Do you have cherries in your garden and wonder, can squirrels eat cherries? Then you are not alone.
Squirrels love eating cherries. Cherries are loaded with sugar, iron, calcium, vitamins, and other nutrients which are beneficial for squirrels. Apart from nutrients cherries keep them hydrated in the summer. When giving cherries to squirrels, remove the cherry pit as it is poisonous for them.
Squirrels are not picky eaters at all and will eat anything which they find in your garden. They can even raid bird feeders in your garden.
In this detailed article, we will walk you through the types of cherries that squirrels eat and their benefits. We also talk about why seeds or pits of cherries are bad for squirrels.
Can Squirrels Eat Cherries: Are Cherries Good For Squirrels?
Squirrels like eating cherries. Cherries are good for these little critters because they are sweet and high in fiber and antioxidants. Cherries also contain vitamins A, C, and k. They are also loaded with potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
Moreover, the consumption of cherries causes the feeling of stomach fullness and prevents the squirrels from gaining too much weight.
Not only that cherries contain water and make them hydrated in the summer. A cup of cherries contains 127 ml of water. According to USDA, a cup of cherries is packed with the following nutrients.
The sugar and other nutrients help the squirrels in forging and other activities. That said, cherries are good, do not overfeed the squirrels with them, otherwise, you will disturb their balanced diet.
Can Squirrels Eat Cherries Seeds/Pits?
Cherries and other stone fruits have pits that surround the seed. This pit contains a chemical called amygdalin, which is toxic to squirrels.
In the bodies of squirrels and other mammals, the amygdalin is converted into hydrogen cyanide which is extremely harmful to squirrels.
This hydrogen cyanide can damage the vital organs, such as the heart, lungs, and brain of squirrels and other mammals. However, the level of toxicity depends on the amount of amygdalin consumed.
Each type of cherry contains different concentrations of amygdalin. The following table shows how much of it is present in each type.
|Type of Cherry pit||Amount of Amygdalin|
|Red cherry Pit||3.9 mg per gram|
|Black Cherry||2.7 mg per gram|
|Morello Cherry||65 mg per gram|
Can Squirrels Eat Dried Cherries?
Squirrels like to eat dried cherries. But too much of it is not healthy for squirrels. This is because dried cherries are full of sugar, which can kill the appetite of squirrels for other natural foods.
Also, overfeeding squirrels with dried cherries and other sugary cereal can reduce their ability to absorb calcium.
You can give dried cherries and other sweet snakes to your squirrel in small amounts as a treat.
It is important to feed them a balanced diet. You can give them different kinds of nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
What You Should Avoid Feeding Squirrels? [Poisonous Foods]
Some foods are poisonous for squirrels and should not be fed to them. Some of the are listed below.
- Onion and garlic: don’t feed your squirrel onion/garlic because it can lead to anemia in squirrels.
- Chocolate: Theobromine present in chocolate is poisonous squirrels.
- Fatty & Salty Foods: These types of foods can produce stomach problems in squirrels.
- Spoiled Food: Contains toxic materials which are unhealthy for squirrels and other small critters.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is poisonous to squirrels and can cause problems related to the nervous system.
- Bread: Do not give bread to squirrels because it acts just as a stomach filler and has no nutritional value.
If squirrels are coming to your backyard, then remove all the trash and other leftover foods from your yard. Otherwise, they will eat something poisonous.
Types of Cherries Squirrels Can Eat?
Squirrels can eat different types of cherries. They can eat black cherries, sweet cherries, and even sour cherries.
Squirrels find these cherries in the wild or in your garden. But you should feed them in small quantities because some cherries contain more cyanide and are unhealthy for them. For instance, Morello cherries contain 65mg of amygdalin per gram.
When feeding cherries to squirrels, first remove the cherries pit and then give it to them. Also, give them some other fruits to balance out their diet.
What Do Squirrels Eat Beside Cherries? [ Squirrel’s Favorite Foods]
Squirrels are opportunistic eaters and can eat anything, but some foods are their favorite which are discussed below.
Nuts are the favorite food of these bushy-tailed animals. They take it to either eat it or store it in the ground. However, it is not healthy to overfeed them with nuts.
Squirrels eat nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, acorns, cashews, and pine nuts.
Squirrels do not just pick any nut, first, it smells it, to investigate whether it is rotten or not, then it checks the nut for any cracks and finally, it shakes it to find if there is a seed in the pod. If the squirrel finds any cracks in the nutshell then it won’t store the nut in the ground.
One cool thing about these little critters is that they can adapt themselves to any nuts that are available in their surroundings.
Squirrels are fond of eating fruits. Fruits are nutritious and loaded with sugar which gives them energy and helps them in forging.
- Citrus Fruits
One thing to note is that excess fruit is not good for them. Give your pet squirrel a balanced diet in the form of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. You should give them sugary fruits and cereals as a treat once in a while.
Squirrels enjoy eating vegetables and they will munch on anything which they find in your garden or yard. They also eat corn and other grains such as oat and wheat.
Squirrels also enjoy eating fresh leafy vegetables such as spinach, escarole, kale, radicchio, dandelion greens, fennel, radishes, and lettuce.
Apart from grains and leaf vegetables, they also eat roots and tubers, which include potatoes, beets, and carrots.
It may sound surprising to you but squirrels forage for mushrooms and fungi. Some of them are, Oyster, Truffles, Lichens, and Acorn Truffles
Squirrels won’t eat just any mushroom. Those with a Greenish or Purplish color on their top generally suit them well. They can also eat some wild mushrooms that are either toxic or hallucinogenic for humans and other animals.
So, Can squirrels eat cherries? In short, cherries are good for squirrels but you should keep in mind the following points:
- Cherries are healthy for squirrels provided that you don’t overfeed them.
- Dried Cherries are too sugary, and too much of it is not good for squirrels.
- Cherry pits contain a toxic chemical and are poisonous for squirrels.
Feed your squirrel cherries and other fruits in a balanced way so that your squirrel gets the best diet. If you are curious about a squirrel’s diet then you can visit our resource on what squirrels eat.