On average, squirrels eat at least a pound of food per week, even though many persons do think that squirrels eat nuts only, but this isn’t quite true. Squirrels have omnivore characteristics, which means they have the ability to eat both plants and meat. Squirrels feed mainly on plants which include fruits, fungi, seeds, nuts, and fruits. They show their carnivorous ability to feed on meat/ animals which include eggs, small insects, caterpillars, small animals (mice), and even young snakes.
Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to see many squirrels during the springtime as against other seasons or when is the worst time for squirrels to find food? This is solely because the nuts that have been buried earlier begin to sprout and would not be good for feasting any longer. They however adapt to being a carnivore and can feed on meat as a substitute for their food and survival.
Squirrels also collect and eat garbage from other hunters’ animal carcasses. Dead rodents are not left out and the same as other different kinds of insects. Squirrels in urban areas have been known to eat bread scraps, poultry, and discarded meals from dumpsters, being very flexible feeders.
Knowing that squirrels do feed on meat is one of the most shocking truths of nature that some persons do find shocking, as it is very difficult to picture these cute little creatures on the patio table cracking peanuts open and also hunting, killing, and also devouring other creatures. But they actually do and are experts in doing so.
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The gray squirrel is the common species and also it isn’t just gray, it also comes in a variety of colors which include gray, brown, black, and white in some cases. These gray squirrels are excellent at planting trees, feeding on birds, and also burying acorns. They are however very prone to forget where they put the acorns. These acorns they forgot their location become oak trees thereafter.
One of the common characteristics of these squirrels is the ability of the growing teeth continuously, especially their front teeth, which makes it easy for them to gnaw easily.
From other members of their specie, the squirrels do find it hard to manage their stores’ foods and might however lose it out to even other animals or rodents
It is reported that the gray squirrel kills and even consumes other gray squirrels. And recent experimental tests have shown that about 75% of the squirrels studied have animal matter in their stomachs.
Squirrels, being an omnivore, need a diet that is rich in protein, great carbohydrates, and also fats. Even though it is not regular for squirrels to feed on mice, but they do when they are very hungry. They do feed on a variety of small snakes, insects, and in very rare cases other squirrels also.
Squirrels can cover their meals in preparation for the cooler season. They also have stockpiles of food in the cold season which they can consume while resources are limited.
In deciduous forests, squirrels normally live in wooded areas, but they also tend to live in trees. Squirrels are living up to their names. They make holes in the ground, a series of secret bunkers, to live in. To stay warm, most squirrels even defrost in burrows throughout the cold.
In front of their mouth, squirrels have four teeth that are continuously developing across their entire
In most cases when squirrel feeds on mice, the mice might have been dying from a possible circumstance which might be from a poisoned bait which makes the mice very easy to prey on, even though the squirrel also stand the chance of feeding on the poison but it won’t be very effective on squirrels due to their physiology. This is all due to the fact that the squirrels are not good hunters.
Squirrels even go to the extent of attacking many birds’ nests for food supply such as eggs, tiny birds which are their well-served meal. In case these nesting birds go under attack by the squirrels, the birds flee leaving their chicks and eggs. This is due to the fact that the gray species of the squirrel are naturally raiders and might also get to kill the mother bird also if present.
Squirrels prefer to get their diets from nuts, mushrooms, roots, leaves, insects, and also seeds, as they have a very large menu of food they can choose from. However, in the presence of many food choices, they would prefer not to go for mice. But in very rare cases and they are close to starvation, they have no choice than to opt for mice as their source of food. So in case you have a squirrel on your landed property that is on the verge of dying, feed them to mice in your building and see wonders.
Squirrels are actually not an effective way to control rodents and many times homeowners do have a lot of trouble while having too many squirrels. Such as wood or property damage, electrical wiring damage, introducing or serving as a host for other pests which might keep spreading diseases
In front of their mouth, these squirrels have four teeth that do develop continuously during their lives. This depicts that they have their teeth not worn down by nubs as a result of gnawing on nuts and other things.
In some cases, these rodents have characteristics of having remarkable little bodies which makes it easy for squirrels to jump forward. For instance, most squirrels have their feed padded and can jump up for up to 6m (s) or even 20 feet long with cushions. They have their eyes on their head and it is situated high so they can see a lot of things within their surroundings without having to turn or twist their head.
They also have the tendency to run so well and are mostly termed as fantastic runners. They have been speculated to run so well for up to 20 mph that is 32 kph
On a general note, squirrels feed on mice very easily but they do not serve as the best or most effective way of controlling mice.
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.