Green pine cones are not mature but squirrels love to eat them why is this? Why do squirrels eat green pine cones?
Squirrels eat green pine cones to access the seeds in the pine cone. Green pine cones are preferred by squirrels because they offer more nutritional value. By the time pine cones mature and turn brown the seeds are gone.
Generally, unripe produce isn’t eaten by humans. This is because the produce hasn’t matured and thus isn’t that tasty. But squirrels aren’t humans and will sometimes eat green pine cones (which are simply pine cones that have not matured yet). Green pine cones are closed, their seeds have not matured but some squirrels can’t get enough of them. So why is this? Why do squirrels eat green pine cones? This article looks into it. Whether you’re a concerned squirrel lover, a wildlife enthusiast or are simply curious this article is for you.
Why do squirrels eat green pine cones?
Many would assume that squirrels prefer brown pine cones because they are matured but this isn’t the case. Green pine cones are preferred by squirrels because they offer more nutritional value.
By the time a pine cone matures, opens and spreads, its pine seeds are already dispersed. The seeds are what give squirrels the nutritional value they need, no seeds equal no nutritional value.
Green pine cones are best because they can be stored and be eaten at a later stage. Squirrels know this and thus harvest them from pine cone trees to store for later.
A squirrel can prepare a green pine cone by tearing it apart until it gets to the centre.
This is the perfect condition to store this item because they will not rot, will not be damaged by low temperatures (only opening up when the spring warmth opens them) and they will not be damaged by water.
Squirrels don’t mind a tough a pine cone. What matters are the seeds inside.
Squirrels have sharp and strong teeth, they will bite into a number of nuts that are hard enough to break a humans teeth, an example of these nuts are the hickory nut. Thus they have no problem with, and will bite into an unripe pine cone to get the seeds.
Storing unripe pine cones will allow the seeds and the pine cone to mature in a place that squirrels can control
Squirrels use their tiny paws and strong teeth to get into pine cones and access the seeds. They will pull out each bract one at a time to access each seed behind each bract.
Can humans eat pine cones?
Yes, humans can eat pine cones. In fact, many parts of the pine tree are edible to both humans and animals. Humans can eat pine cones, bark, (the inner layer that is) pine needles, resin, pine nuts and pine pollen.
In fact, if you look online you’ll find many videos and articles on the topic of eating green pine cones, from creating pine cone jam, pickled mini green pine cones and pine cone syrup to name a few.
Many of these recipes instruct that you cook the pine cones by boiling them to make them softer. If you don’t cook them they can damage your teeth.
The benefits of eating pine cones are that they offer good amounts of fibre and vitamin C. Pine seeds are very nutritious and beneficial to squirrels, they are also very nutritious and beneficial to humans offering various minerals and vitamins
In summary, squirrels eat green pine cones to access the seeds in the pine cone. By the time pine cones mature and turn brown the seeds are gone.
We as humans can also eat pine cones, the cones and the seeds are filled with vitamins and minerals. If you were interested in eating them you would have to boil them first and cook them as to not to damage your teeth.
If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other squirrel related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: How do squirrels breathe, how do squirrels get calcium in the wild, why do squirrels run away, how do squirrels drink water in the wild, why do squirrels stop in the middle of the road, how do squirrels trim their nails