At the wildlife hospital, we cared for a wide range of wildlife.
One of the best parts of rehabbing squirrels was the wide variety in their diet.
While most animals require a very special diet, squirrels were offered the largest variety and it was fun to document their likes and dislikes.
Table of Contents - Click to Open
- Squirrel Phosphorus & Calcium Problems
- Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio for Squirrel Feeding
- How to Use this Calcium to Phosphorus Table
- Squirrels - Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio - Based on 100g serving
Squirrel Phosphorus & Calcium Problems
Even though squirrels were offered a wide variety of foods, the menu had to meet a specific ratio of calcium to phosphorus. And between you and me, this was extremely difficult.
Not because we couldn’t do the math, but when presented with meals that contained just the right amount of phosphorus and calcium, most squirrels would eat all the high phosphorus foods, leaving behind the rich, calcium offerings.
And if it happened repeatedly, a squirrel’s chart would be labeled Ca1 which meant Calcium first. And sometimes people would make an extra note of: NNFY which meant No Nuts For You!
Phosphorus and Calcium for Young and Injured Squirrels
Young squirrels and those recovering from injury, never even got to eat nuts and seeds. Often, then needed safe calcium supplements.
That’s because nuts and seeds are notoriously low in calcium while being high in phosphorus.
That imbalance can cause a squirrel’s body to deplete calcium from their bones. Not good!
Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio for Squirrel Feeding
For pre-adults the ratio goal was 2:1, meaning 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. For adult squirrels the ratio goal was 1:1
In addition, I learned a lot about the importance of calcium absorption for squirrels both young and old.
There are other factors to consider, for instance…oxalates can bind to calcium and render it unavailable.
That means foods high in oxalates, such as spinach and okra, had special calculations. But it was easier to just avoid the high oxalates.
How to Use this Calcium to Phosphorus Table
Use the search box to type in a food. If it’s not listed, it’s probably not a good idea to give a squirrel.
Do your best to feed squirrels the right balance. That means 2:1 for young squirrels and 1:1 for adults.
If you type in “peanuts” you’ll see lots of results, in order of best to worst.
Raw Valencia Peanuts would be the best peanut choice for a squirrel, but a squirrel would do better if you found a calcium rich pairing to go with one or two peanuts.
Be Sure to Add the mg of ALL FOODS given
For example: if you give a pre-adult squirrel 100 grams of a banana, be sure it also has 100 grams of something like dandelion greens.
When combined, these two foods result in a balanced ratio of about 2:1 calcium to phosphorus.
Squirrels - Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio - Based on 100g serving
Table List Order: High Calcium : Low Phosphorus Foods
Information in the calcium to phosphorus food table was obtained from USDA Legacy Food Search and was accurate at the time of posting.
Just because a food is listed does not mean it’s a good choice for a squirrel, on it’s own.
The best practice for feeding wild squirrels is to make the food choices higher in calcium than phosphorus. Nuts and seeds are not balanced and can deplete a squirrels calcium. Same for peanut butter.
You can see from the table, some nuts are better than others. Choose those, and offer them sparingly and with foods that balance the ratio.
Visit our homepage for even more information and squirrel resources.