Squirrels and chipmunks are related and very similar in many ways, but they are different animals with different requirements regarding the food they eat. So, if you need to feed some local squirrels and chipmunks to help get them through the winter, or if you are considering adopting some as pets, what can you feed these animals to keep them healthy?
Squirrels and chipmunks eat a varied omnivorous diet that includes nuts, seeds, fruits, roots, shoots, insects, worms, grubs, snails, and even eggs. Chipmunks have a more varied diet than squirrels, but both eat similar foods. Insects, nuts, and fruits are their favorite foods.
Various food items are suitable for squirrels and chipmunks, and there is some overlap between what these animals can eat.
Although it is fun to feed these animals, knowing what they can and cannot eat is vital for their overall health. So join us as we explore the diets of squirrels and chipmunks.
What Can You Feed Squirrels?
Squirrels are fascinating little mammals.
There are several species of them found in many countries worldwide. Most squirrel species eat the same foods and usually have the same dietary requirements.
However, before you start feeding wild squirrels, it is crucial first to identify what kind of squirrel they are.
This way, you can be sure what to feed them, as different species of squirrels eat different things in the wild.
To maintain their health and development, feeding them food that would be natural to their diet if they were in the wild is best.
Squirrels enjoy a diet of nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, worms, grubs, and small animals. In addition, some squirrels will eat eggs if the opportunity arises.
Shelled nuts are some of their favorite food. This includes walnuts and pecans, but all nuts should do well for squirrels.
Though they may eat them, peanuts are not always a good idea for squirrels; they tend to make them gain weight quickly. In addition, raw peanuts contain dangerous toxins.
Pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, and other large, fatty seeds are good for squirrels too. These mammals can eat the pumpkin and the squash itself. Veggies such as carrots are also good to feed squirrels.
Squirrels enjoy fruits such as strawberries, peaches, pears, apples, plums, and some berries such as cherries and blackberries. Bananas are a good option as well.
Although it comprises a smaller portion, squirrels’ diets require meat for good protein sources, including mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, and slugs.
Squirrels require more food than you may realize, as their bodies burn through it very quickly. Therefore, ensure that squirrels have a varied diet to remain healthy.
What Can You Feed Chipmunks?
Chipmunks and squirrels are closely related to one another and share much of the same dietary needs, but there are some significant differences to consider when feeding chipmunks vs. feeding squirrels.
Chipmunks are more omnivorous than squirrels. These little animals are happy to eat a shockingly wide range of foods, including insects, fruits, vegetables, roots, shoots, seedlings, grubs, small animals, slugs, eggs, bones, nuts, avocadoes, seeds, and plants.
Anyone who feeds chipmunks is always surprised by what these little mammals can munch on. But the reality is that chipmunks require this varied diet to stay healthy.
If you are feeding chipmunks, providing them with as varied a diet as possible is crucial, but there are a few foods to focus on that will keep them strong.
A nutritious diet for chipmunks consists of insects, like mealworms and crickets, nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables.
Fruits such as strawberries, plums, peaches, and apples are great additions to a balanced diet, alongside shelled nuts, seeds, and veggies such as carrots and squashes, crickets, and other insects.
All of this variation will keep chipmunks eating well, keep them strong and healthy, and also keep them happy.
While most people think of only giving nuts to chipmunks, there is a range of other foods they will enjoy just as much. This includes dog and cat food, eggs, plant roots and shoots, specific mushroom varieties, corn, and even lettuce.
Many experts say that chipmunks should also eat a lot of whole grains, including oats, barley, millet, and wheat. These whole grains are perfect for chipmunks and form a large part of their diet.
Keep chipmunks well-fed, and they will remain happy.
They need a lot of food, but they also store it for themselves, so be sure they always have a constant supply.
Is There Anything You Should Not Feed These Animals?
We have learned that chipmunks and squirrels are closely related and require similar foods. But are there any foods you should specifically avoid feeding these animals?
Several foods are unsuitable for chipmunks and squirrels, and a few that they will quickly turn their noses up at.
For example, squirrels and chipmunks do not like citrus fruits. The scent of these fruits tends to deter them. Chipmunks are more sensitive to citrus than squirrels are, but they tend not to enjoy these fruits.
Never feed these animals garlic, onions, or any spicy food. Additionally, beware of common household plants that may be toxic to them, such as daffodils and marigolds.
Never feed sweets or candies to these animals, nor any foods high in sugars or corn syrup, as these are very harmful to squirrels and chipmunks.
While squirrels and chipmunks enjoy processed snacks like cookies, cake, candy bars, etc., feeding these creatures this type of food will cause obesity which leads to an early death.
These rodents will also avoid plants with strong fragrances and ‘hairy’ leaves, as they can be toxic.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, squirrels and chipmunks should only consume food items on the recommended list. Their diet should also be similar to what they would eat if they were still in the wild.
Chipmunks and squirrels eat a widely varied diet that includes several plant-based foods, including nuts, fruits, vegetables, roots, and shoots, and some non-plant-based foods, including insects, worms, snails, and eggs.
Always be sure to feed these animals a diet similar to what they would have in the wind, and never feed them anything that will lead to too much weight gain, as this can be extremely dangerous for squirrels and chipmunks.
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