Squirrels are known for eating just about anything. They have a large variety in their vegetarian diet, munching on vegetables, tree nuts, berries, fruits and even certain flowers. But can squirrels eat avocados?
Squirrels can eat avocados, but they must only eat the flesh of the fruit itself. The peels and pits are toxic to them, and for that matter, to most animals.
Squirrels Eating Avocados
Squirrels frequently eat avocados. They’ll steal the fruits off of backyard trees and out of grocery bags. In California, ground squirrels have even been known to decimate entire avocado groves!
There is no doubt squirrels love these fruits. However, if you have one in captivity, you should take note of some guidelines before you make avocados a regular part of your furry friend’s diet.
Health Benefits of Avocados
Avocados are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and various micronutrients for squirrels. They also contain omega fatty acids, which are great all-around health boosters for many animals. Omega fatty acids contribute to good fur, skin, eyesight and heart health.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the nutrients you’ll find inside of an avocado.
|Vitamin A||219 IU|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||165 mg|
|Omega-6 Fatty Acids||2534 mg|
|Vitamin C||15.0 mg|
|Vitamin K||31.5 mcg|
|Vitamin B6||0.4 mg|
Should Squirrels Eat Avocados?
Some say squirrels should be fed avocados as an occasional addition to their regular diet, instead of using the fruits as a staple. This is generally a good guideline to follow, because a squirrel will be at its healthiest when it can consume a large variety of foods.
A squirrels diet should consist of nuts, vegetables, fruits, cereals, and other foods they would find in their natural habitat. Here’s some of the best wild squirrel food they enjoy eating.
Are Avocados Safe for Squirrels
People tend to think avocados aren’t a good staple food for squirrels because they are high in saturated fats. It’s worth noting, however, that saturated fats are generally only unhealthy when they’re consumed in unnatural forms. Avocados provide a source of healthy, natural fats that are necessary and beneficial.
Avocados can be a great choice of food for squirrels that are experiencing pain or soreness in their teeth and jaws. They’re soft and easy to eat, making for a delicious, well-balanced meal for squirrels that are recovering from an injury.
Health Dangers of Avocado Skin and Pits
It is very important to never feed a squirrel avocado peels or pits. These parts of the fruit contain a natural toxin known as persin — an oil-soluble compound that contains cardiac glycosides.
Persin is fungicidal and acts similarly to a fatty acid. For the avocado, it’s a great form of protection because the fruit won’t mold as easily.
Because of the cardiac glycosides that are present in this compound, a squirrel’s heart will be forced into working overtime, pumping out more blood faster than the little critter can handle. Persin can therefore cause respiratory distress, digestive problems and even heart failure in animals like squirrels.
Unripe avocados are more toxic than ripe ones. Sometimes, persin will leach into the fruit of the avocado, but those quantities are not enough to harm the animal.
How to Feed Squirrels Avocados?
Whether you’re feeding a captive squirrel or your backyard squirrels avocado, it’s not that hard. These critters are not picky and won’t have a problem eating this fruit.
Here’s how to feed them depending on the type of squirrel you’re wanting to feed.
If your pet squirrel has been weaned, you can start feeding them pieces of the flesh. According to Squirrel Nutrition, they fed their captive squirrel two large chunks on a a daily basis since Ariel was weaned.
If you live in Florida, Texas, Arizona or other tropical area, you might see squirrels sitting in your avocado trees helping themselves. Backyard squirrels are survivors and will eat anything they can get their paws on.
They may be a little intimidated at first, especially, if they’ve never seen one before. Here’s a video of a cute squirrel eating avocado for the first time.
The avocado was cut into small slices and the skin was left on it. The squirrel ate the flesh, without eating the skin. If you have a squirrel feeder, you can remove the skin and seed and place the slices into the feeder.
When Not To Feed Squirrels Avocados?
Rotten or Moldy
Avoid feeding squirrels avocado that are spoiled or deteriorated, as it will be rancid and moldy. A moly avocado will have white or gray fuzz on top, which can be dangerous to both animals and humans.
Avoid feeding squirrels any avocados that have been exposed to harmful pesticides. Instead, purchase organic avocados from your local supermarket and share it with them.
Squirrels have a hard life where they are shot in backyards and poisoned by people. According to Cori Dolan from University of Arizona, pesticides not only kill wild animals, but can also affect the behavior and the ability to reproduce.
If you are a nature lover and enjoy feeding squirrels and birds, it’s your responsibility you only feed them foods that are safe for them.
Squirrels can absolutely eat avocados. Just remember to only give them access to the fruit itself. They can glean all of the fantastic health benefits by just avoiding the fruit’s skin and pits.