While squirrels appear cute and harmless with their chubby faces and fluffy tails, they can cause harm to plants. If you know what food squirrels eat, you can avoid this problem as much as possible. Firstly, what nuts do squirrels eat??
Squirrels eat a variety of nuts and seeds. Some nuts squirrels enjoy eating are walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachio and almonds. But this list is not exhaustive.
Squirrels love to forage for nuts to eat. Apart from nuts, squirrels also like to munch on bird seeds. If you have a bird feeder in your garden filled with either seeds or nuts then you may attract a lot of squirrels.
What Nuts Do Squirrels Like the Most?
If you have a spacious garden and plan to grow nuts, you must look out for squirrels. The same rule applies if you have bird feeders in your garden and feed nuts to birds.
There are some nuts that squirrels love the most, which you must avoid at all costs, or you will see many squirrels in your garden constantly.
While squirrels eat various nuts and almost everything, there are some that they have a particular liking for. Squirrels like hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, and peanuts the most.
You must avoid keeping these nuts in your garden. In addition, you must also look out for any bird feed that contains these nuts. If you avoid keeping a squirrel’s favourite food, it will have no reason to scour through your garden.
Do Squirrels Actually Eat Nuts?
You’ll often see squirrels running around with a nut hanging out of their mouths before they dig a hole and bury it.
But do they actually eat the nuts?
Yes, they do! Squirrels store nuts in the ground to ensure they have a constant food supply throughout the colder months when food is in a shorter supply.
Do Squirrels Eat Peanuts?
Peanuts are one of the squirrel’s favourite nuts. Many people put out food for birds, including peanuts, without thinking it could attract squirrels.
However, squirrels love to eat peanuts because of their high fat content, which provides essential nutrients.
However, squirrels prefer having roasted peanuts rather than raw ones. One of the reasons why people are keen on feeding squirrels roasted peanuts is because squirrels enjoy their taste more and love to eat them.
Do Squirrels Eat Walnuts?
Walnuts contribute to a squirrel’s good health. Squirrels are naturally drawn towards walnuts and love to consume them. Walnuts are one of the nuts that squirrels like the most.
Squirrels can eat walnuts with the shells because they have strong teeth to gnaw – they are rodents after all!
Do Squirrels Eat Monkey Nuts?
Monkey nuts are the name given to peanuts with the shell on them. This is one of the most common nuts to feed squirrels as they are the easiest to obtain from the shop with the shell on.
Squirrels will gnaw on the monkey shell to get to the peanut inside. The monkey nut shell can also protect the nut during the colder winter months when the squirrel buries the nuts.
Do Squirrels Eat Brazil Nuts?
Squirrels do eat Brazil nuts but you should only give Brazil nuts to squirrels as a treat. Rather bizarrely, there is something in Brazil nuts that intoxicates squirrels causing them to become almost drunk.
This can, of course, make them easy prey for predators so ensure the squirrel you’re feeding only has 1 or 2 Brazil nuts to avoid this.
Do Squirrels Eat Hazelnuts?
Yes, squirrels can eat hazelnuts like most other nuts.
Again, the nuts must be unsweetened and unsalted. Hazelnuts are known to contain all the nutrients a squirrel needs to survive making them one of the best nuts for squirrels.
What Nuts Do Squirrels Like the Best?
Squirrels tend not to be particularly fussy when it comes to eating nuts so when deciding what they like best, it’s a case of any nut.
However, some nuts are better for squirrels than others. Almonds offer a substantial level of nutrients for a squirrel. Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and peanuts are also particularly enjoyed by squirrels.
But if you were to leave out a pile of mixed nuts there’s no chance that a squirrel would be fussy and pick out its favourite. Before you know it, they’ll have eaten or stashed the whole lot.
Is It OK to Feed Nuts to Squirrels?
Of course, squirrels love nuts so there is no issue with feeding them.
However, there are a few things you may wish to bear in mind before you go giving them any nuts you may have sitting in the kitchen cupboard:
Keep the Shell On
The shell on the outside of the nuts acts as protection for the nut when the squirrel transports it. It also encourages the squirrels to gnaw on the outside which will naturally keep their teeth healthy.
Avoid Seasoned Nuts
If you’re going to feed squirrels then make sure you avoid feeding them seasoned nuts such as salted peanuts or chilli cashews. They do not need or want these additional ingredients in their diet.
Cashews provide very little benefit to squirrels in terms of their health so you’re better off feeding them other types of nuts.
Stick to these tips and you’ll be perfectly OK to feed squirrels. Of course, if you do feed squirrels then you will attract them to your garden which may not be what you want to do.
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Knowing what nuts squirrels can and cannot eat is challenging. Here are a few common nuts to keep you covered:
Can Squirrels Eat Cashews?
Although squirrels can eat cashews, they do not provide much in the way of benefits to the squirrel. Of all the nuts you can feed squirrels, cashews should be at the bottom of your list.
Can Squirrels Eat Pistachios?
Yes, pistachios can be eaten by squirrels. However, they are one of the most expensive nuts and there are far cheaper and most nutritious nuts you could feed them such as hazelnuts.
Can Squirrels Eat Macadamia Nuts?
Yes, squirrels can eat macadamia nuts. In fact, like hazelnuts, they are packed full of nutrients which can fulfil most of a squirrel’s needs making them one of the healthiest nuts for squirrels.
Can Squirrels Eat Pecans?
Pecans can be eaten by squirrels. They are full of nutrients and are one of the most beneficial nuts to feed to squirrels.
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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