Can Squirrels Eat Oatmeal? (Are Quaker Oats Toxic?)


Do you have a pet squirrel at home that you rescued? Or do you just have one that visits you every other day, and you’ve decided to keep a small feeder on your porch? 

Either way, if you’ve got a squirrel you’re looking to feed, you’re probably wondering what it can eat. Nuts and berries are great choices, but, what about oats? 

Can squirrels eat oatmeal?

The quick answer to that is yes, you can feed your squirrel your squirrel oatmeal. They love to eat oats, and they contain a significant source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibers beneficial for both humans and squirrels.

But how do you feed it to them? We’ll take a closer look at feeding squirrels oatmeal, but first let’s look at the nutrients.

Cooked vs uncooked oats or oatmeal 

This might sound strange but a lot of squirrel owners recommend feeding pet squirrels cooked oatmeal as opposed to uncooked oats. 

When your squirrel eats the uncooked grain, it will expand when it enters their system. So if you feed them oats uncooked, the quantity they eat will need to be carefully monitored because it can and will expand inside their stomach and cause digestive problems. 

So, technically, while it is perfectly okay to feed squirrels raw oatmeal, you can alternatively apply a small amount of moisture to soften the grains first. This would apply to any grain you feed them. 

Best Oats for Feeding Squirrels

There are literally tons of different brands of oats on the market. Like you, when feeding your pet squirrel or wild squirrels, we should give them the healthiest ones possible.

To help you decipher the healthy and unhealthy types, we’re breaking it down to the four most common types of oatmeal, which include instant oats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and whole oat groats.

BrandOat Type
Organic Bob’s Red MillWhole grain oat groats
Shiloh FarmsNon-GMO oat groats
Flahavan’s Irish Steel-cut oats
Nature’s PathWhole grain oats
Quaker Instant OatsWhole grain oats
Now Real FoodOrganic rolled oats

Instant oats are the most processed type of oatmeal. Opt for the brands that have scant amounts of sodium, and sugar.

Are Quaker Oats Safe for Squirrels?

Quaker oats is one of the most popular oatmeal brands on the market. There’s a good chance that’s what you have in your pantry. This brand is not toxic for squirrels, and can contain many vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for them.

If sharing this brand with your squirrels, avoid feeding them the flavored variety type. Here are some nutrients found in Quaker Oats.

Quaker Oats Nutritional Information

One cup of cooked (in water):

NutrientsQuantity
Sodium6 mg
Sugar0 grams
Protein5 grams
Dietary Fiber4 grams
Calcium2% of RDA
Iron10%

(source)

Will Squirrels Eat Oatmeal?

Squirrels are scavengers that will eat anything they find. Both captive and wild squirrels will gladly eat cooked oatmeal.

That being said, it will be much easier to feed a captive squirrel oatmeal. Wild squirrels are more skittish and prefer to eat foods they can find in the wild.

If you want to share some oatmeal with wild squirrels, put a small amount in a bowl outside in their feeder. First, they’ll eat their regular food, but they may eventually eat the oatmeal.

Nutritional value and vitamins

It is important to make sure your pet squirrel is getting the right balance of nutrients that his body needs. While he can exist on food designed for rodents like rodent blocks, it is vital that he also get fresh food to balance and round out his diet, and give him, the right balance of protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals and plenty of calcium.

So, if you are feeding him oatmeal, you might consider making small oatcakes or soft biscuit-like squares of oatmeal, mixed with some nuts, berries and grain.

Around 25 percent of your pet squirrel’s meal should be fresh berries or fruit, so keep that in mind while preparing the oatmeal squares.

Keep in mind that calcium is super important for your pet squirrel. There is roughly 0.08 mg of calcium in 1 gram of oats. Alternatively, you can visit your nearest pet store and buy chew bones or powdered calcium supplements. Then you can mix it into the oatmeal squares or whatever you want to feed your squirrel.

Speaking of whatever you want to feed your squirrel, now that we’ve cleared oatmeal as a part of their diet, here’s a list of foods you can and cannot feed him:

Foods to avoid 

  • Any kind of beans and lentils, but green beans and sugar snaps are perfectly fine.
  • Corn
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Dried fruit (Note: pits and seeds, expect the ones in berries might be toxic and hard to ingest and digest for your pet squirrel.)

Foods to include

  • High in calcium veggies like beets, cabbage, radishes, lettuce and zucchini.
  • 2 slices of fruit a day including apples, berries, kiwi, kumquat, pears.
  • Animal protein like mealworm and crickets.
  • Hard-Boiled or scrambled eggs.
  • Two to 4 nuts a day, preferably in their shell : acorns, roasted pumpkin seeds, almonds and pecans.

Conclusion

Squirrels can and will eat oatmeal. Always feed them the cooked variety to ensure it is completely safe.

Like us they thrive on a well-balanced diet. Oatmeal or other snacks should never consume more than 5% of their regular diet.

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