Although squirrels can eat a small portion of chocolate, it is not wise to feed it to them. Chocolate contains theobromine that can be toxic to some animals, including squirrels. It also has sugar which is not good for them.
In high quantities, it can be lethal.
Theobromine gives chocolate its bitter taste, but once the chocolate is mixed with milk, sugar, and other ingredients, it tastes sweet, and the reason some animals, not just squirrels, are drawn to its taste.
Although the toxicity differs in squirrels because of their body size and weight, frequent feeding of chocolate will get them, eventually. When they feed on chocolate often, they may experience gastrointestinal problems.
Once they reached a certain level that is toxic, symptoms that will manifest include trembling, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, seizure, and eventual death.
How much can they eat?
Squirrels may eat a small portion, but if you are more cautious about the outcome, it is best not to feed them with chocolate at all.
Eating chocolate may have its benefits to squirrels as it will give them that extra energy, but remember, when they are fed with chocolate most of the time, it can be fatal later on.
Can they eat sugar?
Sugar can make them hyperactive and get them all excited. When compared with salt, sugar will also have an adverse effect on the overall health of the squirrel.
Just like junk foods, they should not be fed anything too salty or sweet because it has no nutritional value and should not be included in their diet.
Some samples of what you should not feed squirrels because of their high sugar content are candies, sweetened cereals, granola bars, and cookies.
Most people when they see squirrels in their backyard will try to feed them anything, not thinking that there are also foods that are harmful to squirrels and not just because they are eating it, it is beneficial for them.
What animals can eat it?
Rats and insects tolerate chocolates and will not die instantly from eating such. They can metabolize theobromine just like humans do but then again with their small size it may also have some fatal outcome.
Most animals will not benefit from eating chocolate despite all the benefits it offers.
From bears, pigs, ferrets, poultry, horses, dogs, and cats are all susceptible to the toxicity of theobromine found in chocolates.
Can they eat chocolate milk?
It is still not advisable to feed squirrels with milk chocolate, cause again, it still contains theobromine though in a lesser amount. Once squirrels eat too much chocolate milk, it can also impact their health.
What do they eat?
Squirrels are not picky eaters, they love to eat, and they do it frequently. You will see them busy munching and chewing most of the time.
They like acorns, pears, kiwi, avocado, peaches, mangoes, apples, grapes, nectarines, figs, plums, and citrus. They also love blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and mulberries. Other preferences are.
Vegetables are also one of their favorite and most of their preference include lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, arugula, peas, Brussels sprouts, radish, squash, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, and more.
You will find squirrels scurrying to find more nuts if they chance upon a nut tree within the vicinity. They will get busy collecting nuts so they can store them to feed on it later on. They love pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, chestnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and almonds. It is also the issue with some squirrels cause once they see nut trees, they will surely get busy taking all the nuts to have enough stash.
Although they are not birds, they are lovers of bird seeds. They will feed on any birdseed that is available, so if you have birds under your care and there are sightings of squirrels around the area, there is a big chance they are the reason your bird’s seed plate is always empty.
Since squirrels love to forage for food, other favorites of squirrels are mushrooms, acorn truffles, truffles, oyster mushrooms, and even lichen. Since mushrooms are abundant and growing fungi in the forest, squirrels will have plenty to feed on if they want to.
Because of their need for protein, squirrels will devour on caterpillars, grasshoppers, butterflies, crickets, larvae, and winged bugs. It is their go-to meal when there are no fruits or nuts to find.
Feeding on eggs is also not unusual for squirrels. They will even steal eggs from other animals like robins, blackbirds, or chickens, will eat hatchlings, baby birds, or young chicks. They have a voracious appetite and will feed on whatever is available.
Because of the nutritional value, squirrels will go for roots, leaves, plant stalk, soft twigs, bark, newly unfurled leaves, sprouts, succulent flower buds, young branches. They also include seeds in their meal, if available, such as pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds.
Squirrels will also not hesitate to eat your newly bloomed plants, flower petals, plant bulbs, and anything they can get their grubby paws on.
Squirrels are not just great foragers, but they are good at scavenging for food. What you consider some leftover and food scraps are still food for them. It can be an uneaten sandwich or leftover bread, pizza crust, fruit and vegetable peelings, old cookies, expired candies, and other food waste. When you need to take out your garbage, make sure it is sealed and locked inside the garbage can.
What should you feed them?
Since nut is their favorite, you can feed them nuts to have something to chew on specifically nuts with shells. Nuts are crucial to the overall health of squirrels as it provides protein and essential fatty acids they require.
Vegetables and fruits
You can cut up some raw vegetables and fruits to feed to squirrels. They will also love to have some ration of broccoli, squash, apples, pecans, berries, watermelon, and even grapes.
You might think that squirrels will not be fond of cheese, but since they have gotten a taste of cheese from when humans leave them some morsel to feed on outdoors, it is now a treat for squirrels.
You can leave some chunks of cheddar, provolone, mozzarella, swiss cheese, or even just an old grilled cheese will do. They will chew on it with much gusto. They are not picky with the cheese as long as there is something for them to eat.
Some cereals contain grains and nuts and will surely entice the squirrels in your backyard. Most squirrels will devour on cereals such as cornflakes, grape nuts, wheat cereals and provide them with the needed boost to keep them going the entire day. Some cereals may be too sweet for squirrels, and you should pick one with lesser sugar content.
What should you not feed squirrels?
Most people would feed squirrels with onions, garlic, and peppers, not knowing that these are bad for them. You should not give them dairy products, junk food, candies, processed foods, and chocolates. Any food that is too sweet and salty should not be given as a treat for squirrels. Squirrels will eat it since they are busy eaters, but you should avoid giving them such foods.
Stale food should not be given to squirrels. Even if your intentions are good, keep stale foods in the trash can.
Raw Peanuts contain fungi that are harmful to squirrels. Although it is called peanuts, they are considered as legumes.
Corn does not have any nutritional value for squirrels, and they will not benefit from eating it. It should not be given to them as it can also be toxic and fatal once it turns sour.
Even if you have plenty of leftover foods, it is still not alright to feed them to the squirrels.
Should you not feed wildlife?
You may want to feed the squirrel that’s been passing in your garden, and you don’t want them to go hungry, but the thing is feeding wild animals may also lead to trouble. When one animal goes to your place for food, other animals can follow, and you don’t want different animals visiting your porch or your backyard any time they please.
Some animals may also be a bringer of disease and can transmit such to different types of animals. Fatal diseases can affect a wide range of animals and not just contained to one animal species. Some samples of transmittable disease are leptospirosis, avian pox, parvovirus, canine distemper, and parasites,
You may even cause them harm by feeding them. Giving foods that are not nutritious or even dangerous, such as junk food, can cause an imbalance that can make some animals sick.
Wild animals can also inflict harm on humans even if you are feeding them. They are not your pet and should not be treated as such. They can bite or scratch anyone once they feel threatened. It can also start a fight between wild animals as they try to compete for the food, and some animals can get hurt in the process.
Feeding wild animals is a bad idea, no matter how good your intentions may be.