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agriculture

Squirrel Diet: What Do Squirrels Eat?

It’s easy to forget that the little bushy-tailed squirrel is an incredible creature because it’s such a common sight. 

They can leap four feet in the air, parkour off objects, clamber up trees, and even land on their feet like a cat. Squirrels also have one of the most impressive hoarding abilities of any animal. 

Caching is the process of burying food for long-term storage. This is done in order to conserve food for the upcoming winter months. Feeders are frequently placed in the backyard to assist people in preparing for this difficulty. 

The eastern and western gray squirrels, the Japanese squirrel, the Eurasian red squirrel, and the American red squirrel are just a few of the hundreds of squirrel species found around the world.

Flying squirrels are a closely related species with skin membranes between their limbs that allow them to float from high atop trees. 

This article will cover all sorts of feeding and hoarding tendencies.

Squirrel Diet: Food That Squirrels Like

Squirrels are real omnivores, eating a wide variety of plants and meats. Nuts, seeds, fruits, fungus, buds, and even green vegetables make up the majority of their diet. 

Eggs, insects, young birds, tiny rodents, amphibians, and even snakes are sometimes used to complement this diet. 

Female squirrels frequently mate between the spring and fall seasons, and they must then care for numerous baby squirrels. For the first six to ten weeks, baby squirrels are exclusively fed their mother’s milk. 

Following that, the newborn squirrels are ready to resume their typical omnivore diet of foraging.

Fruit

Fruit is devoured by squirrels with gusto. If you live near a fruit tree, bushes, or vines, you’ve probably spotted squirrels happily nibbling and storing these delectable treats for themselves. 

Squirrels may easily climb fruit trees to get at the fruits. Squirrels eat fruit from a range of trees, including pears, grapes, apples, kiwi, avocados, peaches, nectarines, figs, plums, mangoes, and citrus, among others. 

Squirrels will consume any berries they can find, including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, and other berries. Bananas, watermelons, cantaloupe (any melon, in general), and cherries are also favorites of squirrels. 

Squirrels benefit from consuming fruit since it provides them with a significant sugar increase as well as a lot of energy.

Vegetables

Squirrels eat a wide range of vegetables, as gardeners are well aware. Any leafy green, such as lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, or arugula, will be devoured by squirrels.

Squirrels will eat tomatoes, radishes, corn, squash, beans, corn, peas, root vegetables, greens (such as beet greens and the greens of any root vegetable), okra, eggplant, brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, celery, cauliflower, cabbage, leeks–basically anything they can get their greedy little paws on!

Cereals 

Many people who have squirrels in their backyards give them cereal. Squirrels are drawn to the grains and nuts found in most cereals. 

Squirrels are crazy over Chex, Cheerios, Cap’n Crunch, shredded wheat, corn flakes, and grape nuts. Many cereals for squirrels have the added benefit of being high in sugar, which offers the squirrel a surge of energy to keep searching for more food to eat and save for later. 

Although unnaturally sugary cereals aren’t Mother Nature’s ideal squirrel snack, the squirrel has a devil-may-care attitude toward what it puts in its bottomless stomach.

Nuts

Squirrels are nuts-obsessed creatures. If you will call it “nuts about nuts!” If you live near a nut tree, you’re likely to see a busy squirrel scurrying around in the branches, carrying a nut or two–or more–that it’ll save for later. 

You might detest the squirrel’s industrious, hungry habits if you want to consume those nuts yourself. In this scenario, you may need to put something in place to prevent the squirrel from hoarding your nut harvest, such as a metal sheet wrapped around the tree trunk that the squirrel can’t climb.

On the other hand, squirrel activity can be beneficial to tree species since squirrels help disseminate seeds widely, increasing the likelihood of specific tree species growing and surviving. 

Nuts may be one of the most natural diets for squirrels. Squirrels will eat nuts and then store them in caches for later consumption. 

What do squirrels eat as far as one of their favorite foods is concerned? Pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, acorns, cashews, chestnuts, hickory nuts, pine nuts from pine cones, and macadamia nuts are all favorites of squirrels. 

Nuts are an excellent source of fat and protein for all squirrel species.

Cheese

Of course, a squirrel wouldn’t ordinarily come across cheese in the wild, but squirrels have developed a liking for it as a result of humans leaving all sorts of delectable delicacies behind when eating outside and dumping kitchen trash. 

Squirrels aren’t fussy when it comes to cheese. They’ll happily eat slices of cheddar, swiss, provolone, mozzarella, and whatever else they can find.

Birdseed

Of course, most backyard birdwatchers have a healthy supply of birdseed in their yards for the birds. The ordinary squirrel, on the other hand, is satiated by a hefty supper of birdseed. 

Even if birds are around, a squirrel will not hesitate to partake in the birdseed action, stuffing their stomachs with this readily available feast that humans are only too eager to offer. 

Birdseed, of course, is made up of a variety of squirrel favorites like seeds, grains, and nuts. 

Dog and Cat Food

Squirrels, being omnivorous scavengers, have picked up a few peculiar feeding habits along the road, and will not hesitate to pack away a few dozen pieces of dog or cat kibble, and will most likely return for more if they locate an established place where it’s readily available. 

Although it is not beneficial for them, the hungry, opportunistic squirrel may be bold enough to eat wet cat food or canned dog food.

Eggs

When alternative food sources are few, a squirrel may have to make do with what it has. Stealing eggs from other animals, or even your chicken coop is a common occurrence. 

Squirrels will eat robin eggs, blackbird eggs, and other bird eggs if necessary. Squirrels will also devour hatchlings, young chicks, infant birds, and the carcasses of unfortunate chicks who have fallen from their nests if necessary.

Insects

If fruits and nuts aren’t readily accessible, squirrels will eat microscopic insects to supplement their protein intake. 

Caterpillars, larvae, winged bugs, grasshoppers, damaged butterflies, and crickets are just a few of the insects that squirrels eat.

Is There Something That They Do Not Like To Eat? 

You might be wondering if squirrels will eat anything at this point. Is there anything safe or sacred? Fortunately, there are a few things they absolutely despise. Raw onions and garlic, for example. 

They don’t care for hot peppers, therefore jalapenos, serrano peppers, and anaheim peppers, as well as other spicy shrubs, are logically avoided. 

Pepper spray is commonly used in gardens as a deterrent to keep squirrels away from valued plants and fruit. Garlic spray is also used to keep hungry, aggressive squirrels at bay.

Conclusion 

We hope this information has been useful in determining what our tiny furry companions enjoy eating.

A squirrel is a busy animal, and because of this, it requires a lot of food. Squirrels are the ultimate foodies, eating a good serving of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and grains when they’re available, and surviving on less healthful foods when they have to.

So, the next time you see a busy critter rushing around, think about what squirrels consume. Well, pretty much anything.

Also, if you are curious about how long do raccoons live, you can check this article.

 

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