The most favorable diet for squirrels is the nuts, but they don’t consume just any nut. So, what nuts do squirrels eat? We will discover that in a short time.
Just like humans, animals have their treasured dish too. The critical factor to pleasing squirrels, or your pet squirrel if you have one, is providing its favorite food. Having noted that, the next concern would be to identify their favorites.
Perhaps you’re pondering what nuts are special to squirrels? That’s okay. I had you in mind and decided to share this article with you. Please don’t leave the site yet; I have a lot for you.
Squirrels are Omnivores
We often encounter squirrels munching on fruit or plants, but rarely do we see these wild creatures eating meat. Because of this, many people think them to be herbivores, although this is untrue.
Squirrels are omnivores, meaning, if you avail a piece of meat to a squirrel, it will not hesitate to gobble it up. They have a pretty extensive list of foods edible to them, including fruits, seeds, nuts, meat, fungi, vegetables, etc.
The ability to consume almost anything allows squirrels to survive well in the wild. If plant products aren’t available, they can live on small insects, young snakes, eggs, small animals, and caterpillars.
The food source for squirrels tends to vary with seasons, location, and availability. Fortunately, these animals understand food scarcity in the winter months and have a food cache to use in such periods.
What Nuts Do Squirrels Eat?
Squirrels primarily eat nuts, and they will snack on both shelled and unshelled nuts. Nuts are a regular food for squirrels.
Note that the kind of nuts that these chowhound rodents eat depends on what they can acquire. For instance, macadamia nuts are popular in areas with abundant macadamia nut trees.
Likewise, the availability of oak trees in a place makes it a lovely home for squirrels. Acorns are the number one nuts that are special to squirrels. Below are nuts that squirrels eat and their nutritional impacts.
If you are thinking of luring squirrels with nuts, acorns can be an excellent choice. The beautiful oak tree is the source of splendidly flavored acorn nuts.
Oak trees come in different varieties, including white oak, red oak, and live oak, to mention a few. These trees survive well in temperate and tropical climates and are abundant in Asia and North America.
Acorn nuts are full of essential nutrients, e.g., potassium, Vitamin A and E, iron, and low calories. However, acorns are concentrated with an anti-nutrient compound called tannin, which is the reason behind their bitterness.
Squirrels’ tendency to bury these nuts for later consumption helps to reduce the tannin level and bitterness.
Walnuts are another nut of choice for squirrels. Walnut trees grow in many parts of the world, including China, United States, Canada, Iran, Mexico, Turkey, Indiana, Illinois, etc.
The most popular walnut tree species are the Black and English walnut trees, and they are both cultivated for nuts and other tree products.
Squirrels are fond of Black walnuts, but they will also not reject the English walnuts they take hold of. Walnuts are richly supplied with manganese, vitamins B6 and E, copper, and folic acid, supporting good health in squirrels.
Moreover, squirrels love shelled walnuts more than unshelled ones. The shelled walnuts have an advantage. They allow the squirrel to engage in an exercise and also help to sharpen their ever-growing front teeth.
Hazelnuts are rich in flavor, and they come from the hazel tree. These nuts represent another diet that is valuable to squirrels.
A hazelnut falling in the presence of a squirrel turns out to be a sweet snack for the squirrels. Squirrels usually gather the hazelnuts falling from the trees in the fall season, hoard them, and come back in winter.
You will smile watching a squirrel busy fetching, handling, and splitting the whole hazelnut to get the meat inside. It is fun.
Hazelnuts aren’t only sweet but contain many nutrients that squirrels need. They have a high content of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and saturated fat.
A pecan is that seed which no squirrel will be reluctant to guzzle. It is among the gem seeds for squirrels.
Pecan trees are popular because of their tasty nuts, and they are abundant in Texas, Mexico, Georgia, and New Mexico.
These luscious nuts are a star to many animals. They provide a substantial content of calcium, protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and fats. Their nutrients help to keep squirrels energized and satisfied.
Additionally, the hard shell of pecans makes these seeds more appealing to squirrels. Squirrels use them to exercise their teeth and keep them in the height of good health.
Almonds form another category of nuts that are good for squirrels, and they enjoy munching on them.
Do not stop your beloved friend from eating almonds because these seeds have all the nutrients that help squirrels stay healthy. The seeds are packed with good nutrients such as potassium, Vitamin E, and magnesium.
They are good nutrients because of their significant impact; they support the frank flow of oxygen and nutrients through the blood.
Almonds are loved more by the red and grey squirrels. The in-shell almonds are the best snacks to give squirrels. But it’s not that the unshelled nuts are bad; squirrels also eat them.
Nut#6: Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts aren’t that new to us. They are widely distributed in the world, and many people cultivate them for their tasty sweet nuts. I treasure macadamia nuts; they’re crunchy, delicious, and flavorsome.
It is not surprising that even squirrels adore them. Their sweet flavor is tempting not only to humans but also to animals. It is not in vain that squirrels are eating macadamia nuts; these seeds are very nutritious.
They provide vitamins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Additionally, the nuts are packed with healthy fats that are significant to these high-energy demanding critters.
The hardiness of the shell is paramount, and this is another reason why squirrels love macadamia nuts.
Nut#7: Pine Nuts
Pine trees are the source of the famous pine nuts. The nuts are contained in the pine cones. The cones keep the seeds safe from wind, predators, and unfavorable climates.
Squirrels will eat both pine cones and pine nuts. The cone is rigid and a perfect thing for squirrels to exercise with. Squirrels love pine nuts a lot, and especially the pine squirrels.
What are pine nuts good for? Pine nuts are a great snack for squirrels to eat; they’re energy-boosting foods containing a considerable amount of magnesium, protein, and iron.
Phosphorus, calcium, dietary fiber, manganese, Vitamin E, and K are other nutrients available in pine nuts. The seeds have a whole lot of benefits to squirrels.
Pistachios come from the pistachio tree and are widely produced in New Mexico, California, and Arizona. Pistachios are not new; they have been there for centuries.
Pistachios aren’t exempted from nuts that are dear to squirrels. Cracking and opening the hard shell of pistachios is fun for squirrels and helps sharpen their teeth.
Pistachios are nutritious and satisfying nuts making them suitable for squirrel’s health. They contain high protein levels, fiber, good fats, potassium, fatty acids, and many minerals.
If your home is in the vicinity of a pistachio tree, you must have observed a squirrel devouring pistachio nuts; they love them.
Squirrels love chestnuts so much. They will not only eat the chestnuts but also enjoy stashing them away in caches for future use.
Chestnuts are safe for squirrels to consume and offer many minerals and other nutrients, e.g., thiamine, folate, copper, vitamin B6 and C, potassium, manganese, fiber, and riboflavin.
Chestnuts have tannin; therefore, squirrels should eat only a few of them. The shells of these nuts are slightly softer than nuts from other trees. But this doesn’t disqualify them from being part of a squirrel’s diet.
Nut#10: Hickory Nuts
Squirrels flock on a hickory tree and devour the hickory nuts without leaving any nut behind. The nuts are sweet and very alluring to squirrels.
There is no problem with squirrels eating hickory nuts. The nuts have been a favorite snack for squirrels for many decades.
Hickory nuts come in two varieties; small and large nuts. Large nuts have shells that are extremely hard compared to the small variety.
It is quite challenging for squirrels to break the large hickory nuts, but they wouldn’t ignore them if they’re the only ones available. Squirrels won’t give up cracking a hickory nut that quickly; they know there is plenty of meat inside.
What Nuts Squirrels Do Not Eat?
As a squirrel lover, you may wonder if there are nuts that squirrels shouldn’t eat? To be honest, some nuts like cashews, sunflower seeds, fruit seeds, dried corn, and peanuts are not suitable for squirrels.
Foods like peanuts and cashews offer low nutritional value to squirrels, while fruit seeds are toxic. Poor nutrition foods make squirrels full but have no health benefits; in fact, these animals get at risk of malnutrition.
Do all Squirrels Eat the Same Thing?
Yes, squirrels eat the same food: they eat meat and plants, with nuts being their food choice.
Grey and red squirrels have a lot in common when it comes to their feeding behavior. However, red squirrels appear to be a little forgetful than red squirrels when tracing their food caches.
Both bury foods to consume them later on, and grey squirrels will never forget where they hoard the food. This memory is not that powerful in red squirrels, and therefore, they end up losing the majority of their food, and grey squirrels steal them.
If you thought that squirrels only eat plants and vegetables, now you know that is nothing but a myth. Squirrels are omnivores, eating about everything, but their favorite foods consist of nuts.
Additionally, acorns are not the only nuts that squirrels eat; of course, they consume other nuts like walnut, chestnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, hickory, and macadamia nuts.
Nuts are a great source of protein and good fats that squirrels need for their survival. It is also clear to us that all squirrels share common foods.