SciSun: Please, may I have some more?

We’ve all seen this before:

Squirrel with nut

It's mine all mine

The average squirrel eating a nut. And squirrels are nutty about nuts! (Sorry, couldn’t resist). Particularly during the Fall, squirrels take every nut they can find and either hide it for later, or eat it on the spot. They need the high-nutrition nuts in the winter when there’s very little fresh food for them to find, and in the Fall they act like they can’t get enough nuts! But are nuts all that squirrels eat? Don’t be silly.

Squirrels are not strict vegetarians, like you might think. They are actually generalists, which means they will eat plants, insects, small lizards and even snakes! However they usually prefer food that is easy to eat, like flower buds, easy-to-reach fruit, and grains. In fact, many squirrels have learned how to take food from bird feeders and after some practice they can find their way around just about any ‘squirrel-proof’ bird feeder that’s been made. In fact, they might even enjoy the challenge!

But that doesn’t mean squirrels should eat everything. Some people, trying to be nice, will feed squirrels popcorn, and candy, and even pieces of sandwiches and other people foods. Those are not things squirrels, or other wildlife, should have. In fact some of our human foods might be dangerous to wildlife. As cute as the squirrels might be – and no matter how much they look like they want your food, it’s our responsibility not to feed them anything that they wouldn’t normally find in the natural environment. But if you’re outside and find some acorns on the ground, you can be certain there’s a nearby squirrel (or two!) who will be happy have them gently tossed in their direction. And don’t be surprised if they come back asking for more.

Dig Deeper!

There are lots of great places to learn more about Squirrels. Here are a few to get you started:

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/squirrel.html

http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/sci_update.php?DocID=203

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/young_naturalists/squirrels/index.html

And always check out your local library! (We mean for books, but there are probably squirrels running around the lawn, too!)

Have questions or comments? Contact us though our ‘About Us’ page!

%d bloggers like this: