Are Pecans Good For Squirrels
Whether you have a pet squirrel or get regular outdoor visitors, guessing what they should eat can be difficult. A well-balanced diet of proteins and fats along with sufficient vitamins and minerals, such as calcium is integral to squirrels’ health. Processed foods high in starches and fats can have a negative impact, especially when considering squirrels weigh an average of one pound or less. Overloading their diet with unnatural foods can have adverse effects on their behavior and weight.
Squirrels are small and agile. Foods rich in proteins and healthy fats are the perfect fuel for them to maintain their tree-to-tree movements. Pecan nuts are an ideal source of nutrition for squirrels.
High Energy and Good Fats
Squirrels usually have a high level of activity and consuming foods that can keep their energy levels up is important. Omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, provide the body with energy. Pecans are high in natural fats - saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. These fatty acids are also some of the components of all cell membranes. Made up of phospholipids, cholesterol, proteins, and carbohydrates, these membranes essentially regulate what can enter and exit the cell. The fatty acids in pecan nuts are also referred to as “good fats,” which help to decrease bad cholesterol levels.
Pecans can help keep squirrel’s energy levels up and contains enough fats and fiber to keep them feeling satisfied. It’s a great choice for keeping these little ones jumping, running, and exploring.
Squirrels Need Strong Bones and Muscles
Pecans are a natural source of protein and contain over nineteen vitamins and minerals. Squirrels are constantly on the move and are not afraid to try new things. Simply observe some of the wild squirrels in your area and notice how quick they can be. That kind of agility requires tough bones and fueled muscles.
Calcium and Bone Health
Due to their high activity and small stature, squirrels can be prone to nutritional deficiencies. A lack of enough calcium could result in bone disease. If a squirrel’s diet does not have sufficient calcium, the body begins to use what is stored within the bones. This depletes the calcium deposits needed for adequate bone density. Prevent these types of bone diseases by providing more foods rich in calcium and other nutrients.
Potassium and Muscle Health
Squirrels are naturally curious and always on the move. The more active they are, the more their muscles need potassium. The muscles need potassium to contract and to communicate with other muscles and nerves. It’s essential to normal muscle function and a lack of enough potassium can lead to cramping, digestive issues, and fatigue.
Protein and Muscle Health
Consuming enough protein is just as important as potassium intake. Protein is one of the main building blocks of almost everything in our bodies. Aside from water and fat, protein constitutes our muscle growth and is a component of our bones and organs. If squirrels do not eat ample amounts of proteins, their muscles become smaller and weaker. This would be detrimental to their overall health and well-being.
Protein is also an element needed for healthy hair and nails. Squirrels rely on their fur to keep them warm. They also need strong nails to keep them climbing and jumping. If you notice brittle nails or thinning fur, consider giving them more nuts, like pecans, which are naturally high in protein.
Calcium, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium are high on the list of dietary needs for squirrels. Pecans are rich in all four nutrients. Some of the other vitamins and minerals pecans contain include iron, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. All of which contribute to healthy cells, muscles, bones, and a stronger immune system.
How to serve pecans to squirrels
Squirrels enjoy nuts, seeds, and fruits all the time, regardless of how they are presented. Using their front paws, squirrels will tend to turn nuts over, feeling and analyzing them. Studies have shown this process is believed to help them decide whether the food should be consumed soon or buried for later.
If you are worried about what type of pecans to give them just remember fresh is best. No matter what, these little ones will enjoy the nourishment. What’s convenient is you do not have to be particular about whether the pecans have a shell or not. If you have a squirrel feeder, you can place shelled, cracked, or in-shell pecans in it. Afterward, stand-back and observe their excited interest in the tasty morsels you provided.
Pecan nuts are delicious for people and squirrels alike. It’s a nutritional choice for both parties. What better way to keep the squirrels happy and healthy, then by incorporating more pecans in their diet.
Shields, L. (2018, April 12). Study uncovers surprising things about squirrels. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-uncovers-squirrels.html