Of all Victoria’s backyard animals, none is as obsessed with nuts as squirrels. It seems that when a squirrel is not perched on a tree branch gnawing one, it is running across the lawn with a nut in its mouth or burying one in the soil for later.
Are nuts all that squirrels eat? And can there really be enough nuts on one backyard tree to feed a family of hungry squirrels all winter? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions Skedaddle’s customers have about what squirrels eat.
What Do Squirrels Eat?
A squirrel’s diet is more varied than many people suspect. Rather than subsisting solely on nuts, squirrels are omnivores whose nutrition comes from mostly plant but also occasional animal sources. The following are examples of foods a squirrel may eat:
- Nuts – Seeds with tough shells including walnuts and acorns
- Berries – Wild berries from native plants such as poison ivy, dogwood, and blackberry
- Fruit – Cultivated fruits such as apples and grapes as well as wild fruits including chokecherry and pawpaw
- Plants – Dandelion, clover, and other herbaceous plants and weeds
- Insects – Cicadas, grasshoppers, grubs, and worms
- Meat – Dead animals as well as nestling birds and mice
Why Do They Love Nuts?
The simplest answer to the question, what do squirrels eat is nuts. Squirrels love nuts because they contain a whopping amount of nutrition in a tiny package. Each nut is full of calories, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates—everything a squirrel needs to get through a cold Canadian winter.
Gnawing on a nut’s tough outer shell is also beneficial for a squirrel’s dental health. Like other rodents, squirrels have four elongated front incisors that grow at a constant rate throughout their lifetimes. If they do not gnaw on hard objects, their teeth grow so long that they no longer work properly and the squirrel would die of starvation.
What Foods Do Squirrels Hate?
Like most mammals, squirrels are opportunistic and will not turn down anything they consider edible. However, the list of what squirrels eat does not contain every kind of seed. For example, some people searching for how to get rid of squirrels will mix these varieties into their birdseed mix:
- White proso millet
- Hot pepper
The following plants are also inedible to squirrels and have the reputation of repelling them with their odours:
- Lily of the Valley
Do Squirrels Come Inside Houses To Look for Food?
Occasionally, a squirrel will follow the scent of food and come in through a pet door or other opening to a porch, garage, or kitchen. They might even hide an acorn in the soil of a potted plant. Worse yet, they sometimes nip houseplants off at the stem or dig up roots and bulbs.
Seeking shelter from cold weather and making cozy nests for their babies are the main reasons squirrels enter a home. When squirrels live indoors, they can create a dangerous situation. Not only do they make an unsanitary mess of insulation, but they gnaw on electrical wires and create a fire hazard.
Skedaddle Knows the Answer to the Question What Do Squirrels Eat?
If you hear noises in your attic or have other reasons to suspect that squirrels are coming inside your house, contact the team at Skedaddle for humane squirrel removal in Victoria. We will assess the squirrel situation on your property and find any potential entry points where they might come in and build nests.
If you are having problems with squirrels, then the answer is probably something in or around your home. Contact Skedaddle before the problem becomes worse.