Do squirrels eat earthworms? A question that, like us, you might have pondered at some point when thinking your random daily thoughts!
You’ll see them chowing down on seeds, nuts, almonds and berries, but I’d personally never seen them eat earthworms or other kinds of worms before.
In my curiosity, I did some research to find out. Whether you actively feed squirrels in the wild or just plain curious, it would be interesting to know either way, right?
The short answer is yes, squirrels do occasionally ingest worms when the opportunity presents itself, though it’s not their favored food or a main part of their diet.
But let’s talk in more detail about all the different types of worms that a squirrel might eat and whether they even like them or if they’re good for a squirrel to eat.
Do Squirrels Eat Earthworms?
Ground squirrels including red squirrels and the European brown squirrel are most likely to eat earthworms since they spend more time on the ground.
Tree squirrels and flying squirrels are unlikely to eat earthworms for obvious reasons – they don’t spend as much time on the ground!
If you genuinely want to feed the local ground squirrels some earthworms, you should try scattering them on the ground near trees or in your yard where larger animals are unlikely to be able to see them.
Earthworms contain proteins and fat which can be beneficial to a growing or nursing squirrels.
Do Squirrels Eat Mealworms?
Squirrels do eat mealworms.
It’s a popular misconception that squirrels are herbivores, but they’re actually omnivores whose diet consists of both plants and animals.
The fact that mealworms are packed with protein explains why squirrels enjoy eating them.
Squirrels tend to have an easy time locating and eating mealworms, depending on their location, since they are easy to find in a wide variety of conditions and easy to digest.
Mealworms and other meals high in protein are likely to be consumed by a squirrel maturing, breeding, preparing to have a baby, or caring for a young squirrel because these activities require the animal to put on weight.
So, it is true that squirrels will take mealworms from bird feeders or other locations where people leave them for their pet birds to eat.
If you leave mealworms out for your bird to eat, the squirrels in the area will probably take at least some of the mealworms.
It is because your bird will be competing with the squirrels for the mealworms.
However, the opposite is also true.
Birds are more likely to finish off the meal worms if that is something the bird eats as a staple in their diet, especially female birds taking them to feed their baby birds.
If you want your squirrel to get its fair share, then it’s best to leave the worm supply somewhere birds can’t access.
Also leave nuts and seeds off of their feeding area as they will choose that option each time. Though that seems a bit harsh on the poor squirrel!
Do Squirrels Eat Dried Mealworms?
Mealworms, fresh or dried, are an excellent source of flavorful and protein-rich food for a squirrel.
Squirrels enjoy dried mealworms just as much as fresh ones.
Dried mealworm contains similar nutritional benefits to fresh ones (a bit less fat), so a squirrel will happily chow down on them.
Squirrels aren’t picky eaters, especially when it comes to food that’s given to them when their natural food sources are in short supply, so as long as it’s not going to hurt them, they’ll eat it.
Mealworms that have been dried up are a favorite food of squirrels since these animals are opportunistic eaters, meaning that they will eat anything that is moving or growing in their woodland habitat or even in our backyards.
Do Squirrels Like Worms or Do They Prefer Other Foods?
Squirrels are omnivores, which means that in addition to eating plant-based meals, they will also eat meat, such as worms and other insects and creatures.
But, their preference is undoubtedly things like pumpkin seeds, grains, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, acorns and berries.
This is why you’ll see them on the branches of fruit trees often – fruits also provide water for the squirrel).
If given choices between a worm and these foods, you’ll see the squirrel almost always choose the plant-based foods.
A worm can be beneficial to a squirrel, though.
In addition to assisting them in building up their fat reserves for periods when there isn’t as much food available, they are also beneficial for receiving nutrients like protein.
The worms that are buried beneath the surface of the ground are another source of nutrition for squirrels.
So, do squirrels eat worms? We hope you got the answer to your question. Here’s the wrap-up..
A squirrel does not actively seek out worms; instead, if they’re presented with the opportunity and they’re hungry, they’ll go for them in their native habitat, as well as insects.
It is well known that squirrels have a strong preference for acorns, which are typically found in significant quantities on tree branches and on the ground throughout the autumn.
However, they have a diverse appetite and appreciate a variety of foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits, fungus and yes, the humble worm.
NOTE: If you’re reading this thinking of keeping a squirrel as a pet, in many U.S. states, it is illegal to keep them as pets.
Other states require licensing, and wildlife rehabilitator training is required.
Individuals may seek licenses to keep wild animals, despite Natural England’s general recommendation that they are left alone.
Squirrels do not make an ideal pet at all and will thrive more in the wild. For more information, see here
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