Do Squirrels Eat Apples: A Comprehensive Guide

Squirrels are delightful creatures, often seen darting about in gardens, parks, and forests. With their bushy tails and agile movements, they captivate our attention.

But have you ever paused to wonder about their diet, specifically about apples? While most of us see squirrels nibbling on nuts, the story with apples is equally fascinating. This article explores the intriguing relationship between squirrels and apples, shedding light on facts and debunking prevalent myths.

The Dietary Habits of Squirrels:

Squirrels are known for their diverse diet. From acorns to berries, their eating habits vary based on their habitat, the season, and the food available.

Wild Diet of Squirrels:

  • Nuts and Seeds: Predominantly, squirrels are nuts and seeds aficionados. Acorns, hazelnuts, and walnuts are their go-to snacks.
  • Fruits and Berries: Beyond nuts, they sometimes enjoy fruits, including berries, which provide them with essential nutrients and hydration.
  • Fungi and Insects: While less common, certain species of squirrels have been observed foraging for fungi and even munching on insects for protein.
  • Squirrels and Apples: Apples are common fruits, easily accessible in many gardens. Understanding if they’re a fit for squirrels is crucial for those who enjoy observing or feeding these critters.

Can They Eat Apples?

Yes, squirrels can safely eat apples. The flesh of the apple provides hydration and essential nutrients beneficial for their health. However, moderation is key.

Concerning Parts of the Apple:

  • Seeds: Apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide. While squirrels would need to consume a large number of seeds to be affected, it’s best to avoid giving them the core.
  • Peel and Flesh: The apple’s skin and flesh are safe, though always ensure they’re free from pesticides. Washing them thoroughly or offering organic apples is advisable.
  • Dried Apples: While squirrels can eat dried apples, they may pose a choking hazard, especially if they’re not adequately hydrated.

Risks and Precautions:

Feeding squirrels, like any wild animal, requires knowledge and care.

  • Toxic Foods: While apples are safe, some foods are toxic to squirrels. It’s crucial to know and avoid these to prevent unintentional harm.
  • Pesticides and Chemicals: Ensure the apples or any other fruits given to squirrels are clean and free from harmful chemicals.

Other Fruits and Foods for Squirrels:

Diversifying the diet ensures that squirrels receive all the necessary nutrients.

  • Safe Fruits: Beyond apples, squirrels can enjoy fruits like bananas, grapes, and some berries. These fruits offer varied nutrients essential for their well-being.
  • Foods to Avoid: Chocolate, candies, and any processed food are a no-go for squirrels. These can cause severe digestive issues and even prove fatal.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Apple Trees?

Keeping squirrels out of apple trees can ensure that your fruit remains intact and undamaged.

Here are some proven methods:

  • Protective Netting: Placing netting around the tree can deter squirrels from climbing and reaching the apples.
  • Tree Guards: These can prevent squirrels from climbing the trunk.
  • Natural Repellents: Spraying a mixture of water, hot pepper, and dish soap can deter squirrels without harming the tree or fruit.
  • Remove Attractants: Ensure there’s no food lying around that might attract squirrels to the vicinity of the apple tree.

How To Feed Apples To Squirrels?

When feeding apples to squirrels:

  • Wash Thoroughly: Ensure they’re clean and free from chemicals.
  • Slice into Manageable Pieces: This makes it easier for them to eat and carry.
  • Remove the Seeds: As discussed, apple seeds can be harmful in large quantities.
  • Offer Occasionally: While apples are safe, they should be an occasional treat, ensuring squirrels get a diverse diet.

Fun Apple Facts for Squirrels:

  • Apple Variety Abundance: Just like humans, squirrels can encounter a wide variety of apples. Out of the thousands of apple types, only a fraction are grown commercially. This means that squirrels may come across numerous apple varieties in their search for food.
  • Colorful Choices: Squirrels might find apples in various shades, from green to yellow and red. This diversity in color can make for an exciting foraging experience.
  • Pie-Making Feats: Squirrels, with their knack for collecting and storing food, might be intrigued to learn that it takes about two pounds of apples to make a standard 9-inch pie. This fun fact showcases the resourcefulness of these small creatures.

Final Thoughts:

To sum up, squirrels can indeed eat apples, but as with any food, certain precautions need to be taken.

As nature enthusiasts, understanding and respecting the dietary needs of wildlife is paramount.

Offering them the right food in safe environments ensures their well-being and maintains the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do squirrels bury nuts?

Squirrels bury nuts as a survival tactic. This act, known as ‘caching,’ ensures they have food reserves during scarce times, especially in winter.

Do squirrels remember where they bury their nuts?

While squirrels have a good memory, they don’t always retrieve all the nuts they bury. Forgotten caches often result in new plant growth.

Are squirrels territorial?

Yes, especially during mating seasons. Squirrels can become territorial, defending their space from intruders.

What Kind of Apples Do Squirrels Eat?

Squirrels aren’t particularly choosy when it comes to apple varieties. They are opportunistic feeders and will consume any apple they come across, whether it’s a Granny Smith, Fuji, or Red Delicious. Their primary concern is the accessibility and freshness of the fruit.

Why Do Squirrels Like To Eat Apples?

Apples provide hydration and essential nutrients that are beneficial for squirrels. Their sweet taste and juicy texture make them a delightful treat, especially during warmer months.

Can Baby Squirrels Eat Apples?

Baby squirrels, also known as kits or kittens, primarily depend on their mother’s milk for the initial weeks. Once they start the weaning process and begin to explore solid foods, introducing them to small, soft pieces of apple (without seeds) can be a good starting point. Always ensure the apple pieces are small enough to avoid choking.

Do Squirrels Eat Apples Off Trees?

Yes, squirrels are agile climbers and often pluck fruits directly from trees. They can be seen nibbling on an apple while perched on a branch or taking it down to a safe spot to eat.

Are Apple Skins Safe For Squirrels To Eat?

Apple skins are safe for squirrels, provided they are free from pesticides or chemicals. However, always wash apples thoroughly before offering them to squirrels.

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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