Although squirrels are known as being primary herbivorous, their diet varies among different species. Typical food includes seeds, dried corn, nuts, fruits, and mushroom. However, when food is scarce, these rodents could become vicious and do anything to survive. Do squirrels kill mice?
Squirrels have been caught in the act several times when they kill other animals, such as mice, birds, and rats. They will also eat them, along with eggs, young birds, and smaller mammals. Predation on mice is a very unlikely trait of this friendly rodent, and many people find it hard to believe.
Squirrels may look like cute rodents, and perhaps you don’t mind having them in your trees or backyard. However, there are some circumstances where they will become territorial and fight other mammals. Keep reading as we discuss whether a squirrel will kill mice and why!
Why Would A Squirrel Kill A Mouse?
Squirrels will typically store their food in holes, or they will bury it in the ground for the winter.
When food becomes less and less in the winter, and sometimes in the early stages of spring, their buried nuts will start to sprout, causing the squirrels to find other food sources.
When Would A Squirrel Kill A Mouse?
Sometimes, rats, mice, and other mammals will steal the food they worked so hard to collect and forage for. For example, mice will eat anything available at the time, causing them to rob other mammals of their food supply, such as squirrels.
Squirrels are very trusting animals. With the proper training, a wild one could be tamed to an extent where they will eat out of your hand, which is different from most other wild animal species. This may give you the impression at first that a squirrel won’t hurt a fly.
How Squirrels Kill In The Wild
Unfortunately, this is not true, as squirrels will kill mice if they notice their food is robbed. Squirrels will even go as far as raiding a mother bird’s nest for food.
If they attack any nests, they will feast on the eggs in the nest. A mother bird will often abandon their eggs or small birds and flee under the attack of a squirrel, leaving its eggs and young chicks at the mercy of the squirrel.
What Squirrels Eat In The Wild?
Some gray squirrels will not only feed on the eggs, but they are known to kill the mother bird if she puts up a fight. In addition, the grey squirrel is known to kill and eat other squirrels of the same kind, but they will also feed on mice if the food becomes scarce.
Recent scientific studies showed that mice matter in a squirrel’s stomach is more often than not present.
Squirrels will also choose and eat debris from animal carcasses other hunters have left behind. This includes dead mice, as well as various insects. However, squirrels are not picky eaters, and they are known as versatile feeders.
Urban squirrels are known for eating meat and any leftover meals found in dumpsters.
Flying squirrels are omnivores, and they will eat anything they can within their reach. Their primary foods include mushrooms, eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, spiders, tiny snails, and young mice.
Although a squirrel won’t specifically go hunting for mice in normal circumstances, these two rodents share the same preference for meals, which could quickly turn into a fight.
Squirrels will also kill mice to defend their territory. Squirrels are highly territorial and vocal. They would be especially noisy during the mating season, which is roughly twice a year. When a squirrel gets vocal, they are heard by the surrounding animals, including mice.
Mice will hear a dinner bell, as they know where the squirrels are, and there will be enough food or shelter. Mice and squirrels will fight over food in their territory, and most of the time, mice will either be killed or stand back.
Sometimes, mice won’t want to steal the food of squirrels, but they need the shelter the squirrels have made.
This could also cause a squirrel to kill a mouse, as squirrels will mark their territory with their urine, giving mice the impression that a shelter is occupied.
As mice are foragers, they will still try to fight a squirrel for their shelter. Squirrels will have no mercy and will defend their shelter, especially if the young are involved.
In What Situation Will A Squirrel Kill And Eat Mice?
When squirrels struggle during challenging weather conditions of low food supply, they may resort to unusual food sources to stay alive.
While squirrels will not usually go after some of the larger animals, they have been known to go after birds, insects such as spiders and crickets, as well as mice and their young. Mice offer many nutritional values to squirrels, including being a source of protein and fat.
Squirrels will also sometimes attack, kill, and eat mice in order to have a fresh and warm source of food during the colder winter months.
Sometimes, squirrels will find themselves without a reliable food source.
Although they prefer to eat plant-based foods, such as sunflower seeds, fruit, and nuts, they will occasionally go after these larger and higher protein sources.
So, when a squirrel is forced to expand their menu if things are getting rough, they have to be starving to death for the mice you may have in your garage or your attic.
Many people who know this try to take advantage of the situation, and they think squirrels will be an effective way to control mice.
Unfortunately, many homeowners have found that having too many squirrels on their property leads to issues. Many of these issues are worse than having mice, such as damaged wood, spreading diseases, and chewed electrical wiring.
Squirrels could also introduce many more diseases and pests into your area, even worse than mice. Therefore, squirrels would not be an effective way to control mice.
There have been a lot of cases reported that squirrels kill mice. Sometimes, a squirrel will even eat mice if their food is scarce.
Keep in mind, however, that squirrels will only kill and eat mice if forced, and mice are not usually part of their diet. If a squirrel resorts to eating mice, it’s because they are only trying to survive.