What Do Squirrels Eat?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 2nd, 2022

The small bushy-tailed squirrel is so common that it’s easy to overlook their feet, similar to a cat. “Caching” refers to the act of burying food for long-term storage. This is done to store food for the winter months. People frequently place feeders in their yards to help brace for this problem.

Hundreds of squirrel species are found worldwide, including Japanese squirrels, eastern and western gray squirrels, Eurasian red squirrels, and American red squirrels. Flying squirrels are closely related with skin membranes between their limbs that allow them to glide from high above trees. This article will discuss various feeding and hoarding behaviors.


They are remarkable creatures. They can leap four feet in the air, parkour off things, climb trees, and even land on trees.

Squirrels are prevalent in North America, and you’re likely to see a red squirrel, eastern gray squirrel, or fox squirrel in your garden or backyard.

If you’ve left food out for the songbirds who visit your backyard or your poultry, you may be irritated by their constant attempts to take what isn’t theirs. You might consider the ideal squirrel diet if you want to keep a squirrel as a pet.

Squirrels, fortunately, have a diverse diet. They will eat practically everything they can get their eyes on. They are incredibly interested and may try to eat anything they do not intend to eat.

Squirrels mostly graze on plants in the wild since these superb foragers eat leaves, roots, bulbs, nuts, fungi, bark, and fruits. But, as they’ve come to share their living area with people, they’ve widened their palates and tasted new foods they’ve grown to enjoy.

It’s not surprising to find a squirrel eating food scraps left by people in public parks or youngsters in school gardens. Likewise, food left out for your cat or dog will likely attract a starving squirrel.

What do squirrels eat?

Squirrels eat a wide range of foods, including those they should not eat. However, this article will concentrate on the important types of food designed to keep a squirrel healthy while meeting its nutritional requirements.


Squirrels like foraging for plant roots, leaves, stalks, and even bark. They will eat anything that has nutritional value for them.

Because they are soft and tasty, they love soft twigs or tender branches, sprouts, young leaves, new growth, and flower buds. Squirrels also like eating various types of seeds that may be available. These are examples of sunflower, pumpkin, safflower, and poppy seeds.

Finding squirrels in your flower garden is often a significant problem since they don’t mind eating any plant part. They can destroy any new growth in your garden, putting your flowers and other plants in danger.

Fruits Squirrels can readily climb fruit trees and grab the fruits to eat because of their sharp claws. So if you grow fruits in your garden, you’re informed that squirrels may be a problem since they eat grapes, kiwis, figs, apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, and mangoes.

They also enjoy berries, melons, bananas, and cherries. Fruits supply squirrels with the necessary sugar that raises their energy, allowing them to jump around and forage all day without tiring. They’re also high in minerals and vitamins, which keep the squirrel healthy.


This is sad news for gardeners cultivating vegetables because squirrels love to eat leafy greens. So, if you grow spinach, kale, arugula, or lettuce, you surely know how difficult it is to keep squirrels away from them.

Root vegetables, cabbage, carrots, celery, peas, leeks, okra, cauliflower, squash, brussels sprouts, eggplant, maize, and tomatoes are other favorites of squirrels. However, dealing with hungry squirrels in the garden may be difficult for anybody trying to grow various vegetables.


Acorns are almost certainly every squirrel’s favorite food, but when acorns are unavailable, squirrels will eat various nuts, including walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, macadamia, hazelnuts, and pecan. Nuts are the squirrels’ absolute favorite food and their primary source of fats and proteins.

When a squirrel discovers a plentiful supply of nuts, it will normally take some and store them for later use. Squirrels perform a great job of ensuring plant life’s healthy growth and spread by climbing trees and dispersing seeds. Furthermore, the stored nuts provide valuable food for other animals to find the squirrel’s hiding spot.

However, if you cultivate nuts in your garden, your harvest will undoubtedly be jeopardized. Therefore, you should wrap your nut tree in netting or metal wrap to prevent greedy squirrels from wrecking your harvest.


Squirrels don’t mind eating fungi that grow naturally in their woodland and forest settings when searching for plant roots and leaves. Truffles, oyster mushrooms, and acorn truffles are common foods for squirrels. These fungi can be concealed beneath the soil, on the bark of trees, or in moist areas.

The animals may also save these mushrooms for later use by drying them and putting them in their hiding area, where other squirrels or animals will be unable to get them.


If you’re a birdwatcher and have a bird feeder in your garden or backyard, you’re certainly aware that other animals will find this bird feeder fascinating as well. For example, squirrels and other rodents in your garden are likely to be interested in the birdseed you store for woodpeckers and songbirds.

Squirrels don’t mind eating grains and seeds, such as black oil, sunflower seeds, or peanut spread, which you may save for birds in the winter. Most birds tolerate squirrels eating at their feeding stations, but some can become violent, such as the Northern Cardinal. So, make sure you take precautions to protect your bird feeders.


While they are not the major source of protein for squirrels, they can opt to supplement their diet with various insects and bugs in rare situations. This is common when other types of food are scarce, particularly during the winter.

Insects and bugs can be found by squirrels in the bark of trees or buried in various cavities. Caterpillars, grasshoppers, larvae, crickets, and other types of injured winged bugs such as moths and butterflies are their favorite foods.


Squirrels will do whatever it takes to keep fit and alive when food is scarce. Unfortunately, this involves taking other animals’ and birds’ eggs. Squirrels have been observed attacking the nests of songbirds and woodpeckers and eating hatchlings and young birds that fall from their nests.

Eggs are high in protein and keep the squirrel healthy when nuts are scarce. In addition, birds usually go to considerable lengths to ensure that their nests are well safeguarded since squirrels are astute foragers. If you have a nest box in your garden for a breeding pair of birds, ensure the entrance is adequately disguised to keep squirrels and other predators away.

Kitchen waste

Squirrels have learned to prefer many types of food thrown by people, in addition to the natural types of food they find and graze on in their surroundings. Squirrels enjoy foraging, so they will explore any leftover kitchen waste or picnic food you dump in the trash or leave in the park at the end of the day.

Cheese, of course, should not be considered a meal ingested by squirrels. However, these critters now share space with people who eat cheese outside. Squirrels have easy access to cheese because it is a favorite picnic snack. In addition, humans purposefully feed cheese to squirrels in certain situations, so they’ve become used to it.

Squirrels don’t have a particular taste for cheese, so they’ll eat whatever you throw at them. This includes gouda cheese, cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, and other cooked cheese types. In addition, squirrels can eat cheese on their own, as a leftover sandwich, or as pizza crumbs that you have dropped.

Because their stomachs are adapted to withstand mold and fungus that would usually make humans sick, these animals don’t even get sick if the cheese is somewhat old. This is why squirrels are usually seen nibbling at household compost.

Cheese leftovers, high in fats and proteins, can give squirrels the energy they need. This will improve the squirrel’s health, particularly during the chilly winter.

While cereals are not specifically designed for squirrels, they are incredibly appealing to these small animals since they are made of grains and usually contain nuts. Squirrels would enjoy the cereals even if they had a unique fruit flavor.

Because these cereals are high in sugar, they boost the squirrel’s energy. Nonetheless, because these animals were not designed to be ingested, preservatives and artificial colors can harm their health.

Squirrels don’t mind eating things like bread and crackers. They will eat cooked vegetables, discarded fruits, and kitchen waste. They also prefer to eat cat and dog food that you leave out for your pets or throw away when it’s not eaten.

What foods do squirrels not eat?

While squirrels are opportunistic, they will always refuse certain types of food, even if they are starving. Squirrels dislike spicy or hot foods; thus, they avoid any kitchen garbage containing spicy sauce or hot peppers. One way gardeners secure their crop is to apply pepper spray, which repels squirrels.

Squirrels also dislike raw garlic and onion, so they won’t eat them if you grow them in your garden. Garlic spray may also be used to drive squirrels away from your veggies and flowers.

Although they eat flower bulbs, they avoid other types, such as daffodils and snowdrops. Therefore, growing them in your garden implies squirrels will be less likely to visit regularly.

Squirrels will eat various foods, including sweets and foods high in preservatives. Unfortunately, these foods can make squirrels sick, so avoid leaving them in the garden to safeguard these adorable little creatures.

Cat and dog food

Squirrels, being the omnivorous scavengers that they are, have picked up a few peculiar eating habits along the road and will not hesitate to pack up a few dozen pieces of cat or dog kibble and will most likely return for more if they find an established place where it is easily accessible. Despite being bad for them, the hungry, opportunistic squirrel may even be daring enough to munch on wet cat food or canned dog food.


1. Can squirrel eat peanut butter?

We’re all sticklers for peanut butter, even if you have allergies! However, it is both addicting and fattening! So don’t let them become a habit! And don’t feed them with your hands — they’ll get dependent on you, and you’ll get sick from scratches.

2. What do squirrels eat during the winter?

They’ll go looking for the nuts they buried last summer. Alternatively, they will eat from human feeders. If they can’t find other food, they may turn to tree bark, fungus, or insects. Squirrels try to gain fat in the winter to remain warm. Especially non-hibernating tree squirrels.

3. Do squirrels eat meat?

They may eat small birds, snakes, and wet pet food. However, they like nuts and berries. Because they live largely above ground, flying squirrels eat more meat than other species.

4. What time do squirrels eat?

Squirrels spend the day foraging and sleeping at night. Squirrels that hunt (lizards, mice, and even other squirrels) will adapt to the patterns of their favored prey. Otherwise, active squirrels are rarely seen after dark.

5. Can squirrel eat bread?

Squirrels can eat almost everything (though they dislike onions and garlic). So, yes, they will eat bread if you offer it to them. Too much sugar, flour, and salt, on the other hand, is bad for their intestines.

6. Do squirrels eat raisins?

You may be concerned about choking, but raisins are not a problem for squirrels. Raisins are high in sugar. Do you want to face a sugar-crazed squirrel?

7. What vegetables do squirrels prefer?

Squirrels eat a wide variety of veggies and can be a problem in your garden. They’ll eat beans, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and other vegetables. They prefer crisp veggies.

8. Do squirrels like flowers?

Yes, they do nibble through flower bulbs regularly. They eat a few mouthfuls and then leave the rest of the flower, much like veggies (or fruit or vegetable)

9. How do you keep squirrels away from your garden?

Plant chilies, peppermint, onions, and garlic in your garden. Use predator urine or vinegar to spray the garden. Use repellents such as pinwheels and loud toys. Also, teach your dogs to scare the squirrels away.

10. Can squirrel be given easter eggs?

Theobromine, which is found in chocolate, is toxic to small mammals. Dogs, cats, and squirrels are all included. Trembling, heart problems, seizures, and even death might result from it.


Squirrels are adorable but not cuddly. They may not survive in the wild if they rely on people to feed them. Feed and water them, but make them work for what they eat. Choose fruits, vegetables, and shelled nuts. Raise their feeders to sharpen their survival skills.


Editorial Staff

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