If you’re anything like us, you adore feeding squirrels, but what do squirrels actually eat? What you should avoid feeding them and what is safe. Here is a comprehensive list! Squirrels are definitely our favorite species of wildlife, however we like feeding many different animals. When people first begin observing nature and feeding squirrels, they are unsure of what to give these adorable little animals.
It goes without saying that we don’t want to give them anything harmful, and we especially don’t want to give them what would be considered junk food for squirrels. You don’t need to be afraid if you’re just starting to feed them. Even though squirrels are notoriously finicky eaters, you can really provide them a variety of things.
What Do Squirrels Eat?
If you’ve recently seen an Ice Age film, you’re probably familiar with the cartoon squirrel that just can’t seem to get the elusive nut. Most of us learned something about squirrels when we were young, such as the fact that they consume nuts.
This is certainly true, and squirrels particularly enjoy nuts that are still in their shell. You can frequently notice squirrels in your yard either eating nuts or hiding them if you keep an eye on them. In fact, squirrels must eat nuts in their shells in order to survive, and they nibble on these nuts with their teeth.
This food source is advantageous because it provides natural protein and necessary fatty acids, which are crucial for squirrels’ diets and also helps squirrels exercise their chewing muscles.
Do Squirrels Eat Acorns
Yes, squirrels do often eat acorns. According to their growth cycles, they prepare far enough in advance to bury specific nuts for specific seasons. Only red oak acorns will be buried by the gray squirrel since white oak acorns will start to grow too soon to be used. While the white oak acorns are consumed immediately, the red oak acorns are buried for later use.
Acorns have occasionally been seen being dug up by squirrels, who then rebury them for later use after chewing through the nut to stop it from growing.
Where to buy acorns for Squirrels
There are lots of vendors selling Acorns on Etsy. The majority of the time, acorns are either sold for home décor or to hunters as deer bait. The squirrels in your backyard will enjoy these acorns. Acorns are available in large quantities at many different hunting supply outlets. Currently, there are no worthwhile alternatives on Amazon.com. Some garden and seed retailers, including NativeWildFlowers.net, carry them.
A squirrel’s diet shouldn’t only consist of nuts, despite the fact that they are undoubtedly essential; they also need other kinds of food. Squirrels probably wouldn’t stop eating delicious nuts if they could, but they actually need a balanced diet just like people do.
A squirrel needs a healthy amount of veggies, minerals, and vitamins because it is mostly a herbivore. You can reserve the nuts for squirrel desert as we do. For instance, when squirrels have finished all of their vegetables, you can give them some nuts as dessert.
Unfortunately, squirrels and children have a lot in common since, if left to their own devices, they would only eat nuts and other foods that offer them the greatest pleasure. When feeding squirrels in your backyard, you should always strive to give the rodents some locally grown nuts. We used to give beech, hickory, and butternut nuts to the squirrels in our region. You CAN, however, also give them different nuts.
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Squirrels need to eat vegetables because, as was already said, they are primarily herbivores. Feeding little amounts of raw fruits and vegetables to your neighborhood squirrels will help them get habituated to eating vegetables.
Apples, peas, melons, grapes, broccoli, and yellow squash are also favorites of many squirrels. The fruit should be consumed in moderation, though, as it may hinder a squirrel’s capacity to absorb calcium.
Nut Squares and Balls
Squirrel nut balls are probably something you’ve never heard of. These balls are actually made using a specific recipe that was initially developed by a nutritionist and rehabber for squirrels. You should be aware that compared to wild squirrels, captive squirrels have different dietary requirements. A nut ball resembles a highly strong vitamin supplement designed specifically for squirrels.
For wild squirrels, this kind of food isn’t nearly as crucial, but if you have a pet squirrel, these balls and squares are quite crucial. In the end, you could feed squirrels almost anything, but you should try to feed them the things listed in this article and stay away from peanuts and field corn.
Avoid Corn and Peanuts
Given how much squirrels adore nuts, it is difficult to conceive that eating corn and peanuts would be harmful to them. In actuality, peanuts are not a type of nut. They are in reality referred to as legumes. Because peanuts are a sort of food with a low nutritional value, the majority of squirrels do not consume them frequently.
It’s okay to give them a few peanuts every now and then, but it’s important to check sure the outside shell isn’t developing deadly mildew. Additionally, you should be aware that field corn can develop the same deadly mold that grows on peanuts, making it unfit for squirrel consumption. Very infrequent instances of squirrels consuming meat, including mice, rats, and birds, have been made. The fact that squirrels consume their own is even more astonishing!
Why Should You Feed Squirrels?
Almost everyone who tries to provide food for wild birds eventually encounters squirrels robbing their bird feeders. Can you really blame the tiny fellas since they like eating much of the food that is in a standard bird feeder?
These animals are actually good at damaging common bird feeders, and they have no issue wrecking wooden or plastic feeders. They are also known to take pricey wild bird seed, although not with the intention of reselling it to a nearby merchant for a healthy profit.
Did you know that the majority of gray squirrels are capable of jumping up to four feet in the air? These remarkable beasts are capable of horizontal leaps of more than 11 feet. Unfortunately, there is almost nowhere to hide some bird feeders that will keep irate animals from getting to them.
The main justification for choosing to feed them is that it brings them to their property. Another justification is that it actually does benefit them, and the extra food makes it simpler for squirrels to endure a bitter winter.
Some people feed them so they can take pictures of these lovely animals because they enjoy photography. You can certainly think up a few of your own reasons to feed them, though!
How to Handle Invading Squirrels
These itty bitty critters are what are known as opportunistic feeders, which means that they choose the simplest and closest source of food. You may be sure that they will visit you if that source is a sizable squirrel feeder on your property.
There are some persons that sell things for feeding birds, but they only want to help birds. It is preferable to position a food supply far away from any bird feeders if you wish to scare off squirrels.
They won’t have any motivation to harass the birds if they have a feeding location that is not near food for birds. However, investing in a bird feeder made entirely of metal is a certain way to feed birds while keeping squirrels away. Visit our article on the squirrel mating call to learn more about the squirrel mating season.
The 4 Different Types of Squirrel Feeders
You intend to start feeding them, then. You can choose from a wide variety of products, while some models are far more prevalent than others. They typically choose a diet that includes a wide variety of foods.
Check out this resource for plans for a squirrel house if you’re looking for one!
Different amounts of peanuts, corn, sunflower seeds, veggies, and fruits are required by the squirrels in your neighborhood. However, it’s crucial to refrain from giving them too much of the same food. The majority of contemporary feeders can store either maize or seed.
The feeders are made in such a way as to mimic the difficulty that a squirrel would experience in its natural environment. There are numerous types that are made to make it tough for them to actually obtain the food supply.
Making your neighborhood squirrels work for the food you’ve purchased for them is perfectly acceptable. Avoid purchasing things made of plastic or wood if you want your feeders to survive for a long time because these materials are easily chewed through.
Since there are too many distinct products to list here, I won’t even try. But the majority of them feature a straightforward layout with a covered food container. The more expensive patterns can often be fairly intricate.
Feeders made by various firms are perfect for having a small squirrel zone in your backyard. Your preferences and the amount of money you have available to spend on the purchase will determine which kind you choose.
One – Woodlink Going Green Squirrel Munch Box
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The product is environmentally friendly, as the name suggests. One of the most well-liked products among those who enjoy squirrels is the Woodlink Going Green Squirrel Munch Box. Plastic waste is used to make the feeder. A transparent plexiglass wall that displays the amount of food still within does so. The squirrel can stand on a wooden ledge on the side of the feeder and have a tasty meal there.
Up to 17 pounds of mixed seeds can be stored in the feeder. One ear of corn can be hung from a nail that is present on the ledge. The back panel can be readily attached to a tree trunk in terms of connection. The kit comes with all of the required attachment parts in addition to the nails.
The feeder will survive for years because it is made of reasonably thick plastic, which makes it sturdy. Larger birds won’t be able to access the grains, but squirrels can easily get to the meal. The feeder could potentially be destroyed because, according to some customers, squirrels like to chew on the plastic.
Two – Backyard Boys Woodworking BBW8 Squirrel Under Glass Feede
This cedar wood feeder is stunning to look at and has received a resoundingly high amount of favorable customer reviews.
The Squirrel Under Glass Feeder from Backyard Boys Woodworking is made up of a squirrel housing structure and a jar that can be loaded with nuts or grains. The jar holds one gallon of liquid. It is simple to remove the jar for refilling, and doing so also makes it easier to clean the feeder of the hulls that squirrels frequently deposit within.
The feeder has a flaw in that it is made of wood, which might decay over time. Heat and snow will cause wood to dry out and maybe become warped. It’s a good idea to stay with plastic squirrel feeders if you’re looking for something a little more robust.
Remember that the feeder is a little bit tiny for larger species of squirrels. The box’s opening has a diameter of 3.75 inches.
Three – Heath Outdoor Products 903 Squirrel Feeder
The Heath Outdoor Products 903 Squirrel Feeder would be a wonderful choice if you’re looking for a product that will serve as a decent diversion from the bird feeder that is installed in your backyard. This feeder, which is made to accommodate one ear of corn, will undoubtedly be favored by squirrels.
The feeder is constructed of wood that won’t rot and is readily mountable on a pole or a tree. The squirrel can perch on a ledge while savoring the mouthwatering maize.
The fact that this particular feeder is unfancy is one of its qualities that most customers adore. You may get a few of those and scatter them throughout the house. It will be fun to observe the squirrels once they’ve gotten acquainted to the feeders.
Four – Erva Bird Proof Squirrel Feeder
The Erva Bird Proof Squirrel Feeder is the list’s last item. It is skillfully designed to deter birds and restrict access to the food to the cunning squirrels.
A liftable lid serves as the ceiling of the house-like Erva squirrel feeder. Squirrels access food in this way. The feeder is composed of durable metal and is likely the item on the list with the longest lifespan.
The feeder features a ledge where the squirrel can stand and can contain roughly two pounds of mixed grains. Its dimensions are 12 by 7 by 7 inches. The product’s slight price premium above the competition is its only drawback. It might be a good idea to spend a little bit extra on the goods because it will last for a very long time in good condition.
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Squirrels As Chefs and Farmers
Even though they can be fussy eaters, squirrels can adapt to practically any setting. Human food, especially that which is high in salt, sugar, or chemical content, is particularly dangerous since the squirrel will not turn down free food if it tastes good.
Some squirrels in the wild will go to incredible lengths to make sure they have plenty of food during the winter. Although it’s very typical for squirrels to bury nuts or stack pinecones, some of them also create their own jerky. To better conserve the food for later, the red squirrel will take the time to hang mushrooms to dry in the trees. The preparation and thought that go into preserving perishable food are a testament to the squirrel’s extraordinary planning skills.
Maple syrup is a dietary staple that is typically not connected to a squirrel’s diet. The red squirrel must patiently wait for the sap from the maple tree to dry in the sun before it can lick up the sugar-rich residue. This process is necessary to gather maple syrup. The red squirrel must score the maple tree’s bark to release the sap. During the long winter, a squirrel can get much-needed caloric fuel from this residue.
These squirrels are effectively farming by controlling the rate of growth of their food source.
Squirrel Diets Changing The Forest—One Nut At A Time
Gray squirrels, which are widespread in places with a lot of hardwood nut trees, frequently bury their nuts for storage. These squirrels will gather considerably more food than is need in preparation for the impending winter famine. Because the squirrel who concealed them didn’t live to find them later, some of the buried nuts are forgotten and others are not needed. The following generation of hardwood nut trees that support numerous other species are created from these lost or abandoned nuts. These creatures’ highly unique habitat needs are met by the regenerating forest.
Squirrels with various storage habits are confronted with situations they have not necessarily acclimated to operating within the symbiotic ways of their native setting as squirrel habitats shrink, shift, or reconfigure as a result of everything from human meddling to natural disaster. One such instance was the red squirrel being forced into the gray squirrel’s homes in hardwood forests. Since their diets complement one another, the red squirrel is still thriving.
The issue comes when, in accordance with Rob Swihart, a wildlife biologist from Purdue University, red squirrels pile their pine cones for moisture protection in damp forests of evergreen trees, which was how they developed to store food in their prior environment. The more numerous red squirrels don’t bury the nuts, so they dry up and don’t develop into trees.
The following growth of trees due to the absence of squirrel burrowing has a direct effect on forests and the species of trees. The native animal population, which depends on the health of the forest for survival, is also impacted since tree growth is.
Squirrel Feeding Tips
Due to the weakened bones it creates in squirrels, this illness is quite harmful. Many professionals work in the field of wild animal rehabilitation, and they have seen an upsurge in MBD cases. Because these cute little animals adore peanuts and sunflower seeds, it’s simple for humans to overfeed them.
Sunflower seeds and peanuts don’t actually hurt squirrels all that much; they’re just not that nutritious. Given that they can contain poisonous mold, raw peanuts can be particularly harmful.
Because these minerals are necessary for preserving optimal bone health, our furry little buddies need a suitable balance of them. For a balanced diet, squirrels should eat a variety of nuts, seeds, maize, fruit, leaves, fungus, and bark.
How to Train a Squirrel
- Purchase nuts; if the nuts are still in their shells, the squirrel is more likely to take them, bury them, and then return for more. You will definitely benefit greatly from this.
- Head outside and throw a nut to any squirrels you see in your yard. Throw them just one. Make an effort to draw them to you and keep them engaged in visiting your yard in particular.
- Throw them another nut after they’ve eaten or buried the first one, but this time, throw it a little closer than you did with the first one.
- Offer another nut each time they take one, moving the distance between the nuts and you closer and closer each time.
- You can try giving the squirrel a nut from your hand if it will pick up some nuts a few feet in front of you. To avoid alarming the squirrel and scaring it away, it is crucial that you extend your arm as far as you can and lean back.
- You’ve accomplished a lot if the squirrel actually takes the nut out of your hand. If not, drop the nut right in front of your hand and hold onto it. Allow the squirrel to go close enough to know that your hand won’t hurt it so that the following time, it might start to trust you.
- Continue doing this until you run out of nuts, you get bored, the squirrel leaves, or it stops returning.
It’s crucial to establish a connection with the same squirrels. The squirrel will respond to you more positively if it recognizes you and understands that you are there to feed it, not hurt it. In order to keep from scaring the squirrels by thinking you have made progress with a certain one when it is not that squirrel, try to maybe make out something about the squirrel so you can remember the progress you have made with each individual one. It’s a terrific way to unwind and spend time outside to have a squirrel as a friend. It’s entertaining to demonstrate to neighbors or young children who have never seen squirrels get so close to a person.
What about Bones?
Wild squirrels consume calcium through chewing on animal bones and deer antlers. If you are unable to locate the precise bones listed, you can visit your neighborhood pet shop and inquire about suitable bones for them; they should be able to assist you.
Do Squirrels Drink Water?
Ever wonder how much water people consume? Squirrels do, in fact, consume a lot of water, and they need even more when it’s hot outside, when they’re lactating, or when they’re pregnant.
If they cannot obtain clean water from their natural environment, it is important that they have access to one. If this is not possible, there is nothing wrong with providing assistance.
Some squirrel feeders include freshwater attachments, or you can buy a product made especially to give squirrels access to fresh water. Even heated birdbaths have been installed by some people for squirrels to use in the winter.
Give Them Natural Foods
The hazelnut is a fantastic natural meal to feed squirrels in Wisconsin. Squirrels can also be fed a variety of different natural foods in other regions.
Even better, you can buy or produce hazelnuts and give them to the backyard animals. Many homeowners actually design the landscape of their backyards to benefit squirrels, birds, and other wildlife.
It’s completely acceptable to feed the animals in your backyard if you have a strong desire to do so, but you should also show consideration for your neighbors. Even though it may be difficult to imagine, there are some people who despise squirrels to the point of hatred.
You can still feed your animal companions even if your neighbors don’t like them, but you shouldn’t put food too close to the boundary of your property. Install your squirrel feeders in a location that is in the middle of your property. Ultimately, taking in the natural world and feeding squirrels ought to be fun.
Do squirrels bite you?
These pests may feel surrounded and be more likely to bite in self-defense in enclosed areas of a home. Wounds from the rodents can be very deep because their jaws are capable of chewing through wood. A squirrel bite frequently develops into an infection and can spread diseases if left untreated.
How strong is a squirrel bite?
The bite force of an animal is typically represented by its bite force quotient (BFQ), which also takes the animal’s size into consideration. The bite force quotient (BFQ) is determined as the regression of the quotient of the animal’s body mass (kg) and its newton bite force. Bite-force quotient can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org. Bite force quotient – Squirrel on Wikipedia? The bite force of a gray squirrel is around 7,000 pounds per square inch (psi). For reference, the average human bite force is 500 psi. Squirrels’ incisors grow continuously throughout their lives, just like those of other rodents.
Why would a squirrel bite you?
Are Squirrels Biteable? There are no naturally hostile species of squirrel. They are wild animals, though, and they may bite as a kind of defense if they perceive you or another animal to be a threat. Even house pets will attack if they feel threatened.