Squirrels will eat anything you give them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for their diet. Squirrels are omnivorous critters by nature, so “can squirrels eat watermelon?” Whether you have a pet squirrel or just enjoy feeding your backyard squirrels, you need to take precautionary measures so you don’t feed them something toxic.
Can Squirrels Eat Watermelon?
Yes, squirrels can eat watermelon. All parts of the watermelon is safe for squirrels, including the seeds, rinds, flesh, and even the leaves and vines. (as long as they don’t have pesticides)
Watermelon is a very healthy fruit for humans as it is loaded with vitamins and other nutrients. It is mostly consumed in the summer, but it can be eaten throughout the year.
Luckily, you can safely share this tasty snack with your backyard critters, as long as it is done in moderation.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about feeding watermelon to squirrels.
What Is Watermelon?
Watermelon is a low-calorie fruit that is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. There are five types of watermelon and they consist of the following:
Any of the following will make a great treat for both you and a squirrel.
One cup raw watermelon balls (154g) consist of:
|Dietary Fiber||0.6 grams|
|Omega-6 Fatty Acids||77 grams|
|Vitamin A||876 IU (International Unit)|
|Vitamin C||12.5 milligrams|
|Vitamin K||0.2 mcg|
|Panthothenic Acid||0.3 mg|
Health Benefits of Watermelon For Squirrels
About 92% of a watermelon is made up of water, which helps keeps the squirrels hydrated throughout the day. That being said, if you’re feeding critters, make sure they have access to fresh water.
A squirrel isn’t going to count their calories like you and I, it’s nice knowing that a watermelon is low in calories.
Watermelons are loaded with Vitamins A, B, C, D, E B6, and B12. All these will benefit both you and a squirrel. For instance, Vitamin D is essential in the growth of bones, teeth, and muscles.
Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, and bone metabolism. Vitamin C aids in the proper formation of bones, blood vessels tissues, and improves their immunity.
Minerals such as copper, zinc, phosphorus, potassium play a vital role in a squirrels health. Phosphorous is an essential nutrient for all animals as it plays a vital role in how the body uses fats and carbohydrates.
It is also vital in the growth, maintenance, and repairing of cells and tissues.
Is Watermelon Safe for Squirrels
As long as it is fed in moderation, watermelon is safe for squirrels. This doesn’t mean that you should give your squirrels watermelon on a daily basis.
Squirrels are scavengers and won’t have a problem getting the foods they need to stay healthy, without having to eat watermelon.
Is Watermelon a Healthy Treat for Squirrels?
Based on the vitamins and nutrients found in watermelon, it is indeed considered a healthy snack for both humans and squirrels.
Another reason it is considered a healthy snack is it doesn’t have a high concentration of salt. In fact, it’s low in salt and high water which gives a great taste and flavor!
What Parts of The Watermelon Can Squirrels Eat?
The great thing about watermelon is that all of it is completely safe for squirrels. Even though they can eat all of it, some parts will be yummier and better for them.
Let’s look at each part more closely.
The rind has an amazing amount of health benefits, for both people and animals. It is completely edible, but most people end up throwing the greek skin or rind into the compost.
The rinds aren’t as tasty for squirrels to eat. This is where you’ll find high amounts of fiber as well as potassium.
If you find your backyard critters attracted to the rind, you should know that it is not toxic to them.
The flesh is what is going to attract the squirrels. It is extremely flavorful and completely safe for squirrels.
A squirrels diet consists of seeds, nuts, peanuts, and etc, so I have no doubt that they’ll be able to eat the sunflower seeds.
The watermelon seeds are a rich source of proteins, omega 4, omega 6 fatty acids, copper and more. Watermelon seeds do not contain cyanide, like other fruits such as peaches, apples, and cherries.
Your backyard squirrels will most likely be attracted to the flesh more than the rind and the seeds. But it’s nice to know that no part of the watermelon is toxic for them!
Can Squirrels Eat The Leaves of a Watermelon Plant?
Many people grow their own watermelons in their garden. The leaves and vines are completely safe for squirrels to eat.
The biggest concern is that many people use pesticides, which can be toxic to animals. You wouldn’t want to consume fruits or veggies that have harmful pesticides on them.
Even with “organically” grown watermelons are not pesticide-free. The difference in organic produce is derived from natural substances rather than synthetic ones. (source)
Plus, you don’t want squirrels eating your fruit plants in your garden.
How to Feed Squirrels Watermelon
Wash the watermelon to remove any harmful pesticides. Use a sharp knife to cut it open and slice.
If you have a pet squirrel, cut the flesh into bite-size pieces. Hand feed it or place it into a small bowl for your pet.
For those of you that want to treat your backyard critters, just put a slice of the watermelon in their regular feeding area. I would just put the whole slice with the flesh, seeds and rind.
Give them some time to investigate the fruit and see if they eat it. Some squirrels may not want to eat it, especially, if they have access to regular food.
The downside is that it may attract bees and other insects and animals so you don’t want to leave it on the ground too long.
This fruit should be fed as an occasional treat, and should not be a part of their regular diet.
If they they are not interested in eating it, don’t force them. There are plenty of other healthy foods that squirrels love to eat.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Watermlon?
No, baby squirrels should drink mother’s milk or formula. An inadequate diet can lead to a disorder called metabolic bone disease.
At about 6 weeks old, they will start nibbling on food. However, you should only feed your squirrel healthy snacks such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and other good quality foods for rodents.
Avoid giving squirrels less than a year old foods that contain high amounts of sugar. I’m not sure if it would have a negative effect on them, but it’s best to avoid feeding them sugar at a young age.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Squirrels Eat Rotten Watermelon?
You should never feed your backyard squirrels or pet squirrel any rotten foods or moldy watermelon.
According to the USDA mold can cause allergic reactions or respiratory problems. If you’re not willing to eat it, then don’t give it to the critters.
Instead, stick the watermelon in your compost and recycle it for your garden, shrubs or indoor potted plants.
To wrap it up, watermelon is safe for squirrels as long as you don’t overfeed them. Watermelon is loaded with sugar and should not become a regular part of a squirrels diet.
Make sure you’re feeding your backyard squirrels or pet squirrel food that provides them the essential vitamins and nutrients their bodies require.