Chocolate is delicious, this milky delicacy is loved by many. But can squirrels eat chocolate?
Squirrels can eat chocolate but they shouldn’t. Yes, chocolate gives squirrels lots of energy but this sweet treat should seldom be given to them. Chocolate contains theobromine which, in large quantities, can be toxic to squirrels. If you want to give squirrels a treat rather give them nuts, fruits and peanut butter instead
Squirrels are a part of the Sciuridae family. They are closely related to other mammals such as prairie dogs, woodchucks, and chipmunks.
There are over 200 species of squirrels found across the world, and they all have one thing in common – a love for nuts.
Most people think squirrels only feed on nuts and seeds as that’s what they are mostly pictured eating, but that’s not the case.
It’s true that a huge portion of their diet revolves around plants and nuts, however, they are also known to eat animal-based material and human food like chocolate.
Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate?
Squirrels do eat chocolate and they totally enjoy every bit of the delicacy. Squirrels find chocolate tasty and will steal one from you if they get the chance
Chocolate provides squirrels with a lot of energy to go about their busy day, and it might seem like a great idea to feed your pet squirrels this sweet treat. But the question remains, is chocolate good for squirrels?
Numerous studies have shown that chocolate could be quite dangerous for squirrels if eaten in large quantities.
Chocolate contains a substance Theobromine. Theobromine is known to be harmful to most mammals. The level of toxicity varies according to the chocolate type, the quantity consumed, and size of the animal eating it.
The effect of Theobromine poisoning in squirrels include trembling, diarrhoea, excitement, hyperactivity, seizures, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, and even death.
Since chocolate isn’t completely safe for squirrels, it’s best to give them only very little or none at all. Feed them nuts and sunflower seeds instead if you must – they love both as much as they love chocolate.
Benefits of eating chocolate
While chocolate is harmful when eaten without caution, there are a lot of health benefits it offers when eaten in small quantities.
It’s Good for The Heart: According to various studies, dark chocolate helps to prevent white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. It also helps restore flexibility to arteries.
It’s Rich in Minerals: Dark chocolate contains healthy minerals such as selenium, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron – all of which are essential for human and animal life.
Increases Energy Levels: Dark chocolate is an incredible energy booster thanks to its ability to improve blood flow – carrying oxygen to muscles at a quicker rate. It’s no wonder how even the laziest of squirrels get all hyperactive after swallowing some chocolate.
It Contains Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is packed with several organic compounds that are biologically active and act as antioxidants. These include catechins, polyphenols, flavanols, etc.
May Improve Brain Function: Chocolate contain stimulant substances like Theobromine and Caffeine, both of which are known to help improve brain function.
Please note that the above benefits are only available for those who eat dark chocolate in small amounts. Animals like dogs and cats should never be fed chocolate as their bodies can’t take it.
Can squirrels eat the cacao plant?
Chocolate is derived from the seed of the cacao tree. A lot of refining takes place before the cacao seed becomes the chocolate we eat today.
The Cacao tree has four main predators – one of which is the squirrel. Others include humans, monkeys, and bats.
While eating chocolate may be harmful to squirrels and other animals, the cacao plant is non-toxic. Squirrels, monkeys, and bats have been eating the cacao plant for years with no negative effects, and so we can conclude that the plant is safe for consumption for all such animals.
What foods are poisonous to squirrels?
Corn: Corn offers no nutritional value to squirrels, so it’s best not to give it to them. Corn also turns sour quickly and can be toxic and even fatal to squirrels.
Raw Peanut: Squirrels shouldn’t be fed peanuts. Peanuts aren’t even nuts they are legumes. Raw peanuts are known to contain a fungus that can be harmful to squirrels.
Human Junk Food: Salted snacks are not good for squirrels. Sugar from chocolate and candy products makes them hyperactive – which is bad for their overall health. Chocolate is especially toxic to squirrels and can cause a lot of health-related problems for the small mammal.
What do squirrels eat?
Squirrels are omnivores by nature. These mammals are very open-minded when it comes to food. Squirrels are comfortable eating both plant and animal matter. They are also known to enjoy eating human junk food like chocolate, candy, and chips (which they shouldn’t eat)
Squirrels in their natural habitat (the wild) eat nuts, fungi, seeds, flowers, vegetables, native fruits, eggs, caterpillars, small insects, baby snakes, and smaller animals.
Squirrels living in urban areas eat corn, fruits, pecans, bird seeds, berries, vegetables in home gardens, and human junk food.
Squirrels love chocolate just as much as they love nuts or maybe even more. If you own a squirrel pet, you may be tempted to feed her some chocolate. The Theobromine in chocolate is highly toxic and can kill squirrels. To keep your squirrel pet safe, it’s advised that you rather not give her chocolates.
Let her have nuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, broccoli, carrots, and peanut butter instead – they will love it and it sure won’t harm them.
Chocolates aren’t the only foods to avoid giving squirrels. Foods such as corn, peanuts, cashews, sandwich, bread, and candy should seldom be given to squirrels. Chocolate should also not be given to dogs and cats for any reason at all – we can’t stress this enough.
We hope this article helps you figure out how best to feed and care for your squirrel. By feeding squirrels right, we can help preserve the lives of these amazing creatures.