Squirrels are quick critters who need to eat throughout the day to maintain their energy levels and body weight. A varied diet is crucial in keeping them healthy but you also need to make sure you feed your pet the appropriate foods, not just any variety of foods.
Squirrels can eat a variety of plants, including legumes. Peanuts are probably the most popular and widely loved legume, but they aren't the only ones you should be feeding your pet. Peas, lentils, and beans are all excellent sources of plant protein. You should aim to provide a few legumes in a squirrel's daily diet.
Everybody knows squirrels like nuts. Walnuts, acorns, almonds, and other nuts are all loved by squirrels. They love to hold them in their tiny paws as they eat. Nuts are a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and even fiber for a pet squirrel. Provide a few nuts a day as treats to your pet squirrel.
Seeds should be the bulk of your squirrel's daily diet. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and other large seeds that are found in most parrot or squirrel mixes should be available to your pet squirrel. These will provide the bulk of their calories and nutritional content but should not be the only food you offer. Squirrels who live solely on seeds will lack calcium in their diet and will most likely become overweight.
After seeds, vegetables are the most important part of your squirrel's daily diet. Sweet potatoes and corn are popular choices and also very nutritious for your little pet. They provide key vitamins and minerals that seeds, nuts, and other foods don't offer your squirrel. A nice chunk of a vegetable will also give your squirrel a natural water source and add some variety to the diet.
Handheld pieces of berries, melons, apples, and other fruits can be offered sparingly. Too much fruit will cause diarrhea. A little bit every day will give your pet a small number of natural sugars and carbohydrates that they need to balance out their diet.
While you may not like the idea of your little squirrel munching on a crunchy mealworm, your little rodent friend sure might! Squirrels will often enjoy the occasional mealworm or super worm, or may even jump at the chance to chase a cricket. Insects can be another way to add vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin D to your squirrel's diet. Moths are another option if your squirrel is adventurous and wants to jump and chase things.
Some companies make squirrel pellets that are formulated to be balanced nutritionally for squirrels. Many Northern and Southern flying squirrel owners prefer to feed these pellets with some added nuts, seeds, and other foods to ensure they are providing a well-balanced diet. Parrot biscuits and monkey biscuits can also be fed as additional food but are not formulated to be the primary diet for pet squirrels.
Many squirrels, especially flying squirrels, will need a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement if they don't get enough from the food they eat. In order to make sure your squirrel is getting enough calcium and vitamin D, you can dust fruits and vegetables with calcium powder made for reptiles a few times a week.
Pet squirrels will eat a variety of things but that doesn't mean you should let it eat whatever it wants. Nutritious cereals and crackers are popular treats with squirrel owners but sugary and salty snacks should be avoided. With all the options you have for feeding pet squirrels, you shouldn't have any trouble getting a variety of foods into your furry little friend.