Do Squirrels Eat Meat? (Are Squirrels Omnivores or Herbivores)

Have you seen squirrels eating nuts and fruits in your yard and you are wondered, do squirrels eat meat? Just like rate and chipmunks squirrels are omnivorous, which means that they can eat both plants and meat.

Squirrels do eat meat. Although they are predominantly herbivorous, they will eat meat occasionally, to fulfill their protein demands.  Squirrels can eat eggs, hatchlings, and babies of other small mammals. Wild squirrels such as eastern grey squirrels also eat frogs, insects, and other helpless rodents. For their minerals needs, they also gnaw on antlers, bones, and shells.

Squirrels eating meat may sound surprising to you, as they mostly eat nuts, fruits, and vegetables. However, this kind of behavior is common among other dedicate herbivores. They can eat mice, baby birds, and young rabbits on rare occasions. 

do squirrels eat meat

This article will walk you through, what kind of meat squirrels eat and why they eat it.

Do squirrels Eat Meat: [Types Meat They Consume]

Squirrels eat meat when other things aren’t available to them. Here are some surprising animals they prey upon:


Squirrels prey on the nests of birds and eat their eggs and hatchlings. Squirrels will rarely eat adult birds.

Birds and eggs provide them with a great source of proteins, minerals, and other nutrients. Although bird eggs and baby birds are not a regular part of their diet, they will eat them occasionally when faced with hunger.

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Squirrels can also sometimes eat mice when they can not find food in the winter. They prey upon the young and vulnerable ones. They rarely attack adult mice.

Besides that squirrels also gnaws on the carcasses of dead animals, in order to get some extra protein and minerals.


Squirrels are opportunistic and can eat insects when available. Like other rodents, they can eat a variety of insects, such as ants, spiders, caterpillars, snails, grubs, and insect larvae. Squirrels can also raid bird feeders for mealworms.

These insects which I mentioned above are not only an easy-to-get diet but also are a great source of proteins and other essential nutrients.


Besides nuts, fruits, and vegetables, squirrels can also consume small snakes. They prey upon those snakes which are slow and can not fight back.

One of the easy prey for squirrels is common garter snakes. It is a small harmless grass snake, which can’t protect itself from squirrels.

Apart from food, squirrels attack snakes in order to protect their babies. Some snakes enjoy eating small squirrels, that is just a few weeks young.

do squirrels eat meat

Baby Squirrels

Male squirrels sometimes eat their own babies. Males do this in order to get a chance compilation with the females.

Squirrels also feed on other dead squirrels. According to a study done by Scientific Naturalist on red squirrels, male squirrels are involved in killing infant squirrels.

How To Protect Your Bird Feeders From Squirrels?

Squirrels love eating seeds and can raid bird feeders for them. There are various methods that you can adopt to protect bird feeders. Some of them are:

Seed Tray

Attach a seed tray to the feeder pole, as falling seeds can easily attract the squirrels. The tray will catch any seed falling from the feeder.  This also provides a secondary eating platform for your pet birds.


You can also attach a slinky to the feeder pole. This way squirrels won’t be able to scale the pole and raid the feeder.


You can also put a dom on the top of the feeder to protect it from squirrels. You can make a dom by yourself or buy a feeder that comes with a dom.

do squirrels eat meat

Besides Meat, What do Squirrels Eat?

We have talked a lot about and at this point, you may be wondering, what squirrels eat apart from meat. Here are some common things that squirrels enjoy eating.

Fruits and Nuts

Squirrels enjoy eating fruits. Fruits are loaded with sugar which gives them energy for foraging. Squirrels munch on different kinds of fruits, such as Apples, bananas, Pineapple, Mangoes, Pears, Tomatoes, Grapes, Eggplants, Mangos, and Melons.

Nuts fall among the favorite foods of squirrels. They take it away to either eat it or bury it for winters when the food is scarce. Squirrels eat nuts, such as peanuts, hazelnut acorns, cashews, Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts.

Vegetables and Flowers

Squirrels like vegetables and will eat anything grown in your garden. These critters also depend much on corn and other grains, such as wheat and oat. Squirrels also consume fresh leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and lettuce.

Squirrels eat flower petals such as roses and tulips to store some fat for the winter season. If squirrels are damaging your flowers then you should take preventative measures like growing squirrel-repellent plants.

Fungi and Mushrooms

Squirrels like eating mushrooms and fungi. Some of them are listed below:

  • Oyster
  •  Acorn Truffles
  • Lichens
  • Truffles

Squirrels won’t eat just any mushroom. Those with a Purplish tent on their top usually suit them well. They can also consume some wild mushrooms, that are either hallucinogenic or poisonous to humans.


Do Squirrels Eat Chicken meat?

do squirrels eat meat

Squirrels can eat chicken meat if you give it to them. In their natural environment chicken meat is not available to them and also they won’t search for it. If you are raising chickens in your backyard then you should not be worried about squirrels preying on the chickens.

Do Squirrels Eat Cooked Meat?

do squirrels eat meat

Squirrels can consume cooked meat if you offer them some piece of it. But it is not something they would prefer to eat. Instead, you can give them nuts, fruits, or some seeds. Moreover, feeding them cooked or raw meat is not healthy for them, as they require a balanced diet to stay healthy.

Do Squirrels Frogs?

do squirrels eat meat

Squirrels can eat frogs, but they usually prefer other small rodents. Squirrels are quick and can easily hunt a frog. They either catch the frog in the tree or when moving from one breeding location to another.

Squirrels are predominantly vegetarians. They will eat frogs when it’s too hard for them to find any other food.

Do Squirrels Eat Lizards?

do squirrels eat meat

Surprisingly yes, squirrels do eat lizards and other small critters. Lizards are a quick source of protein, minerals, and other nutrients. Squirrels usually eat small lizards that are susceptible to predators. 

Do Flying Squirrels Eat Meat?

do squirrels eat meat

Like other squirrels, flying squirrels are omnivorous and can eat both meat and plants. Flying squirrels need more proteins in their diet compared to other types of squirrels. This is because they glide between the trees. Just like their counterparts flying squirrels can eat baby birds, insects, and other small critters.

Final Thought

So, do squirrels eat meat? The answer is yes, but they mostly consume vegetarian food. They only eat meat when they are hungry and can’t find any other thing to eat.

In winter they eat their cached nuts. If they fall short of their cached nuts then they will eat pretty much anything. This includes small critters, baby birds, mice, and even small snakes. This means that squirrels do not pick and choose when it comes to their diet.

If you have a pet squirrel make sure that it is provided with a good food supply in the winter. Otherwise, it will scramble for food throughout the season.

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