With the growing cost of squirrel food, more people are looking for homemade recipes that are easy to follow. I love feeding squirrels, birds, and other wildlife visiting our backyard. However, not everyone wants to buy store-bought food, or they want to make their own treats for these critters. So, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about peanut butter balls for squirrels.
What Are Peanut Butter Balls?
Peanut butter balls also called nut balls are a squirrel treat made of peanut butter and other ingredients. They are an easy and fun way to make a delicious, nutritious snack for your furry friend. The balls can be rolled in nuts, seeds, dates, etc.
Don’t confuse squirrel peanut butter balls with the traditional peanut butter balls made with sugar, butter, and chocolate. These are much healthier treats for squirrels because they don’t contain added sugar or unhealthy fats.
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Why Do Squirrels Love Peanut Butter Balls?
Squirrels love peanut butter balls because they are an excellent source of energy. The combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and nut butter provides a nutritious snack containing carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Peanut butter balls also offer a great way to supplement a squirrel’s diet with healthy foods.
Where to Buy Squirrel Ball Treats?
You can still feed your pet or backyard squirrels yummy treats if you’re not a baker. However, finding squirrel treats at your local pet store may not be as easy as buying cat or dog food.
However, after researching online, I discovered these Yum Balls Squirrel Munchies on Amazon with a 4.5-star rating. The treats are manufactured by Exotic Nutrition Pet Supply.
Here’s a list of some of the ingredients found in the treats:
- Pine Nuts
- Sunflower Hearts
- Cracked Peanuts
When feeding squirrels, follow the directions on the package to ensure you don’t overfeed them.
Will Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter Balls?
Squirrels are opportunistic feeders; most will love eating these DIY treats. Peanut butter is an excellent protein source, and adding nuts or seeds makes it even more nutritious.
The oats also provide complex carbohydrates (energy) to keep them going throughout the day. For example, this Tik Tok video shows a squirrel grabbing one from a plate of homemade peanut butter balls.
Now that you know squirrels love them, let’s discuss the importance of choosing the right ingredients.
Best Peanut Butter to Use for Peanut Butter Balls
If you’re making homemade treats for squirrels, it’s essential to use the right peanut butter. Choose brands with the best ingredients to ensure your treats are as healthy and nutritious as possible.
According to Eat This Not That, these are some of the healthiest peanut butter brands on the market.
These contain the lowest amounts of sodium, sugar, artificial flavors, etc.
- Wild Friends Classic Creamy Peanut Butter
- Teddy Smooth All Natural Smooth Peanut Butter
- Noomi Peanut Butter
- Jif Natural
- Peter Pan Original Peanut Butter
There are several brands available online and you can also find them at most supermarkets. You don’t need to spend a lot on a new brand, just make sure it has the right ingredients.
What To Look For When Shopping for Peanut Butter
Labeled as “Natural”: When shopping for peanut butter, look for 100% natural brands with nothing else added. Don’t assume it’s natural peanut butter because it has an “all-natural” label. Instead, take the time to read the label to ensure it doesn’t have any added sugar or other unhealthy ingredients.
Organic: Opt for an organic brand of peanut butter; as you know, it hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides.
Low Sodium: Many brands of peanut butter also contain added salt, so try to find one low in sodium.
No Sugar: Look for unsweetened brands that don’t contain added sugar.
Things to Avoid
Reduced Fat: When fat is removed from peanut butter, unhealthy ingredients such as; sugars and starchy fillers are added to improve the flavor.
Palm Oil: Many brands of peanut butter also contain unhealthy vegetable oils such as palm oil. It is high in saturated fat, which isn’t good for humans and wildlife.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Mixed Together: Avoid using the jar of Goober PB&J mixture in your pantry. It has a lot of artificial ingredients and sugar that your furry friends shouldn’t have.
Sugars and Sweeteners: Watch out for added sugars and sweeteners in the form of honey, sucrose (sugar), high fructose, or corn syrup (corn syrup solids).
The three types of sugars found in peanut butter are:
- Sucrose: found in white table sugar
- Corn Syrup: made from corn
- Natural sugars: natural sources found in peanuts; these include; galactose, maltose, and lactose.
Ingredients To Use When Making Squirrel Treats
Not everyone who makes squirrel treats will purchase peanut butter, so alternatives can be used. More and more people are feeding squirrels people food such as; celery, corn, bread, etc. It’s true that squirrels will eat almost anything. It’s your job to provide proper nutrition to keep them healthy.
Below are some healthy alternatives and other ingredients you can use when making different squirrel treats.
#1 Hazelnut Butter, Almond Butter, Pecan Butter, and Walnut Butter
These are more expensive than peanut butter, but they are healthy alternatives. They have a great flavor and are packed with protein, fiber, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
For example, almond spread is one of the top preferred nut butter on the market. It contains several of the same nutrients as peanut butter but typically has less saturated fats and contains more iron, Vitamin E, and calcium than peanut butter.
This makes nut butter a great alternative to peanut butter.
Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. These can be mixed in with peanut butter to make a healthy treat.
Squirrels love nuts, so consider mixing some healthy nuts, especially if using creamy peanut butter.
Pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia, flax, and other seeds are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These can be mixed with peanut butter to make tasty treats for squirrels.
How to Make Peanut Butter Balls
If you’re looking to make homemade peanut butter balls for your pet or backyard squirrels, here’s a tried and true recipe:
- 1 cup of smooth peanut butter (without sugar added)
- 1 cup of quick oats
- ½ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons of honey (optional)
1. Mix the peanut butter, oats, cornmeal, and flaxseed meal together until well combined.
2. If adding the honey, mix it in with the other ingredients.
3. Once thoroughly combined, form the mixture into ¾-inch balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Let cool before serving your pet or backyard squirrels!
These homemade peanut butter balls can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter Balls?
If the squirrel is less than six weeks old, it should be fed formula such as Esbilac, Pedialite or homemade goat milk. This will help hydrate them and give them the nutrients they need to grow.
At six weeks of age, solid foods can be introduced. Squirrel blocks are the best solid foods to introduce when it is ready for solid foods.
While a baby squirrel may be able to eat peanut butter balls without any problems, it’s best to feed them a well-balanced diet of squirrel blocks, leafy greens, and vegetables.
Feeding them a variety of foods is the best way to ensure they’re getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need for proper growth and development.
Peanut butter balls should only be fed occasionally as a treat. This will also help to prevent digestive problems that could arise from overfeeding peanut butter balls.
Other Healthy Treats for Squirrels
If you don’t have peanut butter consider feeding your backyard or pet squirrel these other treats they will love. Most of the recipes below require some time to bake them thoroughly.
If you’re looking for no bake squirrel treats, you can feed them some of their favorite foods such as nuts, vegetables, etc.
Most squirrels love peanut butter balls and will keep coming back for more. But these treats should be given in moderation, as they can lead to obesity and other health issues.
Avoid using nut butters with added hydrogenated oils, sugars, or sweeteners in the form of evaporated cane juice, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
Squirrel treats should make up no more than 5-10% of their regular diet. These rodents require a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and nuts to remain healthy.
These squirrel nut ball recipes and ingredients are safe for squirrels and birds. So have fun making them, and enjoy watching your backyard visitors devour them!
- Can Squirrels Eat Salted Peanuts?
- Why Are Raw Peanuts Bad for Squirrels?
- Are Peanuts Good For Squirrels?
- Can Squirrels Eat Peanut Butter?