What Nuts Are Good For Squirrels
Squirrels love nuts, whether they are in the treat tray or the wild, shelled and in-shell nuts are a natural choice for their diets. They are known for their quick movements and climbing ability, with a roaming range anywhere between two to five miles. Although they never travel far from the nest, they are always on the move when foraging.
To keep their energy levels up, Squirrels typically eat a variety of nuts, fruits, seeds, fungi, and small insects. Their diet needs to be high in proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. At least enough to deliver the calories needed for all the acrobatics done throughout the day. Nuts are at the top of the list for the best foods to give to squirrels. Tree nuts are typically high in nutrients that are perfect for squirrels.
Why is protein important for squirrels?
Balanced amounts of protein in any diet is needed to maintain muscle mass. Increasing protein consumption can help in situations where muscle growth is the goal. This is because muscles are made from a collection of water, fat, and high amounts of protein. Squirrels need sufficient amounts of protein as part of their daily nutrition to keep their muscles replenished.
In addition to muscle health, protein is also one of the main components of organs, bones, skin, hair, and nails. Squirrels can weigh anywhere from ten ounces to just over one pound. Although they are lightweight, their agility and roaming skills are only as good as the overall strength of their bones, organs, and muscles. A lack of proper nutrients could lead to muscle fatigue, bone density changes, and weaker immune systems.
Protein is also essential to the strength of their nails and the health of their fur coat. Wild squirrels are known for climbing trees and random structures as they explore their local environment. A thick fur coating and tough nails are essential for survival and exposure to the elements. Squirrels nests are often built in trees, on the highest forked branch they can use. Their ability to reach these heights just to get home every day means their nails must be strong.
What kind of vitamins and minerals do squirrels need?
Although you cannot go wrong with balanced amounts of vitamins and minerals in a squirrels feeder, certain nutrients should be a focus. For strong bones and teeth, calcium is a priority. To maintain muscle health, potassium is also high on the list of squirrel nutrition needs.
Traveling to and from their nests, dens, or food caches takes stamina. The ability to consistently snack on hard foods like nuts and seeds means their teeth must be tough enough to chew through hard shells. A squirrel must have strong bones to keep up their endurance, this includes their teeth. Calcium is integral to the health of their bones and teeth. Lacking adequate amounts of calcium in their normal diets could result in bone deterioration and brittle teeth. Severe calcium deficiency can be life-threatening.
Exploring the area around their homes takes conditioned muscles. Their bodies must be strong enough to jump from branch-to-branch or rooftop-to-rooftop. Potassium is needed to keep the muscles firing and prevent them from cramping. Squirrels need decent amounts of potassium to keep their muscles from seizing. This mineral helps the muscle contract while regulating the vitamins and minerals entering and exiting the cells. Inadequate potassium consumption could also lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, changes in blood pressure, and even impact bone density.
What are the top four nuts for squirrels?
To avoid any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, incorporate more tree nuts in the squirrel’s diet. Nuts are also high in natural fats and proteins and low in carbohydrates. Here are just a few of the most popular and healthy nut choices for squirrels.
Acorns are common in many squirrel’s nut stashes. This tree nut contains proteins, fats, potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral the body needs to help maintain nerve and muscle function. It also supports strong bones and a healthy immune system.
Almonds are rich in protein and good fats as well as fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and manganese. Manganese is a mineral that helps the body function properly. It helps the body metabolize cholesterol and carbohydrates. This is especially important for squirrels, as they need to avoid foods high in starches, sugars, and fats (bad cholesterol fatty acids).
The pecan nut is loaded with protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. It also provides over nineteen vitamins and minerals, each of which plays a role in supporting cardiovascular, digestive, and immune system health. Some of the nutrients pecans offer include calcium, iron, vitamin B6, folic acid (vitamin B9), potassium, and magnesium. Make sure to get it in bulk, either cracked, shelled, or in-shell pecans to keep your pantry stocked up through the winter.
One of the highest in protein, good fats, and fiber, the walnut would also be an excellent choice for squirrels. This nut is loaded with magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin B6, and iron. Iron is a mineral the body needs to help produce parts of the blood cells. It helps oxygenate the red blood cells and lacking enough iron could lead to extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. Squirrels are highly physical but an iron deficiency could impact their activity and cause them breathing problems.
Remember, when taking care of pet squirrels, it’s best to provide a variety of choices. They tend to love nuts, seeds, and fruit. The great thing about nuts is you can provide them shelled, in-shell, or mixed with apples and pumpkin seeds.