Knowing the right food and shelter requirements for the baby squirrels is important if you truly want to take care of them.
Even though the squirrels are not necessarily good pets, you can still take part in caring for them and ensuring they get whatever they desire to grow healthy.
This article will tackle some of their habits and the foods that baby squirrels eat.
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Squirrels Habits and Biology
The squirrel is a small animal categorized into three different groups depending on its ecological niche, social structures, and physical characteristics. They include tree squirrels, ground squirrels, red and gray squirrels, flying squirrels, and captive squirrels. The exhaustive list of all the squirrel species is way above 200 the world over.
The squirrels are quite good swimmers even though they do not swim very much. They also have outstanding jumping abilities and can cover about five feet when jumping vertically and over ten feet when leaping between one object and another. The sprinting speeds of these small animals are also commendable as they have fast speeds. With a bodyweight of about 1 pound, the squirrels can easily climb trees, walls, and branches.
These small animals are omnivorous, which means they have a broad range of foods, including fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and meat. The average length of the squirrel is 20 inches if measured from the nose tip to the tail, and though small, there are instances where they have ganged up against much larger animals.
One of the fun facts among the squirrels is that the flying squirrels don’t have any wings. The squirrel spreads its limbs out to allow it to jump from one tree to another without any problems. Spreading out the limbs allows the squirrel’s skin to appear as though they are wings helping them to glide in the air cautiously.
The squirrels start bearing young ones when they get to 1 year old. The baby squirrels are born after a gestation period of around six weeks, although they are hairless, blind, and deaf at the time of birth. The baby squirrels have to be weaned after around 90 days.
Do Baby Squirrels Eat Dirt?
The baby squirrels are omnivorous, and their meals constitute vegetables, meat, fruits, and nuts. It means that their diet is more or less like that of humans.
These creatures bury their food in the ground, and you are not alone to think that they eat dirt.
In extreme circumstances and instances where food is rare, they have been found to eat soil but only due to its need for nutrients but not as food.
The soil provides nutrients such as magnesium, sodium, and calcium, which are deficient in nuts and seeds. They have also been found to eat tree barks for the same nutrients and roughage.
What Do Squirrels Like to Eat Most
Try and avoid cow, goat, and soy milk, including any other homemade formulas which may result in death. At six weeks old, the baby squirrel will start eating solid food in very tiny portions.
As mentioned before, the squirrels are omnivorous and have a rich diet consisting of multiple foods, fruits, and nuts. The squirrels consume meat and vegetables even though they are mostly considered to love vegetables.
The source of their meat is mostly carrion, lizards, mice, and at times baby birds. Here are categories of the foods that squirrels love to eat:
- Fruits – The squirrels love fruits such as strawberries which are a favorite. They also consume apples, grapes, watermelon, seeds, and berries. If you can offer slices of fruits to the squirrels, it gives them an enjoyable treat. You can hang the slices of peaches, apples, and pairs for them on strings. They also enjoy wild berries and Osage oranges.
- Seeds – The squirrels love pumpkin seeds since they provide low-calorie counts, spruce, sesame, and pine seeds.
- Nuts – Nuts such as hazelnuts, beechnuts, and walnuts are a delicacy for the squirrels. Some of the nuts that squirrels love include macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, chestnuts, pine cones, and hickory nuts. These nuts are a rich source of fat and protein for the squirrels.
- Vegetables – Squirrels are heavy consumers of vegetables that they love so much. They consume leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, kale, arugula, and chard. They also consume broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes, squash, peas, root vegetables, cabbage, carrots, celery, beans, and radishes.
- Insects – The baby squirrels will feed on small insects, especially in scenarios where there are no nuts, yet they need proteins. The insects they consume include grasshoppers, caterpillars, crickets, larvae, and butterflies, among others.
- Fungi – Squirrels forage mushrooms in natural settings like the forests to find fungi. The fungi include oyster mushrooms, truffles, and acorn truffles.
- C & S Products Squirrel Snak – It provides squirrels with seed cakes that are of high quality. It comes with fruits, nuts, and seeds formulation making it a rich diet for the squirrels.
- Wild Delight Corn on the Cob – This product helps the squirrels with corn containing wildlife formula and reduced moisture levels for reducing the effects of mold.
Food Avoid to Feed Baby Squirrels
The baby squirrels can eat several foods at the appropriate time and age. Even with this variety, several foods you should avoid since they are not appropriate. Among these foods, some are completely poisonous and should be avoided.
- While individuals try to feed the squirrels around the neighborhood, it is important to note that although they enjoy foods such as grains, there are cereals that are harmful to them, such as those that come with processed sugar.
- Foods like crackers, hamburgers, cheese, and French fries pose the risk of damaging their digestive system even though the squirrels will still eat it up.
- Processed foods that contain chemicals and byproducts are not recommended either. It, therefore, means that you should not feed the squirrels on dog food or cat food.
- Avoid feeding the squirrels on foods that are high on carbs, such as sunflower seeds and corn, since they have minimal nutritional value to them.
- Squirrels trust humans when it comes to feeding; this means they will eat anything that comes from you. It is therefore important for you not to feed them with human junk foods. Such junk includes foods like popcorns, cakes, cookies, potato chips, among other foods.
- Human and Animal Formulas – If you an avid reader, you will have come across blogs or sites that recommend feeding squirrels with formulas meant for babies, puppies, or kittens. Do not give these formulas to the squirrels because they contain high levels of preservatives and additives, which may result in nervousness, rickets, seizures, or even sudden death.
- Peanuts – While squirrels enjoy eating peanuts, it is not advisable for them. The peanuts are not nuts and are categorized as legumes. You can offer them to diversify their diet but remember that it offers little value in terms of nutrition.
- Other foods that should be avoided include These foods include
- Fruit pits/Seeds
- Avocado pits/skins
- Salty foods
- Foods with a high starch content
- Pine Nuts
Tips to Feed Squirrels
There are several species of squirrels like tree climbers and ground squirrels. Feeding the squirrels will greatly be determined by the habitat, habits, and squirrel species.
It is also important to consider how the squirrels eat their food, whether they do it in one specific place or prefer grabbing the food and running away with it. Some tips for using when feeding the squirrels include the following.
- Understand the species of the squirrels you want to feed since the different species have different food preferences. You can always conduct a simple search routine online to understand the food preference and plan.
- Ensure that the levels of the feeders are elevated above the ground. This act ensures that the eating habits of the squirrel in the wild remain heightened.
- Since squirrels can feed on the bird feeders, you must invest in designated squirrel feeders. The designated feeders will help keep the squirrels away from the bird feeders.
- Ensure to put some water for the squirrels in place that lets it remain clean. You should also change it routinely to reduce or eliminate the chances of it getting toxic.
- Squirrels take every opportunity they can to eat chicken eggs. If, by any chance, you rear the chicken near the feeding place, consider surrounding it with a pen that is squirrel-proof.
- To eliminate any bacteria, ensure to clean the squirrel feeders with soap and hot water together with the containers weekly or as regularly as possible.
- Since squirrels are rather active, it would be good if you could simulate a natural habitat to allow them to leap and run around. You should strategically place the feeders and the water containers in spots where they are safe from spillage.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions on this subject.
1. Can a baby Squirrel eat raisins?
Raisins are highly sugary even though they are not toxic to the squirrels. The squirrels should not be fed on foods that contain high levels of sugar.
2. When can a baby squirrel eat nuts?
The baby squirrels can only start eating solid foods after they reach the age of 6 weeks. Apart from the nuts, the squirrels can also nibble on sweet potatoes, apples, broccoli, grapes, nuts, and kales.
3. Can a squirrel eat bread?
The squirrels can eat bread, but they should only be allowed to eat the bread in controlled amounts. The ingredients of bread include cellulose and sugar in large amounts, which are not safe nor tolerable to the squirrel.
4. Will squirrels eat fat balls?
Fat balls are made of sunflower seeds, suet, and other dry foods, including peanuts. The squirrels eat the fat balls but should be prevented from doing so. You can use a squirrel-proof bird suet ball feeder to prevent them from accessing the fat balls.
5. Will squirrels eat chicken?
Squirrels are known to eat chicken eggs whenever they find them. Although they tend to be shy, these small animals can cause devastating harm to your poultry farm or the chicken feed. If you have chicken around the place where the squirrels live, consider storing their food and eggs in secure places where they have no access.
6. Can Squirrels eat chocolate?
Chocolate has always been a delicacy, even for the squirrels, who probably love it even much more than nuts. Although you may be affectionate towards the squirrels, you mustn’t feed them on chocolate. Chocolate contains Theobromine, a highly toxic substance to the squirrels and may even result in death.
7. Can squirrels eat almonds?
Yes, the squirrels love almonds just as much as they love other nuts.
8. Will squirrels eat carrots?
Squirrels eat a lot of vegetables, including carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, okra, among others.
9. Do squirrels eat people?
Cases of squirrels attacking people are extremely rare, although there are isolated incidences of the biting and attacking pets and even humans.
10. Will squirrels eat birds?
Squirrels are omnivorous though their herbivorous side is predominant. Squirrels can attack and eat young birds whenever food is scarce.
Squirrels are beautiful creatures, and taking part in their overall growth process is a wonderful and satisfying thing to do. If you were looking for information on how to take care of the baby squirrels and their diet, make use of the information in this article and observe the dietary needs of the baby squirrels as they grow.