Can squirrels eat lettuce? It’s a question you must have asked after seeing them gnawing on the leaves of your vegetable garden in your backyard. Who can blame you for being confused about the subject, because squirrels are widely known to eat nuts and fruits?
Lettuce is overwhelmingly preferred by squirrels, over other veggies. Your common garden variety of lettuce is safe for squirrels and it makes a healthy snack when they’re looking to munch on something.
Has a squirrel lately been a frequent visitor in your backyard? Or are you looking for ways to attract these little fur babies to your yard? The safest and most efficient way to catch a squirrel’s attention is by putting out food for them, especially the things that they like to eat. And coming to the things they like to eat, there are many. Most of these things can be found in your kitchen itself.
Are you wondering which lettuce varieties can be fed to squirrels? Or have you planted lettuce in your garden and are looking for ways to keep squirrels away? Don’t worry, if you keep reading ahead, you will find the answer to both your questions.
People have already tried to find out what squirrels find edible, but they were only looking at the fruit and nuts of these cute creatures. The truth is that their appetite also goes beyond the fruits and nuts. They are omnivorous, which means that they can eat anything, even veggies before you know it!
Is lettuce healthy for squirrels?
Do you know what the natural diet of squirrels consists of? These little rodents mainly feed on nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Of all the veggies that they eat, lettuce is one of their favorites.
But is lettuce beneficial for their health as well?
In order to find that out, we will have to go through the nutritional composition of lettuce. To make the task easier for you, we have added a table of lettuce’s nutritional value below, take a look:
|Vitamin A||370 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.07 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.375 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.134 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||38 mcg|
|Vitamin C||9.2 mg|
|Vitamin K||126.3 mcg|
|Dietary fibers||1.3 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
The table drawn above clearly indicates that lettuce has all the vitamins (Vitamins A, B, C, and K) and minerals (Calcium, Iron) that the squirrels need in abundance.
This proves that lettuce is indeed healthy for the little critters in your backyard.
Lettuce for Squirrels: Feeding Ideas
Now that we’ve learned that lettuce is one of the healthiest choices for squirrels to eat, we can move on to feed them these. But how would you feed lettuce to them? It’s not like they’re your pet, waiting in a cage to be fed.
There are several methods you can employ to feed the squirrels that visit your backyard:
- If the squirrels are frequent visitors to the trees in your yard, you can set up a hanging feeder for them on one of the trees. On the feeder, you can put the chopped lettuce that you want them to eat. Make sure that the feeder is high enough from the ground to make them feel safe.
- If you have ground squirrels coming to your garden, you can place chopped lettuce for them in a shallow bowl on the ground, and place the bowl about 10 feet away from your plants or vegetation. This would ensure that they can run and hide quickly if they need to.
- If the last trick doesn’t work, it means that the squirrels in your garden and are not comfortable around you and won’t show themselves. In that case, you can also scatter the chopped lettuce leaves around your lawn for them to eat safely.
- Once they get used to your presence and begin to trust you, they might even eat lettuce out of your hands!
Squirrels and Lettuce varieties
Did you know that there are over thousands of unique lettuce varieties that you find in the markets? All of them have a different shape, form, texture, flavor, and taste.
There are different types of lettuce and they all taste different to the squirrels.
So, it is obvious that they would have different nutritional values as well. While squirrels can eat all almost of them, there are some varieties that would be healthier for them than the others.
Below, we’ll take a look at the three most commonly consumed lettuce varieties and see if they should be fed to squirrels or not:
As the name suggests, the romaine lettuce has originated in Rome but can now be found in many other parts of the world. This lettuce doesn’t have the typical shape or color of lettuce and is much taller, with dark green leaves. Romaine lettuce is rich in Vitamins A, B, and C as well as in calcium and, thus, has a high nutritional value for squirrels.
An aquatic plant of the cabbage family, watercress has a strong stem with small, green leaves attached to it. It is rich in Vitamins A and K and also contains dietary fibers in abundance. Thus, you can certainly feed these to the squirrels.
Iceberg lettuce is one of the most nutritionally empty lettuce varieties that is mostly consumed because of its crunchy taste and mild flavor. Feeding iceberg lettuce to squirrels is not a great idea.
Is it safe for baby squirrels to eat lettuce?
It is highly unlikely to find a baby squirrel in your yard, for their mothers keep them well-protected until they’re capable of taking care of themselves. However, if you do come across one, would it be okay to feed them lettuce?
No, it is not safe to feed lettuce to baby squirrels. It is because unless the squirrels are 3 months old, they have a strict diet of their mother’s milk and nothing else.
It is only once they’re older than 3 months that one can introduce solid foods to their diet. And since it is quite difficult to deduce the age of random squirrels frequenting in your yard, if it appears to be young, not feeding them anything would be the safest course of action.
How to keep squirrels away from your lettuce plants?
So far, we’ve discussed how you can use lettuce to attract squirrels to your yard. But what if you don’t want to attract them?
What if you’re growing a vegetable garden and are looking for ways to prevent these furry rodents from raiding on your lettuce plants?
If that’s the problem you’re struggling with, we’ve got you covered.
The first thing you need to learn about squirrels is that they can eat almost anything. So, no matter what you plant in your garden, they’d be willing to take a bite. However, there are certain plants that can repel these persistent little creatures.
Let’s take a look at them:
- Plant a couple of garlic plants in your garden. Not only can garlic be used in your kitchen, but its smell works effectively to keep these critters away from your garden. Moreover, deer and rabbits find garlic’s smell repulsive, too. Thus, they will keep your garden safe from all kinds of invaders.
- Growing any kind of hot pepper in your garden will also do the trick, as squirrels despise them. If you don’t want to grow these, you can also purchase pepper sprays and spray them around your lettuce plants to keep squirrels away.
- Squirrels also avoid flowering plants like daffodils, hyacinths, and fritillaries. So, you can plant them in your garden to repel them.
- Most homeowners often get a pet dog or cat to keep all kinds of critters, including squirrels, away from their garden.
There you go. We’re certain that any one of these tricks can solve your critter problems and keep your lettuce, and other plants, well-protected.
Which nuts can I feed squirrels? Squirrels are fond of a large variety of nuts. Pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, and walnuts are among their favorites.
Is it okay to feed cat food to squirrels? Most pet-owners believe that feeding leftover cat food to the squirrels in their yard is completely harmless. On the contrary, feeding cat food to squirrels is a bad idea.
Cats, just like the other members of the feline family, are carnivores, and their commercial feed is designed keeping the fact in mind. On the other hand, squirrels are pure herbivores. Therefore, cat food doesn’t sit well in their digestive system and can lead to digestive issues.
Can squirrels eat cashews? No. You should not feed cashews to squirrels. Cashew has a high-fat content and can make a squirrel obese, leading to other health issues as well. Secondly, cashews are rich in phosphorus, a mineral that can deplete the calcium in the squirrel’s body and can eventually lead to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in them.
Conclusion: Can squirrels eat lettuce?
Can squirrels eat lettuce? Well, we have looked at whether or not squirrels eat lettuce and what they could do to a salad from your garden.
If you have a garden and you want to protect it, you might not want as many squirrels in your yard. There are some plants that deter these creatures away from your garden which means there is an alternative to killing them or putting out traps for them.
If you find a squirrel frequenting in your yard for a couple of days or more, it is natural to want to feed them. However, it is the process of selecting what to feed them that is tricky.
While these critters would eat anything offered to them, it is always better to feed them fruits or veggies that can also add healthy nutrients to their body. Lettuce is both nutrient-dense as well tastes delicious making it a great choice for squirrels.
Do squirrels eat lettuce? You bet! Now go out there and get the best kind of lettuce for the job.