Do Squirrels Eat Mushrooms? 5 Health Benefits Of Mushrooms To Squirrels

Do squirrels eat mushrooms? Read on to find out!

Squirrels are among the most popular members of the rodent family, and they are common in the wild and in the park. Squirrels usually feed on nuts and fruits, and you may be wondering if they can also eat mushrooms.

Squirrels are omnivorous animals and can feed on mushrooms as they are delicious plants. Just like mushrooms have mind-blowing benefits to humans, it is also quite useful in the diet of squirrels. They are a great source of nutrition, and they are easily available.

As a squirrel lover, you may be wondering if all mushrooms are suitable for your squirrels. In this article, we will help highlight whether it is good to feed squirrels with mushrooms and highlight some of the bad foods for squirrels.

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Do Squirrels Eat Mushrooms?

A squirrel eating wild mushrooms in the wild
a wild squirrel having some mushrooms for lunch

Yes, squirrels do eat mushrooms. This is because they are omnivorous animals, and they will feed on both plants and animals. Furthermore, squirrels have a similar eating habit with raccoons and will eat anything that comes their way, from fruits to vegetables.

Squirrels usually forage for mushrooms as they are delicious, crunchy to chew on, and are available in different types. Mushrooms offer a wide range of vitamins and minerals for a squirrel’s body. Furthermore, it is rich in protein and fiber.

Mushrooms are also rich in selenium, which helps support the immune system of squirrels and helps protect the cells and tissues from damage.

What About Poisonous Mushrooms?

do squirrels eat mushrooms
A squirrel eating wild mushrooms in the wild

Squirrels can eat all types of mushrooms and even many poisonous mushrooms. Another interesting thing about the eating habit of a squirrel is that they can also eat acorn truffles.

There are some mushrooms that contain amanita-toxins, like the death cap mushroom, which can be harmful to humans. In the mushroom, the toxin is usually bound tightly to a glycoprotein molecule. Once humans feed on this mushroom, the gut enzymes are going to separate the amanitin from the glycoprotein.

The glycoprotein will then be excreted while the amanitin will be in our bodies and enter the bloodstream. This will then poison humans.

However, this is not usually the case when it comes to squirrels. Squirrels have a lining in their gut that contains toxin-compatible glycoprotein molecules. This enzyme helps squirrels to break up the amanitin-glycoprotein molecule in the mushroom.

After that, the amanitin molecule will then bind to the glycoprotein molecules in the squirrel. This then helps to prevent the toxin from entering the bloodstream. Instead, the toxin will be excreted by squirrels.

Not Mushrooms, What Foods Are Bad For Squirrels?

The problem with feeding squirrels is there are some foods that you can feed them that have little or no nutritional value and can even be dangerous to them. Some of them are stated below.

Peanuts

It is believed that rodents love peanuts, and many are shocked to hear that squirrels are not supposed to eat peanuts. Squirrels love eating peanuts, but they are classified as legumes instead of nuts. Furthermore, squirrels will get little nutritional value from peanuts.

However, you can feed them with peanuts occasionally to help vary their diet.

squirrel eating peanut
squirrel eating peanut

Junk Food

Just like in humans, junk funds are fillers, and they have little nutritional value. Furthermore, junk foods have a high amount of sugar and salt, which can be very bad for squirrels. For instance, squirrels are hyper naturally, and sugar will get them more excited, which is bad for their health.

Furthermore, junk foods are not part of their natural diet, and you should avoid feeding them with it.

Corn

Although squirrels can eat corn, they have a tendency to overeat. It is best if you cut up the corn in pieces before feeding them. Furthermore, corn can quickly turn sour and grow mold, and you have to make sure the corn is good before feeding the squirrel.

Another thing is that sour corn is usually toxic and can be fatal to squirrels.

A grey squirrel eating corn from a tree
A grey squirrel eating corn from a tree

Animal or Human Formula

Although some wildlife websites suggest that you can feed squirrels with puppy or baby human formula. However, this is quite bad for your squirrels as any formula designed for humans or animals can be fatal to squirrels.

This is because these formulas usually contain too many preservatives and chemical additives that can cause seizures, nervousness, rickets, and sudden death to squirrels.

Breakfast Cereals

Although squirrels are happy to eat breakfast cereals, they do not have any nutritional value for the squirrel. They are mainly filler food and can easily cause severe malnutrition to a squirrel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the other animals that eat mushrooms?

Mushrooms are a highly nutritious food source, and there are several animals that eat them. Some of the animals that eat mushrooms apart from a squirrel are listed below:

Rabbits
Deer and bears
Slugs
Pig and wild boars
Insects
Birds

What Foods Are Bad For Squirrels?

Squirrels are not picky eaters and will eat anything that comes their way. However, there are some foods that are bad for squirrels and can even cause harm to squirrels. Some of them are listed below:

Dried corn
High sugar foods like cookies, granola, candy, etc.
Human junk food
High-starch food like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc.
Salty foods
Sunflower seeds
Cashews
Pine nuts

Should You Feed Mushrooms To Squirrels?

Many wildlife experts usually advise people to avoid feeding squirrels with mushrooms. This is because squirrels are natural foragers, and you should allow them to forage for their own mushrooms. If you are staying in a place filled with mushrooms, squirrels will not have a hard time finding them.

What kind of mushrooms can squirrels eat?

Squirrels can eat all kinds of mushrooms. They can even feed on poisonous mushrooms because their body can easily expel the toxins in the mushroom. Furthermore, they also feed on acorn mushrooms which look and smell like an acorn.

Wrapping Up

Squirrels are omnivorous animals and can feed on both plants and animal materials that come their way. Squirrels love eating mushrooms and will do anything to get their hands on one. 

Furthermore, they can feed on poisonous mushrooms as their bodies can expel toxins before they enter their bloodstream.