What Do Squirrels Like to Eat?

Squirrels are rodents, but usually have much more appeal to the average homeowner than do other rodents, such as rats and mice. The most common type of squirrel, the grey squirrel, is found throughout North America and on every continent except for Australia. Another frequently seen species of squirrel is the fox squirrel, sometimes known as the red squirrel.

They are not picky eaters and will feed on practically any food thats readily available, but they tend to prefer vegetables and fruit.

What can I feed wild squirrels?

If you want to feed the squirrels in your backyard, the best foods to offer are nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Specifically, squirrels love walnuts, almonds, apples, carrots, and other foods that grow locally in your area.

What do squirrels like to eat the most?

Most types of squirrels are vegetarians. They are not picky eaters and will feed on practically any food that’s readily available, but they tend to prefer vegetables and fruit. Favorites of the squirrel diet include corn, mushrooms, squash and broccoli.

Should I feed squirrels in my backyard?

Even in the absence of invaders, feeding wildlife is associated with risks. Feeding squirrels may cause them to lose their natural fear of humans, and this isn’t good for either side of the equation. … If squirrels come to expect food and it isn’t provided, they may become aggressive in seeking it out.

What should you not feed squirrels?

You should not give squirrels salty and sugary snacks. These have little nutritional value for squirrels. Squirrels are naturally hyper and sugar can make them even more excitable which is bad for their health. Other junk food including hot dogs, pizza and more is also bad for squirrels.

Its tough to hate on squirrels. Yes, cynics do call them gentrified rats. But how can you resist those cute faces and bushy tails? And theyve effectively adapted to living around humans. But what do squirrels eat? Lets find out so we can lure even more into your yard.

Most weigh roughly 1lb, but gauge their mass in pounds and check they have at least 1/7 th of that amount every day. Squirrels are omnivores, meaning they can eat meat, fruits, vegetables , and other plants.

Their kits or kittens (baby squirrels) are born blind, deaf (their ears are fused shut) and hairless. Squirrels are mammals, meaning they give birth to live babies and suckle them for a few months. But theyre more likely burying food, harvesting a hidden stash, or hunting insects, worms, and grubs.

They do eat twigs, wood, tree bark , and animal horns (like deer antlers) for minerals and fiber. Their meat is mostly in the form of insects and snakes, but they might dip into Fido or Fluffys dish if you raw-feed your pets. Squirrels also enjoy fruit slices like apples, peaches, or pairs hung on a string.

Many squirrels have a sweet tooth so offer them crunchy, sugary veggies like carrots. Kaytees Country Blend is made for pets but its fruity mix is great for squirrels too. It may help to provide bone meal like cuttlefish skeletons (cuttlebone) for calcium.

They enjoy wild berries in the fall (Osage oranges are a tasty seasonal treat). Flying squirrels are known to raid small nests eat newly hatched chicks. Occasional treats are fine, but the bulk of your squirrel diet should be protein-packed dishes that encourage them to exercise.

So opt for squirrel feeders and avoid having direct contact as your feed the local rodents. Because squirrels are omnivorous, their primary diet in the wild has protein, vitamins, and mineral salts. While Critter Crunch is a top seller, it contains corn, peanuts, and sunflower seeds and thats a McDonalds burger meal for squirrels.

So even if they love it, dont give them food that will make it harder to forage or dodge their predators. Do you prefer take-out squirrels that grab and run or sit-down diners that hang around and wait for dessert? If you love watching squirrels dig, opt for seeds they can bury instead of fresh fruits.

To maintain the squirrels natural eating habits, raise the food but keep the water low. Clean your squirrel feeders and water dishes every week bacteria build up.

Squirrels are opportunistic feeders with varied diets. Depending on the time of year, the rodents may eat tender leaf buds, wild fruits, nuts and acorns, bird eggs, seed crops, or even tree bark. Many species of tree squirrels store pieces of food for later consumption. When presented with the opportunity, squirrels will also snack on human leftovers and garbage.

There are many varieties of squirrels found across America, including red squirrels, ground squirrels, grey squirrels, fox squirrels, flying squirrels, black squirrels, striped squirrels, and many more. Squirrels are part of the Sciuridae family of mammals, closely related to chipmunks, prairie dogs, and woodchucks. What do squirrels eat? Well, squirrels just happen to eat a lot of things. Squirrels are not picky eaters. If you have spent any time observing the eating habits of common squirrels, this is clear. Squirrels have a natural appetite for many native fruits, flowers, veggies, fungi, nuts, tree, plants and insects to their habitat. But there are not many boundaries in relation to the squirrels dining habits. They will curiously try just about anything, and have in fact become fond of many foods that they probably should not be eating, such as kids favorite sugary snacks and cereals. Squirrels are open-minded when it comes to food. If you are looking to provide food for squirrels check our squirrel feeder article.

Squirrels consume the harvest from a variety of fruiting trees, including but not limited to pears, grapes, apples, kiwi, avocados, peaches, nectarines, figs, plums, mangoes, and citrus. Chex, Cheerios, Capn Crunch, shredded wheat, corn flakes, grape nutssquirrels devour these tasty treats.

A good piece of cheese can give a squirrel an extra bit of fat to store for leaner times, such as during the winter months. Even when birds are present, a squirrel will not hesitate to get in on the birdseed action and will stuff their bellies with this readily available snack that humans are all to happy to provide. Some insects devoured by squirrels include caterpillars, larvae, winged bugs, grasshoppers, injured butterflies, and crickets, to name a few.

Squirrels will also elect to eat lichen, which is the smaller fungi that tends to grow in moist areas on the bark of many, especially mature, trees. Soft tips of new growth, newly unfurled leaves, sprouts, and succulent flower buds are also sure to catch the attention of a passing squirrel who is scouring the land for a food opportunity. Also, if its any surprise at this point, squirrels will eat your prized poppy blossoms, theyll chomp you hibiscus blooms, the petals of your passionflower, and the plant bulbs that you were hoping would break ground in the spring.

Being the omnivorous scavengers that they are, squirrels have picked up a few strange eating habits along the way and will not hesitate to pack away a few dozen pieces of dog or cat kibble, and will most likely come back for more, if they find an established spot where its readily available. Especially when times are rough, the hungry squirrel is not about to snub his nose at that stale pizza crust, or discarded avocado skin.

What Do Squirrels Eat?

Squirrels are rodents, but usually have much more appeal to the average homeowner than do other rodents, such as rats and mice. The most common type of squirrel, the grey squirrel, is found throughout North America and on every continent except for Australia. Another frequently seen species of squirrel is the fox squirrel, sometimes known as the red squirrel.It’s pleasant to watch a few squirrels playing in the trees on your property or scurrying around in your yard, but these rodents can wreak havoc on your lawn or in your garden in their quest for food. So, what do squirrels like to eat?

Bring on the fruits and veggies

Most types of squirrels are vegetarians. They are not picky eaters and will feed on practically any food that’s readily available, but they tend to prefer vegetables and fruit. Favorites of the squirrel diet include corn, mushrooms, squash and broccoli. They also enjoy apples, oranges, apricots and avocados.

Nuts and other favorites

A squirrel’s diet also consists of nuts. Acorns, walnuts and peanuts are the preferred food items in this group. Other than nuts, they sometimes consume insects, seeds, eggs and plant materials like flower bulbs and roots. Like all rodents, the squirrel has four front teeth that continually grow. They munch on tree limbs, twigs and bark in order to keep these teeth filed down.

Young squirrels

What do baby squirrels eat? Newborn squirrels are fed from their mother’s milk. They do not begin to leave the nest until after about 40 days. They are not fully weaned, however, for another 50 to 70 days.

Squirrel Habits and Biology

When you hear the word squirrel, you’re probably thinking of a small rodent with a luxurious fluffy tail. In your mind, this cute animal is grey or reddish-brown with gray flecks. The Latin scientific name is Sciuridae (in case you’re ever asked on a game show – you’re welcome!). Over 200 squirrel species exist around the world. The most common American squirrels are:Interestingly, flying squirrels don’t actually ‘fly’. They spread out their limbs as they jump from tree to tree. This makes their skin fan out into ‘wings’ that let them glide through the air. Also, ground squirrels often include gophers, chipmunks, and other rodents. So they’re not always ‘true’ squirrels. But whichever species they are, squirrels eat their weight every week.Most weigh roughly 1lb, but gauge their mass in pounds and check they have at least 1/7But how do they get into those tricky corners? Well, their ankles can turn 180° on a whim, helping them scurry up walls and branches. On average, squirrels are 15 to 20 inches from nose to tail. And they can jump ten times that high – even the non-flying ones (Take that Superman!) They start having babies at roughly one year old and have two or three per litter.Mommy squirrels breed mostly in December or January and are pregnant for about 6 weeks. Their kits or kittens (baby squirrels) are born blind, deaf (their ears are fused shut) and hairless. They wean at about 3 months and start exploring. In the wild, squirrels rarely live beyond 4 years and half of them die out every year. But a pet squirrel can live up to 10 years.

Do Squirrels Eat Dirt?

Squirrels are mammals, meaning they give birth to live babies and suckle them for a few months. They’re also pretty clever and quickly copy nearby animals – including us! So if you routinely feed them, be careful that they don’t get too dependent or they may suffer when you move away. As said, squirrels will pretty much eat anything. But what exactly is dirt?If you mean rummaging through the trash (like raccoons), then no, they don’t. You’ll often see squirrels digging in the ground so you may assume they’re eating dirt. But they’re more likely burying food, harvesting a hidden stash, or hunting insects, worms, and grubs. They do eat twigs, wood, tree bark, and animal horns (like deer antlers) for minerals and fiber.

Food to Avoid When Feeding Squirrels

Squirrel diets are a lot like human diets. Being omnivores, they eat meat and plants, just like we do. Their meat is mostly in the form of insects and snakes, but they might dip into Fido or Fluffy’s dish if you raw-feed your pets. Here are some foods that are gourmet for squirrels.Feed your squirrels the same way you feed your children and your pets. Yes, they love certain things, but that doesn’t mean you should offer ice cream in excess. Balance the foods your squirrels love with foods that are good for their health. Occasional treats are fine, but the bulk of your squirrel diet should be protein-packed dishes that encourage them to exercise.

Squirrel FAQs

How you feed your squirrels will depend on their species and habits. Are they ground-dwellers (like chipmunks) or tree climbers (like fox squirrels and grays)? Do you prefer take-out squirrels that grab and run or sit-down diners that hang around and wait for dessert? Do you fill your feeders year-round or is this a holiday thing? Let’s check out some tips.Squirrels are irrepressibly cute but they’re still wild. Simulate their natural feeding habits. They should have to leap, hunt, and scavenge their meals.Set up your waterers and feeders with this in mind … but position them in spots that are safe from predators. And yes, that includes your pets. If Rex and Purrby keep chasing them off, the squirrels won’t come back.

1. Do squirrels eat peanut butter?

We all love peanut butter. Even with allergies! But it can be addictive … and fattening! So don’t give let them develop a habit! And don’t feed them out of your hands – they’ll get dependent and you may get sick from scratches.

2. What do squirrels eat in winter?

They will look for the nuts they buried in the summer. Or they’ll eat off human feeders. They might go for tree barks, fungi, or insects if they can’t find other food. Squirrels try to fatten themselves in the winter to keep warm. Especially tree squirrels that don’t hibernate.

3. Do squirrels eat meat?

Yes, they can eat snakes, small birds, and wet pet food. But they like nuts and berries best. Flying squirrels eat more meat than other species because they mostly live above ground.

4. When do squirrels eat?

Squirrels forage during the day and sleep at night. For squirrels that hunt (mice, lizards, sometimes other squirrels), they’ll adjust to the patterns of their preferred prey. But otherwise, you’ll rarely spot active squirrels after dark.

5. Can squirrels eat bread?

Squirrels can eat anything (though they don’t seem to like onions and garlic). So yes, they’ll eat bread if you offer it. But it’s not good for their gut – too much sugar, starch, and salt.

6. Do squirrels eat raisins?

You might be worried about choking hazards, but raisins are fine for squirrels. That said, raisins are saccharine … do you really want to face a squirrel on a sugar high?

7. Which vegetables do squirrels like?

Squirrels enjoy all kinds of vegetables so they can be a nuisance in your garden. They’ll eat tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuce, and more. They like crunchy veggies best.

8. Do squirrels like flowers?

Yes, they regularly bite into flower bulbs. Just like veggies, they take a few mouthfuls and leave the rest of the flower (or fruit or vegetable) untouched. No table manners whatsoever!

Diet Breakdown

Squirrels are opportunistic feeders with varied diets. Depending on the time of year, the rodents may eat tender leaf buds, wild fruits, nuts and acorns, bird eggs, seed crops, or even tree bark. Many species of tree squirrels store pieces of food for later consumption. When presented with the opportunity, squirrels will also snack on human leftovers and garbage.

Where Do Squirrels Look for Food?

Environments that host plentiful natural squirrel food include hardwood forests with mature oak, hickory, elm, and maple trees, as well as nut and fruit orchards. Gardens and farm fields containing fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grain crops also provide the rodents with ample food sources. Bird feeders in residential backyards are common feeding grounds, as are public parks and university campuses where squirrels can find scraps of food and scavenge through garbage cans.Learn more about squirrel removal.