What Do Grey Squirrels Eat

The grey squirrel has predominantly grey fur with white undersides. It’s also referred to as the eastern gray squirrel. These squirrels can be as tall as 30cm with bushy tails that are almost as long as their body.

Although they spend most of their time on trees, they come down every once in a while in search of food. Grey squirrels are mainly herbivorous but on some occasions, they eat insects, bird eggs, and nestlings among other things.

Grey Squirrels Favorite Food

There are different species of squirrels across the world including the grey squirrels, red squirrels, black squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and many more. They all primarily eat the same thing.

Well, squirrels aren’t picky eaters and if you have taken your time to observe their eating habits you’ll happen to notice that they eat a lot of things. Here’s a list of some of the things they eat:

1. Vegetables and fruits

Squirrels tend to prefer vegetables and fruits more since these are readily available. They enjoy a variety of leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, and arugula. Other vegetables that are their favorite are eggplant, carrots, broccoli, okra, squash, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, and leeks. Additionally, they also enjoy beans, peas, corn, and radishes.

vegetables for squirrels

Apples, apricots, oranges, avocados, and tomatoes are some of the fruits that squirrels enjoy. When squirrels eat fruits, they get a sugar rush that gives them a lot of energy to keep them scrambling around and foraging for more goodies.

2. Nuts

Squirrels are absolutely nuts about nuts and these are a great source of fats and proteins for the squirrels. Their favorite nuts are acorns, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, macadamia, pecans, hickory nuts, beechnuts, and pine nuts out of pine cones. Peanuts are nutritionally poor for squirrels. It’s also worth noting that salted peanuts shouldn’t be fed to squirrels.

Nuts for squirrels

If you spend time observing a nuts tree, chances are that at some point you’ll see a squirrel bustling amongst the branches. Nuts are one of squirrels’ most naturally desired foods and they’re quite happy to eat the nuts with or without the shells. The process of extracting the nut from the shell is also quite beneficial to the squirrels as it helps in sharpening their teeth.

Squirrels also stash away the nuts to be eaten later on especially in autumn. They bury them in different hiding places and come back for them weeks or even months later. This is all thanks to their highly-developed spatial memory and an acute sense of smell. However, many of these hidden treasures remain un-eaten and so they grow into trees. The dispersing of nuts and seeds far and wide is very helpful in ensuring that certain tree species continue to exist.

If you grow nuts for commercial purposes and have a problem with squirrels hoarding your nuts, try installing a metal sheet wrap around the tree trunk. This will stop them from climbing the tree and harvesting the nuts.

3. Cheese

Obviously, this isn’t something that you expect squirrels to run into in their natural habitats. But humans leave all kinds of things outside.

Cheese for squirrels

Squirrels are not picky when it comes to cheese and will eat different types of cheese. They aren’t discriminative about how they enjoy their cheese; they can eat left-over cheesy pizza and cheese sandwiches disposed off in the garbage.

Cheese gives squirrels fat that is stored in their bodies and keeps them warm during the colder months.

4. Cereals

A lot of squirrel-watchers enjoy feeding cereal to squirrels that seem to enjoy the cereals – especially those in which nuts have been incorporated. Although these cereals aren’t exactly Mother Nature’s idea of a perfect squirrel snack, they enjoy devouring these tasty treats.

Cereals for squirrels

One benefit of these cereals is that they’re sugar-packed and thus give squirrels a boost of energy as they go about their business.

5. Birdseed

Birdseed is, of course, bird’s feed. But they can also be a tasty meal for squirrels and this explains why squirrels don’t hesitate to raid birdhouses and fill their stomachs with this snack. Birdseed is made using a mixture of nuts and other types of grains. Does it make sense to you know why squirrels enjoy eating birdseed?

Birdseed for squirrels

6. Insects

If all their other favorite foods aren’t available, squirrels don’t mind eating insects in different stages of development. They will eat winged bugs, grasshoppers, butterflies, crickets, caterpillars, and larvae.

Insects for squirrels

These insects are a great source of protein for the squirrels.

7. Fungi

In their natural environments, squirrels can find a wide variety of mushrooms depending on the climate. Their favorite fungi are mushrooms. Sometimes, they leave the mushrooms out in the sun to dry before they eat them.

Fungi for squirrels

8. Eggs

Considering that squirrels spend a lot of time on trees, it’s very easy to find bird eggs in the nests. At times the squirrels also steal chicken eggs.

Eggs for squirrels

Whenever they have to, squirrels may need to eat young chicks, nestlings, and hatchlings.

9. Plant material

Squirrels basically forage for different plant materials as long as they offer some nutritional value. Usually, they prefer seeds, young branches, succulent flower buds, tender stalks, and soft twigs.

Plant material for squirrels

Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are some of the seeds that squirrels enjoy.

10. Dog and cat food

This might sound a little strange but it comes as no shock that hungry squirrels snack on cat and dog food even though it’s not the best choice for them.

cat food for squirrels

Is there anything that squirrels can’t eat?

Squirrels don’t have many boundaries regarding their dining habits. They seem open-minded when it comes to food and curiously try just about anything. But seriously, is anything that squirrels don’t like to eat? Yes! There are a couple of things that squirrels don’t eat. These include raw onions and garlic as well as hot peppers. This explains why pepper and garlic sprays are widely used as a squirrel repellent

In addition to what they don’t like to eat, there are a couple of other things that they aren’t supposed to eat like chocolate, highly processed foods, and dairy products. These are detrimental to their digestion and overall health.