Squirrels are omnivores and we all know that they eat anything, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for them. So can squirrels eat corn and should you give it to them? We’ve been feeding our backyard squirrels for years and here’s what we’ve learned throughout the process.
Can Squirrels Eat Corn?
Yes, squirrels can eat corn and they love it! All parts of the corn are safe including the silk, corn, cob, and husk, although you shouldn’t feed them every part. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.
Many people will buy corn squirrel logs that are safe and specifically designed for these critters.
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What Is Corn?
Corn is a vegetable, grain and fruit all in one, and it belongs to the Poaceae family. Botanists actually classify it as a fruit, such as cucumbers, zucchini, green peppers and etc.
It is rich in fiber and plant compounds that has a lot of benefits for humans and squirrels. The downside is that it is high in starch, which may cause a spike in blood sugar levels in humans.
Let’s take a closer look at the vitamins and nutrients found in it.
One cup of yellow corn (166 grams) consists of:
|Dietary Fiber||12.1 grams|
|Vitamin A||355 IU (International Unit)|
|Vitamin K||0.8 milligrams|
|Vitamin E||0.8 mg|
|Vitamin B6||1.0 mg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.7 mg|
The Digestive System of A Squirrel
Before we discuss whether or not corn can be fed to squirrels, we must first understand how their digestive system works.
Like the flying squirrel, gray squirrels their digestive system converts the food they eat into nutrients. The process is somewhat similar to that of a human’s digestive system, in that it starts at the mouth and travels through the esophagus, stomach, and other parts of the body.
The biggest difference is that rodents can’t vomit if they eat something they don’t like. So it’s extremely important to know what you’re feeding them and whether or not it is safe for them.
Is Corn Safe for Squirrels
Yes, all parts of the corn are completely safe for squirrels. That being said, you wouldn’t eat the corn husk or the cob, so you shouldn’t feed it to a squirrel.
Corn should only be considered a treat for squirrels and should not consist of more than 20% of their diet. These small critters require a variety of foods to ensure they get the required nutrients their bodies need.
Is Corn a Healthy Treat for Squirrels?
If it is fed as a part of their regular diet, it can be a healthy meal for them. Some people prefer to feed them corn during the winter, when it becomes harder for them to forage for food.
Health Benefits of Corn For Squirrels
Corn is an extremely healthy addition for a squirrels diet. It is loaded with vitamins and nutrients that they need to live a healthy and happy life.
Many wildlife lovers will buy corn logs for their furry friends. Squirrels go crazy for this particular corn log because it contains sweet corn and roasted peanuts.
The best part is that the C&S Nut’n Sweet Corn Squirrel Log fits on most squirrel hangers and corn on the cob feeders.
What Parts of The Corn Can Squirrels Eat?
Even though all parts of the corn are edible, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be added to their diet.
Let’s take a closer look at all the different parts.
These are the plant’s seed and the yummy part that both squirrels and humans love! Squirrels love them raw, but I know some people who have given them cooked corn on the cobs.
If you share your cooked corn on the cob with your squirrel, make sure you don’t add any seasonings like butter, salt, or any other spices. Unlike us, a squirrels digestive system does better with bland foods.
This is the tightly-wrapped leaves that cover the kernels. Most people peel it off and discard it, while others use it to grill and steam other foods. While they are not toxic, they are safe to eat.
Generally, squirrels won’t be tempted to eat the husks. They may not eat the corn if you put it out with the husk as it will be difficult to get to the kernels.
These are the long soft threads that surround the kernels inside the corn husk. Believe it or not, some people use it as medicine, to treat kidney stones, prostate issues, fatigue, obesity and etc.
Corn silk contains many essential vitamins and minerals that make it healthy to eat. The downside is that it is not easy to eat and squirrels won’t likely enjoy eating it as much as the kernels.
The corncob is the central part of the corn that holds the kernels. It is edible and some squirrels may eat it, however, you shouldn’t just throw out the corncob.
Corn cobs can cause intestinal obstruction which can become fatal. The cobs are hard and can have sharp edges that can cut through the intestines causing internal bleeding and even ultimately death.
Can Squirrels Eat The Leaves and Stalk?
Yes, squirrels will eat the leaves and stalks on corn plants. They are attracted to many vegetable crops, trees, and plants such as hibiscus, rhododendrons and etc.
While the stalks and leaves are not toxic to them, many crop owners use harmful pesticides that can kill a squirrel.
Even “organic” farmers use pesticides that can be harmful to the environment, human health, and animal health.
Will Squirrels Eat Corn?
Yes, and if you start feeding them corn, they will be extremely happy and will visit your yard on a daily basis. The downside is once you start feeding them, they will expect it.
If you stop feeding them, they will dig up your gardens, yard, or even gnaw on wires looking for food.
Keep in mind squirrels can eat up to a pound of food in one day, so keep this in mind when you start buying food for squirrels.
It’s not hard to find YouTube videos of a squirrel eating corn on the cob, here’s one with a squirrel eating on the front porch.
How to Feed Squirrels Corn
One of the easiest ways to feed them is to invest in a squirrel corn feeder. They have a platform that holds the corn, so the critters can just sit and eat it without any issues.
Make sure you have your camera ready to grab some videos. You’ll be amazed at how long they sit there and eat the corn, until they sense some danger and then run away.
Don’t worry, they’ll be back to finish the corn or take it with them to their nest to feed the rest of their family.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Corn?
As long as the squirrel is at least 10 weeks old, it should be ready to start nibbling on solid foods. Squirrels that visit the feeder will be old enough to eat solid foods, so you shouldn’t have to worry about this.
If a mother squirrel has babies, she’ll likely take some of the corn back to the nest to feed her babies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Squirrels Eat Rotten Corn?
No, if the corn has worms, fungi, or mold, you should NOT give it to any animal. Mold is dangerous for mammals and can cause serious issues such as lung damage and hemorrhage. Black mold can ruin capillaries in the lungs and may lead to death.
Basically, if you won’t eat the corn, don’t give it to your backyard critters.
To wrap it up, yes corn is safe for your backyard critters. It’s safer if you remove the silk and the husk as those parts do not contain any nutritional value for them.
To make it easy for them to eat, consider putting it on a cob squirrel feeder. Your backyard squirrels will love it and you’ll have fun watching them eat it!
Other foods that squirrels love to eat are apples, watermelon, cabbage and etc.