Squirrels are relatively harmless animals. Provided they have no reason to invade your home and turn from adorable critters to household pests, having them around can be a delight.
To welcome them into your backyard and make them stay, too, it’s a must that you know the answer to the question “what do squirrels eat?”
Most squirrels are by and large herbivorous, which means that they will eat anything that comes from plants. They will also eat insects, meat, poultry and fish. Eggs and dairy products are a part of their diet, too. Bread, pet food, junk food and fungi are also some of the favorites of squirrels.
A lot of people immediately dismiss squirrels as pests. But suppose you are someone who never fails to see the beauty in all things, including rodents with playful and sometimes temperamental personalities.
In that case, squirrels are a welcome addition to your backyard. Sharing your property with them can help change your life (and theirs, too) for the better.
Without further ado, here are 15 things that squirrels like to eat the most…
Just like what was mentioned earlier, the majority of squirrels are generally herbivores. Needless to say, they will feast on practically anything that comes from plants, including fruits.
What makes fruits excellent for those chirping chums is that they are extremely low in fat. Many of them contain low to moderate amounts of sugar only, too.
It only means that feeding them fruits won’t harm their health unless you feed fruit parts that they should not be eating or supply them with more fruits than necessary.
Something that you should never let squirrels snack on is the peel of avocados. We will talk about it when we get to peels. Don’t stop reading now if you don’t want any squirrels to die in your backyard.
Apples are some of the favorite treats of squirrels because they are crunchy and juicy. Being fibrous, the consumption of apples can help keep the pearly whites of squirrels clean and healthy. However, apples should be cored before feeding them to squirrels because apple seeds can poison squirrels.
Scientists say that apple seeds contain a substance that can produce cyanide. This fast-acting poison kills by keeping the cells from using oxygen.
Humans will need to consume about 200 apple seeds to get a fatal dose of cyanide in their bodies.
However, since the bodies of squirrels are so much smaller than the bodies of humans, it won’t take a lot of apple seeds for them to die from cyanide poisoning.
Always keep in mind: core apples before allowing squirrels to feast on them!
Besides apples, squirrels will also eat other crunchy fruits, including pears. But just like apple seeds, pear seeds can release cyanide into the bloodstream of squirrels — core pears beforehand.
Squirrels eat grapes because they are delicious. Especially during summer, grapes can help keep squirrels from getting dehydrated as they are more than 80% water. It’s a good idea to hang a bunch of grapes from a tree branch to give squirrels a highly nutritious treat as well as a dose of exercise.
It’s not just grapes that can keep squirrels well-hydrated during the hottest months of the year.
You may also offer them other fruits that are rich in water to save them from going thirsty and dehydrated, too, such as:
Technically, zucchinis are fruits, although they are eaten as vegetables. Squirrels don’t care if zucchinis are fruits or vegetables — it’s enough for them that zucchinis are delectable snacks. Zucchinis can be sliced or hung whole from tree branches. Do not peel them as the peel is so nutritious.
Zucchinis are not the only fruits that are masquerading as vegetables. There are many others, too, and most of them are irresistible to squirrels.
Some of them that you may offer those woodland animals include:
- String beans
Pumpkins, which are actually fruits, are loved by squirrels. What’s so nice about offering squirrels pumpkins is that nothing has to go to waste. Besides the pumpkin meat itself, squirrels will also eat the pulp and seeds. They will also eat the peel, which helps reduce household waste production.
Beta carotene in pumpkins makes these fruits mistaken by many for vegetables is good for squirrels as it keeps their eyes healthy.
In a few, we will talk more about beta carotene — so don’t stop reading anytime soon.
Sweet and delicious, it doesn’t come as a surprise why bananas are some of the favorite fruits of squirrels. However, squirrels should eat bananas in moderation only because they are high in sugar. Although squirrels will also eat banana peel, their tiny tummies will have a hard time digesting it.
Avoid offering squirrels bananas all the time to save them from ending up with health problems similar to those seen in humans with a high-sugar diet. Some of them are obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Banana peel won’t kill squirrels. Unfortunately, it’s not good for them. That’s because banana peel has high amounts of cellulose.
Put simply, cellulose is the wall of plant cells, and it’s the reason why plants are stiff and strong. Too much cellulose in the diet can cause abdominal distress in squirrels.
Many humans don’t like vegetables. On the other hand, most squirrels are madly in love with vegetables.
Aside from the fact that these pawed pals are largely herbivorous, they are not picky eaters. They will be more than happy to eat just about anything that you give them, including vegetables.
Thanks to their strong and sharp teeth, squirrels can eat vegetable parts that humans dispose of because they are hard to chew on and also digest. Some common examples are the peels, stems and seeds.
By welcoming some squirrels into your backyard, you can make the most out of your hard-earned cash and at the same time keep some charismatic rodents from going hungry.
What’s so fantastic about offering vegetables to squirrels is that it will help them stay healthy and strong.
Squirrels find carrots irresistible. They will eat every part of it, from the flesh, peel to the leaves. Squirrels will snack on raw carrots, which can help clean their teeth in the process. They will also eat cooked carrots. However, it is a bad idea to give them cooked carrots with seasonings.
Earlier, we talked about beta carotene, a pigment with antioxidant properties, in pumpkins. Among the many vegetables on the face of the planet, carrots are the most popular sources of beta carotene.
What makes beta carotene good for squirrels is that it is turned to vitamin A inside their bodies.
Vitamin A is needed by squirrels for maintaining their focal and peripheral vision, which lets them see what’s above and behind them without moving their heads.
To keep the eyes of all parties involved in tip-top shape, here’s a fantastic idea: add carrots to your diet on a regular basis, and let squirrels on your property enjoy the peel and leaves of carrots.
Celery is good for squirrels because it is nutritious. Fortunately, squirrels love eating them. Celery is both crunchy and contains plenty of water, which is why this aromatic type of vegetable is very good at cleaning the teeth of squirrels and making their breath smell fresh — not that it matters.
One of the many nutrients in celery is vitamin C, which is necessary for a strong immune system. By regularly giving squirrels celery, it is less likely for them to catch disease- or infection-causing bacteria or viruses.
Every single part of celery, from the bulbous root to the seeds, can be added to your diet. Well, every one of them can be added to the diet of squirrels, too.
If the recipe calls for the use of certain parts of celery only, don’t dispose of the rest. Offer them to squirrels and keep some endearing critters happy and in the pink of health.
Squirrels find asparagus delicious. That’s great news because asparagus contains a number of nutrients that can help keep squirrels stay in a great shape, such as fiber, potassium, B vitamins, and vitamins A and C. Other than raw, steamed asparagus may also be given to squirrels, unless seasoned.
The problem with asparagus is that it doesn’t come cheap. It’s because the shoots, the ones that you are supposed to eat, are only around for a small amount of time.
Fortunately, you can benefit from the health-giving benefits of asparagus while at the same time allowing squirrels to munch on some delectable treats.
Eat the tender shoots as well as the upper stalks, and give the lower stalks to squirrels — they won’t mind at all that they are tough and bitter-tasting.
Cabbage is crunchy, which is why squirrels are unable to say no to them. No matter if chopped, shredded or torn, cabbage leaves are welcome additions to the diet of those gnawing cuties. One of the best things about cabbage is that it’s one of the very few vegetables that are mostly pesticide-free.
Unlike asparagus, cabbage is a pocket-friendly vegetable — a pound is just about half a dollar!
Despite being cheap, cabbage is loaded with nutrients, including vitamin C. If you are one of those people who refuse to eat the outer leaves and cores of cabbage, simply offer them to squirrels to keep food wastage at bay.
Before we proceed with the rest of the things that squirrels like to eat the most, here are some other vegetables that you can give squirrels to make them feel delighted and welcome:
- Bok choy
- Beet greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Sweet potatoes
Especially if you don’t want to see any cent of your hard-earned cash go down the drain, having some squirrels on your property is a wonderful idea.
That’s because feeding squirrels, which are absolutely far from being picky eaters, means that no fruit and vegetable peels have to end up in the trash bin.
A high concentration of the nutrients in fresh produce is in the peel. Sadly, not all peels are fit for your consumption.
This is when squirrels swoop in — their sharp teeth can chew through the toughest and most fibrous fruit and vegetable peels, and their tiny hairy bodies can benefit from the various nutrients in peels.
However, when it comes to giving peels to squirrels, there is a rule to remember. It’s none other than: do not give them avocado peels. Also, never give squirrels avocado pits.
Veterinarians say that avocado skin and pits contain persin, a naturally existing pesticide that avocados use as protection from mold while they are still in the trees.
While persin is beneficial for avocados, it is extremely bad for squirrels.
This substance can cause the hearts of squirrels to pump harder and faster until they get so tired that they stop working. However, avocado meat is safe for squirrels.
Because whole grains are plants, they are palatable to squirrels. Nothing can keep those skittish squirrels busy more than picking up and nibbling on one grain at a time.
Whole grains can also keep them happy since they are nutritious and filling, which is pretty much the same things that many humans love about them.
It’s true that breakfast cereals contain whole grains alright. However, they also contain lots of sugar. There are a couple of reasons why a diet that’s high in sugar in squirrels is a terrible idea:
- Too much sugar can wreak havoc on their health.
- Too much sugar can make them hyperactive, which can easily turn them from charming backyard animals to malevolent pests that can invade your home and chew on electrical wires, cables, and others.
Feeding squirrels with breakfast cereals should be kept to a minimum. Stick to those with the least amount of sugar and other additives. But if you can, give them unprocessed whole grains only.
Squirrels love snacking on raw oats. Oats are some of the healthiest foods for squirrels as they are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, which is good for the gut and heart. Since oats are high in carbohydrates, which are turned into sugar in the body, they should be given in moderation only.
It’s important to note that raw oats tend to expand in the stomach of squirrels (and humans, too). If they eat too much, raw oats will cause their stomachs to expand, giving squirrels a nasty tummy ache.
You can keep that from happening by moistening raw oats first before handing them to squirrels.
Quinoa, whether raw or cooked, can be eaten by squirrels without trouble. It’s good for them, given the fact that quinoa is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals — things that make so many health-conscious humans love it. However, the amount of quinoa eaten by squirrels should be limited.
Despite being healthy, quinoa is loaded with carbohydrates, too much of which is bad for squirrels.
Technically, quinoa is a seed.
However, it is being marketed as well as prepared like a whole grain. It’s exactly due to this why you will find quinoa at the supermarket’s whole grain aisle together with brown rice, oats, and others.
Squirrels will eat rice with pleasure. Being a type of whole grain, munching on rice will make them feel satisfied and cause them to become healthier. Squirrels can eat rice raw or cooked, unless it’s seasoned. However, for best results, squirrels should be given brown rice instead of white rice.
The reason why brown rice is better for squirrels is because it’s not been processed. In other words, the bran and germ, both of which are the most nutrient-dense parts of rice, are still intact.
Many people who are on a weight-loss diet steer clear of rice — brown, white or otherwise. That’s because this whole grain packs a lot of carbohydrates.
Needless to say, you should try to limit the amount of rice that you give squirrels in your backyard. This is true even if your rice is considered the healthiest of the bunch.
Corn is one of the many things that squirrels love to snack on. Those whiskered wonders like the fact that corn is crunchy and delicious. Sadly, the majority of corn available these days is genetically modified, which makes them less nutritious. It’s a good idea to feed squirrels corn in moderation.
To serve corn to squirrels, you can hammer a nail into a tree trunk and stick the cob on it. You may also hang the cob from a tree branch to give squirrels a snack as well as their dose of exercise.
Here’s bad news, though: up to 92% of corn in the US is genetically engineered.
Corn whose genes have been altered to fend off pest damage is called genetically modified organism (GMO), and it is not as dense in nutrients as its non-GMO counterpart, which is hard to come by.
Squirrels will absolutely eat popcorn. Even if popcorn is from GMO corn, it still is rich in fiber, making it great for the hearts and guts of squirrels. Fiber in popcorn is also very satiating. This can keep squirrels from eating anything that they should not be eating, like those inside a home.
When planning on feeding squirrels popcorn, opt for the air-popped kind. Steer clear of store-bought microwave popcorn as it’s full of sodium and fats, making it bad not only for squirrels but also you.
If whole grains are good for squirrels, does this mean that bread, the majority of which are made from whole grain flour, is also an excellent treat for those pawed creatures?
While it’s true that bread won’t kill squirrels alright, it can wreak havoc on their health. That’s because bread has many other ingredients than whole wheat flour.
One of them is sugar. As a matter of fact, some types of bread pack more sugar than candy, which makes them terrible foods for squirrels and many other animals.
Bread isn’t poisonous to squirrels.
But it isn’t the healthiest either. Offer squirrels bread only when necessary, such as if they are extremely hungry and there is no other available food that you can give to them.
Toast can be hard for the tiny tummies of squirrels to digest. Especially if they consume a lot of toast, they can end up with a bad case of indigestion. Soft bread is best for squirrels. However, it is a must to include only moderate amounts of bread in the diet of squirrels to keep them healthy.
Refrain from offering squirrels bread with jam, which is packed with sugar. Peanut butter is fine, but it’s still not the healthiest option for those beady-eyed rodents.
Nothing can stop squirrels from eating pizza crust. It’s not uncommon for squirrels to eat pizza, too, not just the crust. Pizza is irresistible for them, especially the kind with vegetables. However, the seasonings in the pizza sauce and toppings may not be the best for the health of squirrels.
When it comes to choosing which pizza is best for squirrels, opt for the plainest that you can find.
Refrain from giving squirrels pizza that has gone bad. The crust may already contain mold, which can make squirrels sick if they happen to eat it.
As a general rule of thumb, do not allow squirrels to eat pizza that you won’t put in your mouth. Dispose of bad pizza properly so that squirrels won’t be able to eat it.
Squirrels are just as happy as kids to eat cake. They find it hard to resist the texture and taste of cake. Unfortunately, it’s no secret that cake is very high in sugar. Allowing squirrels to eat cake can cause hyperactivity in them. Too much cake can also cause harm to the health of squirrels.
Life is short, and it is shorter in squirrels. If you cannot resist giving them cake and seeing them have a blast eating it, just keep in mind this phrase that also applies to humans: everything in moderation.
Most people believe that squirrels eat nothing but nuts.
Well, no one can blame them because squirrels are often seen eating nuts — nuts are their absolute favorite treats!
This is why it’s a good idea to feed squirrels nuts on a regular basis to make them feel that they can live in your backyard happily ever after.
There are a couple of things about nuts that squirrels love the most:
- Nuts are delicious and nutritious (although squirrels do not really care about the latter).
- The process of getting nuts out of their shells gives squirrels a blast.
Speaking of shells, it’s a wonderful idea to hand squirrels shelled nuts. There is nothing wrong with giving them nuts without the shells.
However, if you want to make squirrels happy, surprise them with shelled nuts.
Extracting nuts from their shells also helps keep the teeth of squirrels sharp. More importantly, it helps keep them from growing longer than necessary.
Without gnawing on hard things such as the shell of nuts, their teeth will grow very long until such time that that squirrels are no longer able to eat or their jaws get pierced!
Acorns are some of the favorite foods of squirrels.
That’s because they can easily get their hands on them, particularly if there are oak trees around.
On the other hand, they rarely get a taste of other nuts, which is why you may occasionally give them nuts that they don’t usually find in the wild.
Walnuts are some of the most irresistible nuts for squirrels because they find them utterly delicious. Aside from pleasing the taste buds of squirrels, another great thing about walnuts is that they supply squirrels with the nutrients they need to stay healthy, including an assortment of minerals.
Phosphorus, copper, manganese, molybdenum — these are just some of the nutrients in walnuts that are beneficial for squirrels. Since these nutrients are beneficial for humans, too, you should regularly snack on walnuts.
There are also healthy fats in walnuts, which are good for the heart and joints of squirrels.
Pecans are just as good as walnuts for the health of squirrels as it contains vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Luckily, squirrels find pecans delicious. The shells of pecans can be extremely hard, but that’s fine because the challenge of cracking open pecans is fun and exciting for squirrels.
Since squirrels love to crack open nuts, it’s a good idea to offer them shelled pecans.
Leave unshelled pecans to you and your loved ones so that all of you will be able to enjoy the health-giving perks of pecans without delay.
However, candied pecans, whether homemade or store-bought, should not be given to squirrels.
Squirrels cannot say no to almonds because they have a mouth-watering taste. Almonds that are still in their shells are the ones loved by squirrels the most. It’s not just the taste buds of squirrels that can benefit from almonds but also their overall health. Almonds are packed with many nutrients.
It’s true that almonds are extremely healthy. However, squirrels should also be offered other foods to ensure that the diet of those playful creatures is well-balanced.
Unfortunately, almonds are some of the most expensive nuts in the market.
Especially if you are on a tight budget, consider feeding squirrels in your backyard other nuts instead, particularly those that are easier on the pocket.
Or you may also offer them almonds once in a while only.
Peanuts are some of the things that squirrels love to eat the most. Especially when shelled, peanuts can give squirrels a grand time and at the same time leave them completely satiated. Peanuts are easy on the pocket and very nutritious, too. Sadly, raw peanuts may do squirrels more harm than good.
What’s really nice about peanuts is that they are cheap and easily accessible. The bad news is that they are not really the best nuts for those furry friends of yours.
Raw peanuts may contain mold that can harm squirrels if they ingest it. It’s due to this exactly why you should stick to steamed or boiled peanuts each time you want to make some squirrels happy.
Avoid feeding squirrels salted peanuts at all costs because their sodium content can damage the health of squirrels in more ways than one.
Besides nuts, seeds are other things that squirrels cannot turn their furry backs on. Their unconditional love for seeds is why squirrels help keep the planet covered with vegetation.
Squirrels are fond of burying seeds for later. However, they forget to dig up all of them. Seeds that remain buried grow into plants and trees.
It’s also the complete love for seeds why squirrels can be a nuisance for bird lovers. It’s not uncommon for squirrels to steal the contents of bird feeders, oftentimes leaving nothing for their chirping comrades to eat.
Squirrels love sunflower seeds because they are tasty and crunchy. Cracking open the shells also helps keep squirrels busy and happy. Sunflower seeds are good for the health of squirrels because they contain protein and healthy fats. They also contain excellent amounts of vitamin E and antioxidants.
While nutritious, sunflower seeds do not contain all the nutrients squirrels need.
This is why you should offer sunflower seeds in moderation only, or offer them together with other foods squirrels love to eat, too.
Leave sunflower seeds in their shells. This is to give squirrels something to gnaw on, which is important for keeping their teeth sharp as well as prevent them from growing longer than necessary.
Every part of a pumpkin is delicious for squirrels, including especially the seeds. Because of this, adding pumpkin seeds to the diet of squirrels is a good idea. Besides raw pumpkin seeds, squirrels will also eat roasted pumpkin seeds. However, they should not be given salted roasted pumpkin seeds.
In humans, pumpkin seeds may help lower the blood pressure and fend off heart disease because of their healthy fats.
These beneficial fats in pumpkin seeds may also benefit the health of squirrels in the same way. Pumpkin seeds have zinc, too, which is vital for strengthening the immune system of both humans and squirrels.
Again, the best pumpkin seeds for squirrels are those that are still in their shells.
Sesame seeds may be small, but they are big in nutrients, which is why they are good for squirrels. Compared to most other seeds, sesame seeds have more calcium. This is why regularly feeding squirrels with sesame seeds can help keep the teeth and bones of these woodland wonders strong and healthy.
Whether raw or toasted, squirrels love sesame seeds. Avoid offering them seasoned sesame seeds.
Just because squirrels love to snack on seeds doesn’t mean that they are fond of every seed on the planet.
Avoid giving squirrels the following because they won’t touch them:
- Canary seeds
- Canola seeds
- Chili pepper seeds
- Nyjer seeds
- Millet seeds
- Safflower seeds
In the wild, squirrels won’t hesitate to eat meat if it’s readily available and plant-based food items are nowhere to be seen. Squirrels will eat birds, lizards, mice and snakes — both dead and alive!
There is nothing wrong with feeding squirrels in your backyard meat. However, just see to it that you steer clear of giving them processed meat products.
It’s no secret that these products have all sorts of ingredients, many of which can harm your health. If processed meat products can harm your health, they can definitely harm the health of squirrels.
Before we proceed with another thing that squirrels like to eat the most, here’s a quick fact:
Scientists believe that pregnant or breastfeeding squirrels are more likely to eat meat to get high amounts of high-quality protein.
Bears, otters, herons, sea lions — all of these animals love to fish. What’s more, they make fishing seem easy.
Squirrels are not like them in that these toothy rodents do not like to fish. Besides, squirrels are not really fond of water, which is why they tend to avoid it.
Needless to say, they don’t like swimming, although they won’t hesitate to swim if necessary, such as when trying to escape an alpha predator in the wild.
Even though squirrels do not like to swim and fish, they will still eat fish that’s out of the water. They will eat fish, whether it’s alive or just died.
Some of the best fish for squirrels are the fatty kind as they are packed with healthy fats, such as:
Being by and large herbivores, the first choice of foods of squirrels are nuts, seeds and everything else that comes from plants.
However, if they get really hungry, squirrels will eat anything, and eggs are included.
When their tiny tummies are growling and the only foods they can see are eggs, squirrels will eat them.
Thanks to their sharp teeth, squirrels are not going to have a hard time cracking the egg open and getting to the gooey contents. And it’s not just chicken eggs that they will eat. Squirrels will also eat bird eggs, duck eggs, turkey eggs, and many others.
As a matter of fact, they will also eat insect eggs!
Feeding squirrels with everything on this list (unhealthy ones should be offered in moderation only or, if possible, avoided) can help ensure that they won’t touch bird eggs and leave the mommy birds that laid them sad.
Squirrels can quickly jump from being herbivores to carnivores, and vice versa. This is why squirrels will also eat animal-based food products, such as dairy, especially when they are really hungry.
Even though cheese is not readily available in the wild, squirrels will gladly eat it should they come across it. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, which means that it can help strengthen the teeth and bones of squirrels. However, fat in cheese can wreak havoc on the health of squirrels.
Squirrels will eat any kind of cheese, from cheddar, parmesan, feta to mozzarella.
They will also devour just about anything that has cheese in it, such as pizza and cheese sandwiches.
While calcium in cheese is good for the pearly whites and bones of squirrels, too much fat in it is bad for them. This is why you should keep the amount of cheese you feed squirrels to a minimum.
Squirrels don’t mind drinking milk. Besides, other than being delicious, milk is extremely nutritious, too. However, just like cheese and many other dairy products, milk contains lots of fat. It contains lots of sugar, too. Needless to say, one must give squirrels milk in moderation only.
Vets say that it’s perfectly fine to give whole cow’s milk to orphaned baby squirrels, especially if they look furry enough.
However, they recommend using commercially available infant formula as much as possible.
While it’s true that squirrels are considered herbivores, they don’t mind being carnivores from time to time. This is especially true if they are starving, and there are no plant-based foods in sight.
Because squirrels are small, they have no choice but to feast on animals that are substantially smaller than them.
It’s due to this why they tend to go for small insects each time they are craving protein from animal sources.
For as long as it’s tiny, any skipping, crawling or flying insects could end up in the mouths of squirrels during desperate times.
Many insects can be found outdoors, which is why there is no need for you to go to great lengths and catch some of them to offer to squirrels in your backyard. Squirrels can get their hands on insects on their own.
Squirrels find it delightful to eat grasshoppers because they are smaller than them, plus they get squirrels excited when they attempt to flee. Grasshoppers are good sources of protein, which is vital for building and repairing muscles. Protein is also needed by squirrels for proper hormone levels.
Protein is present in many plant-based foods. Some of them are nuts and seeds which squirrels love to eat. However, from time to time, squirrels may want to get protein from animals, such as grasshoppers.
Caterpillars are some of the insects that squirrels don’t mind eating from time to time. Just like other insects, caterpillars provide squirrels with high-quality protein. Protein is composed of amino acids, and just about every cell in the body of squirrels (and also humans) requires amino acids.
Because caterpillars move very slowly, squirrels no longer need to have a hard time getting their paws on them.
Squirrels will eat just about any insect that comes their way, including those that have wings and fly. Because they are naturally curious animals, squirrels tend to approach flying insects and make an investigation. If they feel that they are tasty, they will try to catch and eat flying insects.
Squirrels cannot fly, although some of them can glide. The absence of the ability to fly does not stop squirrels from hunting down and eating flying insects such as moths, beetles and butterflies.
However, most of the time, squirrels will go for injured flying insects as they are easier to catch than non-injured ones.
It’s during the coldest months of the year when squirrels tend to eat more insects, flying or otherwise. That’s because nuts and seeds and many other plant-based foods are rare in the wintertime.
There are many human foods that squirrels will eat with enthusiasm. Some are healthy for them, while others not so much.
Some of the worst treats for squirrels are junk foods. Sadly, squirrels do not know this. All they know is that junk foods are some of the yummiest foods humans can give them.
If you want to keep the paws and mouths of squirrels busy, throw some junk food their way. But if you don’t want to damage their health, feed them some other things.
Make sure that you offer squirrels junk food once in a blue moon only to keep them out of harm’s way.
No, squirrels will not eat nasty-looking growths on the skin caused by a fungal infection. Fungi that squirrels will eat are those that grow in the wild, primarily in the form of mushrooms.
Squirrels will eat just about any mushroom that you can get your hands on at the supermarket. They will also eat just about any mushroom that they can find in the wild, including those that are toxic to humans!
However, there is one type of fungi that squirrels love the most: acorn mushrooms.
But, believe it or not, ringworm on someone’s back, mold on bread, mildew on a plastic shower curtain and mushrooms growing on a tree trunk are all related to each another — all of them are fungi!
In some states, it’s illegal to turn squirrels into pets.
If you are living in one of those states, you will have to get a license or undergo training first before you can legally keep squirrels as pets.
But in the meantime, it is perfectly fine to offer them delectable treats to make them stay in your backyard.
Although they can’t be your pets if the law doesn’t allow it, you can feed them pet food.
Some pet foods are good, and some pet foods are bad. If a particular brand is bad for a dog or cat, according to a vet, then it’s probably bad for squirrels, too.
If harming innocent squirrels is the last thing on your mind, see to it that the pet food you are about to give them is free of questionable ingredients.
When hungry, squirrels will eat anything. That includes dog food. Dry dog food is preferred by squirrels over wet dog food. Different dog foods come in different flavors and nutrient profiles. Squirrels do not care about those. For these squirrels, all dog foods are equally delicious and filling.
Keep in mind that you should refrain from feeding your dog any dog food that squirrels are unable to finish. That’s because they may already be contaminated with the saliva of squirrels, which could have microbes bad for your dog.
It’s a good idea to limit the amount of dog food that you give squirrels to a minimum.
Squirrels love cat food. This is especially true for dry cat food. However, they will find wet cat food just as delicious as its dry counterpart. Unfortunately, most cat food variants out there do not offer some of the nutrients that squirrels require.
Most cats absolutely hate vegetables. It’s for this reason why the majority of cat foods that you will find in the market are free of vegetables, unlike some dog foods that have a more balanced nutrient profile.
Squirrels are generally herbivores because their bodies need fiber to function well.
And because cat food does not usually have fiber in them due to the absence of ingredients from plants, squirrels won’t get all the nutrients that they need from cat food.
This is why feeding them with cat food should be kept in moderation.
Birdseed consists of a mix of different seeds that birds love. The seeds that make up birdseed are loved by squirrels, too. It’s for sure that there will be squirrels where there are bird feeders. This is why some homeowners opt for squirrel-proof bird feeders or hang bird feeders away from trees.
The presence of a bird feeder in your backyard can bring out the little rascals in squirrels.
Worry not if you love to have both birds and squirrels on your property. That’s because there is a simple way to keep squirrels from robbing birds of their birdseed.
All you have to do is sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on birdseed. Cayenne pepper will drive squirrels away, but birds will not mind it at all.
Just Before Inviting Squirrels Into Your Property
The earliest squirrel fossil was found in western North America, and it dated back to as far as 36 million years ago.
The fact that they are still here even though the caves in which our ancestors lived were replaced by high-rise apartments only means that squirrels are survivors.
Even if you don’t feed them, squirrels will keep on thriving.
However, with man-made problems such as global warming, deforestation and water pollution, life can be a little tougher on those little cuties. This is when you swoop in and make sure that squirrels are safe and well-fed.
Allowing squirrels to experience love and abundance in your backyard is beneficial for all parties concerned.
It will keep squirrels from going hungry, it will keep much of the planet covered with vegetation, and it will bring good health to your life by lowering your stress levels and giving you your daily dose of exercise.
Photo credit: ©canva.com
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