When we think about squirrels, most of us will have a picture in our minds of a squirrel eating a nut or some seeds. We never really consider what else a squirrel eats. Whilst we know that they like to eat nuts and seeds, do squirrels eat meat too? Is a squirrel an omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore? In this post, we are going to answer these questions!
If you are looking to catch a squirrel, you can use this information to decide which squirrel bait to use!
What you will learn in this post:
- Do squirrels eat meat?
- Are squirrels omnivores?
- Which other animals do squirrels eat?
- Do squirrels eat each other?
- …and other questions.
Do Squirrels Eat Meat?
Yes, squirrels eat meat. In fact, squirrels will eat the following food types:
Squirrels are opportunistic meat-eaters and go for live meat if the animal is small and easy to catch.
That is the key point. If an animal, rodent, or insect is easy to catch, then a squirrel will catch it. Otherwise, a squirrel will only eat meat if they find a dead animal.
If a squirrel finds a dead rodent or a piece of dead meat, it will eat it. If the squirrel stumbles upon a nest of birds, mice, rats, and even squirrels, then it will happily feast on the babies or eggs or whatever it finds in the nest. If it is small enough and easy to catch, the squirrel will eat it.
I have also witnessed a squirrel eating a dead chicken. Although the chicken would be far too big for a squirrel to attack if it was alive, the squirrel saw the dead chicken and ate parts of it because it is an opportunistic meat-eater.
Obviously, the chicken is far too big for the squirrel to consume the whole lot, but it did eat quite a bit of it! Don’t forget; squirrels will eat eggs and chicks too).
What Meat Do Squirrels Like To Eat?
Now that we know that squirrels eat meat let’s look at some questions regarding which meats that squirrels like to eat.
Here we have detailed which specific things (outside of fruit, nuts, plants, and seeds) that a squirrel will eat.
Do squirrels eat birds?
Yes – squirrels will eat birds. They usually opt for smaller birds or baby birds. Sometimes even eggs!
The fact that squirrels can climb trees with ease means they can wait until the mom or dad birds have gone out to find some food. As soon as they leave their chicks, the squirrel will traverse the tree and feast on them.
It’s nasty, but it does happen!
Do squirrels eat mice?
Yes – squirrels eat mice.
Mice are small enough for a squirrel to eat and should be relatively easy to catch.
It also doesn’t matter about the size of the mouse. A squirrel can kill and eat them. Mice never get too big for a squirrel to eat.
Do squirrels eat rats?
Yes – squirrels eat rats.
Rats, in their own right, are pretty tough creatures. Squirrels will eat rats as long as the rat is small enough.
Also – if the squirrel happens to stumble upon a dead rat, it will happily eat it!
Squirrels rarely hunt and attack fully grown rats. A fully grown rat may be too tough for a squirrel to kill.
Do squirrels eat insects?
Yes – squirrels eat squirrels.
Cockroaches, scarab beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and larvae are all viable food sources for a squirrel! A squirrel could do wonders if you have a roach problem!
Most of the things that squirrels eat are good for us because it keeps them out of our way, but I guess the question is:
Do you want bugs near your home or squirrels?
Personally, I would rather have a yard full of bugs and insects than a yard full of squirrels! A yard full of squirrels could spell danger for you and your house…
Do squirrels eat each other?
Do squirrels eat meat? Yes – do squirrels each other? That is also a yes!
It is rare for a squirrel to eat another squirrel, but it does happen.
Usually, a squirrel is starving and has stumbled upon a nest with some baby squirrels. A squirrel will not go out and hunt for squirrels to eat. They are more opportunistic than that.
If a squirrel finds a dead squirrel, then it will happily feast on it.
Are squirrels omnivores?
Yes – squirrels are omnivores. Whilst they prefer eating nuts, seeds, fungi, and fruits, they will also eat insects, small animals, and even eggs!
As I mentioned, they prefer eating a predominantly herbivore diet; squirrels also eat meat.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Meat?
Squirrels eat meat because they are hungry! OK, it is not quite as simple as that, but it is not far away.
I have mentioned it a few times on this page, but I’ll confirm it again: Squirrels prefer eating berries, nuts, seeds, and plants.
But, what we know now is that squirrels eat mean… So here are the common reasons why a squirrel would eat meat:
- There are no nuts, berries, or seeds (we see an increase in meat-eating during the colder months).
- The squirrel has found a dead animal – they usually only eat meat if they find a dead animal, they very rarely kill other animals for meat.
- A nest has been found with either; eggs, chicks, or baby animals (even squirrels).
Do squirrels eat meat? Yes, they do! This post explains that and has also given you several animals that the squirrel will happily eat.
I mentioned above that squirrels have a preference to eat more of a herbivore diet. Their preference is to eat berries, nuts, seeds, and plants. If they are hungry and are desperate for food, a squirrel will be out looking for something else to eat. That may include meat!