You have likely encountered squirrels, but the flying squirrel is an even more exciting and remarkable relative of theirs. Often, these cute little critters come close to homes, seeking food opportunistically. You may have merely spotted them in the wild, or you may even be lucky enough to have one as a pet and have wondered whether they eat bananas or not.
Flying squirrels can eat bananas. If you have one as a pet, you will note they find them remarkably delicious. Bananas are healthy and rich in vitamins and nutrients required by flying squirrels. However, it is not a good idea to feed flying squirrels banana peels as these are high in fiber and cellulose.
You can expect flying squirrels to eat bananas. However, remove the peels before the squirrel consumes them. It is more than likely that these adorable creatures will be given bananas by their owners, or wild flying squirrels will come to visit you to receive this snack.
Now that we know this, surely there is more to it? And there is.
Can You Give Bananas To Flying Squirrels To Eat?
Flying squirrels, like other squirrels, are not immensely picky regarding the foods they will consume. However, when it comes to feeding or offering them bananas, it is certainly something that they will appreciate as bananas are tasty and easily digestible.
It is not wise to give flying squirrels bananas too regularly as the fruit contains a fair amount of sugar and starch and, if eaten in excess, can cause obesity in flying squirrels. So, the term to note is “moderation” if you wish to feed bananas to your pet flying squirrel or friendly wild ones.
Another reason you ought not to give pet flying squirrels too much is that in captivity, they do not require the amount of energy as wild ones. Additionally, although the squirrel may eat the banana peel, removing it before giving it to them is highly advisable.
This is for various reasons: they contain too much fiber and are difficult to digest, for starters, and secondly, on many occasions, the bananas may well have been sprayed with harmful chemicals which were used to deter insects from eating them before being picked.
Can You Feed Bananas To Baby Squirrels?
If you have pet flying squirrels that give birth to young, they are not that cute looking initially, but they quickly become adorable little creatures.
Initially, their feeding will rely on their mother as they are not only rodents but also mammals who need milk during early development. Thankfully, once you start feeding them (like the adults), their diets are not too complex.
The first six to eight weeks following their birth will mean suckling milk from their mother. Following the six-week mark, you can begin introducing solid foods into their diets. And bananas are a great place to start as they are soft, easily digestible, and easy on their small stomachs, which may not be ready for anything too extravagant.
Reasons To Feed Flying Squirrels Bananas And Cautions
Bananas are highly unlikely to be found in the wild by many flying squirrels, so the chance of them receiving this fruit will usually be due to human initiation. However, why do squirrels eat bananas, and why should we consider feeding this fruit to them?
Bananas are a top superfood, releasing nutrients more rapidly than any manufactured or processed food product. Additionally, the fruit is easily digestible for both adults and their young. They also assist the digestive process and can be given in combination with an array of other foods.
Feed bananas to flying squirrels in moderation for the reasons we have discussed. One thing that bananas are good for is to help in moderating a flying squirrel’s blood sugar levels (if given in reasonable quantities).
Also, interestingly enough, raw bananas improve the animals’ insulin secretion from the liver.
But as mentioned, and this must be emphasized, too many bananas will be unhealthy for flying squirrels and may very well lead to unregulated weight gain that will diminish their health and quality of life.
So, as a rule of thumb, include a few slices of banana when feeding flying squirrels, but also diversify the elements of the diet.
What To Feed And Not Feed To Flying Squirrels
Flying squirrels are related to other squirrels, but their tastes differ. While other squirrels may enjoy eating almost anything, including bananas, at times flying squirrels may reject this fruit.
Although it is a healthy food source and is something they can eat, certain flying squirrels might not have a taste for this fruit, and you will need to feed them other foods.
Food Squirrels Are Most Likely To Consume
Flying squirrels still have a diverse diet, though, from which you will find things they like, including other fruits such as apples, vegetables like mushrooms, and even fresh corn.
Additionally, if we think of what they would typically consume in the wild, it would likely be a combination of nuts, fruits, and insects (even worms may feature on the menu).
Berries, acorns, seeds, and even particular bird eggs will feature in their diets. This is all because flying squirrels are omnivores, and although most of their diet will not feature animals or their by-products, it does not mean they will not eat them. Most of what they eat will derive from deciduous forests, though.
The trees they often feed from are red oak, hickory, beech, and white oak. They are known even to eat the stems and leaves of particular plants.
Additionally, they are the type of animals that will store food in holes and crevices, especially when autumn has set in and winter is on its way, and they need to ensure they have food to sustain them.
If you have a tame flying squirrel, you can be guaranteed that it is more than likely willing to consume mealworms, which are a great source of protein for your pet. Also, as discussed, what they eat in the wild will help you determine what to feed your pet flying squirrel.
Another thing to be attuned to is that if your squirrel is not receiving enough nutrients, you can give them vitamin supplements and calcium. You must ensure that your pet remains healthy and adequately fed.
Provide meals once a day, or you can spread the food allocation over two separate meals.
One thing that you may find handy, especially if you are new to owning a flying squirrel or are leaving food out for wild ones, is to investigate purchasing rodent blocks, as these are “pre-made meals” for animals such as rats, mice, guinea pigs, and flying squirrels.
What To Avoid Feeding To Flying Squirrels
There are certain foods that you should undoubtedly avoid feeding to flying squirrels, as it is with any animal.
Some foods do not agree with them and will only be unhealthy or potentially harmful enough to make them ill. Things such as onion, yams, garlic, and dried vegetables are a few examples of things you might have thought would be acceptable to feed to them.
When you are giving your pet or wild flying squirrels any form of food, mainly that which has been grown on commercial farms, be sure to wash them thoroughly before feeding these things to them.
Unfortunately, pesticides are commonplace nowadays; these chemicals can linger and ultimately prove toxic to the flying squirrel.
Also, although nuts are a staple part of a flying squirrel’s diet, there are some which should be left out, such as pecan and walnuts, as well as cashews, as these cause a loss of calcium in the creatures, mainly if given in larger quantities over extensive periods.
Finally, this should be a no-brainer, but people sometimes see a cute flying squirrel and want to feed it with whatever they have.
Processed and junk food are part of some of our diets that should not be offered to flying squirrels. These are things as simple as sweetened yogurt or dried fruit, but other things are even more out of the question.
A tasty cookie, for example, is not something you should be sharing with a flying squirrel. Other foods would be things like French fries, pretzels, potato chips, chocolate, or anything that is actually quite typically not the healthiest for us, either.
Flying squirrels are adorable and even make excellent pets once domesticated. Feeding them bananas in moderation is fine, but overfeeding them can cause issues such as weight gain.
There are various other fruits, nuts, and even vegetables that you can feed to them, but with bananas, remember to remove the peels first.
However, if you feed wild flying squirrels, they may become dependent and struggle to survive on their own if you stop treating them with snacks.
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