Do Squirrels Eat The Peanut Shell? And Is It Safe

do squirrels eat the peanut shell

It’s not hard to find a cute video of someone feeding a squirrel a shelled peanut. It makes one wonder “do squirrels eat the peanut shell” and is it actually safe for them? Maybe you’ve considered feeding your backyard squirrels some peanuts and you’re not sure if you should give them the shell or not?

Do Squirrels Eat The Peanut Shell?

do squirrels eat the peanut shell
Squirrels will eat the shell, but it doesn’t contain any nutritional value for them.

No, while they may eat some of it trying to get to the peanut, they prefer to eat the peanut. It’s okay to leave peanuts (unsalted) in the shell as the shell can provide them with exercise and a way to sharpen their teeth.

Knowing what squirrels eat and don’t will give you all the knowledge you need to care for your backyard squirrels. In this article, we discuss the types of peanuts squirrels eat.

Today, we’ll take a look at what’s inside a peanut shell and whether or not a squirrel will eat it.

What Are Peanut Shells?

Peanut shells are primarily made up of cellulose and lignin, similar to what a tree’s wood does. The unsalted variety are not toxic to humans or squirrels.

In fact, this thread on Reddit “I like to eat peanut shells along with the peanut” started a huge discussion. So what exactly is inside of a peanut shell?

Nutrients of Peanut Shells

  • 1% fat
  • 60% crude fiber
  • 2% ash
  • 8% water
  • 25% cellulose
  • 8% water
  • 6% crude protein

A Close Look at the Ingredients


Cellulose is the main substance that is found in plant cell walls and is responsible for helping plants stay upright. Squirrels are omnivores meaning they eat plants and meat, but their bodies are unable to digest cellulose.

Cellulose is a fiber that aids in assisting the digestive system, making it easier for your body to digest food and eliminate waste.

Animals such as goats, buffalo, deer, goats and etc are grass eaters, which is why they get the energy they need from eating grass.

A squirrels diet consists of a variety of foods from nuts, vegetables, bird food, fungi, eggs, small birds and etc. They can’t survive on grass alone!

Crude Protein

Foods contain two measurements of protein crude protein and true protein. The crude variety is calculated after measuring the nitrogen content level of the food proteins.

This can be confusing as “crude” doesn’t really measure protein at all. If you look closely at peanut shells, there isn’t a lot of nutritional value to a peanut shell.

Are Peanut Shells Dangerous for Squirrels?

If a squirrel ate a lot of shells, there’s the possibility of buildup in the intestines that could cause a blockage. Although, I doubt this would ever happen as the squirrels don’t really eat the whole shell.

Plus their sharp teeth break down the shell completely which makes it virtually impossible for a blockage to occur.

Can Squirrels Eat Peanut Shells?

A full grown squirrel has sharp incisors which make it easy for them to chew through peanut shells easily.

As mentioned above, peanut shells consist mainly of cellulose which is extremely easy for them to sink their teeth into.

Are Peanut Shells Edible?

Believe it or not, there are many people who love eating the shells. Some people say they make the peanut taste better?

Next time you eat some peanuts, eat some of the shell. They are not toxic, just make sure you chew it properly before swallowing.

Why Squirrels Love The Shell?

It could be because of the crunch you get when you first bit into it, before they get to the nut inside? Maybe it’s because it because they love the flavor of the husk?

Some people who eat both the shell and the peanut say the peanut tastes better when you eat the shell?

As you know, these critters love eating anything. Who knows why they love eating the shells, just know that they won’t hesitate eating peanuts you leave on the ground for them.

Where to Buy Bulk Peanuts In Shells for Squirrels?

There are several places you can shop for peanuts for your backyard critters. Personally, I would buy them in bulk, as these critters can eat quite a bit in one feeding.

Not to mention, they will bury some for the winter when it’s harder for them to find food.

You should be able to find peanuts for squirrels wherever you buy bird food, deer food or any other pet store. If no one in your area offers peanuts in bulk, then check with some online retailers such as or Amazon.

If you don’t want to spend the money on buying peanuts, then consider growing your own peanuts. Not everyone will be able to grow their own peanuts, it just depends on where you live.

Squirrel Eating Peanut Shells

If you want to see how a squirrel eats a peanut with shells, watch this video. This squirrel sits in the grass eating a peanut and you can see him eating some of the shell.

Although, his main objective is to get to the peanut!

Final Word

Squirrels will eat peanut shells and it’s perfectly fine to add some to their feeder or where they scavenge for food. Make sure you’re only giving them peanuts as an occasional treat, as they require squirrel food that provides them the nutrition they need.

Peanut shells are not poisonous to squirrels or people, just know they don’t contain any essential nutrients they need to stay alive and healthy.

Other foods that squirrels eat include bananas, mushrooms, birds, and walnuts. Click the links to read more.

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