Do you have a pet squirrel or enjoy feeding them in your backyard? If so, then you may be wondering what can I feed them besides nuts? Can squirrels eat carrots and other vegetables?
Can Squirrels Eat Carrots?
The answer is yes! Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, potassium, fiber, vitamin K1, and antioxidants that can be very beneficial to them. They also offer a crunchy treat that will help give them something to gnaw on and exercise their front incisors.
Squirrels love to eat anything tasty and they’re not as picky as you might think. In fact, they’re often the bane of a gardener’s life, as they’ll happily munch their way through all kinds of delicious vegetables, including not just carrots but okra, kale, bell peppers, leeks and broccoli.
Let’s take a closer look at why carrots are a good snack for your outdoor or captive pet.
Why Are Carrots a Good Choice for Squirrels?
Carrots are a firm favorite because they’re crunchy, juicy and sweet. They’re also full of vitamins and minerals that are good for a squirrel’s diet. They contain soluble fibers, and they can help lower cholesterol.
It’s not just a cliché that squirrels love to eat nuts. They go crazy for them. You’ve probably seen in your own gardens that when you put nuts out for the birds, a rogue squirrel stakes his claim on them first.
But you might be surprised to know that peanuts aren’t the best treats for squirrels. They’re a legume, rather than a nut. They contain very little of nutritional value and are considered junk food to squirrels. So, if you have to choose, always select carrots over peanuts when feeding squirrels!
Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value of carrots.
One cup of raw chopped carrots contains:
|Vitamin A||21383 IU|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||2.6 mg|
|Vitamin K||16.9 mcg|
|Vitamin E||0.8 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.2 mg|
Do Squirrels Eat Carrots
Yes, carrots are completely safe for squirrels, but some squirrels may not like eating them as they may prefer eating nuts that are more filling.
If you plan on feeding them some to see if they like it, I’d recommend putting small baby organic carrots in the same feeder where with their wild squirrel food, nuts, or other vegetables.
It may take them a while to eat the carrots, especially, if there’s better options for them. However, they will eventually eat the carrots and keep coming back for more.
How to Feed Squirrels Carrots
A squirrel is practically omnivorous and will eat almost anything it can get its little paws on. This isn’t always a good thing, as they will scavenge food from trash cans if they’re very hungry.
It means that if you put out cooked carrots for your friendly visitors, the chances are they’ll eat them if they’re desperate, but they’re not really appetising. The best thing to do is chop up some nice fresh chunks of raw carrot and leave them outside.
Raw carrot is easy for them to hold and munch on. It’s also good for their teeth, as gnawing on crunchy foods can help stop their teeth from growing too long.
If you’re going to feed squirrels, place their food away from the seed you might place on a bird table. Birds are likely to be frightened of squirrels who can quickly dominate a communal feeding area.
What Types of Carrots Squirrels Can Eat?
Carrots can be cooked, juiced, grilled and eaten raw. While it’s possible to feed a squirrel cooked, boiled, and grilled carrots. It’s best to feed them the raw variety, as cooking them makes them softer and mushier.
Can Squirrels Drink Carrot Juice?
No, squirrels should not be given any types of juices. These critters should only be given water to stay hydrated. I’d recommend putting a fresh source of water by their feeder.
This will help them stay hydrated, especially, during the summer months when it is harder to find natural water sources due a lack of rain.
When Not To Feed Squirrels Carrots?
Even though carrots are considered a superfood, for both humans and squirrels. There are certain instances you would never want to feed it to squirrels.
When You Have A Baby Squirrel
Baby squirrels less than 10 weeks old should not be fed solid foods of any kinds.
Carrots Directly From The Garden
It’s no secret that squirrels love eating vegetable gardens, which is why so many gardeners despise them. While you can’t control what squirrels eat in the wild, you should never knowingly feed a squirrel or any other wildlife fruits or vegetables that are tainted with pesticides.
What Other Vegetables Can I Feed a Squirrel?
Fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables are a great way to keep a squirrel not only fed, but healthy, over the winter time.
Nut balls, made from a variety of nuts such as walnuts, hickory nuts and pecans, bound together with melted coconut oil and then left to harden in the refrigerator are another great treat, because they contain healthy fats that will build up the squirrel’s fat supply and keep him warm over the cold weather.
This could work out pretty expensive, though, so fresh vegetables like carrots are an excellent food source for them.
Remember not to overfeed squirrels, because they can gorge on too much and make themselves sick. You must also remember to clear away any uneaten food after a day or two and replace with fresh, otherwise it can grow mold, which is poisonous to squirrels and birds.
In summary, squirrels will eat pretty much anything, and carrots are no exception. They are cautious critters, so you may see the uneaten carrots in the feeder a coupld of days.
Once they know they are safe, they will eat them up quickly or carry them back to their nest. I’d recommend feeding your backyard squirrels a variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts to help maintain a good diet.
Avoid overfeeding them, otherwise, they will get fat and won’t do well in the wild.