Like bird-watching, squirrel-watching is much easier to do if you know what foods you can give them to keep them coming into your yard. If you like to do both, feeding the squirrels has the added bonus of keeping them out of your bird feeder.
Peanut butter may seem like a good option for feeding squirrels, as they clearly enjoy feasting on nuts, but can they eat it? Even if they like peanut butter, is it a safe food option?
Can Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter? Yes, it is NOT toxic and they love it. Peanut butter contains heart healthy fats, and is a good source of protein that is beneficial to both humans and animals.
Keep reading to discover why squirrels can eat peanut butter, as well as how it ought to be fed to them.
Why Do Squirrels Love Peanut Butter?
Squirrels are not picky eaters and there isn’t a lot they don’t eat. Many people on forums say that squirrels love eating peanut butter and will go crazy for it.
It’s not hard to believe, after all, these critters love the taste of peanuts! It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. (source)
Not only that, but peanut butter is jam packed with nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial for these rodents.
Peanut Butter Nutritional Information
|Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids||201 mg|
|Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids||36329 mg|
|Vitamin E||23.2 mg|
|Vitamin B6||1.4 mg|
Is Peanut Butter Safe for Squirrels
If fed in moderation, peanut butter can make a great snack for both captive and wild squirrels. Too much can result consuming too much fat, sodium, and calories.
Unlike people, squirrels won’t care about eating too many calories. But, fat squirrels will find it more difficult to get away from predators, or just survive in the wild.
Will Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter?
Yes, they will and once they know where they can get it, they will keep coming back for more. This is why some people use it in their traps, because they know squirrels go crazy for it.
What Is The Best Peanut Butter for Squirrels?
If you’re going to be feeding the squirrels in your backyard, you should consider feeding them the most nutritional brands that are packed with nutrients they need.
Here’s some of the best peanut butters on the market, that are perfect for both you and these critters.
- Crazy Richard’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
- Teddy Natural Peanut Butter: Super Chunky
- 365 Everyday Value Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
- Smart Balance Rich Roast Chunky Peanut Butter
The best peanut butter to feed squirrels are the ones that are low in salt, sugar, and fat. When we feed peanut butter to our squirrels, we stick to the brands that don’t have Xylitol.
I’m sure that Xylitol doesn’t have any effect on squirrels, especially, since they can eat poisonous mushrooms. I couldn’t find anything online that said whether or not Xylitol is safe for squirrels or not.
What About Other Nut Butters?
Today, there are all kinds of variety of nut butters and creamy spreads such as; Cashew butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, sunflower seed butter, coconut butter, and etc.
Squirrels will enjoy eating any type of nut butters. They would prefer to eat peanut butter, because it is made with real peanuts.
How to Feed Squirrels Peanut Butter?
Fortunately, squirrels can eat peanut butter. As a matter of fact, most squirrels seem to love it, and giving a squirrel peanut butter will make them a fast friend.
While raw peanuts can be harmful to squirrels, as these peanuts have a fungal toxin in them that is detrimental to the liver of a squirrel, peanut butter is processed enough that any fungal toxin has been removed.
However, it is important to keep a few factors in mind before you give a squirrel peanut butter, as it is not a particularly nutritious food option for them. Here are the things to remember.
Use Unsalted Peanut Butter
Regular brands of peanut butter tend to have anywhere from fifty to seventy five milligrams of salt in them. Although that is not a lot of salt for a person, even if they constantly consume generous amounts of peanut butter, it is enough salt to overwhelm a squirrel’s kidneys.
The accumulation of salt in a squirrel’s kidneys often leads to kidney failure and death.
Thankfully, natural peanut butter does not contain any salt, and natural forms can generally be purchased for only a dollar extra at local grocery stores. Most natural peanut butters will have “natural” somewhere in the brand name.
Limit How Much You Feed Them
As mentioned previously, while most squirrels love peanut butter, it is not a nutritious food for them. Even natural peanut butter, the only kind they should eat, lacks the nutrients they require, such as calcium.
Peanut butter can be harmful to squirrels if they are given large quantities, as it prevents them from eating other foods like fruits, seeds, or vegetables that contain the nutrients they need to thrive.
As such, you should only give peanut butter to squirrels in moderation. Many squirrel lovers recommend only giving squirrels peanut butter once a week, and they should never be given more than about half a spoonful.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter?
No, if you’ve found a baby squirrel, you should only feed them Esbilac powder, which is a puppy milk replacer. Once the squirrel reaches 8-10 weeks of age, they will be old enough to eat solid foods.
At this point, you can offer them small cubes of bread with some peanut butter spread inside, and soaked in milk. Squirrels can eat bread, as long as it is fed in moderation.
This is similar to a peanut butter sandwich you would eat, but a lot smaller.
All squirrels love eating peanut butter. You should avoid making peanut a part of their daily diet, as they can start relying on you for a food source. A squirrel’s diet consists of a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, plants, vegetables, and etc.