Squirrels have a huge impact on the environment. They help to distribute seeds, create homes for other animals, fill up bird feeders, and they can even provide you with an extra source of food.
We must give them some appreciation for all that they do. Especially considering how their numbers are declining every year.
Table of Contents
What Nutrients Do Squirrels Need?
Squirrels are rodents and therefore they need to consume a diet that is similar to what other rodents, such as mice, consume. They have a varied diet which includes seeds, nuts, and different plants.
To stay healthy and fit squirrels need to eat a lot of protein. Protein provides them with the energy needed for exercise as well as the building blocks for new tissue.
Squirrels also need plenty of calcium in their diet because it helps them maintain their teeth and bones. A high calcium intake is important for those that have heavy physical activity since it also helps them build muscle mass.
With all of this in mind, you should have a better idea of what to feed squirrels.
What Do Squirrels Like to Eat in General?
Squirrels are omnivores. While they eat all sorts of plants such as tree bark, leaves, flowers, vines, and fungi, they also enjoy the occasional meaty dish. Their diet is rich in nutrients like protein and calcium which are good for their growth.
Ergo, their primary food sources are seeds, nuts, fruits, and fungi.
Yet, squirrels will also eat animal flesh if they can get their hands on it along with insects or eggs that they find in the nest. But, this is an unusual occurrence as they don’t have sharp teeth to tear at meat and often find it hard to digest too.
What Is a Squirrel’s Favorite Food?
Seeing as these little critters are omnivores, their favorite food is really whatever they can find. They will eat just about anything.
What to Feed Squirrels to Keep Them Healthy and Happy
1. Nuts, Seeds, and Peanuts
Have you ever seen a squirrel stealing food from a bird feeder? No wonder! Nuts, seeds, and peanuts are not the most nutritionally dense food for squirrels, but they are possibly the best answer to what do squirrels like to eat. Peanuts are high in fat and should be limited to a small handful per day. Nuts and seeds should be kept to a small amount per week.
2. Fruits and Berries
Squirrels prefer nuts over fruits and berries.
The most important thing to keep in mind when making a mix of fruits and berries for squirrels is that they should be low in fat, high in protein, have plenty of fiber, and contain no sugar.
3. Cottage Cheese
Squirrels are always looking for a meal of some sort. Don’t worry, they won’t be disappointed if they find your cottage cheese! With this in mind, just take a bowl and put it on the ground. Put some cottage cheese in the bowl. You can also add a little bit of water to help them drink and eat the stuff. Keep in mind that squirrels are small animals so it will be easier for them to eat this kind of food compared to something like bread or meat!
4. Cooked Grains
Another way to feed squirrels is by offering them cooked grains, for example, rice or oatmeal, which are both very easy to prepare.
Before cooking, make sure the grain is rinsed and soaked in water for at least three hours. The pot must be filled to two-thirds of its capacity with the soaked grain before adding boiling water.
Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the grains are fully cooked. Add salt while cooking if desired.
Feeding squirrels vegetables may seem like a strange idea to some, but it is actually a good way to balance animals’ diets and teach them how to eat healthier.
It is important not to feed them unhealthy food items, such as candy or junk food.
Instead, offer them healthy and nutritious foods that they would naturally find in their natural habitats, such as peanuts, corn, carrots, or sunflower seeds.
Tips for Feeding Squirrels in Your Garden or Yard
1. Select a Location for Feeding Squirrels on Your Property
Some people like to feed squirrels and other animals on their property, others do not. The decision depends on the location of your property and the type of wildlife that you are looking to attract.
If you are looking for a place to feed squirrels, consider a location near an open area or a natural area where you can see activity from your house or yard. If this is not possible, find an area that is shaded and out of sight from human activity where the food will be left unattended.
2. Purchase Food That Is Most Likely to Attract Squirrels to Your Yard
- Be sure to buy a variety of different types of food so squirrels don’t get bored with the same taste over time
- Place the food in areas that will be less noticeable to people who might want to steal it
- Consider planting flowers and other plants that squirrels like in your yard
Even though there is no one correct answer to the question of what is a squirrel’s favorite food, many people are unaware that there is one thing that squirrels cannot resist- corn. To attract the furry little creatures, store corn kernels in your garage or basement and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results!
3. Supply a Water Source Next to the Feeders for Thirsty Squirrels
Squirrels need water when they are out in the wild. Providing a water source nearby will encourage them to stay at the feeder.
There has been speculation about how far away a squirrel is willing to travel for food and water. They are indeed more than willing to travel up to five miles for food if they have access to a water source as well, but this varies depending on the season and availability of food in their environment.
What to Feed Squirrels in Winter?
1. Fruits and Vegetables That Squirrels Love to Eat and That Don’t Require a Lot of Preparation. For Instance, You Can Go for Any of the Following:
- Apples – these are some of the most popular foods for squirrels, they love them raw or cooked.
- Grapes – these need to be chopped up so that the squirrel can eat them faster, but they are still a favorite food for squirrels as well.
- Berries – anything from strawberries to raspberries is on their menu and because there are so many different types, they never
2. Dried Corn and Peanuts From the Grocery Store/Co-Op
It is a known fact that squirrels are quite the little thieves. They will frequently try to steal birdseed, hummingbird feeders, and even dog food. However, some of their favorite things to steal from your bird feeders are peanuts and corn.
So, when asking yourself what to feed squirrels in winter, it may seem like a good idea to put some of these foods in the same place as your bird feeder. This is because squirrels can smell peanuts and corn from 20 yards away, which gives them enough time to come get their snack before they can be caught by birds or other animals.
It is not certain what the best diet for a squirrel would be because it would depend on the individual squirrel, their health, and the environment they live in.