Can Squirrels Eat Kale? Is It A Good Food for Squirrels


Whether you have a squirrel as a pet or feed them in the wild, it’s essential to understand what they can eat.

Can squirrels eat kale? 

Kale is a superfood and is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It has high levels of Vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains other essential vitamins that are beneficial for both humans and squirrels. 

Squirrels’ Dietary Requirements

Any plant vegetation is generally going to be good and healthy for the squirrel. Kale is a part of this.

If a squirrel gets its paws on something it can munch on, chances are, they will! They will eat almost anything. Kale is one of those foods squirrels love to consume in the summer and fall months as a precursor to their hibernation period.

Nutritional Facts On Kale

The vitamins and nutrients found in kale are excellent for squirrels. It’s also high in calcium. But this particular leafy plant contains high amounts of starches, fat, and oxalates, so don’t give them too much too often.

To better understand this vegetable, let’s take a closer look at some nutrients found in it.

One ounce of chopped raw kale contains:

NutrientQuantity
Vitamin A10302 IU
Vitamin K547 mg
Vitamin B60.2 mg
Omega-3 Fatty Acids121 mg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids92.4 mg
Zinc0.3 mg
Iron1.1 mg
Protein2.2 grams
Potassium299 mg
Phosphorous37.5
Sodium28.8 mg
Magnesium22.8 mg

(source)

What Are Oxalates

Oxalates are a natural substance found in plants and humans. Because they aren’t a required nutrient, they can cause a host of health issues like kidney problems. If oxalates can do this to humans, they will very likely wreak havoc on squirrels as well.

Other foods that contain oxalates are beets, rhubarb, okra, raspberries, sweet potatoes, almonds, and cashews

Will Squirrels Eat Kale

No matter what your interaction is with a squirrel, feeding them kale isn’t a bad idea in the slightest. Most squirrels will gobble it up, especially if they’ve eaten it before.

If it’s their first time seeing it at their feeder, they may be hesitant to eat it. However, once they know it’s safe, they will gladly eat it and come looking for more.

Is Kale Safe for Squirrels?

If fed in moderation, kale can be extremely beneficial for squirrels. Not only is kale a nutritious food, but it provides significant bulk, which makes anyone who eats it feel fuller.

Squirrels will gladly eat the entire plant from the stem, leaves, and even bulbs. The dangers come when squirrels eat kale plants from the garden. It exposes them to harmful pesticides, which can be toxic to them. 

Feeding Squirrels Kale

If this nut-lover is your pet, make sure kale is a part of their regular diet and feed it to them every few days or so.

Opt for the fresh organic variety, but it’s essential to wash it thoroughly before feeding it to them.

Types of Kale Squirrels Can Eat

There are many ways to prepare kale. It can be cooked, broiled, grilled, sauteed, and eaten raw. How can squirrels eat it, and is there one option that is better than the other?

Cooked

Cooked kale loses some of its essential nutrients. However, cooked kale doesn’t have some of the bitterness that raw kale has. If you share cooked kale with your furry friend, consider steaming it.

Several studies have shown that steamed kale is more beneficial than the raw variety. (source)

Raw

Raw kale is an excellent choice for these rodents. It has tons of vitamins and minerals, and it still has a slightly crispy texture they will prefer. 

Frozen

While it’s not toxic, squirrels most likely won’t eat frozen kale. 

Regardless of how you’re feeding the squirrels kale, ensure they have plenty of water to drink with it. Fresh water can be hard to find in their environment and providing them with it along with food can be helpful for them.

Giving Them Food in the Great Outdoors

If you’re feeding them out in the wild such as going on a camping trip or day-long excursion, bring a little kale with you. It will help to keep them away from your food supply if you can’t keep it contained.

There are many scenarios you should think about if you know squirrels are going to be around.

As an example, if you have a picnic basket or food exposed, giving squirrels a little kale should get them to leave you and your site alone.

If you do feed them in the wild, chances are, they will have friends and family somewhere nearby. When food is present, they will all show up. Don’t make them spar for food and try to provide enough for everyone.

Even though they may choose to punk each other regardless of the amount given, don’t be the source of tension and let them work it out among themselves.

Final Word

Kale is an excellent addition to any squirrel’s diet and should be part of their regular, healthy eating habits. Ensure you don’t give them too much, so their digestive and kidney systems are at risk.

Please give them a minimal amount. Avoid feeding them kale daily. Instead, opt for other healthy fruits and veggies such as broccoli, apples, etc.

Squirrels are natural scavengers, and like us, they require a well-balanced diet. They don’t necessarily need human foods to survive, but that hasn’t stopped people from being obsessed about feeding them. 

Most squirrels will love kale, so having it around is an excellent idea.

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