Yes, squirrels eat hedge apples. If you've ever seen a hedge apple, you might wonder why a squirrel would eat them. Hedge apples are one ugly fruit. Nonetheless, squirrels like to eat them.
There are differing opinions on whether squirrels really like to eat hedge apples. Some people believe that squirrels steer clear of them. Others say they have observed them eating the whole fruit. While still others have said squirrels tear the fruit apart so they can eat the seeds.
The truth is, no one really knows why squirrels eat hedge apples but it's safe to assume that there are many reasons why a squirrel would choose this rather ugly fruit over other more tasty options.
Hedge apple nutrition for squirrels
In addition to nuts, a typical squirrel diet includes fruits and berries, tubers, roots, bark, and insects. Hedge apples make up a small part of this dietary diversity but offer benefits that other foods don't provide. In particular, nutrients like phosphorus play an important role in fertility and healthy bone development in young squirrels.
The seeds of hedge apples are carbohydrate-rich and make up part of the squirrel diet. The carbohydrates from hedge apples provide energy for young rodents still growing their weight, while adults can use this quick burst of energy to escape predators or search for new habitats. These seeds also contain small amounts of protein that help rebuild muscle fibers.
Fats & Proteins
Hedge apple seeds are not abundant in either fats or proteins, but they do offer small amounts that contribute to overall health and wellness. Squirrels need fat on a daily basis as an energy source, but they don't produce them on their own so they must find an outside source. Hedge apple seeds can be that source. Additionally, protein helps maintain strong muscles and bones throughout a squirrel's life cycle.
Squirrels Eat Hedge Apple Seeds
Hedge apples have dozens of small seeds that squirrels can eat with ease. All they need to do is chew through the outer covering and they'll find a good food source waiting inside. A single apple might contain few hundred seeds all packed together for easy consumption by hungry rodents.
Hedge apples are typically eaten in large quantities during short feeding opportunities after the fruit drops from its tree or is harvested by humans.
Hedge apple leaves and bark for squirrels
Squirrels have a high metabolism rate so it doesn't take much food to satisfy their needs for long periods of time. Squirrels love to eat leaves and bark to add to variety to their diet. The hedge apple tree provides a great source of leaves and bark for squirrels to eat.
Hedge apples grow on trees with bright green leaves - typically those dense with shade or partial sunlight. The fruit grows slowly, often taking several months before it reaches its full size. If you see a hedge apple hanging from a tree branch, chances are you'll also see nearby squirrel nests
Hedge apple harvesting and when squirrels eat them
Hedge apple harvesting typically occurs in September or October when people notice that fruit drops from trees. One hedge apple tree can yield many apples in a single season, which means squirrels won't go without.
This is the time most often when squirrels eat hedge apples. They may also store some of the seeds away to eat later in the winter.
How do squirrels eat hedge apples
Squirrels typically use their teeth and jaws to tear into hedge apples. This makes it easy for squirrels to access tasty seeds inside. Once they're in, squirrels will either eat both the pulp and the seeds or only the seeds. Some animals have been known to eat both parts of hedge apples, including some birds, rabbits, and foxes.
Food that squirrels eat besides hedge apples
Other foods that appeal to squirrels include acorns, berries, nuts, insects, and seeds from palm and the American sycamore. These foods are readily available in many parts of North America, making it easy for squirrels to maintain their high metabolism and stay healthy throughout the year.
Of course one fruit that squirrels love more than hedge apples is other apples. Squirrels eat apples from all over the world.
Do squirrels eat hedge apples summary
Do squirrels eat hedge apples? Yes, they do! Squirrels love to eat hedge apples because they are a great source of nutrition for them. Hedge apples contain antioxidants that help protect the cells in the body from damage. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, hedge apples are a good source of fiber which helps keep the digestive system functioning properly.