Yes, squirrels eat horse chestnuts. It's that time of year again when the squirrels come out to play and one of their favorite games is gathering and eating horse chestnuts. Some people may be surprised that squirrels eat horse chestnuts, but they are a vital part of their diet in certain areas.
So if you see a squirrel in your backyard or park gathering and eating some horse chestnuts, don't worry - they're just being good little squirrels.
In this post, I'll cover all the details about squirrels eating horse chestnuts.
Why do squirrels eat horse chestnuts?
Squirrels eat horse chestnuts to provide themselves with the needed vitamins and minerals that their body requires for survival. The nuts contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, calcium, potassium, and magnesium among other essential nutrients. Squirrels find horse chestnut seeds very delicious; they enjoy eating them whenever they get access to them during autumn when the trees shed their fruit or later on in winter once the ground is no longer frozen.
Nutritional Benefits of Horse Chestnuts to Squirrels
Horse chestnuts are rich in carbohydrates, protein, fat, and minerals. Carbohydrates break down into sugar in the squirrel’s system for instant energy. Protein is important for a squirrel's growth and development, replacing worn out cells with new ones that are even stronger than before. Fat is another source of energy for squirrels. Minerals, like calcium and iron, are also important for energy production within the squirrel's body.
Squirrels often turn to horse chestnuts as a source of energy when food is scarce. They may also partake in eating them as a means to bolster their fat reserves for the winter.
Horse chestnuts contain amino acids which are necessary to replace the cells in the squirrel’s body that wear out or become injured. Amino acids are vital because they make up protein molecules that give the squirrel extra protection against things like viruses and bacteria.
What Type of Horse Chestnuts Do Squirrels Like to Eat?
Squirrels like to eat horse chestnuts and sweet chestnuts.
There aren't different types of horse chestnuts. There are different names that people call horse chestnuts. Some of the names are only used for horse chestnuts, while a few can sometimes refer to horse chestnuts and sweet chestnuts. Some of the common names for horst chestnuts are buckeye and European horse chestnut.
One name that is often confusing is Spanish chestnut. Some people use Spanish chestnut to refer to horse chestnuts and others use it to refer to sweet chestnuts.
Best Way to Feed Horse Chestnuts To Squirrels
Horse chestnuts can be given whole or chopped up into pieces depending on your squirrel’s preference when it comes to eating. It is best to start by offering a single nut at a time and waiting about thirty minutes before giving more. This will give you an idea of how the squirrels' tummies handle the food and if they have any possible allergies that could result in sickness or discomfort after eating.
If you see your squirrels happily munching away then feel free to offer more horse chestnuts. Give them enough so they don’t go hungry, but not so much that their tummies get upset or they become obese.
When Do Squirrels Eat Horse Chestnuts?
Horse chestnuts can be eaten throughout the year, but squirrels can only get them in the fall. They especially enjoy munching on these nuts during winter when there isn’t much food to scavenge and temperatures drop significantly.
It's a good idea to collect horse chestnuts to feed squirrels all year round. After collecting the horse chestnuts, you should store them in a cool dry place. Now is a great time to stock up on horse chestnuts and make some new squirrel friends.
Where do Squirrels Eat Horse Chestnuts?
Horse chestnuts are very popular among wild squirrels who like to gather and hide these nuts in different spots for later consumption. You may find your squirrels munching on horse chestnuts in your backyard, in the park, or in a forested area.
Are Horse Chestnuts Dangerous for Squirrels To Eat?
Squirrels eat horse chestnuts in the wild. They are an integral part of their diet in certain areas. These squirrels that eat them in the wild have no problems after they eat them.
How to Prevent Squirrels From Eating Horse Chestnuts
It’s easy to keep loose horse chestnuts that you have collected away from your squirrel; all you need is a mesh bag or container with holes small enough for them not to fit through. You can store the nuts in a dry, cool place as well as prevent pests such as mice and rats from getting into them too.
If you are growing horse chestnut trees, you will have a hard time keeping squirrels away.
Can baby squirrels eat horse chestnuts?
Yes, baby squirrels can eat horse chestnuts. Horse chestnuts are a good source of nutrition for baby squirrels and they help to keep them healthy. Baby squirrels should be given a small amount of horse chestnuts each day to help them grow and thrive.
What other animals eat horse chestnuts?
Other animals that feed on horse chestnuts include caterpillars, woodpeckers, various beetles, and fly larvae. The caterpillars of the emperor moth (Apatura iris) are very fond of the leaves of the horse chestnut. The larvae of several species of Tineidae (commonly called clothes moths) feed on horse chestnuts leaves. Various beetles such as the buprestid, longhorn beetle, and leaf-mining weevil feast on horse chestnut leaves. Horse chestnuts are also an important food for several species of fly larvae, including the insects that squirrels eat and insect larvae found in soil.
Do squirrels eat horse chestnuts summary
Squirrels love to eat horse chestnuts because they are a high-energy food that is packed with nutrients. The best way to feed horse chestnuts to squirrels is by scattering them on the ground so they can forage for them. You can also put them in a feeding dish, but make sure there are plenty of other foods available as well, since horse chestnuts are not their only source of nutrition. There is no danger associated with squirrels eating horse chestnuts, and you can prevent them from eating them by putting up a fence or bird netting around your trees.