Are you seeing these little bushy-tailed friends in your backyard and wondering, can squirrels eat bread?
You can feed bread to squirrels but it holds little nutritional value for them. Bread possesses a high quantity of sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates. Unfortunately, these ingredients are not good for squirrels and other animals that lack the ability to digest such an unnatural diet.
Like foxes, squirrels forage around and will munch on anything that they find edible and nutritious. Instead of bread, you should offer squirrels some nuts and fruits.
Can Squirrels Eat Bread: Is Wheat Safe For Squirrels
Although squirrels can eat it, bread is not a safe and nutritious diet for them. It is best for you to keep this snack to yourself and don’t offer it to them when they are in your yard.
Bread is not something that satisfies the nutritional demands of squirrels and acts as just a stomach filler. Eating bread and other leftover foods in urban areas can make them dependent on human food and reduces their hunger for other natural foods.
Moreover, bread is loaded with sugar and carbs which are not nutritious. Too much sugar can weaken their ability to absorb calcium. Some loaves of bread also contain baking soda, which makes the squirrels dehydrated.
Bread that is made of whole-grain wheat is a much healthier option than white bread. You should give whole wheat bread to squirrels once in a while as a treat.
Squirrels Cannot Digest Cellulose
Bread contains cellulose, which is made up of small units of glucose. Some animals can digest this substance, with the help of an enzyme called cellulase.
But squirrels can not digest cellulose present in the bread. This inability to digest cellulose makes the bread just a stomach filler for the squirrels.
Although cellulose can not be digested in the human stomach, it has a role in bowel movement.
Because squirrels can not digest cellulose, they depend upon foods containing proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients. By offering bread, you can kill their appetite for their natural diet.
Can Squirrels Eat White Bread?
Squirrels can eat white bread but it is not recommended to feed them. White bread is made from refined flour, which is not nutritious for squirrels.
Refined flour loses much of its components and a lot of things are added back into it. During pulverization, bran is removed from wheat grains which possess most of the dietary fiber. This makes white bread nothing more than a filler and reduces squirrels’ hunger for their natural diet.
Instead of white bread, you should feed squirrels whole wheat grains, which contain all of the dietary components of wheat.
Can Squirrels Eat Moldy Bread
When you put out bread for too long, it can become moldy and thus toxic for squirrels. Moldy bread contains tremorgenic mycotoxins which are extremely poisonous to squirrels. It can cause tremors, vomiting, seizures, and fever.
Aflatoxin which is another toxin can cause liver failure in squirrels. If you still want to give some bread to the squirrels, make sure it is not moldy. Also give them in small amounts, so that the bread does not get spoiled and moldy.
Apart from squirrels, moldy bread and food are also poisonous for other animals. If you have pets in your yard, then it is important to clean any leftover food, before it can get spoiled and moldy.
Can Squirrels Eat Whole Wheat Bread?
Yes, squirrels can eat whole wheat bread, and you can offer them once in a while. Because it is a lot better than white bread.
Whole wheat bread is made of flour that is not refined. Whole wheat bread is more healthy because it contains all three parts; bran, germ, and endosperm.
The bran, which is the outer layer of fiber, is loaded with vitamins, iron, minerals, and other nutrients. The germ which is the core of the seed is full of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Due to all these nutrients, whole wheat bread is good for squirrels, but still, it is not a good idea to overfeed them with it.
On the other hand, white bread is made of refined flour, which lacks nutrient-rich bran. That is why it is unable to meet the nutritional demands of squirrels.
Can Squirrels Eat Bread With Peanut Butter?
Squirrels can eat bread with peanut butter, but it is better that you just give them peanut butter.
Peanut butter, unlike bread, is not bad for squirrels and is full of proteins, healthy fats, and vitamins.
Although squirrels are not picky eaters and will eat too much peanut butter. But you should not overfeed them with it, as too much of it will increase their body fats.
Can Gray Squirrels Eat Bread?
Like other species of squirrels, gray squirrels can eat bread but you should not feed them.
Gray squirrels will eat anything if they find the opportunity. They eat plant materials, flowers, insects, nuts, and fruits. They even raid bird feeders and nests for eggs and bird food.
If you want to feed gray squirrels, give them some nuts, which is their favorite food. Nuts and fruits are loaded with nutrients and give them much-needed energy for foraging.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Bread?
Baby squirrels can’t eat bread and you should not give it to them. Most of the time you won’t see them because they remain in the drey with their mothers and come out when they become adults.
Baby squirrels like to eat milk and other food things which their mothers feed them.
If you find a baby squirrel in your backyard and you want to help it. Then first check if the baby squirrel is dehydrated.
You can find out by pinching his back up, if the skin remains wrinkled then it means the squirrel is dehydrated. You can rehydrate the squirrel by giving it some Pedialyte.
After hydration, you can give it some milk. You can give them Esbilac Puppy Formula, which is a powder formula and is good for baby squirrels.
What Should You Never Feed A Squirrel? [Other Unhealthy Foods]
There are some human foods that are not only unhealthy but can be extremely toxic for squirrels.
Some of them are:
- Chocolate: Feeding too much chocolate is bad for squirrels and can cause serious health issues. The degree of toxicity depends upon the type of chocolate and the level of theobromine in it.
- Fatty Salty Foods: Foods that contain too much fat and salts can cause stomach problems for squirrels.
- Spoiled & Molded Food: Contains poisonous materials which can be even fatal sometimes.
- Cherry Pit: Squirrels like eating cherries but cherry pits are poisonous to squirrels.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is bad for squirrels and can cause problems related to the nervous system.
- Onion & garlic: Squirrels do not like but sometimes they eat it. Onion and garlic can cause stomach problems in squirrels.
|Toxic Foods||Potential Health Problems|
|Chocolate||Serious health issues, depending on theobromine content|
|Fatty Salty Foods||Stomach problems|
|Spoiled & Molded Food||Poisonous materials, potentially fatal|
|Cherry Pit||Poisonous to squirrels|
|Caffeine||Nervous system problems|
|Onion & Garlic||Stomach problems|
Squirrels can eat any leftover human food. That is why it is important to clear it before squirrels eat it.
What You Can Feed Squirrels Beside Bread?
We have talked about whether squirrels can eat bread and how bad it is, but you may be thinking, what else can squirrels eat? Here are some favorite foods that squirrel like to eat.
Nuts & Fruits
Nuts are the favorite foods of squirrels. They take it away to eat it or bury it in the ground for winter when the food is short in supply.
Squirrels eat different types of nuts, such as hazelnut, almonds, acorns, cashews, Walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, and pistachios.
Squirrels love eating fruits. Fruits give them the energy for foraging here and there. Squirrels like various kinds of fruits, such as bananas, Pears, Pineapple, Mangoes, Grapes, Eggplants, Apples, Mangos, strawberries, and Melons.
Vegetables & Flowers
Squirrels enjoy eating vegetables and will eat almost anything in your garden. These bushy-tailed buddies also eat corn and other grains, such as wheat and oat. Squirrels also eat fresh and leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce.
Squirrels eat flower petals such as tulips and roses to store fast for the winter. If squirrels are harming your flowers then grow some squirrel-repellent plants such as onion and garlic.
Fungi & Mushrooms
Squirrels like eating mushrooms and fungi like truffles, acorn truffles, oysters, and lichens.
Squirrels won’t eat just any mushroom. Those with a purplish tint on their head usually fit them well. They can also digest some wild mushrooms that are either hallucinogenic or poisonous to humans.
Squirrels also eat insects such as mealworms, ants, caterpillars, praying mantes, grasshoppers, spiders, wasps, and other worms.
Can Squirrels Eat Garlic Bread?
Squirrels can sometimes eat garlic bread but they usually do not like it. This is because garlic and onion have a strong odor, which repels the squirrel. Some garden owners who want to keep the squirrels away grow onion and garlic as a squirrel repellent. However, apart from garlic and onion, they will eat anything, such as fruits, vegetables, and other plant materials.
Can Squirrels Eat Banana Bread?
Squirrels can eat banana bread but it is not healthy for them. Banana bread is full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients such as flour, baking soda, and salt. These things provide no nutritional value for squirrels and instead, reduce their appetite for other natural foods.
Can Squirrels Eat Rye Bread?
Yes, squirrels can eat rye bread. Rye bread contains four times more fiber than white bread. This makes it healthier than white bread. Rye bread is loaded with starch, lipids, and other nutrients, which is good for squirrels. You can give rye bread to squirrels but do not overfeed them.
In short, squirrels can eat bread but it is not a good source of nutrition for them. Instead of white bread that is just a stomach filler give them whole wheat bread.
Also, do not feed them too much, otherwise, they will become dependent on human food and lose their appetite for other foods.
Instead of bread, give them nuts, fruits, and vegetables. These are healthier alternatives to bread and other human-processed foods. I hope you find the answer to the query, “Can squirrels eat bread”.