Can Squirrels Eat Salted Peanuts? [Are They Bad For Them?]

can squirrels eat salted peanuts

Squirrels are opportunistic feeders with a big appetite. Their opportunistic behavior leads to eating human foods, and junk people feed them. Many people feed them all kinds of food, from pizza, fries, peanuts, and salted nuts. Most people don’t think twice about whether squirrels can eat salted peanuts and if they are good for them.

While not toxic in small amounts, however, their small kidneys can’t filter out the excessive salt very well, so too much can lead to dehydration and other health issues. In addition, salted nuts contain a lot of sodium and fat, making them unhealthy for squirrels.

One common question people often wonder about is whether squirrels can have salted peanuts. Can you feed them salted nuts without harming them? Is it safe to give squirrels salted nuts or should you avoid feeding them such treats?

If you feed squirrels, birds, and other wildlife, knowing what foods are safe and beneficial is essential. So let’s look at which peanuts to feed and why the salted variety is not good for them. 

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Will Squirrels Eat Salted Peanuts?

Most squirrels will eat any peanut, including salted peanuts. Although unfortunately, these animals eat anything, this is how they’ve learned how to adapt to their ever-changing environment.

However, depending on where the squirrel lives depend on whether or not they will eat salted peanuts.

In The Wild

Wild squirrels and other animals consume a variety of nuts in the wild. These nuts include; hickory nuts, acorns, etc. However, you won’t find salted Planters or other human foods in their natural diet. 

Therefore, wild squirrels will not eat salted peanuts unless a human gives them some.

In Urban Areas

Squirrels in urban areas have adapted to urban living and rely on people for food. As a result, these animals often learn to take advantage of the abundance of human foods available to them. They have learned to eat sugary cereals, chips, pizza, salted nuts, and other human foods.

Like us, they have tastebuds and have learned to love foods that are not good for them, including salted peanuts.

In Captivity

Many people with pet squirrels feed them various human foods, including salted peanuts. A pet squirrel’s diet differs from those in the wild, and they may become accustomed to eating foods that are not beneficial for them.

Therefore, a balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, is essential. Limiting their exposure to salted peanuts as much as possible is also important.

Are Salted Peanuts Bad For Squirrels?

As mentioned above, salted peanuts in small amounts are not toxic. However, salted peanuts in large amounts are dangerous for most wildlife.

While squirrels can tolerate a little salt, their tiny kidneys cannot filter out the proportional amount of salt contained in salted nuts.

The kidneys’ job is to remove excess water from the body. It does this by filtering blood through the kidney. 

Consuming too much salt triggers an imbalance of sodium and potassium, which prevents the kidney from functioning correctly.

A high salt intake can cause dehydration and other health issues such as kidney damage, urinary infections, electrolyte imbalances, and even death.

That’s why avoiding feeding squirrels or wild animals salted foods is important. Too much salt can seriously harm their health. Instead, it is best to stick with fresh fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts, and seeds when feeding wildlife.

Are There Any Benefits To Feeding Squirrels Salted Peanuts?

There are no benefits to feeding squirrels any type of human food, including salted peanuts. These small rodents require a well-balanced diet to stay healthy and strong and survive in the wild.

While salted peanuts have several benefits for humans, they don’t have any benefits for squirrels.

If you enjoy feeding squirrels, birds, and other wildlife, consider buying peanuts for wild animals. These peanuts contain the necessary nutrients and minerals without the harmful salt content.

Squirrels require different nutrients and vitamins that differ from a human. So just because a specific brand of nuts or food is good for us doesn’t mean they benefit a squirrel. 

For example, the Volkman Squirrel Nut Delight Mix consists of pistachios almonds, almonds, peanuts, brazil nuts, cashews, and other nuts and seeds they love. It is made with high-quality ingredients that are safe and consist of the following:

  • Crude Fiber: 8%
  • Crude Protein: 21%
  • Crude Fat: 50%

That said, when feeding squirrels, the Volkman Squirrel Nut Delight Mix, or any other nuts for wild animals, requires moderation. Overfeeding them can lead to obesity and other issues.

Are All Salted Peanuts Bad for Squirrels?

We realize that not everyone will run out and buy peanuts made specifically for squirrels and birds. So, if you have salted peanuts in your pantry, it’s important to make sure they are lower in sodium.

Below are some of the peanut brands with lower amounts of sodium.

  • Planters Salted Peanuts
  • Fisher Chef’s Naturals Dry Roasted Unsalted Peanuts
  • Sahale Snacks Natural Glazed Nut Mix (no peanuts)
  • Blue Diamond Low Sodium Sea Salt Oven Roasted Almonds

Before feeding squirrels or other animals, it’s essential to read labels. Avoid those with an excessive amount of salt and sugar.

Will Salted Peanuts Hurt Squirrels?

If a squirrel eats one or two shelled or unshelled salted peanuts, it likely won’t cause any harm. However, constantly feeding them shelled peanuts will do more harm than letting them forage for their own food. As mentioned above, too much salt can cause havoc for their small kidneys.

When the kidneys lose their ability to function normally, it can lead to severe health issues and even death.

Do All Peanuts Have Sodium?

Unless the peanuts come from nature, they likely have salt added to them. The sodium content might be higher or lower depending on the brand and type of peanuts. 

Below are some of the nuts and seeds lowest in sodium that you may want to consider feeding your squirrel and the amounts of salt. 

Nuts & SeedsSodium Content
Acorns (Dried)0 mg
Pecans0 mg
Lotus Seeds0.3 mg
Pistachio Nuts0.3 mg
Walnuts 0.6 mg
Dry Roasted Sunflower Seeds0.9 mg
Hemp Seeds1.4 mg
Roasted Chestnuts1.7 mg
Dried Pumpkin Seeds and Squash Seeds2 mg

Can Squirrels Eat Salted Peanuts In The Shell?

Salted peanuts in a shell are not toxic to squirrels. In addition, squirrels have sharp teeth that will easily break the shell. Finally, the peanut shells have high amounts of salt because they are prepared in a brine solution.

So avoid feeding squirrels salted shelled peanuts regularly. However, feeding them one or two peanuts per week won’t hurt. These rodents love chewing on things to help maintain their teeth and will love gnawing on the shell.

Can You Wash The Salt Off Peanuts?

You can wash some of the salt off salted peantus, but you won’t be able to remove it completely. Salted peanuts have excess salt that has been absorbed into the peanuts and you won’t be able to get rid of it by simply rinsing the peanuts.

So they will still have more salt than unsalted peanuts. If you want to feed the squirrels, it’s best to purchase Volkman Squirrel Nut Delight Mix. It’s a tasty mix of unsalted shelled nuts that contains essential nutrients and won’t harm the furry rodents.

Squirrels Eat Salted Peanuts

These rodents are funny creatures that will eat almost anything. Check out this video of squirrels going crazy over peanuts on the ground.

What To Do If Your Pet Squirrel Eats Salted Peanuts?

If you have a pet squirrel that raided your pantry and ate your favorite salted peanuts, don’t ignore it. Chances are it will be fine, depending on how much it consumed. 

If they only ate a few, monitor their behavior and look for any signs of distress or illness, such as lethargy, vomiting, bloating, or diarrhea.

If you notice any unusual symptoms, contact your veterinarian. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

According to Merck Vet Manual, most animals can handle high concentrations of sodium as long as they have access to fresh water. But, of course, this only relates to chickens, sheep, and other companion animals. So it may not relate to squirrels.

So if you have a pet squirrel, it’s critical to lock your pantry and keep salted and sugary foods away from your pets.

Can I Feed My Squirrels Unsalted or Salted Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are not toxic to squirrels or any other animal. That said, it’s best to feed squirrels the unsalted variety, which is the same type you find in bird seed. Sunflower and other seeds contain high amounts of phosphorus.

Phosphorus is a vital mineral that aids in the repair of tissues and cells as well as in the production of genetic building blocks. That said, sunflower seeds are low in calcium and other essential nutrients that are vital to a squirrels diet.

Final Word

While not toxic in moderation, salted peanuts are not good for squirrels or other wild animals.

They may enjoy the taste, but too much salt can be dangerous and cause dehydration, kidney damage, urinary infections, electrolyte imbalances, and even death.

It is best to feed them fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts made explicitly for wildlife. If you have salted peanuts in your pantry, avoid feeding them the ones with excessive sugar and salt.

Moderation is the key when feeding squirrels human foods. Foods that can’t be found in the wild aren’t a natural part of a squirrel’s diet. 

Therefore, it is best to limit the amount of these foods.

Also, ensure that the food you feed is not contaminated with toxic substances like rodenticides or pesticides.

And remember always to provide them with clean, fresh water!

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