Although keeping squirrels as a pet is not legal in most states, these animals can still be a frequent visitor in your backyard. Attracting them is quite easy, for they have a varied diet and can eat almost anything. But what about blueberries?
Can squirrels eat blueberries? Yes, squirrels love to eat blueberries and it is completely safe for them to do so. In fact, when given the opportunity to eat either blueberries or nuts, squirrels prefer blueberries. However, be careful not to feed them too many blueberries, for their high sugar and fiber content can prove to be harmful to them.
Are the seeds of blueberry safe for squirrels? And what about baby squirrels? Can they eat them as well? If you’re looking for the answers to these questions, you will find them all here. Below, we will tell you everything you need to know about feeding blueberries to squirrels.
Are blueberries healthy for squirrels?
To understand whether blueberries are healthy for squirrels, we need to first learn about the diet of these little critters in the wild. Just as we mentioned above, the squirrels are scavengers and, therefore, have quite a diverse diet, consisting of nuts, wild fruits and berries, seed crops, bird eggs, leaf buds, acorn, and so on.
They feed on all kinds of berries, including blueberries. Therefore, these little berries are a part of their natural diet.
Now, in order to stay healthy, the squirrels need vitamins and minerals just like all the other animals. Do blueberries meet their nutritional needs? Let’s find out:
|Vitamin A||59 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.038 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.042 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.417 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.123 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.053 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||6 mcg|
|Vitamin C||9.8 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.56 mg|
|Vitamin K||19.2 mcg|
|Dietary fibers||4.2 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
How many blueberries should squirrel be fed?
In the last section, we learned that blueberries have a rich nutritional value and are, thus, healthy for squirrels. But can the squirrels eat as many blueberries as they want without any consequences? No.
Blueberries are rich in natural sugar, which gives the squirrels an energy boost. However, squirrels are naturally energetic animals and too much sugar can over-excite them, which is not good for their overall health. Moreover, the high-fiber content of blueberries can also upset their stomach when over-consumed.
Therefore, we recommend you to feed your squirrels not more than 3-4 blueberries at a time, once or twice a week.
Are blueberry seeds safe for squirrels?
Although blueberries contain seeds just like any other berry, many people believe that they don’t. This is because the seeds of blueberry are far too small in size and, thus, often unrecognizable. But are these seeds safe for squirrels? Yes, absolutely.
Unlike the seeds of an apple, these seeds contain no toxic compounds or chemicals and are completely harmless to all animals. Moreover, they’re also too small in size and too soft in texture to create a potential choking threat for the squirrels.
Can squirrels eat dried blueberries?
Dried blueberries are the blueberries that have been dried in the sun for days to be dehydrated and preserved to last for a longer period of time. These blueberries are often used in desserts like cheesecakes and tarts. Many people sprinkle them on salads as well.
The dried blueberries also have a low calorie count, high fibers, and an abundance of nutrients. But are these safe for squirrels? Probably not.
It is because all store-bought dried blueberries have added chemicals and preservatives in them to give them a longer shelf life. And while these preservatives have a negligible effect on us, they can prove to be fatal for the little squirrels. If they eat these berries, they can suffer from allergies, seizures, and even die in some severe cases.
However, there is a way to feed them dried blueberries safely; you can buy fresh blueberries from the market and dry them in the sun yourself. That way, they might taste a little different from the canned ones but will be healthier both for you and your squirrels.
Can squirrels eat raw blueberries?
If you’ve ever seen a squirrel raiding a blueberry bush for the berries and taking them back to their nest, then you must already know that they’re fond of these berries in their rawest form. These berries are good for them health-wise as well. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So, yes, raw blueberries are both safe and healthy for them.
Can frozen blueberries be fed to squirrels?
The frozen blueberries have a lower fat and caloric content than the raw ones but have a higher fiber content, which makes them healthier for most animals, including squirrels.
With that being said, if your squirrels have been used to feeding on raw blueberries, they might not take to liking the frozen ones right away. It is because the taste of the raw, organic one appeals to them more than the frozen ones. However, with time, they will come around to the frozen ones as well.
Can squirrels eat cooked blueberries?
Did you know that cooking blueberries can increase their polyphenol (antioxidant) content? That’s why cooked blueberries are a healthier alternative both for you and your squirrels.
However, if you’re cooking them, you need to be careful about cooking them for too long, for they can lose some of their nutrients in the process. Deep-frying blueberries should also be avoided for the same reason.
Do squirrels eat blueberry bushes?
Yes. These little critters are not only fond of the fruits, but their leaves as well. If you have a blueberry bush in your garden, you might have seen squirrels munching on their leaves once or twice.
However, almost all the blueberry bushes sprayed with pesticides and insecticides to keep them safe from all kinds of insects. These leaves, when consumed by the squirrels, can make them sick.
Therefore, if you’re planning on feeding your squirrel leaves from the blueberry bushes, you should wash these thoroughly beforehand for their safety.
Is it okay for baby squirrels to eat blueberries?
While blueberries make a healthy treat for the adult squirrels, feeding them to their babies might not be a good idea. This is not because the berries are particularly toxic to them, but because squirrels that are younger than eight weeks cannot consume any solid food.
If you’ve found one of them in your backyard, you must only feed them their milk formula or find a wildlife rescue center for them where they can receive proper care.
Blueberries for squirrels: feeding ideas
The first step to feeding blueberries to squirrels, just like any other fruit or berry, is washing them thoroughly in order to get rid of any chemicals or pesticides that might have been sprayed on their surface to keep them safe from insects and make them appear fresher.
You can do this most effectively by soaking these berries in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes and then rinsing them with fresh water.
Once your berries are clean, they’re ready to be served to your squirrels. Because of their small size, you needn’t chop them for your squirrels. However, you can mix them up with other berries or fruits to serve them a fruit salad with a rich nutrient diversity.
Frequently asked questions
Is it okay to feed rabbit food to squirrels? No, feeding rabbit food to squirrels is not such a great idea because of the differences in these animals’ natural diet. While rabbit food mostly consists of hay and grains, squirrels have a much more diverse diet. They require a high-protein feed, which rabbit food certainly isn’t.
Can squirrels eat brazil nuts? Yes, squirrels can eat brazil nuts in moderation. However, never feed them too many of these nuts; they have a drunken effect on these little critters and can make them vulnerable to their predators.
What foods are poisonous to the squirrels? Some of the food items that should absolutely avoid feeding your squirrels are all dairy products, processed food, sweet treats, corn-based products, chocolate, and sugary cereals.
Can I feed my squirrel peanuts? Yes, you can. Squirrels love the crunchy taste of peanuts. These nuts are also healthy for them. However, you should not feed them salted peanuts since too much salt can damage their liver.
Conclusion: Can Squirrels Eat Blueberries?
Let’s wrap it up by answering our first question: Yes, squirrels can safely eat blueberries in moderation. These little berries are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and can benefit their health. However, too many of them can cause hyperactivity and gastrointestinal problems in the squirrels. So, feed them these treats only once or twice a week.