Squirrels are active and rodent animals with a bushy tail. They belong to the Sciuridae family, as well as marmots, chipmunks, and prairie dogs.
There are over 200 species of squirrels and they are categorized into three; tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. They are found all over the world.
Squirrels are smart animals too! They burry their foods for cold months coming, so in winter they have supplies that they can eat when food is rare.
So, actually, what do squirrels eat? Usually, they eat about one pound of food per week. Many people think that they only eat nuts. But, the fact is they also eat plants and meats because they are omnivores.
Besides nuts, they also eat fungi, seeds, fruits, eggs, small insects, caterpillars, small animals, and even baby snakes. For a complete list of what do squirrels eat, keep on reading this article to find out!
What do baby squirrels eat?
Firstly, you need to know if baby squirrels have a sensitive digestive system. If you do the wrong way to feed them, they may experience diarrhea and dehydration, or even send their body into shock.
For the first three weeks, you can feed your baby squirrel puppy milk. But, you need to introduce the milk to the baby squirrel's system step by step.
STEP 1. Mix one part powdered puppy milk in 3 parts of Pedialyte or salt and sugar water.
STEP 2. Mix 2 parts of puppy milk in 2 parts liquid.
STEP 3. Increase 3 parts of puppy milk to 1 part of the rehydration solution.
STEP 4. Then, continue with undiluted puppy milk.
Also, you should pay attention to the feeding amount. Red squirrels are smaller than grey squirrels. So, there is a difference in their feeding amount. You can see the portions below.
- Newborns to 1 week: greys .75cc-1.25cc every 2.5 hours / reds .5cc every 2.5 hours
- 2 weeks: Greys 2.5-3cc every 3 hours / Reds 1-1.5cc every 3 hours
- 3 weeks: Greys 4-5.5cc every 3 hours / Reds 1.75-2cc every 3 hours
- 4 weeks: Greys 6-9cc every 3.5 hours / Reds 2-2.5cc every 3.5 hours
- 5 weeks: Greys 10-12cc every 4 hours / Reds 3-4cc every 4 hours
- 6 weeks: Greys 12-14cc every 4 hours / Reds 4-6 cc every 4 hours
- 7 weeks: Greys 14-16cc every 8 hours / Reds 7-8 cc every 8 hours
- 8-12 weeks: Greys 16-18cc every 12 hours / Reds 9-10 cc every 12 hours
After three weeks, you can feed your baby squirrel with rat or mice rodent blocks for them to chew on. It's when their teeth start developing. Then at six weeks, they can start eating seeds and raw fruits, like apple slices, grapes, and banana.
What do tree squirrels eat?
They love to eat mast. Their favorite is hard-mast, especially acorns. So, if you want to attract tree squirrels coming to your property, plant mast-producing trees and shrubs. Another hard mast that these squirrels love is hickories and pecans, walnuts and butternuts, and beechnuts.
Pine seeds are also their food. Red squirrels and grey squirrels really love this food. Another important source is soft mast, especially in spring. They like to eat wild cherry, osage orange, wild grapes, persimmons, and mulberries.
These foods are so beneficial for tree squirrels to eat. For drinking, they like to go to natural streams, creeks, and lakes as the best sources. But, sometimes they also go to water gardens, birth baths, and man-made water sources to drink.
What do ground squirrels eat?
Ground squirrels have mottled brown fur with white and grey markings on the back. They live in their burrows, sleep, rest, store food, and avoid danger. To eat, they like to go to food-bearing and ornamental plants, especially grains, nuts, and fruit trees.
They really love to eat an almond, apple, avocado, orange, peach, pistachio, prune, and walnut. When they go to gardens, they like to eat vegetables in the seedling stage, twigs, and leaves.
What do flying squirrels eat?
That's why they are also known as "gliding squirrels". Since they are omnivores, so they eat various foods, like seeds, nuts, fungi, fruits, and insects. Southern flying squirrels are a little bit different. They are the most carnivorous because they eat eggs, birds, and carrion too!
So, that's all to answer your question on what do squirrels eat! Good luck in feeding your squirrels!