Many people have a love of squirrels, maybe you do too. But have you ever wondered what these creatures eat? Can squirrels eat peanuts?
Squirrels can eat peanuts but these are not good for squirrels. Peanuts aren’t nuts, they are legumes. In addition, peanuts contain a number of vitamins and minerals but these don’t benefit squirrels. You can feed squirrels peanuts occasionally but don’t make it a habit. Better nuts to feed them are almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts.
Knowing what squirrels eat, and what they don’t, will help give you with all the necessary knowledge on how to feed them right if you decide to get a pet squirrel now or later.
Squirrels are omnivores – animals that eat both plants and meat. While a squirrel may be found eating other animals in desperate times, its favourite foods are plant-based.
A squirrel’s diet consists mainly of nuts, fruits, seeds, fungi, vegetables, roots, bark, bulbs, insects, worms, mice, caterpillars, eggs, baby birds and snakes.
Peanuts can also be a part of a squirrel’s diet. Peanuts aren’t nuts but legumes.
Can squirrels eat peanuts?
Before going into detail on how squirrels react to peanuts and if they can eat them, let’s first consider the benefits of eating peanuts.
Benefits of eating peanuts
Protein: Peanuts are a good source of protein for both humans and animals. Animals get lots of protein from eating peanut butter.
Healthy Fats: Peanuts contain monounsaturated fat – this type of fat is great for the heart. Based on one study, peanuts and peanut butter reduced the chances of humans getting cardiovascular disease by an estimated 21%.
Carbs: The fact that peanuts are low in carbs makes the legume suitable for diabetics.
Vitamins and Minerals: Peanuts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for humans and animals. These vitamins and minerals include copper, biotin, niacin, folate, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, thiamine, and magnesium.
Resveratrol: Peanuts have recently been discovered to contain resveratrol. Resveratrol is a flavonoid that helps improve blood flow in the brain by 30%.
Can squirrels eat peanuts?
If you’re looking to bond with a newly acquired squirrel or neighbourhood squirrels, giving them peanuts is one way to go about it.
Squirrels don’t just like peanuts; they love them. There’s no denying that peanuts are one of those foods squirrels enjoy eating, but is it safe and healthy for them?
Peanuts are great for humans and most animals, but not squirrels. The reason for this is because all the nutritional value of peanuts we earlier looked into doesn’t apply to squirrels. As a result of this, some animal experts advice against feeding squirrels any form of peanuts.
It’s not entirely bad to feed squirrels peanuts, only be sure they are given in small amounts. You may feed squirrels peanuts once in a while to vary their original diet of nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
The best peanuts to feed squirrels are the shelled ones. In-shell peanuts are excellent as they give squirrels something to gnaw on. Gnawing helps to keep the teeth of squirrels sharp and healthy.
Whatever you do, never feed squirrels salted peanuts. Their small kidneys just aren’t powerful enough to filter out the amount of salt on the peanut.
How to feed squirrels nuts
Watching squirrels up close can be fun when you’re having a boring day. These creatures are an amazing sight to behold especially when they eat nuts.
If you have squirrels always coming to your backyard and wish to feed them, here’s how to go about it.
Regardless of how much you want to get close to a squirrel, it isn’t in the squirrel’s best interest for you to hand-feed it. Doing so may cause the squirrel to become overly dependent on humans for food.
But then, don’t be discouraged, there are other ways to feed your favourite squirrel – set up a feeder in your yard.
If you already own a feeder, don’t make birds share the feeder with squirrels. They both should have their separate feeders – this way, they can coexist in your backyard. And most importantly, you’ll be adding equal value to the lives of both creatures.
After setting up your squirrel feeder, the next step would be to get squirrel food. The good news is that you can purchase all the nuts and peanuts you need on Amazon.
Alternative nuts you can feed squirrels
Rather than feeding your bushy-tailed friends peanuts, you can feed them with real nuts like almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts.
It is important that squirrels eat foods that are rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. The following nuts contain all of this:
Almonds: Almonds are tree nuts that offer squirrels calories, healthy fats, protein, carbs, fibre, vitamin E and magnesium – all essential nutrients.
Walnuts: Walnuts are an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (30). Walnuts contain calories, healthy fat, carbs, protein, fibre, vitamin E, and magnesium – all essential nutrients.
Hazelnuts: Hazelnuts are one of a squirrel’s favourite nuts. These nuts are packed with calories, healthy fat, protein, fibre, carbs, vitamin E, and magnesium.
Can squirrels eat all nuts?
Yes, squirrels can eat all nuts. When hungry, squirrels will eat any nut they can find in the wild. However, not all nuts offer them nutritional value. Some nuts are just tasty, with no essential vitamins and minerals for squirrels.
If you own a pet squirrel, you shouldn’t feed her every nut. Nuts like cashews, red oak acorns, pine nuts, and raw peanuts are no good for squirrels.
Nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, hickory nuts, and butternuts contain loads of nutritional value and will be great for your pet squirrel.
Squirrels will eat almost any food offered to them by humans. For this reason, we have a responsibility to not just feed them what we think they like, but what’s healthy for them.
Peanuts are great for humans, but the same can’t be said for squirrels. Peanuts aren’t poisonous to squirrels; they just don’t provide the animal with the essential nutrients they need to stay alive and healthy.
No one is saying you should totally avoid feeding peanuts to your squirrel(s), only make sure it’s not a food she eats all the time.