You wake up one morning and you see your captive squirrel eating your ferret’s food. The first thought that runs through your mind is can squirrels eat ferret food? If you’re raising a pet squirrel, you should know which foods are safe for these rodents and which types they should avoid.
Can Squirrels Eat Ferret Food?
No, squirrels should not eat ferret food. Although it is commonly mistaken that ferrets fall under the rodent family just as squirrels do, they are actually part of the weasel family. As such, squirrels and ferrets have a vastly different diet, with one falling prey to the other, that would make it ill-advised for any squirrel owner or avid park-goer to offer ferret food to a squirrel.
Differences in Diet
The key reason why ferret food should not be fed to a squirrel lies in the difference of what consists of a healthy diet for each species. By taking a closer look you will be able to see why.
When most people think of squirrel diets, they think of them eating nuts and seeds, but they are actually omnivores in nature. In the wild, their diet can range from eating an array of seeds, fungi, and flowers to smaller prey such as insects, frogs, and even small snakes.
Squirrels will eat up to a pound of food a week with a rounded diet of wild foods such as wild plants, vegetables, nuts, eggs, and much more.
Due to their vast sources of nutrition, home-owned squirrels should be given squirrel or rodent blocks rather than ferret food to supply them with a balanced, healthy diet.
Ferrets, on the other hand, are carnivores and will actually prey on squirrels and other rodents in the wild. Because of this, their diet is rich in protein (ranging anywhere from 32-38%) and fat (15-20%).
Where a squirrel would have no issues digesting wild plants or vegetables, ferrets have a digestive tract that will actually prevent them from being able to digest plant matter.
Ferrets will eat not only the meat of their prey but the bones as well and need a constant supply of food due to a high metabolism. As such any store-bought ferret food would unmistakably be designed to meet these needs. Many ferret owners may even decide to offer raw meat to their pets as a result.
Excessive Protein and Fats for Squirrels
Keep in mind that giving a squirrel too much protein and fats can cause them to overeat and gain an unhealthy amount of weight, especially with captive squirrels. Squirrels do need a daily source of protein, their diet should consist of no more than 14%.
Never give your baby squirrel ferret food. Opt for healthy veggies, monkey biscuits or a rodent block instead.
Expectantly, captive squirrels are less active than wild ones, and thus more susceptible to excessive weight gain. With ferret foods higher protein and fat makeup, it does not make for a healthy or advisable treat.
As with any species, obesity can lead to other health risks and should be avoided.
If your pet squirrel sneaks some ferret food without your knowing it, they will be fine. But, don’t make it a point to feed it to them on a regular basis.
Stick Close to a Wild Diet
After seeing the differences in what constitutes a balanced diet for each species, one does not need to look any further for an answer. Whatever the reason, if you are looking to offer a squirrel something to eat whether it is at home or in the wild, ferret food is a poor choice.
Your best bet will be to stick as close to their natural, wild diet as possible. If you like giving your squirrels healthy snacks, consider giving them some fruits, veggies or nuts.
Some of the fruits and vegetables you can share with them are:
- Green beans
- Bell Peppers
You can also buy them some nuts they will go crazy for. If your squirrel loves eating ferret food, consider giving them a rodent block.
Will Squirrels Eat Ferret Food?
Yes, these critters are scavengers that will eat anything they can get their paws on. It’s not hard to find forum posts, or videos of squirrels eating cat food, dog food, and even ferret food.
This is why so many homeowners will find ways to repel them from their homes. They don’t want them around their domesticated pets or eating their food.
Squirrels will eat anything they can find, even captive ones. Like us, squirrels require a well-balanced diet that provides them with the nutrients they need.
You should never purposely give them foods you know can harm them. If you do feed them, make sure you’re feeding them foods that will help them survive and thrive in the wild.
For those of you have a pet squirrel, talk to an avian veterinarian to help you find the right food for your pet.