Squirrels are rodents like mice and rats. Nonetheless, they’re more appealing than rats or mice due to their adorable faces. You might see them once in a while in your yard, cutely chewing their food.
However, never get fooled by their cuteness, as they can wreak havoc on your place. They jump from one place to another, searching for their food. Thus, if you have a garden in your home, you may see them scurrying back and forth in your yard for food.
So, what do squirrels eat? Squirrels aren’t picky eaters, but they especially love walnuts, peanuts, and acorns. They also prefer fruits like apples, avocados, and oranges. At the same time, they enjoy eating vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, and corn.
Nonetheless, these are only a part of the foods that squirrels like to eat. If you want to know more about the varieties of foods they eat, you may proceed to the additional details below.
Foods That Squirrels Eat
Squirrels eat with gusto. They love hoarding and munching foods. Thus, don’t get surprised to see them in your vicinity if you have fruit-bearing trees, bushes, or vines in your place.
They can climb any tree without trouble and pick the fruit they like, and consume foods from a variety of fruit-bearing trees, including but not limited to the following:
- Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and more.
These fruits provide tons of energy and sugar boost to help them keep active in seeking more foods.
Squirrels are crazy for nuts. They’re so obsessed with these that you may find them bustling in your yard if you’ve got a nut tree or live near to it. They can get greedy and leave you with nothing if you don’t take any action.
Thus, it would be best to spray some strong scent like pepper or peppermint oil on your plants or flowers. The strong scent from these two can dissuade squirrels from entering your vicinity. This way, you can save your nut tree crop from these cute yet greedy and troublesome creatures.
Among the nuts that they love so much are the following:
- Macadamia nuts
- Cashews and many others.
These foods serve as the best source of protein and fat for all squirrel species.
Another type of food that squirrels love to put into their stomachs is cereals. Many people who love to watch squirrels eating often give these foods to them. Since most cereals are now a combination of nuts and grains, squirrels enjoy eating them. However, it is best to give them cereals without added sugar.
One of the foods squirrels appreciate is birdseed. Birdseed is a mixture of squirrels’ favorite foods – nuts, seeds, and grains. Thus, if you love feeding birds, you may find squirrels in your vicinity stuffing their bellies with birdseed among the birds.
Squirrels are scavengers and enjoy scavenging mushrooms. Among the mushrooms they love include truffles, oyster mushrooms, lichen, acorn truffles, and more. If the mushrooms are moist, they sometimes leave it to dry.
As you might already know, squirrels aren’t picky eaters. They can eat anything, particularly when hungry. This is why it can be problematic if you’ve got a garden in your place.
These animals are fond of eating:
- Plant stalks
- Hibiscus blooms
- Plant bulbs
- Flower petals
- Sprouts and many more.
If you’ve planted seeds in your plant bed, they can search for them and eat them without any second thoughts. Thus, it’s essential not to leave your plants unprotected from these greedy eaters. You can buy and spray predator’s urine to discourage the squirrels from entering your garden or vicinity.
As mentioned above, squirrels are scavengers and eat the foods they can find. If you’ve got any food waste in your garbage can, it won’t be surprising to see them scrapping your food waste later. Although some of the leftover foods aren’t good for their overall health, the squirrels may seem not to mind it, as long as their bellies are full.
If you’re raising chickens, it would be best to secure their eggs in a safe place. Squirrels will never hesitate to steal eggs in your barns if they don’t find other food resources. They won’t hesitate to eat hatchlings, baby birds, or young chicks to satisfy their hunger.
So, it would be helpful to place the eggs in a secured place to prevent squirrels from stealing and consuming them.
Foods That Squirrels Don’t Eat
Although squirrels can eat almost everything, there are some foods that they don’t like, and they are:
- Serrano peppers and other spicy varieties that can be eaten.
In fact, pepper sprays are commonly used to deter squirrels from entering your vicinity, especially to your gardens, and eating your precious plants. Dogs and cats can also be great in chasing away squirrels from your yard.
Although squirrels typically eat almost everything, some foods aren’t good for their health and must be avoided. Thus, if you love feeding squirrels, you should avoid giving them the foods to be mentioned below.
Related: 9 Best Squirrel Repellents to Buy and Keep Squirrels Away
Foods You Should Avoid Feeding to Squirrels
Although you might see the following foods eaten by squirrels, this doesn’t mean that they’re good for them. As much as possible, if you’re one of those who likes to feed squirrels, avoid giving them the following foods:
- Dairy products like cheese
- Processed foods
- Junk foods
- Sugary foods and more.
Though these foods can provide energy to the squirrels, they’re not considered healthy to eat. If you want to feed these animals, it’s best to feed them with nuts or birdseed.
Nonetheless, in the case of newborns, they’re fed separately.
What Do Newborn Squirrels Eat?
Newborn squirrels feed on their mother’s milk for 40 days, and no solid food is allowed. Nonetheless, if in captivity, one can look for the powdered version of the puppy’s milk in your local pet food shops or veterinary offices.
Never feed a newborn squirrel under your care with cow’s milk, human milk, or other milk substitutes. Doing so will result in diarrhea or shock to the body of the newborn squirrels.
However, when they mature enough, they’re ideally given some appropriate solid food for them to eat.
What Do Baby Squirrels Eat?
Well, since they’re still babies, they can eat solid foods, yet not all classes of solid foods. Baby squirrels’ ideal foods are nuts, seeds, and fruits. Once matured enough, the baby squirrels can start eating and scavenging for solid foods they like.
As they grow old, they can typically eat any food types they find out of curiosity or hunger. Since they’re not particularly picky eaters, they’ll munch whatever they find, even candies.
But do pet squirrels eat the same foods as the loose squirrels? Find out in the following section!
What Do Pet Squirrels Eat?
Pet squirrels don’t just eat whatever because they have owners that feed them with the right foods. If you’re health-conscious about the health of your pet squirrels, you might have some particular diets for your animals based on the advice of your veterinarian.
Squirrels under human care typically follow a balanced diet including the following:
- Lots of calcium
They also have a limit when it comes to sugar and starch consumption for their own health benefits. The amount of food they can take is adjusted based on their weights, unlike those in the wild that can eat whatever and whenever they want.
Ideal foods for pet squirrels are the following:
- Beet greens
- Turnip greens
- Kale and more.
Pet squirrels don’t typically eat whatever they like, and they eat based on a balanced diet plan specifically for them.
Related: How To Get Rid of Squirrels? | Squirrel Control Methods
List of Sources
Introduction to the Rodentia. University of California, Museum of Paleontology – Berkeley.
Tamura, N., Hashimoto, Y., Hayashi, F. (1999). Optimal Distances for Squirrels to Transport and Hoard Walnuts. National Library of Medicine – National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Alternative Pesticides. Salt Lake City.
Squirrels. The Department of Natural Resources – State of Michigan.