Pets & Animals

Feeding Wild Squirrels: What They Eat

What to Feed Wild Squirrels

Squirrels are familiar group of common animals with bushy tails which comes into family of rodents called sciuridae.

This family also includes marmots, chipmunks, woodchunks and prairie dogs.

Worldwide there are more than 200 squirrel’s species exits, including species of tree squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels.

Being lively, good at problem solving and inquisitive, these animals can be enjoyable to watch. Supplying some extra food may attract them.

But, what to feed squirrel them to maintaining their health?

Feeding squirrels their proper food is essential to maintaining their health.

We should feed a wild squirrels food aligns with their natural wild squirrel diet to avoid making them sick or overweight.

What Squirrels Eat

The squirrels’ diets vary with species of squirrels, location, seasons.

Basically, squirrels are omnivores, which means that they can eat food from both plant as well as animal sources.

  1. Squirrels consume variety of food from plants such as nuts, berries, roots and freash leafy green vegetables.
  2. Squirrels also eats fungi, eggs, insects, caterpillars, and other small animals.
  3. They enjoy cereal, bird seeds occasional bit of meat.
  4. Squrrels do not like to eat spicy food such as onion, raw garlic, peppers.
  5. Dairy products, chocolate, candy, highly processed food, junk food or sugary cereals are not good for squirrels.

Example: Acorns, whole roasted pumpkin seeds and almonds are the healthiest for squirrels. Followed by hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, picans, pistachios and peanuts in that order.

Squirrels Diets Vary by Season

Nuts and seeds are the mast in season, they are main squirrel food. Squirrels are actively harvest and hoard them. They will gather nuts while in season and live on their cached supplies through the winter.

Pine squirrels are “larder hoarders” who keep food in a single place. Gray squirrels are “scatter hoarders” who keeps food in many places.

quirrels Diets Vary by Season

The Adirondack Ecological Center lists that the tree bark and the buds are the squirrel’s winter and spring food. And in summer they prefer fungi and fruits like black cherries.

The University of California says that ground squirrels prefer green, leafy greens or vegetables as their diet in the springtime. Then they switch over to seeds after the grasses wither.

Flying squirrels also eats seeds and nuts. But according to the National Wildlife Foundation, they are omnivorous. For the egg they will raid bird nests and eat carrion if it is available.

Food to Avoid Feeding to Squirrels

Too many peanuts along with expired nuts can be dengerous for squirrels to eat.

Processed food like candy, sweets, cake, potato chips, bread and other processed human food can also be extremely dangerous for squirrel’s health.

Peanuts and corn make a poor diet for the squirrels, much like candy as a diet for people.

When it became large part of their diet, squirrels become vulnerable to metabolic bone disease.  They recommend feeding healthy foods like fruit and fresh veggies.

For the squirrels good health always stick with raw seeds, fresh produce greens or vegetables and other than non-processed items. It is safe for the squirrel’s health.

Example: Cashews, sunflower seeds, dried corn, pine nuts.      (it will cause severe calcium loss)

Plants to Attract Squirrels

Raising plant which squirrels like is a way to feed them without any human interaction. The Wisconsin Squirrels Connection suggest hazelnut bushes as a food source that squirrels can forage for themselves.

Squirrels’ friendly trees:

  • Walnut
  • Hickory
  • Oak
  • Maple

Planting these trees provides shelter for both squirrels and birds. Squirrels needs calcium so, a soup bone tied in a tree can provide this nutrients.

Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan holds a Master’s in Animal Behavior from Cornell University, dedicating his 11-year career to understanding and improving the human-animal bond. Since joining our website in 2022, Cesar has provided insights into pet care, behavior modification, and animal communication. His background includes roles in animal research and as a professional dog trainer. Cesar’s previous roles included working as a veterinarian and animal behaviorist. Cesar is an avid wildlife photographer in his leisure time and participates in conservation education programs.

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