What Do Squirrels Eat? – A Comprehensive Guide

Curious about what squirrels like to eat? Learn about the diverse diet of these fascinating creatures in our comprehensive guide, including how to properly feed squirrels, what types of squirrel feeders are best, and the specific diets of different squirrel species.

Common Foods Squirrels Eat: Nuts, Seeds, and More

Do Squirrels Eat Nuts and Seeds?

Yes, squirrels love to eat nuts and seeds. This is the primary source of food for squirrels, and they are known to eat a variety of types, including acorns, hickory nuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

Squirrels’ Favorite Foods: Acorns and Hickory Nuts

Squirrels are particularly fond of acorns and hickory nuts, which are also essential to their diet. These nuts provide them with the necessary nutrients and energy they need to thrive.

Are Squirrels Omnivores or Herbivores?

Squirrels are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. While they primarily consume a diet of nuts and seeds, squirrels also eat insects, bird eggs, and even baby birds when the opportunity arises.

Feeding Squirrels: Setting Up a Squirrel Feeder

Choosing the Right Squirrel Feeder

Selecting the appropriate squirrel feeder involves considering the type of food you’ll provide and ensuring the feeder is safe and accessible for these wild animals. There are a variety of squirrel feeders available, ranging from simple platforms to more elaborate designs.

What Kind of Food Should I Put in a Squirrel Feeder?

When filling a squirrel feeder, opt for nuts and seeds that squirrels love, such as acorns, hickory nuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. Avoid human foods like bread, as they can be harmful to squirrels’ health.

Avoiding Conflict: Squirrel Feeders vs. Bird Feeders

Many people wonder how to keep squirrels away from their bird feeders. One effective method is setting up a separate squirrel feeder, so squirrels won’t go after bird feeders and won’t eat bird seeds. You can also use squirrel baffles, which are obstacles that prevent squirrels from reaching bird feeders.

Different Diets for Different Squirrel Species

Grey Squirrels vs. Red Squirrels: What’s the Difference in Diet?

While there is some overlap in the diets of grey and red squirrels, they do have some notable differences. Grey squirrels are more likely to eat a wider variety of nuts and seeds, while red squirrels tend to prefer conifer seeds. However, both species are opportunistic and will also eat insects, bird eggs, and fruit.

Do Flying Squirrels and Ground Squirrels Eat the Same Foods?

Ground squirrels and flying squirrels have different diets based on their respective habitats. Ground squirrels mainly eat grasses, seeds, and insects, whereas flying squirrels have more diverse diets, including fruits, nuts, seeds, insects, and even fungi.

How Squirrel Species’ Diets Vary Based on Location

Different types of squirrels, like fox squirrels and gray squirrels, have different diets depending on their location and food source availability. For example, squirrels living in dense forests may rely more on tree nuts and seeds, whereas those in urban environments might consume a wider variety of food, including fruit and human foods.

Feeding Baby Squirrels: Special Considerations

What to Feed a Baby Squirrel: Formula and Solid Foods

Baby squirrels, also called kits, require specialized nutrition. Initially, they are usually fed with a specific squirrel formula, which provides them with necessary nutrients. As they grow, they can gradually transition to solid foods similar to their adult counterparts.

How Often to Feed a Baby Squirrel

Feeding frequency for a baby squirrel depends on its age. Younger kits require feeding every few hours, while older kits can be fed less frequently. Always consult an experienced wildlife rehabilitator for guidance if you encounter an orphaned or injured baby squirrel in need of care.

When to Transition Baby Squirrels to an Adult Diet

Typically, baby squirrels begin transitioning to an adult diet around seven weeks old. Introduce solid foods gradually, starting with soft items like fruits and tender leaves, and eventually moving to harder foods like nuts and seeds.

Unexpected Foods Squirrels Enjoy: Insects, Bread, and Fruit

Do Squirrels Eat Insects and Are They Part of a Natural Diet?

Yes, squirrels eat insects, which are a natural part of their omnivorous diet. Insects provide an additional source of protein and are particularly important for growing baby squirrels.

Can Squirrels Eat Bread and Other Human Foods?

While squirrels may be attracted to and consume human foods like bread or popcorn, it is not ideal for their health. Human foods can be high in processed sugars, fats, or salt, which can be harmful to squirrels over time. Stick to feeding squirrels nuts, seeds, and fruits in their natural state.

Are Squirrels Known to Eat Fruit, and What Kinds Do They Prefer?

Squirrels are indeed known to eat fruit. They tend to enjoy various fruits like apples, cherries, grapes, and berries. However, fruit should not comprise the majority of their diet, as nuts and seeds are more essential for their health and well-being.

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