A squirrel is a type of rodent with over two hundred species grouped in the family Sciuridae. These animals look cute and innocent, but can turn out to be a nuisance if you have a well-maintained garden. This is because of their eating habits.

Let's take a look at what do squirrels eat, their feeding habits and adaptations.

Vegetarian Diet

Except for a few species, all of these rodents are vegetarians. They feed on various parts of plants and prefer sources which are rich in carbohydrates and proteins. Their long list of food sources mostly includes nuts, acorns, seeds, different fruits and vegetables. Among fruits, they love apples, oranges, grapes, apricots, avocados, bananas and even tomatoes. On the other hand, their vegetable preferences are carrots, broccoli and their favorite corn on the cob.

Apart from these preferred food items, there are others as well. In fact, a squirrel would feed on just anything in order to obtain energy. This habit makes it an opportunistic feeder. It relishes acorns, roots, mushrooms, tree bark, plant stems, leaves, cereal plants, pine cones, twigs, black walnuts, peanuts and the list goes on. An unusual choice of food also includes fungi and lichens.

One of their favorite delights is bulbs of flowers. They dig up the ground to find this delicacy and feast on it often. This is one of the reasons why they turn up as a nuisance in gardens. Your freshly planted flower bulbs will be ruined. Plus, plant shoots, leaves and roots will also be damaged as they nibble on them.

Meat Diet

Some squirrel species are omnivores and, therefore, enjoy both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian diet. The most common of these meat eaters include Flying Squirrel, Thirteen Lined Squirrel and the Antelope Squirrel. Their favorite food ranges from smaller insects to larger organisms like snakes, chicks and mice. A flying squirrel would also grasp small birds for a nice meal. It has also been known to pick up bird eggs from nests.

Apart from these predatory rodents, some squirrel species may also switch from their vegetarian diet to meat in desperate situations. For instance, when there is shortage of vegetarian food, they may start feeding on insects and worms in order to survive.

Adaptations for Feeding

Have you ever wondered how these small rodents are capable of breaking open hard shells of nuts so easily? They also chew hard nuts, twigs, tree bark and other hard parts of plants with no apparent difficulty. This is due to their natural adaptations which include their long and durable canines as well as their sharp claws. Their characteristic long canines keep growing no matter what the age of the rodent is. These teeth help in shelling nuts easily and in cutting and chewing hard plant matter. On the other hand, their sharp claws come in handy for digging flower buds and roots out.

Storing Habits

One more area where the sharp claws of a squirrel prove to be useful is its habit of storing food. The rodent does not only save food for winters, but it is also in the habit of saving food everyday for future use. It digs up ground, usually near tree stems, and stores extra nuts, acorns and other types of dry food items there. It may also store its surplus food in holes of tree barks. The animal has a sharp memory and always remembers its points of food storage. This storing habit is another reason which makes these rodents garden pests. Meticulous home gardens can be ruined by random digging all over the place.

Interesting Facts

Have a look at some really interesting facts about squirrels' feeding habits.

  • This small rodent has a very large appetite. The food it feeds on within seven days is almost equal to its total body weight.
  • They forage for food here and there and have also been seen going after seeds which people put on bird feeders.
  • A squirrel's love for pasta was revealed by some tourists in UK who reported to have observed the animal pull out some spaghetti from a trash can and consume it with enjoyment.

A squirrel is, indeed, a fascinating and amusing rodent. Its feeing preferences mostly depend on its environment and what food sources are available. It is not picky at all. If you adore the organism, you can hand some corn-on-cob out around trees in your garden.

Latest Mammals

Types Of Goats

Types Of Goats

Goat is a mammal that belongs... read more

Goat Facts

Goat Facts

A domesticated form the wild goat of...read more

Giraffes Facts

Giraffes Facts

Giraffes are creatures with extremely...read more

Ox Facts

Ox Facts

A centuries old friend of man in the...read more

Latest Birds

Victoria Crowned Pigeon
Information About Flamingos
Hoopoe Bird

Hoopoe Bird

Famous for its distinctive crown of...read more

Roseate Spoonbill Facts

Roseate Spoonbill

The beautiful Roseate Spoonbill...read more

Personal Wp Theme
Facts About Hyenas

Facts About Hyenas

Hyenas belong to the order carnivora and family hyaenidae. Although it has...

Comb Jelly Facts and Information

Comb Jelly Facts

Comb jelly belongs to the phylum ctenophore, containing specific invertebrate...

Northern Shrike Bird

Northern Shrike Bird

The Northern Shrike Bird is known as Lanius excubitor in the scientific world...

Birds of Prey List

Birds of Prey List

A bird of prey is also known as a raptor or a hunter. It belongs to the group of...

Sloth Animal Facts

Sloth Animal Facts

The sloth animal is a mammal with its species belonging to two families...

Millipedes Vs Centipedes

Millipedes Vs Centipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are both arthropods from the group...

Difference Between Warm Blooded and Cold Blooded Animals
Top 10 Extremely Dangerous Insects

Top 10 Extremely Dangerous Insects

The insects have been grouped in class 'insecta' of...

Lionfish Facts

Lionfish Facts

Lionfish is a chordate which belongs to the family scorpaenidae and genus...

Types Of Goats

Types Of Goats

Goat is a mammal that belongs to the family Bovidae. Being a member of the sub-family...

Blue Chinned Sapphire Facts

Blue Chinned Sapphire

This is a kind of hummingbird. It is really small in size, only 8.9 cm as it can be seen...

Lizard Facts

Lizard Facts

Lizards are members of the reptilian class in the animal kingdom. They belong to...

Buffalo Facts, Types, Diet, Habitat And Pictures

Buffalo Facts, Types

Buffalo is a member of the animal kingdom and belongs to class mammalia. Most...

Baboons Facts, Breeds, Habitat, Diet And Pictures

Baboons Facts

Baboons are intelligent and opportunistic creatures which belong to the...

Egg Laying Mammals List and Facts with Pictures

Egg Laying Mammals

Mammals are always thought of giving birth to young ones but sometimes it can...

Dove Bird Facts, Habitat, Pictures and Diet

Dove Bird Facts

The birds that are considered as the symbol of love, peace and harmony are one...

Birds of Prey List

Birds of Prey List

A bird of prey is also known as a raptor or a hunter. It belongs to the group of...

Millipedes Vs Centipedes

Millipedes Vs Centipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are both arthropods from the group...

Difference Between Warm Blooded and Cold Blooded Animals
Top 10 Extremely Dangerous Insects

Top 10 Extremely Dangerous Insects

The insects have been grouped in class 'insecta' of...

Sheep Vs Goat

Sheep Vs Goat

The goat and the sheep are related to each other through the same family. They...

Animals with Blue-colored Blood

Animals with Blue-colored Blood

Humans and other vertebrates have red-colored blood running...

Do Birds, Mammals And Reptiles Share A Common Ancestor?

Birds, Mammals And Reptiles

Before coming to the question of common ancestry of birds...

White Rhino Facts and Pictures - Why Endangered?

White Rhino Facts

In our race to make this world a better place in terms of...