Nuts are delicious, humans love them, animals love then and squirrels really love them. So can squirrels eat almonds?
Squirrels can definitely eat almonds. Squirrels love all types of nuts, almonds are delicious to squirrels. Almonds contain healthy fats, zinc, calcium, amino acids and antioxidants among other nutrients which improve the squirrel’s health. Almonds should be served in the shell but not in excess. Squirrels also love acorns, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts.
Squirrels like their animal relatives chipmunks, marmots, and prairie dogs belong to the Sciuridae family. There are over 200 species of squirrels around the world and three main kinds of squirrels namely: tree squirrels, flying squirrels, and ground squirrels.
Squirrels are remarkable animals with a huge appetite. These animals will taste almost anything and everything that looks and smells good. Being omnivores, they can eat both plant and animal matter.
Can squirrels eat almonds?
As much as squirrels are known to eat a lot of things, their favourite and most healthy food remains nuts. Give a squirrel a nut and you become its best friend.
Amongst all the nuts enjoyed by squirrels, almonds are one of the closest to a squirrel’s heart. Squirrels do eat almonds and greatly enjoy this delicious treat.
Benefits of eating almonds for humans and animals
Have you ever wondered if almonds were good for you and your pet(s)?
The answer is yes. Almonds are an excellent source of nutrients for both man and animal, however, they must be eaten in moderation.
Below a few benefits of eating almonds.
Rich in fats: Almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fats which help to keep the heart healthy.
Contain amino acids: Almonds are high in amino acids, making them good sources of protein for humans and animals.
Natural laxatives: Almonds can be used as laxatives and lubricants for the intestines. This makes the nut a great remedy for all constipation related issues.
Contain zinc: The zinc in almonds help boost the immune system of humans and animals. They also help to prevent all those viral and bacterial infections that damage brain cells.
Contain calcium: Of all nuts and seeds, almonds are one of the highest in calcium. Studies have shown that 100g of raw almonds (roughly 75 almonds) provides a whopping 264 mg of calcium.
Enhances brain function: Almonds can raise the ACh acetylcholine levels in the brain, thereby enhancing brain function and improving overall brain health.
Are high in antioxidants: Almonds contain vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants. These can help reduce the risks of facing heart attacks.
Can squirrels safely eat almonds in large quantities?
Almonds are highly beneficial nuts, but they have a dark side.
These nuts contain a high level of the compound cyanide, which can be quite harmful. Eating too many almonds can lead to cyanide poisoning in squirrels and other mammals.
Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include respiratory distress, staggering, cherry red mucous membranes, muscle twitching and a quick death.
There are two varieties of almonds – sweet and bitter almonds. Bitter almonds are known to contain an even higher level of cyanide than sweet almonds. A few handfuls of bitter almonds will kill faster than a few handfuls of sweet almonds.
If you’re looking to feed your pet squirrel almonds, make sure they are the sweet variety.
Should you give squirrels shelled or unshelled nuts?
Shelled and unshelled nuts are both good for squirrels. However, shelled nuts are the better nuts to feed squirrels as the process of extracting the nut from its shell helps to sharpen the animal’s teeth.
How to feed nuts to squirrels?
Feeding squirrels the proper food is essential to keep them healthy.
When feeding these mammals, it’s vital to give them something that’s aligned with their natural diet. This is why animal experts always advise that squirrels be fed more nuts and seeds than any other food.
The best way to feed squirrels that come visiting your backyard is to create or buy a squirrel feeder.
Fill the feeder with healthy nuts and seeds and allow them to eat from the feeder. Another way to go about feeding squirrels is to plant trees that bear their favourite nuts and seeds.
Please note that squirrels should eat from a feeder or tree and not your hands. Feeding squirrels with your hands causes them to lose their natural fear of humans, and this can be bad for both you and the squirrel.
Once you’ve created your squirrel feeder, you don’t have to worry about where to buy nuts, as all the nuts you need can be found on Amazon.
Alternative nuts you can feed squirrels
Other healthy nuts you can feed squirrels include:
Acorns: Acorns grow on Oak trees. Acorns offer a lot of nutritional value to squirrels. These nuts are rich in protein, calcium, healthy fat, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
Hazelnuts: Hazelnuts are the type of nut that grows on the Corylus tree. These nuts contain a high content of protein, fats, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Walnuts: Walnuts come from the Deciduous walnut tree. Walnuts like other nuts are exceptionally high in nutrients. These nuts are packed with antioxidants, protein, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and trace minerals.
Pecans: Pecans are a type of nut or drupe that grows on the Pecan tree. These nuts are tasty and nutritious. They contain high levels of antioxidants, protein, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Can squirrels eat too many nuts?
Too much of anything is bad, even too much healthy food is bad.
Feeding a squirrel with too many nuts will cause it to bloat. Excessive eating of nuts can also be fatal to squirrels depending on the type of nut it is being fed.
The recommended quantity of nuts fed to squirrels is two per day, preferably still in their shell. In addition to that, you can also feed squirrels vegetables and seeds to balance out their diet.
Almonds aren’t just great for humans; animals such as squirrels can also benefit from eating them. If you own a dog or pet squirrel, almonds are one of thefoods you could add to their diet.
However, it’s important not to forget that these nuts can be harmful if consumed in excess. When feeding squirrels, not more than two almond nuts should be served per day. Acorns, hazelnuts, and walnuts are other great nuts you can feed squirrels as well.