The internet is full of videos of squirrels eating an acorn, but to most people’s surprise, that is not all these rodents eat. In fact, quite ironically, they have a diverse diet of plant-based materials, such as grass, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, vegetables, and so on. In this article, we are going to talk about squirrels eating almonds.
So, can squirrels eat almonds? Yes, squirrels are fond of all kinds of nuts, including almonds, and would never miss a chance to feed on them. Moreover, being rich in many macro and micronutrients, these nuts are also very healthy for them. However, you must not feed the squirrels too many almonds too often, for it can have severe consequences on their health.
Are Almonds Healthy For Squirrels?
Among all the nuts, almonds are the healthiest for both humans as well as squirrels. But before we talk about the health benefits of these nuts for the squirrels, let’s take a quick glance at the table below, which contains their nutritional composition:
|Vitamin A||1 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.212 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||1.013 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||3.384 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.46 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.144 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||50 mcg|
|Vitamin E||26 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||265 mg|
|Iron, Fe||3.73 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||267 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.995 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||484 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||2.286 mg|
|Selenium, Se||2.5 mcg|
|Zinc, Zn||3.07 mg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Potassium, K||705 mg|
|Dietary fibers||12.21 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
The table above clearly shows that almonds are indeed healthy nuts. And now we would tell you how the squirrels can benefit from eating them.
Almond has protein in abundance, which is an essential macronutrient for these hairy rodents. Not only do they need protein for stronger muscles, but it also promotes healthy hair growth on their body, which comes in handy during the harsh winter months.
While it has a moderate amount of Vitamin A, it is enough to maintain their reproductive and respiratory health. Moreover, it also contains Vitamins B-complex and C, both of which together promote faster healing and overall healthy growth.
Almond is also rich in the minerals that squirrels need: Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus. All three of these minerals work together to support their bone health. And in addition to that, Calcium is also required to maintain the health of their teeth, which keep growing throughout their life.
The Risks Involved In Feeding Almonds To Squirrels
Now that we have discussed the positive effects of almonds on squirrels, it is time to talk about the risks involved in it.
However, before we begin, we would like to state that any of the problems we mention ahead will only occur if the squirrels are over-eating the almonds. As long as you follow moderation, you have nothing to be worried about.
The first issue is about digestion. Although squirrels can eat almonds, digesting these nuts is more difficult for them than the others, even in small quantities.
Now imagine what would happen if they overfed on almonds. Diarrhea and upset stomach are among the most common outcomes, although if the squirrel has had far too many of these nuts, the consequences could be even more serious.
Another problem is the Cyanide content of almonds. Many of the recent studies have shown that almonds do contain small amounts of cyanide.
However, it is far too little to ever cause troubles for humans. The case remains the same for squirrels unless they start overeating these. They are much smaller than us, after all, and it is much easier for them to suffer from Cyanide Poisoning.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Almonds?
If you ever come across or rescue an abandoned baby squirrel, your best course of action would be to contact your nearest wildlife rehabilitation center and let the professionals take care of them.
These babies have extremely fragile health and could lose their life because of your smallest mistake. As long as the food is concerned, you must not feed them any solid food of any kind, including almonds. They live strictly on their mother’s milk unless they are about eight weeks old.
Is It Safe To Feed Squirrels Roasted Almonds?
Have you ever thought of spicing up the almonds to treat the squirrels? We will tell you this: almonds are perfect for squirrels in their rawest form, and doing anything extra to these nuts will only make them unhealthier for these critters.
As far as roasted almonds are concerned, they are not toxic to the squirrels. However, these nuts do lose a considerable amount of their nutrients in the process of roasting. So, it is best not to feed them these.
Even if you feed them a couple of roasted almonds, make sure they are not salted or flavored. Squirrels don’t need salt in their food as we do, and some of the spices used in the flavoring could be toxic to them.
Can Squirrels Eat Almond Butter?
As the name itself suggests, almond butter is a nut butter made from ground almonds. This butter has a really high calorie-count and fat content, as you can see in the table given below:
|Zinc, Zn||3 mg|
Serving size: 100 grams
If you are wondering whether the squirrels would eat this butter if you serve it to them, they certainly will. When it comes to food, these critters are anything but picky.
However, if you’re concerned about the health of the squirrels that frequent your yard, we can tell you that feeding them almond butter is not such a great idea for two reasons.
First and foremost, the butter is made purely of almonds and can upset their stomach. Moreover, its unnecessarily high calorie-count can make the squirrels gain too much weight, making them obese.
Can Almond Milk Be Fed To Squirrels?
Although almond milk is called “milk”, it is not really milk but a similar-colored plant juice extracted from the almond plants.
Since almonds themselves are safe for the consumption of squirrels in moderation, so is almond milk. It is even nutritious to these critters to some extent. Take a look at its nutritional value and see for yourself:
|Vitamin A||371 IU|
|Vitamin D||111 IU|
|Calcium, Ca||517 mg|
|Potassium, K||175 mg|
|Sodium, Na||185 mg|
Serving size: 100 grams
Although almond milk can be healthy for the squirrels, feed them this milk too often is not a good idea, for it adds too many extra calories to their diet, which can lead them to obesity and other health problems.
If you are feeding almond milk to a squirrel, always go with the unsweetened one. It is because the sweetened almond milk not only has too much sugar but might also have artificial sweeteners, both of which are detrimental to their health.
How To Feed Almonds To Squirrels?
This is where it gets tricky. Feeding squirrels anything is not as easy as feeding a pet, especially in the beginning. This is because while these critters might be small, they’re also incredibly agile and are quick to escape as soon as you come near them. So, we’re going to talk about a couple of ways you can feed the visitors of your backyard almonds.
The first thing you need to figure out is whether the squirrel coming to your yard is a tree or a ground squirrel. And it is not particularly difficult if you have time.
All you need to do is notice where you can spot them most often. If they’re always running around the ground, they’re ground squirrels, and if they’re always climbing up and down some tree or the other, they’re tree squirrels.
In the first case, you can place the almonds in a bowl on the ground of your yard. Make sure you’re placing the bowl not farther than 10 feet from the plants so that the squirrel can run and hide quickly if they need to.
In the latter case, you can set up a hanging feeder for them on the tree (which you might have already done if you’ve been feeding them for a while). Place your almonds in the feeder and leave them alone.
Also, try to see if you can find shelled almonds in the market since they prefer these to the unshelled ones. Once the squirrels get acquainted with you, they might even eat out of your hands.
Conclusion: Can squirrels eat almonds?
Let’s quickly recapitulate everything we have learned so far: squirrels love eating nuts, and almonds happen to be their favorite. These treats are one of the healthiest for them as well. However, one thing you need to be careful about is practicing moderation with these treats. Also, it is always best to feed them raw, unsalted almonds, and not roasted ones.