Raw peanuts are a popular food for squirrels but can be dangerous for squirrels and birds. Many people enjoy feeding backyard squirrels, but ensuring that the food offered is safe for the animals is crucial. Peanuts can be a part of a squirrel’s diet. However, they should always be cooked or roasted. This article will discuss the dangers of raw peanuts and how to feed them safely to your backyard wildlife.
Squirrels that eat raw peanuts can develop a condition called “peanut toxicity.” This condition is caused by a toxin called Aflatoxin, found in raw peanuts and other foods. Aflatoxin can cause liver damage and death in squirrels. Therefore, if you want to feed peanuts to squirrels, it is best to roast them first.
Keep reading to learn how to roast raw peanuts so you can safely feed them to the birds and squirrels.
Do Squirrels Eat Raw Peanuts?
Squirrels are opportunistic feeders, meaning they eat whatever is available. This means they will be tempted to eat raw peanuts if they are easily accessible.
These scavengers’ diet consists of food that is easily accessible to them, which is why they raid bird feeders, garbage cans, dark alleys, and other sources of food.
However, it is essential to remember that just because a squirrel will eat something doesn’t mean it’s safe for them.
Are Raw Peanuts Bad for Squirrels?
Raw peanuts contain Aflatoxin, which can be dangerous to animals and humans. Aflatoxin is a toxic compound produced by certain fungi. It is found in peanuts, almonds, corn (maize), tree nuts, and cottonseed.
Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are the two primary fungi produced by aflatoxins. When consumed, these fungi can cause allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections in other organs.
These fungi grow on foods in warm, humid conditions and can cause aflatoxin poisoning.
The symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning vary between humans and pets. A pet squirrel or backyard animal experiencing aflatoxin poisoning will experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowish tint around the eyes or gums due to liver damage)
- Sluggishness or loss of energy
If you’re feeding your pet squirrel or backyard birds and animals peanuts, you are exposing them to small amounts of aflatoxins since all peanuts contain small amounts of fungi.
You can detect the presence of Aflatoxin by looking closely at the peanuts and looking for discolored and moldy patches.
If your pet squirrel, dog, or cat has consumed raw peanuts and is showing signs of aflatoxin poisoning, it’s essential to seek veterinary help immediately.
They will run tests to check the pet’s liver health. That said, there are no antidotes for aflatoxins, so it’s vital to ensure your pets don’t come into it.
Nutrients In Raw Peanuts
All peanuts are rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium. Raw peanuts also contain fiber and protein.
However, peanuts are a legume that can have severe consequences and should not be a regular part of any animal’s diet.
How to Roast Raw Peanuts for Squirrels
The best way to feed squirrels peanuts is by roasting them in their shells first. This will help eliminate any potential toxins present in the raw peanuts.
Roasting your own peanuts is so simple you’ll be able to buy them in bulk and roast them in the shell or unshelled.
Here’s how to roast nuts so you can safely feed them to your squirrels and birds.
- 1-2 pounds of shelled or unshelled peanuts
- Baking Pan
- Spices (if you’re roasting the peanuts for the animals, avoid using any spices)
Wash the Raw Peanuts
Rinse the peanuts under cold water to remove excess dirt. Then pat dry with a paper towel. Once dry, spread the peanuts on a shallow baking pan in an even layer.
Preheat Your Oven
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Roast for 15-20 minutes, frequently stirring, until golden brown. Roast the shelled peanuts for 20-25 minutes or until the shells are lightly golden brown.
Let The Peanuts Cool
After roasting the peanuts, let them cool for 10-15 minutes before feeding them to the animals. Once cooled, store the roasted peanuts in an airtight container for up to one week.
Raw peanuts can harm squirrels, birds, and other backyard wildlife. If you want to give your pet squirrel or backyard birds and animals a treat, make sure the peanuts are cooked or roasted first.
This will help eliminate any potential toxins in the raw peanuts and make them safe for consumption.
Peanuts contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, making them a healthy snack for squirrels and backyard animals. However, always remember to feed peanuts in moderation as part of a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
A squirrel’s diet should consist of various foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. By providing a balanced and varied diet to your pet squirrel or backyard animals, you can rest assured that they will stay healthy and happy.
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