Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate: Everything You Need To Know

Nuts are not the only thing that squirrels like to eat. There are various human-consuming foods that squirrels can eat.

But can squirrels eat chocolate? And Is it safe for them?

Let’s find out if squirrels can eat chocolate without any harm.

With over a decade of experience as a wildlife biologist, my expertise in these charming creatures runs exceptionally deep.

Not to mention, I share my home with a bustling community of 20 pet squirrels, adding an extra layer of understanding to their behaviors.

Feeding squirrels in our backyards or as home pets is fun, but it’s crucial to prioritize their safety.

Chocolate, a human favorite, often leaves us wondering if squirrels can indulge too.

Can these furry friends snack on chocolate without facing issues?

Let’s delve into various chocolate types, safety measures, precautions, and potential health concerns related to squirrels.

Together, we’ll ensure our beloved furry companions stay healthy and joyful while enjoying their treats.

Can squirrels eat chocolate?

Chocolate isn’t a healthy option whether eaten by humans or these little creatures.

Unlike humans, squirrels shouldn’t eat chocolates, even a small amount. 

Chocolate contains substances called theobromine and caffeine, which are both classified as methylxanthines. These things are fine for people, but they can harm squirrels.

If squirrels eat chocolate, the theobromine can mess up their bodies. It can make their hearts beat too fast, and that’s dangerous.

It can also upset their stomachs, making them throw up or have diarrhea.

Theobromine can even mess with their nervous system, which controls their body movements. This might cause them to shake, have tremors, or even have seizures, which are like really bad fits.

It would be best to be careful while feeding the squirrels in your backyard, as it could be a fetal thing for them.

Usually, squirrels don’t go for chocolate but can go if they can’t find anything else to eat. Also, remember that squirrels might take chocolate from you if they get the chance. So, be cautious and choose the right foods for them.

So, there is a need for special care on the type of food you are feeding them.

What is Theobromine?

Theobromine is a natural compound belonging to the xanthine class, commonly found in various plants, most notably in cacao beans, which are used to make chocolate.

It is chemically classified as an alkaloid and is closely related to caffeine. 

However, it’s important to note that while humans can metabolize theobromine relatively efficiently, some animals, including pets like dogs and cats and wildlife like squirrels, process it much more slowly. 

This slower metabolism can lead to theobromine toxicity if these animals consume foods rich in theobromine, such as chocolate.

Theobromine concerns chocolate consumption in the context of squirrels, known for their diverse diets. 

While squirrels might occasionally nibble on various foods, it’s essential to be cautious about offering them any chocolate-based treats. 

Theobromine toxicity can lead to various symptoms, including restlessness, increased heart rate, Vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and in severe cases, even death.

Can squirrels eat chocolate in moderation?

Squirrels will eat the chocolate bars on seeing them if they can’t find anything else to eat. But it isn’t healthy for them to eat that amount of theobromine.

If they eat chocolate in large amounts, it will cause chocolate poisoning in them. Dark chocolate or chocolate bars possess a large amount of theobromine.

The darker the chocolate is, the higher theobromine concentration is. However, milk chocolates possess less theobromine making them edible once a week but only a small piece.

Below, I have listed the chocolate types with the theobromine concentration in mg:

Dark Chocolate135 mg per ounce
Milk Chocolate60 mg per ounce
White Chocolate0.25 mg per ounce

Can squirrels eat chocolate-covered almonds?

Squirrels love to eat nuts, which are healthy if not covered with chocolate.

Usually, almonds are covered with dark or baking chocolate, making them dangerous for squirrels. As we know, these chocolates contain higher theobromine concentrations, and they can cause death to the squirrels.

So, avoid giving squirrels almonds or nuts covered with these chocolates.

Besides, if they are covered with white or milk chocolate, you can feed them a small amount once a week.

However, squirrels will always prefer to eat natural foods if available instead of these chocolates. So, always try to feed them healthy food and avoid chocolates for their health.

How much chocolate can squirrels eat?

Although the level of toxicity depends on the animal’s weight and the chocolate type, it is recommended to avoid feeding squirrels even a small amount. An average milk chocolate bar contains 100 g of theobromine concentration, making it a bad choice for them.

So, if you don’t want them to die or face health issues, avoid feeding them any chocolate. Besides, feeding them healthy fruits and nuts is the most suitable thing.

How long does chocolate affect squirrels?

Squirrels won’t die on the spot while eating chocolates, but the effect will remain for several days.

Squirrels start to possess symptoms like Vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, or abnormal heartbeats.

When they eat chocolate, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian for proper treatment. However, the days or times a squirrel can last aren’t fixed.

It depends on the consumption of theobromine substance. A squirrel’s chances of survival are reduced if it eats dark chocolate because of its high theobromine concentration. So, don’t avoid a squirrel if it accidentally eats chocolate or you feed it too much.

Is chocolate harmful to squirrels?

Yes, chocolates harm squirrels because of caffeine and theobromine concentration in them. According to ASPCA, chocolate is the third number among pet toxins. ASPCA is, the Animal Poison Control Center providing veterinary services in emergencies. The theobromine can cause tremors or hyperactivity by affecting the squirrels’ nervous system.

Can Squirrels eat chocolate a little bit?

As I mentioned above, squirrels can’t metabolize the theobromine substance causing chocolate poisoning. Theobromine can even kill the squirrel, so avoiding any amount of chocolate is recommended. 

What should I do if my squirrel eats chocolate?

If you pet squirrels and they eat the chocolate, Immediately see a veterinarian for treatment. Without proper treatment, squirrels may die sooner or later. So, don’t be lazy when your squirrels suffer from diarrhea or trembling.

After they eat the chocolate, you’ll see various symptoms each day. These are all the symptoms of chocolate poisoning that should be treated immediately.

Always take care of what you feed the squirrels and store the chocolates in airtight containers.

Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning in Squirrels

After consuming chocolate, squirrels will show different symptoms on each passing day.

These include diarrhea, Vomiting, trembling, hyperactivity, etc. If they are left untreated with these symptoms, they’ll end up dying. So, make sure to consult a veterinarian on having the following symptoms.

  • Restlessness And Hyperactivity: When you see squirrels moving uncontrollably and showing impulsive behavior, it is a sign of hyperactivity in them. You may see this behavior after they eat chocolates.
  • Diarrhea And Vomiting: After eating chocolate, squirrels may feel diarrhea and Vomiting after 12-72 hours. As squirrels can’t digest the theobromine in chocolate, it causes abdominal pain and, ultimately, diarrhea. These signs can be lethal if not treated on time. So, whenever you see diarrhea or vomiting signs, consult a veterinarian immediately. 
  • Drinking And Urinating Excessively: Because of the high sugar content in the chocolate, squirrels may have excessive urination issues. This high sugar content extracts water from the cell, causing an electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. As they experience dehydration, squirrels drink much water, which causes excessive urination
  • Abdominal Pain: Because squirrels cannot metabolize the chocolate, it causes severe pain in their abdomen. Aches and cramps will be increased if not treated on time.
  • Lack Of Coordination: Squirrels will chatter, jump, and run uncontrollably after showing a lack of coordination. It is not a lethal sign, but a delay in the treatment will show adverse effects or signs.
  • Tremors: Squirrels need balanced nutrition like protein, fats, vitamins, or calcium. Consumption of high theobromine (an alkaloid) and sugar concentration imbalances the nutritional level in the squirrels, causing them tremors. Shivering and tail trembling may also be the reason of eaten chocolate.
  • Seizures: The bones and muscles of the squirrels will become weak, and they hardly move while having seizures. If the condition worsens, they cannot move even an inch.
  • Rapid And Irregular Heartbeat: The higher theobromine concentration in squirrels cause a low blood sugar level; therefore, It will ultimately cause rapid and irregular heartbeats in them.
  • Panting: High sugar content in chocolates elevates the energy level in squirrels, causing dehydration. It causes a rapid heartbeat resulting in fast or slow breathing in the squirrels. Thus, they show panting behavior when eating chocolate.
  • High Blood Pressure: The theobromine and the caffeine in the chocolate stimulate the nervous system of squirrels and, ultimately, the heart rate. It ultimately resulted in higher blood pressure which should be treated immediately.
  • Fever: Eating chocolate is toxic to squirrels, increasing their blood pressure. The imbalanced heartbeat and the fluctuating blood pressure cause squirrels to have a fever and shivering.
  • Coma: If squirrels consume excessive theobromine concentration by eating chocolate, it may lead squirrels to a coma. You should see a veterinarian immediately upon seeing this symptom.

How to prevent chocolate poisoning in squirrels?

If you want to avoid chocolate poisoning in the squirrels, do not feed them chocolate. If you pet the squirrels, store the chocolates in an airtight container.

Sometimes, squirrels can approach the chocolate boxes and eat on their own. You should not only avoid chocolate bars but also food containing chocolate.

How can I keep my squirrels safe?

To keep your squirrels safe, you have to restrict all the things having caffeine or theobromine concentration. Most people feed the squirrels in their backyard with some chocolate food.

Don’t let the squirrels go out and eat chocolate foods from others like your neighbors. Spot the areas where they can reach, and make sure to keep chocolate away from those places.

Can squirrels eat the cacao plant?

Yes, squirrels can eat cacao plants, but an excessive amount can cause serious health issues. They have been eating this plant for years and have invaded many cultivations. But they only eat them as an option when they find nothing to eat.

Studies show that they always prefer fruits over cacao plants if provided.

Can Squirrels Eat Dark Chocolate?

No, squirrels shouldn’t eat dark chocolate because it contains a high theobromine and caffeine concentration. Even a small piece can cause death to them.

So, avoid feeding dark chocolate to the squirrels and instead feed them some healthy fruits and vegetables. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.

Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate Cake?

No, squirrels shouldn’t eat chocolate cake because of a lot of caffeine and theobromine concentration. Chocolate cakes are made of dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips, giving many theobromine concentrations.

Squirrels may die after eating this cake. So, avoid feeding chocolate cake to them.

What Animals Can Eat Chocolate?

As I mentioned previously, the toxic effects of chocolate on squirrels. But not all animals get these effects from eating chocolate. Certain animals can eat chocolate depending on various factors. Following are the animals who can eat chocolate:

  • Rats
  • Monkeys
  • Bats
  • Cattle
  • Pigs

Is chocolate not beneficial for squirrels at all?

No, chocolate is entirely dangerous for the squirrels. Dark and baking chocolate is toxic because of high theobromine concentration. However, white chocolate doesn’t have theobromine, but it also has a toxic effect because of additives and sweeteners.

These additives and sweeteners are not good for squirrel health. These chocolates are high in fats and sugars that can cause diarrhea, Vomiting, weight gain, etc. So, you should also avoid feeding squirrels white chocolate.

Can baby squirrels eat chocolate?

As chocolate harms adult squirrels, how can a baby squirrel handle its effect? They may approach to eat chocolate, but they need extra care to avoid harming them. If you have baby squirrels, you should keep all types of chocolates away from their approach.

Can squirrels eat chocolate chip cookies?

Like chocolates, squirrels cannot eat chocolate chip cookies because of chocolate, sugar, and fat content.

These can cause imbalanced heartbeat, diarrhea, and other diseases in squirrels.

Consult the veterinarian immediately for proper treatment if you see them eating chocolate chip cookies.

However, it can also kill them if a large amount is taken. So, it is necessary to avoid feeding chocolate chips to them.

What happens if a squirrel eats chocolate?

A squirrel eating chocolate can cause severe diseases and, ultimately, death. A toxic substance, theobromine, is present in the chocolate that causes severe effects on the squirrels. So, it is always necessary to avoid feeding chocolates to them.

Is white chocolate bad for squirrels?

White chocolate is also bad for squirrels because of fats and sugar. These chocolates have traces of theobromine that will affect them slowly. But fats and sugar have severe effects on them. Therefore, it is recommended not to feed white chocolate to squirrels.

Can chocolate kill squirrels?

Yes, chocolate can be lethal to squirrels. It contains substances like theobromine and caffeine that are toxic to them. Ingesting even a small amount can lead to serious health issues or death. Keep chocolate away from squirrels to ensure their safety.

If chocolate is bad for squirrels, then what to feed them?

Chocolate is toxic for squirrels because of the theobromine substance in it. You can feed some healthy food to squirrels instead of chocolates. Squirrels love to eat certain things as per their environment.

Generally, you can feed the following things instead of chocolate:

  • Nuts: The most demanding food for squirrels are nuts or seeds. They are famous for eating acorns which are included in nuts. Some other nuts and seeds include pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, almonds, peanuts, etc.
  • Fruits: Squirrels also love eating fruits like apples, apricots, mangoes, etc. But you should feed only a small portion because of the high sugar content because, as I mentioned before, high sugar is dangerous for their health.
  • High Calcium Vegetables: You can feed them vegetables like beets, greens, cilantro, kale, reddish, squash, etc.
  • Animal Protein: These rodents can also eat insects like moths, crickets, dried mealworms, etc. because they are rich in protein and vitamins.
  • Bones: Some squirrel species love to eat bones for calcium intake. However, wild squirrels mostly love to eat bones instead of pet squirrels.
  • Formulated Pallets And Supplements: You can feed formulated pallets or supplements as a nutritional food source for squirrels. Supplements are used to overcome calcium and vitamin deficiency.

What other foods should I avoid giving to squirrels?

The first thing to remember is that you should keep all the unnatural foods away from the squirrels. Because they are small mammals, even a few unhealthy foods may cause disease. However, avoid these foods other than chocolate to protect squirrels.

  • Corn: Corn is a natural food but is not good for squirrels. Feeding corn to squirrels isn’t ideal as it lacks the essential nutrients they need.
  • Processed Food: Processed food is unhealthy, like pasta and bread. Because of lacking and unbalanced essential nutrients, it can’t have any healthy effect on squirrels. So, avoid feeding processed foods and replace them with vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
  • Avocado Skin And Pits: Squirrels love sugary or sweet foods like avocados, apples, or mangoes. These are not harmful fruits, but the skin is because of a fungicidal toxin called persin. It may cause serious health issues or even death in the squirrels. So, peel off avocado skin whenever you give them to squirrels.
  • Junk Food: Feeding squirrels junk food is a bad idea. These foods are high in sugars, salts, and unhealthy fats, which harm squirrels’ health.
  • High Sugary Foods: Avoid giving squirrels high-sugar foods. Their bodies aren’t adapted to such diets, which can lead to obesity, dental problems, and an imbalanced lifestyle. Opt for their natural foods for their well-being.

Conclusion

To sum it up, chocolate is a big no for squirrels.

As a wildlife biologist and a caretaker of a lively squirrel community, I am deeply familiar with these charming creatures, I can confirm that chocolate contains harmful substances that can seriously affect squirrels’ health.

From their hearts to their nervous system, it’s best to avoid chocolate and stick to foods that nurture their well-being, such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

Let’s keep our squirrel friends safe and happy by making wise food choices.

About The Author
Hi 👋, I’m Billy Thomas, a passionate wildlife biologist with over 10 years of experience. With my expertise in wildlife biology and as a proud owner of over 20 squirrels as pets, I aim to provide reliable information, fun facts, and insights into the world of squirrels.

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