Squirrels are known for stealing bird feed, including a variety of seeds and nuts. But are peanuts a part of this opportunistic rodent’s diet?
Do Squirrels Like Peanuts?
A large portion of a squirrel’s diet does consist of nuts, and this includes peanuts. Whilst nuts are not the sole component of a squirrel’s diet, they seem to prefer to consume nuts and seeds over other items of food such as insects.
What Other Nuts do Squirrels Eat?
As mentioned, nuts cover a large portion of a squirrel diet and that is not exclusive to just peanuts. Here is a list of a few of the other nuts that squirrels have been known to eat.
Hazelnuts are the fruit of the hazel and are good for squirrels, especially in winter, because of their high calories and fat content.
Whilst walnuts are not actually classified as botanical nuts, they are still a favourite food item of squirrels. Particularly squirrels in the UK.
If you are putting out nuts for squirrels, or any other animal for that matter, you need to make sure that they are unsweetened and unsalted. The additives to sweetened and salted nuts are not healthy for wildlife, despite tasting good.
Can Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is often seen as an unhealthy production of peanuts, this is possibly because the word butter is in the name.
But there are no dairy products in peanut butter as it is purely made from ground peanuts, peanut oil and palm oil. Some have added salt and sweeteners. So, yes, peanut butter can be fed to squirrels.
However, whilst they enjoy it, it is not very healthy for them and therefore should only be given in small amounts.
Any flavoured types of peanut butter are not suitable to be fed to squirrels. Nor are extra salted or sweetened peanut butters or brands with any unnecessary additives.
Are Peanuts and Monkey Nuts the Same?
With their similar appearances, many may wonder if these two nuts are the same. And they are the same. The term monkey nut is just to describe a peanut that is still held in a fully intact shell.
Squirrels will eat the peanut inside of the shell. Squirrels will not feed on the shell of the monkey nut itself, but they can be fed whole monkey nuts as they will either store the food or remove the shell for immediate consumption.
Can Peanuts be Bad for Squirrels?
Almost any food can be unhealthy if not kept in moderation, this is the same for squirrels and peanuts.
Whilst they are a good food source for squirrels, they can be very fatty and because they are tasty squirrels may favour peanuts over more nutritious sources of food.
As well as this, feeding squirrels the wrong kinds of peanuts can be very unhealthy for them.
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If you feed them sweetened or salted peanuts, the additives in these are not good for squirrel consumption at all. There are also certain peanuts that contain aflatoxins.
Aflatoxins are very dangerous for squirrels and can even be poisonous so make sure to have safe and healthy peanuts to feed the squirrels.
Can You Lure Squirrels with Peanuts?
Many people find squirrels to be pests and will therefore avoid using bird feed containing peanuts as not to attract them.
However, if you would like squirrels to visit your garden then you can get squirrel feeders, some of which are specialised for holding peanuts. Many people like to give squirrels peanuts that are still complete in the shells.
This way, they can observe the squirrels playing with their food and spending time trying to pry open the shells. However, this does mean that you will have to clean up the scattered shell pieces otherwise they may begin to attract other kinds of pests.
Squirrels are a big fan of peanuts.
They can be fed unsweetened and unsalted peanuts as well as peanut butter. Other nuts that they eat include hazelnuts and walnuts.
Too many peanuts can be unhealthy for the squirrels as it prevents them from seeking out more nutritious food sources.
You can get specialised squirrel feeders to bring squirrels to your garden and you can get ones that hold peanuts. Squirrels can also eat peanuts that are still in the shell as they have learnt how to break the shell to access the nuts.
Peanuts in the whole shell are also referred to as monkey nuts.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden