If you have come this far, you love these cute animals and want to learn more about their life and what squirrels eat. Here we will explain everything you need to know, especially about their diet.
Squirrels are cute animals that can be found both in nature and as pets in homes. They belong to the rodent family and live in forest areas, although they can also be found in parks with abundant trees. They are very active and agile little ones that spend most of the day in the heights, jumping from branch to branch; however, it is common to see them coming down to the ground to look for food.
It is a sociable, playful and very curious animal that, when living in parks, usually accepts our presence without being frightened and even asks for food. This is not the case when they live in forests, where they are not accustomed to humans and flee at any noise or movement that they interpret as danger.
Depending on where the squirrel lives, it will follow one diet or another. Not only are there differences between what wild and domestic squirrels eat, but it will also depend on where they live in the wild. Squirrels adapt to the environment in which they live and also to the time of year; in summer and spring they choose light foods, while in the colder months they opt for more energetic foods to cope with the winter.
A curiosity is that squirrels have a kind of pouch on their cheeks in which they can store several pieces of food for transport.
What do squirrels feed on in the wild?
Squirrels are omnivorous and can eat practically anything, but the basis of their diet consists of seeds, nuts and vegetables. In addition, they occasionally feed on small animals and the eggs of some birds. Depending on the type of vegetation and the trees where they live, they will have one diet or another, as well as the species.
The most common nuts and seeds eaten by squirrels are pine cones, pine nuts, acorns, walnuts and pecans. They also choose the most tender and palatable herbs and plants, such as stems, shoots, roots and leaves and also some flowers. Mushrooms and mushrooms are also found in their diet. As for small animals, they choose worms, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, cockroaches… Sometimes even baby birds.
They can also eat fruits, but in the wild this is rare. They usually eat them when other foods are scarce.
What do domestic squirrels eat?
Mix seeds and nuts, vegetables and legumes daily, trying to offer different varieties each day. Fruit can be offered in moderation, maximum 3 days a week, as its sugar content can be harmful. You should give it to them at room temperature and in very small pieces. Also, keep in mind that they like them more green than ripe. Insects provide them with protein, so they are also important in their menu; a couple of times a week will suffice. If your squirrel is loose in the house, it is possible that it will also hunt them itself.
How to prepare a suitable menu for your squirrel?
Now that you know what squirrels eat, you need to make sure you provide all the protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals your squirrel needs to be healthy. The best way to provide a complete and balanced diet is to mimic their natural diet as closely as possible.
- Water always available, fresh and clean.
- Vegetables every day: mix of 4 or 5 vegetables such as bell bell pepper, carrot leaves, lamb’s lettuce, arugula, spinach, stems and sprouts of various plants, broccoli, cucumber and corn.
- Mix nuts and seeds daily and a good amount: hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, oat flakes, sunflower seeds, canaryseed… Whenever possible in shell, so they use their teeth and nails and wear them down.
- Legumes (those eaten by squirrels should preferably be sprouted) as part of the daily menu: lentils, beans, peas, broad beans….
- Fruits 2-3 times a week: apples, bananas, cherries, peaches, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, blackberries…
- Small insects 1-2 times a week: worms, crickets, grasshoppers.
- Calcium: extra calcium with boiled eggshell, fresh unsalted cheese, unsweetened yogurt, powdered milk.
It is not only necessary to take into account what squirrels eat, but also the amount of food. It is recommended to give ¼ of their weight, about 20-25 g per day. Hatchlings eat less (about 15 g). We recommend that you distribute the food in different places as squirrels love to collect it.
There are commercial foods that you can use as the basis of their diet if you do not have time to prepare a balanced daily menu. With them you make sure to provide them with all the nutrients and vitamins they need to be healthy, but you must choose a quality one and supplement it with fruits and vegetables. In Tiendanimal you can find Versele-Laga, Novopet and Kiki squirrel food:
What should squirrels not eat?
In addition to knowing what foods squirrels eat, you should be aware of which ones to avoid and which ones are dangerous to squirrels. For example, bitter almonds have a substance that is practically lethal to squirrels, cyanide. Sweets such as chocolate are also harmful to their health because of their high sugar content. They should also not eat dairy products or processed foods such as cereals or bread.
Don’t forget that squirrels are nervous and active animals and that the best place for them to live is in nature. In order for them to live happily as pets, you must take good care of their diet and offer them a suitable place, with plenty of space and the possibility of climbing, climbing and jumping, which they like the most.