If you have a pet Guinea Pig, you may be wondering if they can eat your pet squirrel’s food. Is it safe to feed them the same foods? First, let’s look at the differences and similarities between these two popular pets.
Guinea pigs are herbivores, while squirrels are omnivores. This means that guinea pigs should only eat plant-based foods, as their digestive system can’t process meat. On the other hand, a squirrel’s diet consists of meat, plants, seeds, nuts, fruit, and small animals. A guinea pig won’t thrive on a squirrel’s diet, and feeding them the wrong diet can lead to health concerns.
As a pet owner, it’s essential to understand the importance of feeding your pets the right foods.
We’ll take a closer look at these animals to help you better understand their diet and digestive and nutritional requirement differences. Once you understand the dietary needs, you can provide the best possible care for your beloved pets.
Why Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat Squirrel Food?
Guinea pigs have a delicate digestive system that consists of the small and large intestine, also known as the caecum. When fed the proper foods, the “friendly” bacteria work flawlessly to break down the tough fiber to ensure the pig gets the proper nutrients.
Feeding a guinea pig the wrong foods can cause a vitamin C deficiency, which can cause them to become weak and lethargic. Other signs and symptoms include:
- loss of appetite
- rough coat
- internal bleeding
If you notice these symptoms, you must take your guinea pig to the vet immediately. Failure to seek medical attention can lead to death.
Squirrels Vs. Guinea Pigs
Squirrels and guinea pigs differ in many ways. Let’s take a closer look at these two small animals.
Guinea Pigs belong to the Caviidea family and are closely related to the capybara. They are small, stocky animals that have short legs and no tail. Guinea pigs come in many different colors, sizes, and hair types.
At the time of this writing, there are over 11 breeds, but not all are kept as pets. The most common pet guinea pigs are American, Abyssinian, Peruvian, and Silkie.
Guinea pigs are social animals and do best when kept in pairs or small groups. They are active during the day and like to play and explore their surroundings. Guinea pigs have poor eyesight but make up for it with their keen sense.
Squirrels, on the other hand, are rodents belonging to the Sciuridae family. There are many different types of squirrels, but the most common include the tree squirrel, ground squirrel, chipmunk, and flying squirrel.
Squirrels are agile creatures that are good at climbing and jumping. They have long tails that help them balance up high in the trees. Squirrels are also good swimmers, although they prefer to stay out of the water.
Squirrels are primarily active during the day and retreat to their dens or shelters at night. Unlike guinea pigs, most states prohibit them as pets, but a few allow them with a license or permit.
So, if you’re considering getting a pet squirrel, make sure it’s legal in your state to avoid breaking any laws.
What Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
In its natural habitat, a guinea pig’s diet consists of large quantities of vegetation. Like squirrels, their large incisors will continue growing throughout their lifetime.
Wild guinea pigs consume several small meals throughout the day, consisting primarily of fruit and green vegetation.
A guinea pig’s diet won’t vary much from its wild ancestor.
They can thrive on a diet of high-quality pellets, fruits, veggies, and grass hay. Timothy Grass hay is sold on Amazon and other pet stores.
The grass hay provides fiber which aids in digestion and proper gastrointestinal health, helps limit the growth of their teeth, and improves dental hygiene. In addition, it helps prevent boredom by providing them with something to chew.
Since their natural diet consists primarily of grass and vegetation, their diet should consist of a diet that is 80% vegetation.
Fiber is vital for their overall health. Also, ensure you’re providing fresh, clean water, as a healthy adult guinea pig will drink about 3.3 ounces daily.
Make sure you’re providing high-quality hay that smells sweet and is free of mold. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to ask your veterinarian.
If you have a pet squirrel, here’s an article explaining what they can eat.
Foods Safe for Guinea Pigs
It’s essential to feed them the proper amounts. Overfeeding can cause obesity and other health issues. Like other domesticated pets, keep treats to 10% of your pig’s total daily caloric intake.
Offer no more than one cup of fresh vegetables from this list daily.
Here’s a list of some foods that can be used as both a diet and snacks or treats, that are high in vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin for guinea pigs:
- Beet Greens
- Broccoli Leaves
- Cauliflower Leaves
- Celery leaves and stalks (no more than once per week to avoid intestinal upset)
What Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat?
Just like there are certain foods guinea pigs can eat, there is also food they shouldn’t consume. Some of these foods include:
- Sugar Foods
Any foods that are high in sugar, fat, or salt are dangerous. These foods can cause obesity and other health problems in guinea pigs. This means no sharing your human junk food with them.
These small animals require a good supply of Vitamin C for their immune system to function correctly. So always read the label of any foods you’re feeding them to make sure it’s safe.
Every animal, including humans, requires certain vitamins and minerals to maintain good health. Here’s a list of some of the critical vitamins and minerals guinea pigs and squirrels need to thrive.
The most important thing to include in your pet guinea pig’s diet is fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C. A good rule of thumb is to ensure your pet gets at least 10 milligrams of Vitamin C daily.
Squirrels are rodents with high energy levels that enable them to leap and climb. Their nutrients will vary depending on the type of squirrel you have.
However, most squirrels, including flying squirrels, require a good source of vitamin D3, calcium, protein, fats, and protein.
With a varied diet of vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, they will receive most of the nutrients they need. However, they may require a vitamin D and calcium supplement if their diet doesn’t provide them with the essential nutrients.
In captivity, you must provide them with a well-rounded diet that meets all their needs if you’re unsure of what to feed your pet squirrel, always consult with your veterinarian for the best advice.
When feeding squirrels, it’s important to remember that they are very active animals. So, you will need to provide them with high-quality food high in calories and fat.
This will help them maintain their energy levels and keep their fur healthy and shiny.
Is Squirrel Food Safe for Guinea Pigs
No, guinea pigs need to eat their own food as their diet differs from that of squirrels. Squirrels and guinea pigs can eat some of the same veggies, but it’s best to feed each pet separately.
Similar to a cat and dog having their own food and water bowls, the same should be done for a guinea pig and squirrel. This will ensure each pet gets the nutrients they need from their food.
How A Guinea Pigs Digestive System Differs From A Squirrel?
A squirrel’s digestive system relies on foods rich in fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Their digestive system can’t process cellulose, which is found in plant foods, which is why their diet consists of nuts, fruits, insects, etc.
Guinea pigs can’t technically digest cellulose either. Their digestive system starts in the stomach and small intestine, then eventually travels to the large intestine, also known as the caecum. This is where “friendly” bacteria and microbes break down cellulose and fiber.
Once the process is complete, the guinea pigs will excrete two types of pellets, which we refer to as poop. One consists of waste matter the body doesn’t need. The other pellets are called cecotropes, which consist of nutrients the body hasn’t absorbed.
Like rabbits, hamsters, etc., guinea pigs have difficulty digesting or chewing fibrous food. So to ensure they get the nutrients their bodies need, they will eat the cecotropes pellets once they are released.
This is also known as coprophagy, and it is normal behavior for guinea pigs to devour them after passing the cecotrope pellets.
Can Squirrels Eat Guinea Pig Food?
Squirrels can eat some of the same foods as guinea pigs, especially, since they have a better digestive system. However, squirrels can’t live on grass and vegetation alone. They require a variety of foods to ensure they get the nutrients their bodies require.
Most guinea pig pellets are alfalfa based, which won’t provide any nutritional value to squirrels.
Guinea pigs and squirrels are popular pets, but their dietary needs differ vastly. Squirrels are opportunistic feeders that eat just about anything, while guinea pigs have a delicate digestive system that requires a diet high in fiber and vitamin C.
Feeding them the wrong types of food can cause a vitamin C deficiency, which can prevent their digestive system from working correctly.
Make sure to do your research so you can provide your furry friend with the best possible diet!