What to Feed a Wild Squirrel

What to Feed a Wild Squirrel: Nutritional Power Foods

To feed a wild squirrel, you can safely provide a variety of foods such as walnuts, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, and beechnuts. These options can be collected from a nearby forest and offered to the squirrel throughout the year using a squirrel feeder. Natural Foods For Squirrels A nutritious diet for wild squirrels includes…

To feed a wild squirrel, you can safely provide a variety of foods such as walnuts, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, and beechnuts. These options can be collected from a nearby forest and offered to the squirrel throughout the year using a squirrel feeder.

Natural Foods For Squirrels

A nutritious diet for wild squirrels includes walnuts, hickory nuts, oak acorns, and beechnuts. These can be gathered from forests and provided in a squirrel feeder for year-long nourishment.

Acorns

Acorns are a natural and nutritious food source for squirrels. Here are some key points about feeding acorns to squirrels:

  • Acorns are rich in nutrients, including protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They provide squirrels with essential energy and help support their overall health.
  • Squirrels have a natural instinct to forage and collect acorns. By providing them with acorns, you are giving them a food source that mimics their natural diet.
  • Make sure the acorns you collect are ripe and free from any signs of mold or damage. Green or moldy acorns can be harmful to squirrels.
  • To prepare acorns for feeding, remove the caps and rinse the acorns thoroughly with water. You can also soak them in water overnight to remove any bitter tannins.
  • Once the acorns are clean, you can serve them as is or roast them in the oven at a low temperature for added flavor. Make sure to let the acorns cool before offering them to squirrels.

Fruits And Berries

Squirrels have a diverse palate and enjoy eating a variety of fruits and berries. Here’s what you need to know about feeding these natural treats to squirrels:

  • Squirrels can eat fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, plums, and bananas. They also enjoy berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
  • It’s important to remember that while fruit is a healthy addition to a squirrel’s diet, it should be given in moderation. Fruits are high in natural sugars, which can lead to weight gain and dental issues if overconsumed.
  • When feeding fruits and berries to squirrels, make sure to wash them thoroughly and remove any seeds or pits that could be a choking hazard.
  • You can offer fresh fruits and berries to squirrels or freeze them for a refreshing treat during hot weather. Just make sure to thaw them before serving.
  • Avoid feeding squirrels citrus fruits or grapes, as these can cause digestive issues.

Vegetables And Greens

Vegetables are another great natural food option for squirrels. Here’s what you need to know about incorporating vegetables into a squirrel’s diet:

  • Squirrels can enjoy a variety of vegetables, including leafy greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce. They also like vegetables such as carrots, squash, zucchini, and bell peppers.
  • Vegetables are low in calories and rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They provide squirrels with necessary nutrients for a healthy diet.
  • When serving vegetables to squirrels, make sure to wash them thoroughly and cut them into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • You can offer vegetables raw or lightly steamed. Avoid using any seasonings or oils, as these can be harmful to squirrels.
  • Introduce new vegetables to squirrels gradually, as sudden changes in diet can lead to digestive upset. Offer a small amount initially and increase the portion size over time.

Remember, while natural foods are a great addition to a squirrel’s diet, it’s important to consult with a wildlife expert or veterinarian for proper guidance on feeding wild squirrels.

Seeds And Nuts

A squirrel’s diet can include a variety of nuts and seeds such as walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns, and beechnuts. Foraging or providing these options in a squirrel feeder can ensure a healthy diet for wild squirrels.

Squirrels have a natural affinity for seeds and nuts, making them an excellent addition to their diet. These small yet nutritious snacks offer a range of health benefits and are an easy way to provide squirrels with essential nutrients. Two popular choices for feeding wild squirrels are sunflower seeds and walnuts/hazelnuts.

Additionally, pumpkin seeds make a tasty treat that squirrels enjoy. Let’s explore each of these options in more detail:

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a favorite among squirrels, and for good reason. They provide a rich source of nutrients and offer several health benefits for these furry creatures. Here are some points to consider:

  • Sunflower seeds are high in protein, an essential component of a squirrel’s diet.
  • They also contain healthy fats, helping squirrels maintain their energy levels and keep their fur healthy and shiny.
  • These seeds are rich in vitamin e, which contributes to overall immune system function in squirrels.
  • Sunflower seeds are easily accessible and can be found in most pet stores or bird feed sections of garden centers.

Best Ways To Offer Sunflower Seeds To Squirrels:

  • Place a few sunflower seeds in a squirrel feeder or scatter them on the ground in your backyard or garden. This allows squirrels to forage naturally and mimic their natural behavior.
  • Consider providing sunflower seeds in a squirrel-proof feeder to prevent other unwanted animals from getting access to it.

Walnuts And Hazelnuts

Walnuts and hazelnuts are another great choice when it comes to feeding wild squirrels. They offer a range of essential nutrients and are a natural part of a squirrel’s diet. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Both walnuts and hazelnuts are high in healthy fats, which provide squirrels with sustained energy.
  • They contain important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin e, magnesium, and calcium, contributing to the overall health of squirrels.
  • Walnuts and hazelnuts can be purchased shelled or in their natural form, allowing squirrels to experience the joy of cracking the nuts themselves.

Precautions For Feeding Walnuts And Hazelnuts To Squirrels:

  • Avoid providing nuts that are salted or seasoned, as the added flavors can be harmful to squirrels.
  • Make sure to remove any shells before offering walnuts and hazelnuts to squirrels, as the shells can be a choking hazard.
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Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a nutritious and delicious treat for squirrels. These seeds offer a range of health benefits and are an excellent addition to a squirrel’s diet. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, helping squirrels maintain their muscle mass.
  • They are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin k, zinc, and iron, which support overall health in squirrels.
  • Pumpkin seeds can be purchased raw, roasted, or unsalted, making it easy to find a variety that squirrels will enjoy.

How To Include Pumpkin Seeds In A Squirrel’S Diet:

  • Scatter a handful of pumpkin seeds in your yard or garden, allowing squirrels to find them naturally.
  • You can also place a small dish of pumpkin seeds in a squirrel feeder or attach it to a tree branch.

By incorporating these seeds and nuts into a squirrel’s diet, you can provide them with essential nutrients and offer a tasty treat that they will love. Whether it’s sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pumpkin seeds, squirrels are sure to appreciate the variety and benefits they bring to their diet.

Protein Sources For Squirrels

A nutritious diet for wild squirrels includes protein sources such as walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns, and beechnuts. These can be easily obtained from nearby forests and provided in a squirrel feeder to ensure their well-being.

Squirrels are omnivores, which means they require a mix of both plant-based and animal-based protein sources to meet their dietary needs. While nuts and seeds are often the go-to protein sources for squirrels, there are other options that can provide them with the necessary nutrients for energy and growth.

Here are some protein-rich choices that squirrels can enjoy:

Insects And Bugs

  • Insects and bugs are a natural part of a squirrel’s diet, providing them with essential protein and nutrients.
  • Some common insects and bugs that squirrels can eat include:
  • Crickets: These small insects are rich in protein and are readily available at pet stores or online.
  • Mealworms: Mealworms are the larvae of darkling beetles and are a great protein source for squirrels.
  • Waxworms: Waxworms are another type of larvae that squirrels find particularly appealing.
  • Methods to safely introduce insects and bugs in a squirrel’s diet:
  • Offer small quantities initially to ensure the squirrel tolerates them well.
  • Provide clean and pesticide-free insects from reliable sources.
  • Avoid using harmful insecticides or sprays in the vicinity of the squirrel’s feeding area.

Eggs And Hatchlings

  • Eggs and hatchlings can also be a nutritious protein source for squirrels, but proper precautions need to be taken when offering them.
  • Nutritional value of eggs and hatchlings for squirrels:
  • Eggs are packed with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent choice for squirrels.
  • Hatchlings, such as baby birds or mice, are high in protein and can provide a balanced diet for squirrels.
  • Considerations when offering eggs and hatchlings to squirrels:
  • Ensure that the eggs or hatchlings come from a safe, reliable source.
  • Avoid using eggs or hatchlings that have been exposed to pesticides or other harmful substances.
  • Always consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or an expert before introducing eggs or hatchlings to a squirrel’s diet.

Remember, while these protein sources are suitable for most wild squirrels, it’s important to consider their individual dietary preferences and any specific health conditions they may have. Offering a variety of protein sources along with a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds will help ensure the overall well-being and health of the squirrels in your area.

Commercial Squirrel Foods

When it comes to feeding a wild squirrel, commercial squirrel foods like kaytee squirrel & critter food blend or 3-d pet products premium squirrel and wildlife food are excellent options. These foods provide a balanced diet for squirrels and other backyard wildlife, ensuring they get the nutrition they need to thrive.

Commercial Squirrel Foods:

Commercial squirrel foods are specially formulated diets designed to meet the nutritional needs of wild squirrels. These foods come in various forms, including pellets, blocks, and mixes, and are readily available in the market. Here is an overview of specialized squirrel foods and some recommended brands and products for feeding squirrels:

  • Squirrel-specific commercial foods: These foods are specifically made for squirrels, taking into consideration their dietary requirements and preferences. They often contain a blend of nuts, seeds, grains, and fruits that provide the necessary nutrients for squirrels’ health and well-being.

Recommended brands and products for feeding squirrels include:

  • Kaytee squirrel & critter food blend
  • 3-d pet products premium squirrel and wildlife food
  • Kaytee backyard wildlife food blend

Wild bird seed mixes:

Offering wild bird seed mixes to squirrels is another option for providing them with a nutritious diet. These mixes are readily available and can be easily found in pet stores or online. Here are some benefits of offering wild bird seed mixes to squirrels and tips on how to choose the right one:

  • Benefits of offering wild bird seed mixes to squirrels:
  • Provides a variety of nutrients: Wild bird seed mixes typically contain a combination of seeds like sunflower seeds, millet, safflower seeds, and cracked corn. This variety of seeds offers different nutrients that contribute to squirrels’ overall health.
  • Attracts a wide range of squirrel-friendly birds: Offering wild bird seed mixes can attract various bird species that squirrels may enjoy interacting with or observe from a distance.
  • Entertaining for squirrels: Bird feeders filled with wild bird seed mixes can provide squirrels with mental and physical stimulation, as they try to access the seeds while also offering an opportunity for natural foraging behavior.
  • How to choose the right bird seed mix for squirrels:
  • Look for mixes without artificial preservatives: Opt for wild bird seed mixes that do not contain any artificial preservatives, colors, or additives, as these may be harmful to squirrels.
  • Check the ingredient list: Ensure that the mix contains a healthy balance of seeds, grains, and nuts, avoiding any potential allergens or harmful ingredients.
  • Consider the size of the seeds: Choose mixes with seeds that are appropriate for squirrels’ size and jaw strength, making it easier for them to feed.

Remember, while commercial squirrel foods and wild bird seed mixes can be great additions to a squirrel’s diet, they should not be the sole source of nutrition. Supplement these foods with fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts to ensure a well-rounded diet and provide a variety of flavors and textures for the squirrels to enjoy.

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Foods To Avoid Feeding Squirrels

A variety of foods make for a great squirrel diet, including walnuts, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, and beechnuts. It is best to avoid feeding squirrels peanuts and human scraps. Instead, visit a nearby forest to gather these nuts and use a squirrel feeder to distribute them throughout the year.

Feeding squirrels can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to know what foods to avoid giving them. While they have a varied diet in the wild, there are certain foods that can be harmful or even toxic to these furry creatures.

In this section, we will discuss the foods that you should steer clear of when feeding wild squirrels to ensure their health and well-being.

Processed Foods And Human Scraps

Feeding squirrels processed foods and human scraps may seem like a convenient option, but it can have detrimental effects on their health. Here’s why you should avoid these types of foods:

  • Processed foods lack the essential nutrients that squirrels need for their overall growth and development.
  • They often contain high amounts of unhealthy additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors, which can be harmful to squirrels.
  • Human scraps, such as leftover fast food or sugary snacks, are not suitable for squirrel consumption. These types of foods can lead to obesity, tooth decay, and other health issues in squirrels.

Instead of relying on processed foods and human scraps, it’s best to provide squirrels with a diet that closely resembles their natural food sources.

Dairy Products And Salty Foods

While dairy products and salty foods may be part of our diet, they should not be included in a squirrel’s menu. Here are the risks associated with feeding squirrels these types of foods:

  • Squirrels lack the necessary enzymes to properly digest lactose, which is found in dairy products. Feeding them dairy can result in digestive upset and diarrhea.
  • Salty foods can lead to dehydration in squirrels, as they have a low tolerance for sodium. Excessive salt intake can disrupt their electrolyte balance and put strain on their kidneys.

Instead of dairy products and salty foods, you can opt for healthier alternatives that provide similar nutrients. This way, you can ensure the squirrel’s well-being without compromising their health.

Toxic Foods For Squirrels

Certain foods can be toxic or harmful to squirrels if ingested. It is crucial to avoid feeding these foods to squirrels:

  • Chocolate: Contains theobromine, which is toxic to squirrels and can cause serious health issues.
  • Avocado and onion: These foods contain chemicals that can be toxic to squirrels and may lead to gastrointestinal problems.
  • Raw peanuts: Squirrels cannot digest raw peanuts properly and may develop digestive issues.
  • Alcohol and caffeine: These substances are toxic to squirrels and can cause severe poisoning.

Feeding squirrels a healthy and natural diet is essential to their overall well-being. By avoiding the above-mentioned foods, you can help ensure that squirrels stay safe and healthy while enjoying their natural habitat.

Remember, when it comes to feeding squirrels, it’s best to stick to foods that closely resemble their natural diet. By providing them with the right foods, you’ll not only help them stay healthy but also contribute to their happiness and well-being in the wild.

Frequently Asked Questions On What To Feed A Wild Squirrel

What Can You Safely Feed Wild Squirrels?

You can safely feed wild squirrels a variety of foods including walnuts, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, and beechnuts. These nuts can be collected from nearby forests and given to the squirrels throughout the year in a squirrel feeder. Other suitable foods for squirrels include pumpkin seeds, corn, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.

It is important to avoid feeding peanuts to squirrels as they can be harmful to their health. Additionally, it is best to avoid feeding squirrels human scraps and waste, as well as cheese and other savories. Providing a diverse diet of nuts, seeds, and other natural foods will help ensure the health and well-being of the wild squirrels.

Is It A Good Idea To Feed Wild Squirrels?

Feeding wild squirrels can be a good idea if done properly. It’s important to provide them with a balanced diet that resembles their natural food sources. Squirrels can eat a variety of nuts, such as walnuts and acorns, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Avoid feeding them peanuts, as they can cause health issues. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that wild squirrels have their own survival skills and should not become dependent on human handouts. Feeding them occasional treats can be enjoyable for both humans and squirrels, but it’s essential to maintain their independence and prevent them from relying solely on human-provided food.

Overall, if you decide to feed wild squirrels, do it responsibly and in moderation, ensuring they have access to their natural food sources as well.

What Is The Best Thing To Feed A Squirrel?

The best thing to feed a squirrel includes a variety of walnuts, hickory nuts, white oak acorns, and beechnuts. These nuts provide a nutritious and balanced diet for squirrels. If you can’t find shelled versions of these nuts for sale, you can visit a nearby forest to gather them and then use a squirrel feeder to distribute them throughout the year.

It’s important to avoid feeding squirrels peanuts and human scraps, as these can be harmful to their health. By providing a natural and diverse diet, you can ensure that squirrels stay healthy and well-fed.

What Do Wild Squirrels Like To Eat The Most?

Wild squirrels have a diverse diet, but they particularly enjoy eating nuts, seeds, and fruits. Their favorite foods include acorns, walnuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds. Squirrels also enjoy feasting on berries, apples, and other types of fruits. It is important to note that feeding squirrels a varied diet is crucial for their overall health and nutrition.

Avoid feeding them peanuts or any processed or salty foods, as these can be harmful to them. To provide squirrels with the best food options, you can create a squirrel feeder and fill it with a mixture of nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Remember to place the feeder in a safe and secure location away from predators.

Conclusion

Knowing what to feed a wild squirrel is essential for their health and well-being. It’s important to provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. Fruits like berries and apples are a great choice, as are vegetables like carrots and broccoli.

Nuts such as walnuts, acorns, and hazelnuts are also a favorite of squirrels. Additionally, you can offer seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. It’s important to avoid feeding them peanuts or processed human food, as they can be harmful to their health.

Providing fresh water is also crucial for their hydration. Remember, squirrels are adaptable creatures, so offering a diverse range of foods will keep them nourished and thriving. By following these guidelines, you can create a squirrel-friendly environment and enjoy the presence of these lively creatures in your backyard.

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