From the luxury of your back deck or even a window, one of the most amusing sights is squirrels chasing each other through trees and around the yard. Providing a consistent food supply for the squirrels is a great way to express your gratitude and encourage them to stay in your yard.
If you enjoy feeding these tiny rodents, it’ important to know what to feed them and what not. For example, squirrels love nuts, but they will also appreciate those humanly snack from the mall. But how safe are these snacks? Can you feed backyard squirrels chocolate?
For squirrels, chocolate is not good. In fact, chocolate is deadly for these creatures as it includes the chemical theobromine, making it extremely harmful for squirrels. The chemical can induce vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and even death.
Why Chocolate is harmful to squirrels
Chocolates contain an alkanoid known as theobromine, normally produced in plants to keep them safe from diseases, pests, and insects. LD50 (Lethal Dose) of 50% is a way of measuring how toxic a substance is. In squirrels, the LD50 is 0.5 mg of theobromine while it’s 1000mg/kg body weight in humans.
When taken in large amounts, it may lead to the squirrel’s death as 0.5 mg of theobromine is enough to kill them. It means that 50% of all squirrels weighing 500g will die after 0.5mg enter their bodies.
Some of the effects of Chocolate on squirrels are excitement, seizures, diarrhea, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, trembling, abnormal heartbeats, and death. Squirrels have different resistance to alkanoids from dogs. They are less sensitive to chocolates than dogs, meaning dogs are more likely to die first than a squirrel if they feed on the same amount of Chocolate.
Do squirrels Eat Chocolate?
A squirrel is an opportunistic animal that can eat anything that comes its way. Squirrels love eating Chocolate whenever they get the chance. They may even grab your bar from your hand and run away.
They are fond of eating human food, and you’ll find them looking for leftovers in the trash. Any foods consumed by humans, squirrels also like eating. They would choose human food over any other food they find during their hunting. They will taste anything that comes their way.
After finding the food, they invite the rest by using certain sounds. If you’ve to feel the squirrels chocolate, give them a tiny to no amount at all. Remember that the amount that appears small to humans may be too much for them due to their body size and weight, and they may soon get addicted.
If you can’t resist the urge to feed them, feed them nuts or seeds and fruits instead because they love them too. Chocolates have some benefits, but it does more harm than good to animals. Besides the harm it does to humans, chocolates also have benefits which include; it’s good in reducing heart disease, improving memory and brain, improving blood flow, and protecting the skin.
How much Chocolate can Kill a Squirrel?
The LD50 test on small animals like squirrels showed that it would only take 0.5 mg of theobromine or, in other terms, 36 grams of a 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate bat to kill a squirrel. It also showed that too much Chocolate could be harmful to humans at a lethal dose of 1000mg/kg, almost 85full chocolate bars at once.
Too much Chocolate or other sugary food can also cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, weight gain, and other chronic diseases.
How Long for the effects to show?
The time required for chocolate to affect a squirrel depends on the type of chocolate consumed and the quantity of theobromine present. In most cases, chocolate will not harm squirrels when consumed in small amounts, less than 5 grams.
When squirrels consume excessive amounts of chocolate, the onset of theobromine poisoning takes between 2 and 12 hours. The impact may linger for many days. Under severe circumstances, the squirrel may perish.
When a squirrel consumes chocolate, it is digested and dispersed throughout its whole body, including its brain. Following the distribution, theobromine exerts its impact, resulting in the manifestation of poisoning symptoms.
Seizures, shaking, and panting is among the most typical signs of chocolate poisoning in squirrels that have consumed a large amount of chocolate.
Which Other Foods Are Toxic To Squirrels?
Squirrels are vegetarians, but you’ll find them eating foods like mushrooms and popcorns that aren’t safe for them. Like Chocolate, there are many kinds of foods that squirrels love eating even though they are lethal.
These foods include human food such as candy, grilled and fried food, pizza, coffee, and junk food. Others include alcohol, onions, coffee, avocado, and beverages containing caffeine. Anything natural is good and safe for the consumption of squirrels. Other things that aren’t natural are not beneficial for squirrels.
What to do after a Squirrel eats a high amount of Chocolate?
There is no medicine for chocolate poisoning in squirrels and other rodents. However, you can induce vomiting for the theobromine to get out of the body.
You can also call the vet if the symptoms persist or you aren’t able to induce vomiting.
What Foods Are The Best For Squirrels?
- Fruits such as bananas, grapes, kiwi fruit, berries, peaches, etc. Vegetables like carrots, kale, broccoli, beet greens, turnip, and any vegetable that has a high calcium content. However, foods like garlic, yam, and dried vegetable aren’t good for squirrels.
- Nuts and seeds– nuts are good for squirrels, including walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. Seeds include sunflower seeds, peas, and corn
|SQUIRREL FEEDING GUIDE|
|Acorn, Red Oak (high tannin)||Okay||High tannin nuts are usually eaten only in desperate times.|
|Acorn, White Oak (low tannin)||Excellent||Preferred over high tannin acorns.|
|Beechnut||Excellent||Leave in shell to promote gnawing.|
|Bread||Poor||Do not feed.|
|Butternut||Excellent||Leave in shell to promote gnawing.|
|Corn||Okay||Feed in small amounts only. Corn is a squirrel favorite, but fails to offer quality nutrition.|
|Fruits (Apple, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, watermelon)||Excellent||Offer small quantities of non-citrus fruit.|
|Hazelnuts||Excellent||Leave in shell to promote gnawing.|
|Human junk food (Candy, chocolate, chips)||Poor||Poor nutritional value.|
|Hickory Nuts||Excellent||A favorite for squirrels. Leave in shell to promote gnawing.|
|Niger/Nyjer® Seeds||Poor||Squirrels do not like niger. Do not feed.|
|Peanut Butter||Okay||A favorite, but should only be provided in moderation.|
|Peanuts, Raw||Dangerous||Raw peanuts may contain a fungus that can hurt squirrels.|
|Peanuts, Roasted||Okay||Unsalted and only in small amounts.|
|Pecans||Excellent||Shelled or unshelled are fine.|
|Pistachio||Okay||White pistachios only. Do not give them red pistachios.|
|Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds||Okay||Feel free to leave your Jack O’Lantern “guts” for squirrels. They will often chew on the pumpkin shell too.|
|Sunflower seeds||Okay||Although squirrels love sunflower seeds, provide them in small amounts only.|
|Vegetables (Broccoli, carrots, peas, yellow squash, zucchini)||Excellent||Generally an excellent source of nutrition.|
|Walnut, Black or American||Excellent||Leave in shell to promote gnawing.|
|Water||Excellent||Squirrels need water daily. Keep it fresh and unfrozen.|
- Bones-bones have a high calcium content which is suitable for squirrels. They help them strengthen their teeth.
Can A Squirrel Eat Chocolate Cake?
Chocolate cake is a favorite dessert loved by most people. However, squirrels shouldn’t eat it because the cake is made with theobromine from cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and chocolate chips.
The cake is also mixed with sugary ingredients that aren’t safe for the squirrel. Consumption of the cake may lead to seizures, stomachache, and increased breathing.
- Shooting squirrels in backyard
- Can you eat squirrel from your backyard?
- Squirrel pooping: where and when do squirrels poop?
- Can squirrels eat chocolate? Is it safe?
Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies?
For squirrels, chocolate chip cookies might signal danger. The primary constituents in chocolate chip cookies are sugar and dark chocolate chips, which are unhealthy for animals like squirrels. In cookie mixes, butter, a non-dairy butter alternative, is frequently added. It includes an unhealthy mix of saturated and trans fats, which have been linked to chronic ailments such as heart disease.
The chocolate toxicity meter indicates that a 16g choc chip cookie contains around 2.6mg caffeine and 20.3mg theobromine. Thus, pets should not be fed chocolate chip cookies. Squirrels are opportunistic eaters so that they might consume chocolate chip cookies by chance. Contact the veterinarian urgently if your pet squirrel is in pain.
Hello, I’m Tanya, the voice and passion behind Smart Yard Guide. With a lifelong love for nature and a keen eye for design, I embarked on this journey to share my expertise and experiences in landscaping, gardening, and outdoor design. As a dedicated homeowner myself, I understand the joys and challenges of curating a space that seamlessly blends nature with human creativity.
My background in horticulture and landscape architecture has given me a solid foundation to explore innovative ideas while respecting the time-tested principles of outdoor design. From selecting the perfect plants for your climate to mastering the art of harmonious hardscaping, I’m here to guide you every step of the way.