Yes, Squirrels do eat Grass. They can eat anything available to them, because they are not picky eaters, they can eat anything and partially everything within their reach, and that can provide them the energy and satisfaction they want. They have a natural appetite for veggies, flowers, nuts, berries, bird feed, nestlings, and tree barks. Among all these foods, they can still eat grass especially the softer part of the grass that is, the new plant and the grass seedling.
Ground squirrels are generally herbivores animals, they eat more grasses, fruits, forbs, flower nuts, and seeds than bird feeds. They run around looking for clusters of seeds to eat and store the rest in their larders. They love to eat Augustine grass seed more often than any other grass because it produces fresh seeds and tastes good.
They also eat whole seedlings vegetables, fruits, and berries. They uproot plants to eat their seed thereby destroying them, this shows how desperate they are to find food during scarcity of food. The diet of tree squirrels is predominantly seeds, nuts, fruits, buds, leaves, and barks of trees. They also gnaw on bones and seldomly eat soil with calcium nutrients.
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But when there is a scarcity of food around their environment they eat grass and its seeds. Most times, they climb trees with thick branches to eat their fruits and seed to fill their stomach, this is easy for them because they majorly live in tree holes. They always look out for newly planted grass and sprouts to eat. Even though they enjoy eating nuts like beechnuts, pinenut, hazelnuts, walnuts, and acorns, they also enjoy feeding on tulip seeds opening buds, and corn.
Flying squirrels prefer to consume hypogeous mycorrhizal fungi to any other foods because this food has a moderate nutritional value than the normal seeds. They are less likely to feed on grass because they are the most carnivorous species of all squirrels. They feed on dead animal flesh, insect, bird eggs, and nestlings so they do really pick interest in eating grass as other species do. They are mostly very active in storing food and fat in their bodies to survive when there is a scarcity of food, that’s why you see them in their dreys resting during the winter period.
Oftentimes, squirrels are troublesome pests, for many farmers, and gardeners, they destroy plants, especially the new ones. They also invade the residential areas especially the ground squirrels entering homes looking for something to eat. They damage food and ornamental plants by devouring the seedlings and gnawing the bark of a tree. Squirrels frequently attack grains, fruits, and nut trees such as apple, apricot, avocado, almond, orange, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
Squirrels can basically eat anything they find around them, but they would love it more if they can see acorns and nuts. Because the nuts are sufficient for them and also have a nutritional value which is beneficial to their health. They are open-minded and have free will when it comes to food and nutrition, that is why they eat anything edible for their survival. Squirrels passionately love to eat fruits, the more reason you see them hovering around any fruit tree they see around them. They climb this fruit tree, pluck the fruits, eat and hoard the rest for future consumption.
Do not be surprised, when you see them eating berries like strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, blueberries, and more. They eat them because of the attractive smell and the good taste of it basically, they love to eat sweet things. Squirrels also feed on lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, arugula, etc. They can also lay their hungry paws on sweet veggies like tomatoes, corn squash, beans, corns, peas, root vegetables, broccoli, cabbage cauliflower, and so on when need be.
Squirrels have a peculiar habit of making use of anything within their reach, they have the habit of burying the fruits and seed collected after they have eaten to their satisfaction, this is kept for future consumption. They also collect grasses, feathers, and other things around to build their nests and larders so as to keep them warm and provide them food during the winter.
Do not be shocked when you see a squirrel eating grass, it is due to the scarcity of foods in their environment, and had no choice but to look for means of survival. They are opportunistic creatures that take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way, that is why they try as much as possible to avoid hunger. They believe in survival than anything else because they need energy for their activities which requires them to run around building nests and storing foods they eat grass if there is absolutely nothing for them to eat in their environment.
It should be known that they do not eat grass blades but they eat grass seed and newly sprouted plants, even though they have their natural diet and favorites, they tend to divert to eating anything edible to sustain them and to keep them alive. Each and every squirrel has one or two things to do at every moment, they are hardworking and always hustling for what to eat, where to sleep, and where to store their foods.
They take advantage of whatsoever food is available for consumption, they strive hard to live, that is why you see them always busy with one thing or another. Circumstances push them to eat grass more often when there is nothing to eat in their environment, but if there is enough of nuts, mushrooms, or bird feeder they ignore the grass and enjoy their favorites because the nuts are more ideal, safe, and nutritious to them than the grass.
Due to their level of intelligence, squirrels will do anything to survive and can never tolerate going hungry, so they forage for grass and veggies as one of the means of survival.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.