Can Squirrels Eat Jelly Beans? Why They Are Harmful?


Squirrels might seem like one of nature’s many scavengers, what with their cheeks of ample storage and skittering nomadic lifestyle, but what squirrels can consume is actually fairly limited. While they aren’t necessarily the pickiest of eaters, squirrels are herbivores and usually feast on a combination of nuts, seeds, and various plants.

Can Squirrels Eat Jelly Beans?

No, squirrels cannot eat jelly beans, as they are high in sugar and contain artificial dyes that can be dangerous. They most likely won’t die, but they aren’t good for them either. Jelly beans have no nutritional value and they should not eat them.

It might seem like a random question, but it actually has a highly relevant context. For example, during the season of Easter egg hunts, many jelly beans and other small candies might get left behind and scattered about on lawns. Squirrels, hunting for their next meal, are fated to happen upon them and will no doubt attempt to eat them.  

It’s not hard to find videos on social media of squirrels eating cookies, chocolate, peanut butter, and etc. But squirrels require a balanced diet to give them the energy they need to forage for food.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why you should never allow squirrels or other animals to eat jelly beans.

Nutritional Information

10 small (11 grams) jelly beans contain:

NutrientsQuantity
Calories41.2 (172 kJ)
Sugars7.7 grams
Total Carbohydrate10.3 grams
Potassium4.1 mg
Calcium0.3 mg
Water0.7 grams

(source)

Jelly beans are an empty calorie food that don’t provide any health benefits for adult or baby squirrels. A squirrel’s diet should never consist of sugary treats like marshmallows, chocolate, cookies and etc.

Why Would Squirrels Eat Jelly Beans?

Because squirrels are so highly domesticated nowadays, they’ve become much more curious about eating human foods. For example, they’ve been known to enjoy various other sugary snacks like children’s cereal. This would explain why jelly beans would seem appealing to them when they are found lying around.

Furthemore, squirrels are not known to turn down many foods, especially if they are particularly hungry. Jelly beans, being colorful and pleasantly scented, would present a fascinating snack to squirrels. However, this does not mean that squirrels can actually safely consume jelly beans.

Why Are Jelly Beans Harmful to Squirrels?

Jelly beans are, of course, not technically healthy for any type of creature. They are high in sugar content, as well as artificial coloring. If a squirrel were to ingest a jelly bean, it could be extremely harmful because the stickiness of the jelly bean might cause it to get stuck in the squirrel’s throat, causing the little critter to choke.

In general, gooey foods like jelly beans cannot be consumed by squirrels because the way they break down when combined with saliva creates a syrupy substance that could even become adhered to the squirrel’s internal organs. This, of course, can be extremely dangerous.

Furthermore, food items with such high levels of sugar are generally detrimental to small animals like squirrels. While a human can stand to eat quite a few jelly beans without risking too much of a sugar high, a squirrel eating one single jelly bean could experience negative (and even deadly) effects of harmfully increased blood sugar levels. 

Will Squirrels Eat Jelly Beans?

These critters forage in garbage cans and are opportunist feeders. They will definitely eat jelly beans. Here’s a video of a fox squirrel eating some black licorice jelly beans.

Final Word

Lastly, squirrels cannot eat jelly beans because it creates a harmful environment of dependence for them. When a squirrel finds something tasty in your yard, such as a jelly bean, they are going to think of your lawn as a fantastic place to continue searching for their next meal. This could lead to them being unwelcome pests as they scavenge seeds from your bird feeders or even various foods from your garbage. 

In conclusion, squirrels cannot eat jelly beans. Therefore, you should be careful what it left on your lawn during candy-themed holidays and always be wary of what the furry critters can get their hands into around your home. 

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