Home Exotic Pets Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate? – What To Feed Them Instead

Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate? – What To Feed Them Instead

by Lucy

Many animal lovers out there have plenty of pets at home, but they cannot resist the urge to feed a few strays. These strays include a large variety of animals. Many believe that feeding wild animals any kind of human foods such as leftovers, candy, and chocolate is a way of being kind. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Indeed, most wild animals will willingly and happily eat human food. But just because it seems tasty doesn’t mean that human food is good for their health. You see, human foods like burgers, candy, and ice cream are full of ingredients that aren’t even healthy for humans, who are used to eating processed and sugary foods.

Most savory items consist of sodium or dairy products like cheese, milk, or cream. Sweet foods are either full of artificial coloring and flavors. Even the more expensive confections are loaded with sugar and butter. For wild animals that only eat fresh and completely natural foods, human food is a recipe for disaster.

So, can squirrels eat chocolate? Too much chocolate is toxic for squirrels. Even in small quantities, it is not recommended to feed them chocolate, as the sugar content is too high. Instead, opt to feed squirrels plain and unsalted nuts, seeds, and fresh berries.

Now, you and most other humans may be able to consume these ingredients and digest them. But animals in the wild do not eat these things on a regular basis and do not have the digestive system to break down sugar, sodium, or dairy without dire consequences.

So, if you’re wondering why exactly your squirrel friends won’t benefit from a piece of chocolate as a treat, wonder no more.

Why Can’t Squirrels Eat Chocolate?

You may have seen that your neighborhood-friendly squirrels and raccoons aren’t picky eaters. Squirrels can and will eat chocolates if you try to feed it to them.

These fur-babies aren’t particular about the stuff they will eat. Now, in the wild, squirrels stick to eating fruits, some veggies, and seeds that they can find. 

But, you will witness that if you feed a squirrel often, it will eventually become dependent upon you for its food source and stop foraging. In such circumstances, your beloved visitor will happily gobble down whatever you put before it. 

Now, chocolate is already not the best choice of food for humans. But chocolate of any kind is toxic for squirrels. If your squirrel eats a bit, it may fall ill. But, chocolate taken in large quantities will kill a squirrel.

Chocolates contain a compound by the name of theobromine. Theobromine is also known as alkaloid, usually found in most teas and beverages, especially cola. It takes 36g of a 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar to kill a squirrel.

Dark chocolate contains the most amount of theobromine. Milk chocolate isn’t as bad for the little critters as it has a lesser amount of theobromine. But it is still loaded with sugar and dairy products. And white chocolate is equally as unhealthy for these tiny hoarders. 

Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies?

You can’t have chocolate chip cookies without any chocolate. And, as you already know, that chocolate can be toxic for squirrels. So no, don’t make the mistake of feeding chocolate chip cookies to your squirrels thinking you’re just being neighborly.

They may like eating chocolate and gladly take your chocolate chip cookies, but they don’t know any better. If you’re feeding them, it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re getting healthy and nutritious food.

Also, you have to understand that cookies, even chocolate chip ones, have sugar, milk, butter, and flour as the main ingredients. And, none of these have many health benefits for animals or humans.

You may wonder what’s wrong with milk, flour, or sugar; well, read on to find out why most ingredients in sugary treats are harmful to squirrels.

Why Is Dairy Bad For Squirrels?

Diary isn’t just bad for squirrels; it isn’t suitable for most animals. You see, once mammals are weaned off their mother’s milk, they eventually develop an intolerance to lactose. This includes squirrels.

If you feed your squirrels anything with dairy in it, there’s a fair chance that your fluffy buddy’s delicate tummy isn’t going to fare too well. And, it is common knowledge that milk and white chocolate is loaded with dairy.

Now, squirrels aren’t voracious eaters, meaning they have small appetites. But considering their size, even a small bite of white chocolate or a few sips of chocolate milk will be enough to give them diarrhea, upset their stomach, or induce vomiting

You see, most baby animals produce an enzyme by the name of lactase. Lactase helps the body break down small forms of sugar, which are glucose and galactose. Once broken down, milk in the body provides energy. But, an adult animal’s body no longer produces lactase, hence the intolerance for anything dairy.

Why Is Sugar Bad For Squirrels?

Sugar is a known factor for the increase of obesity in humans across the globe. But, sugar doesn’t only increase the percentage of fat in your body, it can also give you all kinds of other diseases. And you can face innumerable dental problems too.

Sugar isn’t just devastating for the well-being of humans. It isn’t suitable for animals either. Animal experts blame the increase of obesity in pet cats and dogs on sugar too. And the same rule applies when you give sugar to squirrels. 

The simple fact is that sugar is a processed substance that human and animals’ bodies alike cannot digest.

Have you ever seen Over The Hedge? Unfortunately, sugar affects squirrels the same way it affects children. Squirrels are hyperactive naturally. But when they get a dose of sugar into their systems, they go into overdrive.

Hence, you will find that if you feed your garden friends a sugary treat, they will start to race about and not sit still for the next half an hour. But don’t do this thinking it’s funny; you’ll be shortening that animal’s lifespan and subjecting it to dental and intestinal distress.

Now, if that were the only impact sugar had on your backyard friend’s body, it wouldn’t be so bad. You see, excessive sugar intake can clog up the arteries, increase blood pressure, and cause obesity and heart conditions. Worse still, sugar can cause diabetes and even cancer in squirrels.

Why Is Flour Bad For Squirrels?

If you speak to any nutritionist today, most will advise you to quit consuming all of the great whites. What is a great white, you ask? Well, sugar, salt, and flour make up the great whites.

And, all of them do mammals more harm than good. So, you’ve already read about sugar, but you need to understand specific facts about flour and salt too. 

Flour is the main ingredient in many baked goods, be it savory or sweet. But, not everyone can digest gluten that can be found in flour. Many people and animals are gluten intolerant. And, gluten intolerance has more severe side effects than lactose intolerance. 

Many people get constipation, diarrhea, celiac disease, nasal congestion, and much more through gluten intolerance. And, if you continue to consume flour despite being gluten intolerant, then you may end up damaging your digestive system along with your other organs.

Why Is Salt Bad For Squirrels?

When it comes to sodium, better known as salt, you have to make extra sure that you keep it away from your pet squirrel. You see, high levels of sodium intake are enough to kill humans.

A squirrel doesn’t stand a chance with too much salt consumption. Salt causes the body to retain water, but it also causes dehydration. At the same time, it impacts blood pressure and affects organs too. 

So, when you feed your squirrel a savory treat, you are doing it a disservice. Squirrels cannot process salt in their bodies. And, whatever salty snack they eat will adversely affect your squirrel far worse and quickly than it may hurt you.

Hence, you may find yourself in a bind, thinking, what can you feed your squirrel if not for bread and other human foods? But, the solution to your problem is a simple one. Just read on to find out.

What Should You Feed Your Squirrel?

In the wild, squirrels don’t walk into a bakery and ask for a sausage roll or cookies—squirrels in the wild stick to foraging for whatever nuts, fruits, vegetables, or seeds they can find. And, most squirrels love to hog on acorns.

Everything in the wild is natural, and nothing comes out of plastic packaging.

So, if you have a couple of squirrel friends, you must find out about their dietary needs and feed them not just what they seem to enjoy eating but what is good for them. You’ll find a list of fruits and vegetables that squirrels can eat without being exposed to any toxicity below.

Healthy Nuts For Squirrels:

Now, acorns rank very high in the preference list of squirrels when it comes to nuts. And acorns are pretty healthy too. But, when it comes to the rest of the nuts, you have to consider that these nuts are quite high in fat. Feeding too many nuts will cause your fur-baby to bloat and become less active.

It’s rare for many animal lovers to domesticate squirrels. Most feed their backyard babies and let them be in the wild. Now, if you have a slow and lazy squirrel on your hands, then you have to understand that you are putting the poor thing’s life in danger. 

Squirrels are supposed to be active as that is one of the ways they keep out of danger. Most predators are unable to catch squirrels, as they are so fast. Now an obese squirrel is unlikely to be very fast on its feet. So don’t overfeed your squirrels.

Healthy Fruits For Squirrels:

  • Apples (no seeds)
  • Grapes (no seeds)
  • Pears (no seeds)
  • Kiwi
  • Mango (diced)
  • Peach (no pits)
  • Plum (no pits)
  • Bananas 
  • Strawberries

Most fruits are healthy for your squirrel. But you need to keep away all kinds of citrus fruits as they are quite acidic.

Citrus fruits such as oranges or nectarines will give your squirrel an upset stomach. And, when it comes to fruits with pits and stones, you need to make sure that you remove the stones and pits and seeds before you make an offering of them. Many fruit seeds contain trace amounts of arsenic.

Also, when it comes to giving fruit, you should only offer minimal quantities, which must be chopped into tiny pieces.

Healthy Veggies For Squirrels:

  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprout

Once again, stick to presenting tiny portions of finely diced vegetables at a time. Most squirrels do eat these vegetables if they come across a vegetable patch in their neighborhood. But never in excess.

Healthy Seeds For Squirrels:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Safflower seeds

Now, many bird watchers find squirrels raiding bird feeders, as they enjoy eating seeds too. And as most bird seeds are usually a mixture of seeds and nuts, squirrels appreciate bird feed far more than most birds.

But, sunflower seeds have a very high calorie count, which means that you have to limit the number of these seeds you offer to your squirrel. Always make sure that the seeds you feed them are unsalted and plain.

Related Questions

You might find yourself to be better equipped now that you’ve read this article about what to feed and what not to feed your squirrel.

But, many nature lovers out there love to gather more information about their furry friends. Thus, read on to find the answers to commonly asked queries from squirrel-friendly animal guardians.

Do Squirrels Eat Insects?

It isn’t uncommon to find a squirrel munching on a grasshopper now and then. It isn’t a meal that squirrels seem to relish.

But when squirrels are hungry, and food is scarce, you will also see squirrels eating earthworms, caterpillars, and crickets. You may even get a glimpse of your squirrel nibbling away at a variety of fungi such as mushrooms, truffles, or lichen.

Can Squirrels Eat Avocados?

The funny thing about avocados is that they are highly recommended for humans. They are full of vitaminss, minerals, and healthy fats that are very beneficial for the human body.

But many animal lovers will tell you that most animals cannot eat avocados. Avocados contain persin, a toxin that can quickly kill your cat, dog, and even hedgehog.

However, squirrels do not fall into the category of animals that can die due to avocado toxicity. Squirrels quite enjoy eating a tasty treat of avocado. But you have to remove the skin and the pit as that is toxic even for squirrels.

Can Squirrels Have Cat Or Dog Food?

Squirrels aren’t picky eaters. Hence they will have anything that is easily and readily available. Yet, they do not have access to any animal byproducts or any chemicals in the wild.

When you feed your squirrels, cat, or dog food, you expose them to harmful ingredients found in cat or dog food. And these unhealthy ingredients can damage their digestive system and other organs.

So no, they should not be offered anything that comes out of a can or plastic wrap. Even when you present them with fruits, nuts, seeds, or vegetables, it’s best to go with organically grown, chemical-free, and pesticide-free goodies.

Do Squirrels Attack While Eating?

You have to understand that squirrels aren’t like your cat or dog. They are creatures of the wild. And, they are tiny. So they take extra precautions when it comes to preserving their lives. 

Squirrels are wild beasts, and they don’t attack unless provoked, but it would help if you did not make any sudden movements around a squirrel unless they know you. Yes, they can bite. And, they do bite if you try to feed them and try to pet or stroke them while they eat.

Also, squirrels can carry rabies. It’s best to set up a squirrel feeder for them and watch them eat from a distance.

How Do I Set Up A Squirrel Feeder?

If you’re a woodworker interested in making your own squirrel feeder to attract the neighborhood squirrels to your backyard, we’ve found a great tutorial from the RunBikeMike channel on YouTube showing you how to do just that! He even includes the measurements and cut sizes in the comments.

Up Next: The Best Bird Feeders For Meal Worms

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