatly.
This article will explain the squirrels’ diet and how you may use it to either lure them to your yard or keep them away.
What Do Squirrels Eat In The Wild?
Since the majority of squirrels live in trees, the evergreen trees nearby provide a plentiful supply of nuts for them. Due to their convenience for storage, nuts are a favored meal of squirrels.
You’ve probably heard the expression “squirreling it away,” which derives from squirrels’ propensity to save food for later consumption. This is a terrific use for nuts.
Still-shelled nuts are particularly favored by squirrels, such as:
This is so that squirrels can benefit from cracking the nut open, which strengthens their teeth and mouth muscles. Squirrels can get a lot of protein and good fats from nuts.
When you put out peanuts at bird feeders, squirrels adore them. The issue is that squirrels may consume vast quantities of peanuts with little concern.
Instead of being genuine nuts, peanuts are legumes. They have little calcium and a lot of phosphate. Due to this, squirrels’ ability to absorb nutrients is hampered, and their bones become brittle.
Avoid letting squirrels plunder feeders that solely contain peanuts to maintain their health. To deter them, if at all possible, use a baffle or a bird feeder that is squirrel-proof.
Seeds, especially bird seed from backyard bird feeders, are a favorite food of squirrels. Simply put, it’s a very convenient source of nourishment for them.
To sneak into your bird feeders, squirrels will go to great lengths. In certain cases, they make for really amusing viewing.
The problem is that they will quickly empty your feeders once they come inside. You might spend quite a bit of money on bird seed because of a persistent squirrel.
Squirrels really enjoy black sunflower seeds. You might want to think about taking the squirrels out of your feeders if you have a squirrel problem in your yard.
Using squirrel-proof equipment will stop squirrels from consuming all of your bird seed. a feeder with weight detection (this is the Amazon bestseller). Alternately, use a squirrel baffle (such as this) to keep them away from your feeders.
Use of safflower seed is a top birdwatcher tip for deterring squirrels from returning to your feeder. Squirrels detest this magnificent seed because of how bitter it tastes, but birds adore it.
3. Fruit & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables that squirrels find in the wild are good food for them. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrients, fiber, and energy for squirrel health.
Fruits are readily available in the trees that squirrels frequent. The fruit will be picked off and nibbled on by them.
What fruits do squirrels like?
As long as they can get their hands on some vegetables, squirrels will happily try to consume them. They can be somewhat of a headache for gardeners in the backyard.
The squirrels adore corn on the cob as a vegetable. Despite the fact that corn is essentially junk food for squirrels. It should only be consumed in little amounts because it doesn’t provide them with much nutrition.
The following vegetables are beneficial to squirrels:
You can put chopped-up bits of fruit and vegetables on a squirrel feeder to attract squirrels to your yard (this one is my favorite). Make sure to clean up after yourself and change the food frequently to prevent attracting pests or diseases to your backyard wildlife.
When displaying fresh pumpkins on your doorstep for Halloween, use caution as adorned pumpkins can attract hungry squirrels. Make an effort to keep wild squirrels away from your Halloween pumpkins.
Squirrels enjoy eating fungus. In fact, during the summer and fall, it plays a significant role in the red squirrel’s diet.
Squirrels will receive nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and potassium from fungi.
For squirrels to eat, fungi are often available in woodland areas. Even deadly mushrooms are consumed by squirrels.
It’s possible that mushrooms emit a fragrance that draws squirrels to them, according to a theory. It is believed that they do this to help the squirrels disperse mushroom spores across the forest.
Squirrels will consume the entire plant in addition to the fruit or vegetable that is growing on it.
The following are among the plant crops that grey squirrels are known to destroy:
They will occasionally use these components to construct nests, but they can also eat this flora to obtain nutrition. A squirrel chews on tree bark in an effort to reveal a layer of sweet sap that they can consume.
Although they mostly eat nuts, seeds, fruit, and foliage, squirrels will also consume insects. Squirrels can get a lot of protein from insects. In addition, they are simple to capture and are plentiful in the spring and summer.
Squirrels will consume:
Although squirrels don’t go seeking for insects, if they are easily available, they will consume them. Contrary to nuts, seeds, and plants, insects have predators like squirrels on their side. They might attempt to bite, sting, poison, or release foul odors when consumed. A squirrel will probably be discouraged from consuming the same insect species again as a result.
7. Small animals
Because they are predators, squirrels will murder smaller creatures to consume. Normally, a squirrel won’t do this unless it is in danger of going hungry and has no other food source.
Small birds, mice, and rats will all be prey for squirrels. If they are desperate enough, they might even try large animals.
Also possible is a female squirrel attempting to slay snakes that are robbing their nest. If she is successful, they will kill the snake and then devour it.
Squirrels have also been observed stealing eggs from bird nests. These can give squirrels a lot of the protein, calcium, and nutrients they need to survive a starvation.
8. Squirrel Milk
For the first six weeks after birth, mother squirrels’ breastmilk is all that young squirrels (kits) will consume. Until then, young squirrels won’t attempt to eat solid foods.
The mother squirrel will take the young squirrels out foraging with her once they are old enough to learn where to find food sources.
The squirrels begin to wander away from their mother and forage on their own after they are about 8 to 10 weeks old. At this point, they are totally weaned.
Should you feed squirrels?
Feeding backyard squirrels is a matter of personal preference.
The majority of wildlife organizations advise against feeding squirrels. This is due to the possibility that it will lessen their natural defenses and render them susceptible in the wild.
If squirrels are fed regularly and lose access to the food source they have grown accustomed to, they may become hostile toward people.
The issue is that people find it incredibly entertaining to watch squirrels in our yards.
The best solution is to provide bird food in feeders protected from squirrels. In this manner, the squirrels will earn the right to eat in your yard if they manage to overcome the barrier.
This will make it harder for them to rely on your feeder as a convenient supply of food. Also amusing will be their antics as they attempt to reach the meal.
Feeding squirrel’s Junk food
It’s ideal to provide the squirrel with items that they would consume in the wild if you decide to set out a specific feeder for them. This comprises fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
It is unwise to feed a squirrel junk food, such as chips, cookies, baked goods, or any other salty or sweet goodies. This will generate problems for your area by encouraging squirrels to break into trash cans. Additionally, it’s terrible for both their health and the health of any children they may have.
Squirrels will attempt to eat their weight in this unhealthy junk food. They become deficient in vital nutrients, lipids, and proteins as a result. To endure the winter seasons, give birth to healthy baby squirrels, and make enough milk to feed their young, these are necessary for squirrels.
If you wish to provide food for squirrels but are short on time, you can use a commercial squirrel mix (this Wagner’s variety is a best-seller).
What do Red Squirrels Eat?
Like other kinds of squirrels, red squirrels have a similar diet. They are a little bit more picky about the foods they eat, which is the difference.
That’s because, unlike other squirrel species, red squirrels are unable to digest green foliage. This is especially valid for green acorns.
In the spring, other squirrel species can consume or store away all the green acorns or foliage. This suggests that during the summer and fall, there may be less material that will mature into suitable food for red squirrels. Because of this, red squirrels’ access to food may be restricted by other squirrel species.
What do squirrels eat in winter?
During the winter, some squirrel species, including ground squirrels, will hibernate. That will consume the food they had stored throughout the warmer months. Due of how well nuts store, this is primarily nuts.
However, they will do the same and feed from their own food stores even if tree squirrels don’t hibernate throughout the winter. In the winter, tree squirrels will also consume whatever is in season. This consists mainly of nuts, berries, and fungus.
Squirrels will try to eat as much food as they can to increase their fat reserves during the summer and fall months. If there are times when food is in little supply, this behavior enables them to endure the winter for longer.
The diets of squirrels are quite diverse. They will consume almost anything that is edible on the spur of the moment. That implies that they will cheerfully consume food that is not healthy for them nutritionally.
Due to their omnivorous nature, squirrels will consume both plant and animal stuff. Although a squirrel’s diet consists primarily of nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, and fungi, they will consume meat if given the chance.
Squirrels are able to live in close proximity to people and will consume any food left out for them. They will even raid your bird feeders.
Be responsible if you enjoy luring squirrels to your yard. Don’t feed kids processed foods like cookies and cakes. This is detrimental to their health and can potentially reduce the number of species in your area.
What kind of fruit do squirrels eat?
Fruit: *Apple, apricot, banana, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, honeydew, lemon, lime, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
What are squirrels’ favorite food?
They enjoy eating acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts, and Osage orange fruits among other things. When food becomes limited later in the winter, they may also eat wild tree fruits, nuts, and tree buds.
What human food can squirrels eat?
The squirrels have other preferences as well, however these aren’t precisely natural. Peanuts, peanut butter, pecans, pistachios, grapes, corn, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, strawberries, carrots, apples, sunflower seeds, and even snacks like Oreo® cookies are among these extra foods.
What’s a squirrel’s favorite vegetable?
Vegetables. Gardeners are all too aware of the wide range of veggies that squirrels consume. A squirrel will eat any leafy green they come upon, including lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, and arugula.
What do squirrel like to eat the most?
Squirrels often consume a variety of foods, including seeds, nuts, grain, fruit, leaves, fungus, and bark. Having a range of these foods available can aid in providing them with a well-balanced diet. Most squirrels will be content with only a few of these things, such as sunflower seeds and peanuts.