It's natural for squirrels to eat berries. Squirrels love to find and eat berries in the wild. They can't help themselves when they see a juicy berry on the ground or hanging from the tree branch. The taste of fresh, ripe fruit is irresistible to them. When there are no berries around, they'll turn their attention elsewhere--to nuts, seeds, insects, or even birds' eggs--but you can always count on them to come back for more of those scrumptious berries as soon as they're available again.
If you have a backyard with lots of bushes that produce good-tasting fruit like blackberries or blueberries, then squirrels will probably be coming around often looking for food. You might want to take steps to protect your fruit from being eaten by squirrels, but you'll have to be careful not to do anything that might harm the squirrels.
This article will answer all of your questions about squirrels eating berries. Read on for tips on how to feed them berries, what types of berries they like best, when is the best time to feed them, and more!
Why do squirrels eat berries?
The reason why they eat berries is because of their dietary needs and for pure enjoyment. Squirrels need a lot of energy to run up and down trees all day. The sugar in berries is a good source of energy for squirrels.
The other reason squirrels like to eat berries is because they taste so good. Squirrels like the taste of nuts, but they don't really compare to the sweet and sour tastes that berries provide.
It is pretty much impossible to actually pinpoint which berry is their favorite. Different regions and different types of squirrels affect what type of berries they eat.
Nutrients of berries for squirrels
Squirrels eat berries for a variety of reasons, from basic sustenance to a little dietary variation in their usual diet. Some benefit from berries in terms of nutritionally bolstering their diet while others do it simply for the taste.
Berries are an excellent food choice for squirrels due to its nutritional density. While berries do contain sugar, they also have important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that can be hard to find elsewhere in the wild.
As long as the food contains sugars and some type of water then they will probably enjoy it. They need these elements in order for their body to properly function on a daily basis. When paired with other foods such as nuts, bugs, fruit, vegetables, and even chocolate you have a power-packed meal that will keep them going for hours on end.
What type of berries do squirrels eat
Most types of berries are healthy for squirrels, whether it's raspberries, blueberries, grapes, blackberries- there are many different kinds of berries for animals to enjoy.
As with most things, not all squirrels like the same kind of berry or eat them in the same way. Some squirrel species such as grey and red squirrels prefer those high-protein nuts and seeds while others such as fox and pine squirrels will eat some fruit but tend to prefer green leafy vegetables instead. Fox and pine squirrels also tend to favor tart-tasting berries over sweeter fruits, whereas gray and red squirrels don’t mind sweet ones.
While some squirrels like red arctic and pine squirrels prefer tart berries, the majority of species (such as fox or Eastern gray) will eat anything that's sweet. They also benefit from eating more than one type of fruit. For example, mixing acidic raspberries with sweeter fruits like blueberries can make for a highly nutritious meal.
As expected, most squirrels tend to favor berries naturally found in their habitats. For example, flying squirrels eat huckleberries, grey squirrels eat apples, and American red squirrels chow down on cotoneaster berries.
They mostly consume nuts, acorns, seeds, plants, flowers, fruits, berries, insects, and occasionally bird eggs too. But sometimes squirrels will also eat small mammals or snakes if they come across them. Yikes! Some of the most common types of berries eaten by squirrels are blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, blueberries, bayberries (also known as wax myrtles), sagebrush berries, elderberries & mulberries.
The first group of these berries are collectively referred to as “cane fruits”. They are woody climbing plants with trailing stems that produce berries on little hanging baskets. The second group, known as “deer berries”, are shaped like elongated cones and they grow upright on shrubs.
Since there are many types of plant species that produce berries, it’s not surprising that squirrels have a preference for certain ones. For example, I found this list of the most popular fruit/berry choices for squirrels off of an online thread.
- Blackberries are very nutritious because they are high in fiber and vitamin C.
- Huckleberries or blueberries (which type do you like better?) are juicy berries that contain lots of antioxidants.
- Raspberries too provide many nutrients including potassium, magnesium, iron & phosphorus; but they also contain plenty of sugar.
- Another common type eaten by both humans and squirrels alike is mulberries. Their sweet fruit is packed full of amino acids, vitamin B6, magnesium & calcium.
- Elderberries are highly valued by lots of different animals including squirrels because they are very high in antioxidants. Elderberry tinctures can be made at home to help boost the immune system, especially during cold/flu season.
Best way to feed berries to squirrels
There are many different ways squirrels eat berries; some of them are picking berry bushes, digging up roots, and eating seeds. Squirrels eat berries - like in the fall when the trees produce their fruit or in early spring when they're just coming into season. Squirrels eat berries sometimes by just grabbing them in their paws and putting them in their mouth or they might find some other way to get the berry off of the bush.
When do squirrels eat berries
In the late summer and early fall when all of the fruits have ripened. Where do they find berries to make a meal within natural settings? Squirrels look for berries on the ground, along the branches of trees, hanging from vines, and under bushes. They may even look through birdfeeders that have been filled with seeds by humans.
How to keep squirrels from eating berries
Prevent squirrels from eating berries in your backyard by creating a barrier of bird netting around the fruit-producing tree or plant, which will make it difficult for the squirrels to climb up and get at the fruit.
Can squirrels get sick from eating too many berries?
Squirrels are pretty good at knowing their limits when it comes to berry intake, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause problems. They may become hyperactive and jittery which could make them more prone to injuries since they won’t be paying attention as well. Also, too much sugar from overeating berries is not good for squirrels' health.
Do squirrels eat berries summary
Squirrels like to eat many different kinds of berries. Berries provide good nutrients to squirrels. Too many berries, though, can be detrimental to their health. I would recommend feeding a variety of different types of berries including blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, and raspberries as these are all favored by most common types of squirrels.