Once in a while, you may see a squirrel stealing an egg from a bird’s nest. It can seem strange since most of us think that it only eats nuts and fruits. It may make you wonder can squirrels eat eggs? If so, should I feed them cooked or boiled eggs?
Can Squirrels Eat Eggs?
Yes. Squirrels are omnivores, which means they can digest food of both plant and animal origin. So, they will eat whatever’s most readily available in their natural habitat—or whatever they can find in and around trees. That includes nuts, fruits, fungi, insects, and eggs. There are even reports of large squirrels capturing baby snakes.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Eggs?
A squirrel needs to have protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals like calcium. Eggs can meet many of those caloric needs and are easy for squirrels to find. Once the mother bird leaves its nest, it can sneak in, grab an egg, and then scurry off before it’s attacked.
Squirrels are also known to steal from chicken coops. They can even chew through the wood to get to the eggs. This is especially true in areas where they can find no other source of food. Many forests have been cut down to make way for buildings or farmland, so there are no nuts or fruits for them to eat.
Squirrels can also have higher food requirements in the Spring, after months of living off stored fat and their rapidly-depleting rations. Eating eggs is one of the fastest ways to regain weight since they are high in protein and fat.
If Squirrels Eat Eggs, Will They Affect The Bird Population?
This is a real concern in areas where bird numbers are dwindling. Some researchers from the British Trust for Ornithology and Natural England studied how gray squirrels affected 38 bird species in the country.
They found that while squirrels will eat eggs and even the occasional bird, they do not eat them in large quantities—and, given a choice, would rather get fruits and nuts. Eggs are simply a part of their diet.
Some squirrels will even eat baby birds, if they are hungry enough.
And if you think about it, even a hungry squirrel only needs about a pound of food a week. That’s not enough to impact a bird’s population.
Can Squirrels Eat Cooked Eggs?
Squirrels who live in parks or near towns have adapted to the human diet and will happily nibble at anything that they can find: leftover sandwiches, pastries, and the leftover scrambled eggs from somebody’s breakfast.
This is part of their scavenging instinct, and since they’re omnivores, they can theoretically digest any food they found.
However, cooked eggs (or any human food) isn’t always healthy for a squirrel because of the high oil and salt content or any spices that may upset its stomach.
If you have a pet squirrel or like feeding the ones you see in the park, it’s best to bring a raw egg or offer fresh fruits and nuts. These are closer to their natural habitat and what they would eat in the wild.
Can Squirrels Eat Raw Eggs?
Squirrels can eat raw eggs and only eat raw eggs if they can’t find other food sources. If you place a raw egg for them at their feeder, they likely won’t eat it. Instead, they’ll be tempted to steal a chicken egg before eating one you’ve placed at the feeder for them.
Do Squirrels Eat Poultry Eggs?
Squirrels are foragers and will eat pretty much anything. Yes, they will eat all types of poultry eggs from quail, birds, chickens, goose, ducks, Emu, turkey, etc.
Do Eggs Provide Any Nutritional Value for Squirrels?
Yes, both bird and chicken eggs are convenient for squirrels and contain more protein than other foods such as cashews, peanuts, pecans, etc.
Like us, protein is essential for a squirrel diet to help build body tissue and cell regeneration, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised for squirrels eating poultry eggs.
Below are the nutritional value of poultry eggs that squirrels may be tempted to steal.
Squirrels will gladly eat poultry eggs. That said, you should avoid feeding them cooked, boiled, poached, scrambled eggs. Human foods are not a natural part of a squirrel’s diet.
While cooked eggs are good for humans, they can be harmful to squirrels, especially if salt and other spices have been added.
If you feed squirrels in your backyard, stick to feeding them foods they can find in the natural habitat. You can, of course, purchase some wild squirrel food to add to their feeders, especially if the food supply is scarce.