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What Do Squirrels Eat?

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Squirrels are small- to medium-sized rodents whose scientific family includes other rodents like marmots, chipmunks, groundhogs and prairie dogs. They commonly have long, slender bodies with bushy tails. Squirrels have longer hind legs than their forelimbs, and each of their four paws has four or five toes. Squirrels use their sharp claws, paws and toes to deftly climb trees. 

Tree squirrels can even climb down a tree head-first just as quickly as they can climb up one. They are able to accomplish this by rotating their ankles 180 degrees which allows them to grip tree bark in the opposite direction of the way they are going. 

What Do Squirrels Eat?

Squirrels are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They cannot digest cellulose, however, so the food they eat must be abundant in protein, carbohydrates and fats. They are principally herbivores, and thus eat a wide variety of nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fungi, plants and vegetation. For other sources of food, they have been known to eat small birds, snakes, smaller rodents, insects and bird eggs if they can get them. Squirrels prepare for the dearth of food in the winter months by collecting as much food as possible in the fall and burying it in a hidden spot. This way they provide for themselves a store of food throughout winter when supplies are scarce.

What Do Squirrels Eat In Urban Environments?

Many kinds of squirrels have lost their fear of humans and now thrive in urban settings. You may find squirrels near your home that have become not only fearless, but almost aggressive in their quest for food. They will happily steal birdseed or pet food from outdoor feeders. People sometimes enjoy feeding squirrels in their neighborhood or in urban parks, often feeding them grains, nuts or cereals. Feeding squirrels human food is not good for them, however. Most of the human food we might feed them, or they might get from scrounging in our trash, is heavily processed and filled with sugars. Squirrels have a tendency to enjoy this sugary and processed food so much that they will stop looking for their normal sources of food which provide more nutrition. Do not feed squirrels any field corn or corn products which can sometimes contain a mold that is toxic to squirrels. 

Since squirrels eat just about anything and everything, it is no surprise that you might find them digging around your garden and trying to get into your trash and home. If you are having a difficult time with squirrels around your home or property, call a pest professional to help today.


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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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