Do Squirrels Eat Bacon? The Truth About These Cute Critters’ Diets

As someone who loves watching squirrels play and forage in my backyard, I’ve always been curious about what these bushy-tailed critters like to eat. I often see them munching on nuts and seeds from my bird feeder. But occasionally I’ve wondered – do squirrels eat bacon?

This seemed like an important question to get to the bottom of, especially since we all want to keep our furry friends happy and healthy. I did some research into squirrels’ diets and ability to digest fatty meats like bacon Here’s what I learned

What’s in a Squirrel’s Normal Diet?

Squirrels are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. However, nuts, seeds, fruits, fungi, and insects make up the bulk of their natural diet. Here are some of their dietary staples

  • Acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts, pine nuts – Squirrels especially love nuts and are excellent cracker-openers! They store nuts to eat during winter.

  • Tree fruits like apples, oranges, peaches, berries

-Seeds and dried corn

-Fungi like mushrooms, truffles, morels

  • Insects, caterpillars, grubs – Squirrels get essential protein from bugs!

  • Tree buds, twigs, bark – Squirrels gnaw these for food in winter when other fare is scarce.

  • Backyard vegetables and birdseed – Squirrels will nibble opportunistically on any readily available food sources.

While omnivorous, squirrels mainly thrive on fruits, nuts, seeds, and other plant matter. Meat plays a minimal role in their natural diet.

Can Squirrels Safely Digest Meat Like Bacon?

Since squirrels are capable of eating meat, it’s plausible they could digest bacon. However, meat comprises a very small part of a squirrel’s diet. Eating too much can cause digestive issues.

Squirrels seem to have an easier time breaking down and absorbing nutrients from small prey like insects or baby birds compared to larger animals. Their bodies aren’t designed to regularly consume calorie-dense fatty meats.

Too much bacon could lead to:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach – High fat overwhelms digestive system

  • Weight gain, obesity, heart disease – Bacon is loaded with saturated fat

  • Nutritional imbalance – Bacon lacks vitamins and minerals squirrels need

While squirrels may opportunistically nibble meat, bacon should never be an intentional part of their diet. The high fat and salt content makes it unsafe.

Why You Shouldn’t Feed Squirrels Bacon

Intentionally feeding bacon to squirrels can have seriously harmful effects on their health:

  • It leads to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other weight-related conditions

  • High amounts of fat and salt wreak havoc on squirrels’ digestive systems

  • Additives and preservatives in bacon can be toxic to squirrels’ livers and kidneys

  • Excess grease and oil in bacon can degrade squirrels’ feather coats, compromising insulation

  • Fed squirrels become aggressive towards humans and dependent on unnatural foods

  • People food weakens squirrels’ survival abilities to forage on their own

For both ethical and ecological reasons, bacon should be avoided at all costs when it comes to squirrel feeding.

Healthy Foods Squirrels Can Eat

If you want to give back to neighborhood squirrels, offer them snacks that align with their natural diet:

  • Nuts and seeds – Acorns, walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, pine cones

  • Dried corn, grains – Healthy carbs that provide lasting energy

  • Fresh fruits – Chopped apples, berries, melons, bananas

  • Unsalted shelled sunflower seeds – A squirrel favorite!

  • Chopped veggies – Squash, peas, sweet potato

  • Whole grain birdseed or rodent feed – Nutritionally formulated for squirrels

  • Clean fresh water – Essential for hydration and digestion

With a balanced, natural diet, squirrels will thrive without any fatty, salty bacon.

Signs a Squirrel Is Unhealthy From Its Diet

If neighborhood squirrels seem overly sluggish, aggressive, or sickly, poor nutrition may be to blame. Here are some signs a squirrel may be eating unhealthy human food:

  • Obesity, weight gain – Overly rounded body, waddling movements

  • Mangy coat – Dull, patchy fur lacking luster

  • Lethargy – Moving slowly, sleeping often

  • Diarrhea – Loose stool, dirty hindquarters

  • Nocturnal activity – roaming at night due to loss of food sources

  • Tameness – Approaching humans seeking food

  • Weakness – Lack of balance, falling from trees

  • Hanging around homes – Begging for food instead of foraging

If you spot undernourished squirrels, eliminate any fatty treats and instead provide healthy natural foods. With time, they can recover and return to their energetic bushy-tailed selves again!

Can Squirrels Have Any Meat at All?

While bacon and other fatty meats are off the table, squirrels can occasionally eat small amounts of lean protein sources:

  • Insects like grubs, caterpillars, crickets – Essential protein and nutrients

  • Eggs – Hard boiled eggs in moderation are an excellent source of protein

  • Unseasoned poultry – Natural leftover chicken in very limited quantities

  • Rodent blocks – Nutritionally formulated for small mammals

  • Unsalted nuts – Like almonds and peanuts contain protein

The key is keeping meat to less than 10% of their total diet. An excess hurts more than helps squirrels’ health. Prioritize natural plant foods whenever possible.

Why People Shouldn’t Feed Squirrels at All

Though offering squirrels healthy foods may seem helpful, wildlife experts actually advise against hand-feeding them altogether. Here’s why:

  • Fed squirrels become too comfortable around humans and lose fear, increasing risks of getting hit by cars or attacked by pets.

  • They grow overly dependent on humans for food instead of foraging naturally. This hurts their survival skills.

  • Fed squirrels are more likely to dig up and damage gardens, flower beds, and house foundations in search of buried food treats.

  • They can spread diseases among each other at concentrated feeding sites.

  • Some foods like corn can harbor deadly mold if left out over time.

Though counterintuitive, the healthiest thing for squirrels is not to feed them at all. Leaving them to their natural behaviors keeps ecosystems balanced.

The Bottom Line on Squirrels and Bacon

So do squirrels eat bacon in the wild? The simple answer is no. Bacon is not part of squirrels’ natural diet and can even be harmful to their health. While squirrels will opportunistically nibble all kinds of foods, they thrive best on fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects.

If you want to watch your furry neighbors thrive, skip the bacon and any other fatty treats. Let squirrels be squirrels and stick to the foods nature intended. We can be kind just by letting them forage as they were born to do!

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Can squirrels have bacon?

Do Not Feed Bacon to Squirrels. A bit of unexpected wildlife wisdom.

What is a squirrel’s favorite food?

Squirrels’ favorite natural foods are hickory nuts, pecans, black walnuts, and acorns. Their favorite feeder food is black oil sunflower seeds, their least favorite feeder food is Nyjer® (thistle) seed.

What foods are toxic to squirrels?

Toxic Foods for Squirrels: 1. Chocolate: While it may be a delightful treat for us, chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to squirrels and can lead to severe health problems. 2. Avocado: Avocados contain persin, a substance that is toxic to many animals, including squirrels.

Will a squirrel eat meat?

Do Squirrels Eat Meat. Yes, as we mentioned above, squirrels are omnivorous so it’s not unusual to spot them eating some type of meat. Most commonly, ground squirrels consume meat in their natural habitat. Their diet includes small snakes, lizards, mice, insects, etc.

Do squirrels eat insects?

Yes, they do because they are omnivores. Squirrels eat a variety of foods including nuts, seeds, insects such as flies or mosquitoes, fruit such as apples or grapes; even small rodents like mice.

Do squirrels eat meat?

However, squirrels are omnivores, which means that they like to eat plants and meat. If you feed squirrels, then you know that there isn’t much they won’t eat. Most squirrels are vegetarians, but there are exceptions and the flying squirrel, ground squirrels, and red squirrels will eat pretty much anything in order to make a meal.

Do squirrels eat fruit?

Fruits are one of the squirrel’s favorite food, but like most food groups, it’s better for them to maintain a balanced diet, too much fruit can prevent them from absorbing calcium – so keep fruit-based treats to a minimum.

Do squirrels eat birds?

Wild squirrels have been known to raid bird nests and eat baby birds. If they find an empty nest, they will eat bird eggs, spiders, insects, bugs, and even mice. If they get hungry enough, they will eat the meat found on carcasses. What About Flying Squirrels?

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