What to Feed Squirrels: A Comprehensive Guide to Squirrel Nutrition

What to Feed Squirrels: A Comprehensive Guide to Squirrel Nutrition

Feeding squirrels can be a delightful way to enjoy nature and support local wildlife. However, it's important to provide them with the right foods to ensure their health and well-being. This comprehensive guide will help you understand what to feed squirrels, including the best foods and how to use squirrel feeders effectively.

Nutritious Foods for Squirrels

Squirrels thrive on a diverse diet that mimics what they would find in the wild. Here are some of the best foods to offer:

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts: Squirrels love nuts, but they should be unsalted and unroasted. Some excellent choices include:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts

Seeds: Squirrels enjoy seeds such as:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds


Fresh fruits are a nutritious treat for squirrels. Safe options include:

  • Apples (remove seeds)
  • Bananas
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Pears


Vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals. Good choices include:

  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Kale


Corn can be a good addition to a squirrel's diet when offered in moderation. Dried corn on the cob is particularly popular and provides mental stimulation as they gnaw on it.

Specially Formulated Squirrel Food

Many pet stores offer specially formulated squirrel food, which is a balanced mix designed to meet their dietary needs. This is a convenient option to ensure they receive adequate nutrition.

Using Squirrel Feeders

Squirrel feeders are a great way to provide food while keeping it clean and accessible. Here are some tips for using squirrel feeders effectively:


    Choose the Right Feeder:

    Look for feeders that are sturdy and weather-resistant. Some popular types include platform feeders, hanging feeders, and corn cob holders.




    Place the feeder in a location that's easily accessible to squirrels but away from areas where they might become a nuisance, such as near bird feeders or gardens.



    Regular Cleaning:

    Clean the feeder regularly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria, which can be harmful to squirrels.



    Monitor Food Supply:

    Keep an eye on the food supply and refill as needed, especially during the winter months when natural food sources are scarce.


Foods to Avoid


While many foods are safe for squirrels, some should be avoided:


  • Salty or Sugary Foods:

    Avoid feeding squirrels junk food, chips, candy, or other foods high in salt or sugar.
  • Processed Foods:

    These can contain harmful additives and preservatives.
  • Bread:

    Bread lacks the necessary nutrients and can expand in their stomachs, causing harm.
  • Dairy Products:

    Squirrels are lactose intolerant and cannot digest dairy products properly.

Feeding squirrels can be a rewarding experience, but it's essential to provide them with the right foods to ensure their health. By offering a balanced diet of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and specially formulated squirrel food, you can support their nutritional needs. Using squirrel feeders can help keep the food clean and accessible, providing a safe and enjoyable way to watch these lively creatures. Remember to avoid harmful foods and maintain a clean feeding environment to promote the well-being of your backyard squirrels.

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