Can Squirrels Eat Pistachios? Are They Toxic or Safe?


Squirrels love eating nuts of different varieties. But can squirrels eat pistachios?

Can Squirrels Eat Pistachios?

Yes, pistachios are safe for squirrels, if fed in moderation. One cup of dry roasted pistachios contains about 526 milligrams of sodium, which can be toxic to small animals. When feeding squirrels, opt for the unsalted, raw, human grade pistachios, with the shells. A maximum of two per day should be harmless for these small critters.

Squirrels are not among the most popular pets, but there are people who love feeding them in their backyard or raising them as pets in their home or garden.

As with all living mammals, diet plays a huge role on overall health and well-being. We all know squirrels love eating peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, zucchini, corn, grapes, Oreo® cookies, chocolate, and etc.

Pistachios are a great snack for humans, but are they good for squirrels?

To better understand this, you need to know about the different vitamins and nutrients found in this nut.

Nutritional Information

One cup of raw pistachios (123 grams) contains:

NutrientsQuantity
Calories685
Vitamin A680 IU
Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids312 mg
Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids16237 mg
Iron 5.1 mg
Water 4.9 grams
Vitamin C6.2 mg
Phosphorous603 mg
Sodium1.2 mg
Vitamin E2.8 mg
Vitamin B62.1 mg
Folate62.7 mcg
Protein25.3 grams

(source)

Are Pistachios Safe for Squirrels

Yes, pistachios are one of those nuts that are safe for squirrels. They contain both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory traits that are beneficial for both humans and animals.

They are bursting with fiber, protein, vitamins, and nutrients that can benefit these small mammals.

Will Squirrels Eat Pistachios?

Yes, both wild and pet squirrels will go crazy over pistachios. There isn’t much that a squirrel won’t eat, but they go crazy whenever they see nuts.

Here’s a video of a squirrel that loves eating pistachios and can’t seem to get enough of them.

What Types of Pistachios Can Squirrels Eat?

Many people don’t realize that there are several types of pistachios. Not all pistachios are the same and not all of them are safe for squirrels or other animals.

This table will list the different varieties and the sodium amounts found.

TypeSodium
Iranian Round Pistachio (fandoghi)0.3 mg (per serving)
Iranian Jumbo Pistachio (Kalleqouchi)0.3 mg (per serving)
Iranian Long Pistachio (Arbari, Badami)3 mg (per serving)
Kernel Pistachio160 mg (.25 cups)
Green Skinned Pistachio0.3 mg (per serving)
Roasted Pistachios526 milligrams (one cup)
Salted Pistachios526 milligrams (one cup)
Turkish Antep Pistachios0 mg
Red Pistachios120 mg (per serving)
Persian Elongated Pistachios (Akbari)0.3 mg (per serving)

Like humans, squirrel’s diet should not include foods that are high in sodium. This is one of the main reasons Wildlife centers say NOT to feed squirrels.

Another is that squirrels can become dependent on humans for food, which can lead to squirrels getting into your home, attic, and etc and causing damage.

Can Squirrels Eat Pistachios in the Shell?

Yes, and you should always feed squirrels nuts that are in a shell. Squirrels chew on hard surfaces (bark, pipe, pine cones) to help them keep their teeth from growing too long.

Their front four teeth never stop growing and the constant gnawing on hard objects helps them keep them in check.

When Not To Feed Squirrels Pistachios?

It seems like squirrels are always eating and they won’t stop with just one pistachio. If you keep feeding them, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Once they’ve discovered a food source, they’ll keep coming back for more.

But when is enough actually enough?

When They Have Had too Many

Yes, nuts are good for squirrels, but like anything, too much can be dangerous to their health. According to Avian & Animal Hospital, both captive and wild squirrels should be fed a maximum of two nuts or seeds per day.

This includes almonds, acorns, pumpkin seeds, English walnuts, pecans, peanuts, and pistachios.

The Red Variety

While you won’t find the red pistachios as much anymore, except around Christmas time. These pistachios should not be fed to squirrels or other animals.

The red pistachios have a dye that comes off on your fingers and makes your tongue red when eating them. While it’s unsure what that dye is, it is best if you don’t feed them to squirrels and other animals.

How to Feed Squirrels Pistachios?

If you have a pet squirrel, you can just put them in your hand and hand feed your pet. For those of you with skittish squirrels, you can put some shelled pistachios in your backyard feeder.

I’ve even thrown a few on the ground where the squirrels come foraging for food. Once they find the food, they will pick them up and eat them, some will even put them inside their cheek and take them back to their nest.

It’s best to feed squirrels pistachios, nuts, and wild squirrel food during the winter or when it’s harder for them to forage for their own food.

Can Baby Squirrels Pistachios?

If you’ve found a baby squirrel and it is less than 8 weeks of age, you should avoid feeding it pistachios, nuts, or any type of human food.

Other Nuts Squirrels Love Eating

The diet of a squirrel will vary and most will survive without any interaction from humans. But many people enjoy feeding birds and squirrels in their backyard.

So what other nuts and foods should be on their menu? Regardless of whether you’re raising a domesticated squirrel or just want to feed the wild ones, they will definitely love these nuts.

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Hazelnuts

Conclusion

Pistachios contain both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory traits that make them a great snack for both humans and squirrels.

That being said, pistachios should not be a daily part of their regular diet.

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