Do Squirrels Eat Meat? Squirrel Diet Facts Revealed For Kids! | Kidadl


Do Squirrels Eat Meat? Squirrel Diet Facts Revealed For Kids!

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Squirrels with their big eyes and cute looks are commonly believed to be tame little herbivores, but actually, they are not.

There are a variety of squirrels that can be classified under three broad categories, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and tree squirrels. Squirrels are omnivores that eat nuts, fruits, plants, vegetables as well as meat.

Squirrels eat meat when they get the chance to. Squirrels don't just feed on the seeds and nuts, as is the popular belief. Instead, they raid bird nests to eat bird eggs. They also eat baby birds and other small insects if they are hungry.

Squirrels are known to eat meat opportunistically, which means that if they are presented with a chance to eat any kind of meat, then they would definitely pounce on it. They are voracious eaters who can consume almost any edible thing. This can also be attributed to their nature as scavengers. Squirrels are known to scavenge and eat carcasses of dead animals.

Read on more to find curious details about the diet of a squirrel. If you liked this article, why not also read about do squirrels eat birds and do squirrels eat carrots here on Kidadl?

What kind of meat do squirrels eat?

Squirrels are wild animals, and sometimes they are also considered to be predatory. They are omnivorous meat eaters whose eating habits are very varied. A squirrel's diet can consist of plant food, dead animals, fresh carrion, and small bird eggs.

Squirrels eat meat opportunistically. This relates to the situation where if a squirrel is hungry and doesn't find any plant or vegetable easily, then it will attack a bird's nest and eat eggs and baby birds. Wild squirrels often prey on small birds and even small rodents in order to satisfy their hunger. However, squirrels don't really attack adult birds or ones that are larger than them.

Interestingly, even young snakes can be a target of wild squirrels. A squirrel's diet may consist of snake meat. For instance, if a squirrel and a small or non-venomous snake get into a fight and the squirrel defeats the snake by killing it, it would then eat the snake. So, squirrels eat snake meat too to ensure their own survival.

The meat of small animals is also appealing to squirrels. As predators, squirrels will prey upon small animals and eat the meat. Different types of squirrels may prefer different kinds of meat. Flying squirrels are considered to be omnivores, and they like to eat insects in addition to fruits, seeds, and fungi. The eastern gray squirrel, or commonly known as the gray squirrel, eats birds and even baby squirrels.

It is noted that sometimes when female squirrels are away from their nests, male squirrels will attack the nest and eat the baby squirrels. Though, through study, it is revealed that these male squirrels aren't the fathers of the young squirrels they kill but rather some other males.

In a similar sense, the Douglas squirrel will prey on ground squirrels. On the contrary, western gray squirrels would devour mountain quails. Some squirrels also eat mice and kangaroo rats, among other rodents and insects.

Why do sometimes squirrels eat meat?

A squirrel's diet generally consists of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and plants. However, since squirrels are omnivores, they also eat meat in the form of eggs, nestlings, small rodents and animals, insects, and carrion.

They are opportunistic eaters who have to adapt their diet according to the availability of their typical diet food. When plants, vegetables, or fruits aren't available in their surroundings, squirrels resort to eating the meat they can hunt and scavenge.

Also, squirrels eat meat to get minerals, protein, and vitamins to sustain themselves through the harsh winter months. Even though squirrels are omnivores and eat meat, they don't do it regularly. The fact is that a squirrel will eat meat when it needs it to survive and be healthy. They don't go looking for prey if they have their typical diet of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and plants available to them easily.

They might be scavengers, but they also love eating birdseed and nuts they find. A pet squirrel that is being given a healthy diet won't hunt for bird eggs, carrion, or other rodents. It is wild squirrels that have to more readily give in to their predatory urges and hunt for such food sources during the seasons where they don't have an abundant nut supply.

Squirrels eat meat to increase their body heat during winter months.

What food is poisonous to squirrels?

Even though squirrels can eat almost any edible food item, there are certain things that are harmful to them, even in small quantities. Since their diet is so varied, if you feed your pet squirrel or leave out food for wild ones, you must understand what foods are safe for them and in what quantities.

Squirrels eat most of the vegetables in a vegetable garden, including the ones that grow beneath the ground. Yet, they specifically avoid raw garlic and onion. It could be because of the strong smell of garlic and onions that is a repellent to squirrels.

Moreover, they also dislike all types of pepper. Be it bell peppers, cayenne peppers, hot peppers, or jalapenos, squirrels do not like to eat anything that is mixed with peppers either. Experts have found that this repulsion is due to the presence of a compound called capsaicin. The compound creates a hot sensation when it is consumed or touches a sensitive area. Squirrels, therefore, hate spicy food. This is a useful piece of information for people whose backyards are constantly under attack from squirrels and for those that put out birdfeeders. The compound capsaicin can be sprayed around the backyard, or peppers or their flakes can be mixed with the birdseed to keep squirrels at bay.

It is a commonly known fact that squirrels are crazy for nuts. It is their favorite food. But these nuts are no more than junk food for them. There are some nuts that have small nutritional value and don't contribute to the overall health of squirrels at all.

Sunflower seeds and peanuts come under this category. Although they are not harmful in a true sense, they should still be eaten moderately and balanced with healthier nuts such as pecan nuts, safflower seeds, and almonds. In particular, raw peanuts are truly harmful to squirrels. They can be covered with toxic mold that, when eaten, can cause damage to a squirrel's health. Roasted unsalted peanuts can be given to squirrels.

Corns that have become moldy can be harmful to squirrels and can cause damage. Food with high sugar value can also be toxic for a squirrel. Human junk food, dates, and some fruit juices can also be toxic for squirrels. Some people think that giving squirrels other pet animal food such as dog biscuits can be harmful. In reality, dog biscuits serve as food that squirrels can chew on and exercise their teeth and don't really affect their health in a bad way.

What protein do squirrels eat?

Squirrels need a balanced diet that consists of calcium, fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Protein provides squirrels with the needed strength to survive. They can acquire protein from a number of food sources, including fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Female squirrels who are pregnant and mother squirrels who have recently given birth both need a higher intake of protein to pass on to the baby developing inside their womb and to the infant as milk. They also have to eat more in general and keep a healthy diet.

Meat is one of the best sources to acquire protein from. For a healthy diet, meat should be a part of it. Protein, along with carbohydrates and fat received from the meat, can be used by squirrels during the hibernating months of winter when food is scarce. This need for meat is satisfied when squirrels eat fresh carrion, a bird's eggs, fledglings, other rodents, and smaller animals.

Protein is also present in plants, vegetables, and nuts that a squirrel eats as part of its daily diet. Legumes, lentils, peas, and beans are sources that are rich in protein.

People who have a squirrel as a pet should consider including all the above-mentioned food items in their pet's diet to keep them healthy.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Do squirrels eat meat? Squirrel diet facts revealed for kids! Then why not take a look at 11 Lesser know facts on traditional Chinese clothes explained! Or Bogle creature: curious facts on Scottish creature revealed for kids! 

<p>Shafaque has a Bachelor's degree in English language and Literature from Sophia Girls' College with a Master's degree in Library and Information Sciences from Shreemati Nasthibai Damodar Thackersey Women's College. She has a strong command of written and verbal English, along with proficiency in Hindi, French, Urdu, and Korean. With extensive knowledge of English literature and creative writing, Shafaque has completed numerous creative writing courses online and has previously worked as a content writer at Scripto.</p>

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