Pests

What do Squirrels Eat? [19 Eating Habits of Squirrels – EXPLAINED]

Observing squirrels blissfully jumping from a tree or running across a garden seems adorable, doesn’t it? Well definitely! Squirrels are by far one of the most enchanting and appealing rodents found in our surroundings.

Watching them gives us warmth but have you ever thought of what these cute little creatures look for when they get hungry?

Yes, we all know the primary ingredient of a squirrel’s diet includes nuts, seeds, tree flowers, or tree buds, but there are some unknown and amazing facts related to a squirrel’s eating habits that we intend to illustrate in this article.

Being a member of the family ‘Sciuridae’, the squirrel family mainly consists of tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, flying squirrels, and prairie dogs.

Although their main dietary supplements are nuts, fruits, plants, and seeds, they often tend to show different trends in eating habits.

Some of their eating habits and amazingly informative facts are shared in this article.

19 Eating Habits of Squirrels

1. Do Squirrels eat bird eggs?

Well, the answer is YES! Squirrels definitely can and may eat bird eggs when they are hungry.

Not all of them, but some red squirrels, grey squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, and ground squirrels eat bird eggs. Rather the eggshells are an important source of calcium for squirrels and other rodents.

Also, the fats and proteins present in the eggs are highly nutritional for squirrels. They are “opportunistic foragers” which means that they can eat whatever they can acquire from every possible opportunity, including stealing bird eggs.

Their survival strategy is such that they can even attack and eat young or baby birds in order to quench their own hunger. 

2. Do Squirrels eat Bugs?

The answer is simply YES!

Although acorns, walnuts, peanuts, and fruits are the most preferred food items of squirrels, they often tend not to be picky eaters and can feed on any food readily available to them.

They are mostly omnivores, which makes them eat both plants and meat. Squirrels, especially Ground squirrels can catch and eat small animals, insects and caterpillars.

Since a bug is also an insect, it is likely that a squirrel definitely eats it if he has no other option available to him.

3. Do Squirrels eat Dog food?

Squirrels are opportunistic eaters and therefore might and can even eat dog foods if it has no other option available to them. Thus the answer is YES!

Even though squirrels may eat dog food, it is not always good for a squirrel to feed on a dog’s food. Dog food is not toxic for a squirrel and it eats this only if it has no other choice.

Since foods for animals are manufactured keeping in mind that it is solely made for that particular kind of animal, a dog food will provide all the essential nutrients required for a dog.

This may not fulfill the nutritional requirements of a squirrel. Thus, even if squirrels may eat dog food, it is not recommended for them.

4. Do Squirrels eat dried mealworms?

Squirrels are omnivores and therefore YES! They certainly eat dried mealworms if they find no other options.

Yes, believe it or not, squirrels eat mealworms too! Squirrels, especially wild squirrels can eat whatever they find satisfying their hunger, thus if they have no other option they can easily feed upon dried mealworms.

5. Do Squirrels eat Duck eggs?

YES! They do eat duck eggs.

As discussed earlier, proteins present in eggs are of huge nutritional importance to squirrels. Since squirrels are opportunistic in their approach for diet, they don’t even hesitate to raid the nest of ducks.

6. Do Squirrels Eat Frogs?

I know this answer will amaze you. Well YES! If a squirrel has no other choice, then he may feed on a frog’s meat too!

Although squirrels mainly feed on plant-based foods such as nuts, berries, fruits, vegetables, seeds and strips of barks from trees, they also tend to supplement their diet with other food items like bugs, insects, small animals and dead animal’s carcasses.

Since they are omnivorous animals, they can totally feed on frogs when they have no other options readily available to them and their hunger starves them.

7. Do Squirrels eat Insects?

YES, of course! Squirrels can definitely eat insects.

These mammals are omnivores which makes them eat both plants and meat. Thus when other sources of plant-based food items are not available to them they tend to feed on whatever is readily accessible to them.

Flying squirrels and wild squirrels have the most carnivorous diet and therefore have more tendency to feed on insects.

8. Do Squirrels eat Meat?

YES they do eat meat!

A squirrel’s diet is primarily vegetarian but it definitely consumes meat once it finds something readily available to him. Being an omnivorous animal, squirrels do eat meat but it is not always their most preferred food item.

Squirrels eat the meat of small animals, rodents, insects and yes, even young snakes and birds! Amongst all other species of squirrels, the flying squirrels are of the most carnivorous in nature.

9. Do Squirrels eat Mice?

The answer is YES! Squirrels, if having no other choice, can definitely kill and feed on mice.

Like all other animals, squirrels too need a good supplement of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in their diet.

To quench their nutritional requirements, Squirrels often rely on the meat of other small rodents and insects.

Mice provide high protein and fats to squirrels. Although mice are also not a preferred food of squirrels, they feed on them when they are hungry and out of other supplements.

10. Do Squirrels eat Oranges?

It appears that YES, squirrels do eat and some even love oranges especially in the summer seasons.

Squirrel’s primary diet supplement includes plant-based items such as fruits and veggies.

They seem to love berries, apricots, corn, avocados, and many other fruits. Oranges are loved by squirrels, especially some of the Eastern Grey squirrels.

11. Do Squirrels eat other Squirrels?

Yeah! Sometimes, Red squirrels slay their own types.

Although cannibalism is rare amongst squirrels, some of their kinds, especially the male Red Squirrels, often tend to kill squirrel pups and feed on them.

They are not routine predators but can feed on animals when no other option is available to them.

12. Do Squirrels eat Pecans?

Yes, of course! Squirrels definitely love to have pecans as their meal.

Squirrels usually eat a lot of nuts and they will absolutely be happy to have walnuts, acorns, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds or peanuts at any hour.

Pecans are generally included amongst the most preferred and favorite nuts of squirrels and they eat pecans both with or without shells.

13. Do Squirrels eat Potatoes?

The answer is simply YES, they can eat potatoes.

Vegetables come right after plants in the preference list of squirrels and since they tend to feed on whatever comes to them first, they surely eat potatoes if they have access to them.

Although sweet potatoes are quite nutritional for squirrels and may be good to add to their diet, raw potatoes are not recommended for them.

14. Do Squirrels eat Walnuts?

YES! They love to have walnuts in their regular diet.

Probably all kinds and types of squirrels are fond of cracking and feeding on nuts, and walnuts accounts to be their most favorite of all.

These nuts contain copper, phosphorus, folic acid, manganese, vitamins B6 and E which are great for the squirrel’s health. Therefore squirrels should be fed walnuts on a regular basis.

15. What Insects do Squirrels eat?

Some insects that are eaten by squirrels include caterpillars, larvae, winged bugs, grasshoppers, injured butterflies, and crickets, to name a few.

When plants and nuts are not readily available to squirrels, they tend to feed on small insects, animals and rodents.

Wild squirrels often resort to having more animal meat in their diet. Since these creatures are omnivores, they can eat both plants and animals. They even feed on young birds, their eggs, and snakes.

16. Can Squirrel eat Chocolate?

Well, the answer ought to be YES! Squirrels can and love to eat chocolates.

Even though squirrels love chocolates, they should not be fed on them. Chocolate is toxic for squirrels and if consumed in large quantities can kill them.

It is said that it takes 36g of a 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar to kill squirrels. Neither milk chocolate nor dark chocolate is good for squirrels. In fact, dark chocolate is even more lethal compared to milk chocolate.

Chocolate contains the lethal compound “theobromine” which is “alkaloid”. Squirrels can consume a bit but chocolates in large quantities are totally harmful to them.

17. Can Squirrels eat Dog food?

Squirrels are opportunistic foragers who can eat whatever they can acquire. Therefore, they may eat Dog foods too!

As discussed above, although squirrels can eat dog foods, it is not recommended for them since these dog foods are primarily focused on the nutritional requirements of dogs and not squirrels.

These dog foods will therefore not fulfill the basic nutritional requirements of squirrels and they will become nutrient deficient.

18. Can Squirrel eat Potatoes?

Squirrels can eat potatoes but they should not!

Sweet potatoes are usually fed to squirrels and they tend to like them but white potatoes are generally discarded in a squirrel’s diet chart. White potatoes are not of great nutritional importance as compared to sweet potatoes.

If one requires to feed their squirrel white potatoes, they should feed them the ones with the darker-colored flesh such as the Yukon Gold, Ruby Crescent, and Purple Viking.

19. Can Squirrel Eat Mushrooms?

YES! Squirrels happily eat mushrooms.

Squirrels are omnivores and thus resort to feeding on anything that they get readily available to them including both plant-based and animal items. They totally rely on fungi such as mushrooms for their feast.

Mushrooms contain fiber and protein, B vitamins, vitamin D, and the antioxidant selenium. The selenium is beneficial to squirrels as it supports the squirrel’s immune system and ensures that cells and tissue are protected from damage.

Squirrels love to eat all kinds of mushrooms and even can digest some of the poisonous mushrooms.

Final Comments:

Therefore, in order to conclude, we can say that Squirrels are really opportunity seekers in the matters concerning their eating habits. They can literally eat a wide range of food items including both plant-based and animal meat.

We have seen that some squirrels like flying squirrels and wild squirrels are more carnivorous in their eating approach and can even attack and eat small animals, birds and snakes.

Although their favorite includes nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables, they are certainly not always pure vegetarians and sometimes resort to a non-veg diet when they find it readily available to them. Thus, these pretty animals, how small they may seem, really have a huge dietary coverage.

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