Feeding wildlife makes us feel good. No doubt it feels even better when an animal takes our offering with enthusiasm. vs. seeing them do the “no thanks” routine.
Bread is usually taken with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the only one winning in that scene is us. Because sadly, the squirrel is not getting what it needs from store bought bread.
Coming up, 5 reasons to stop feeding bread and a link to better options.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents - Click to Open
Enriched Bread Flours May Harm a Squirrel
Squirrels may not benefit from enriched products like bread. Because pulverized grains lose much of their nutritional value, lots of nutrients get added back in after the fact.
When doing so, manufacturers are thinking about humans and definitely not squirrels.
Those extra nutrients may be exactly what a squirrel doesn’t need. A squirrel doesn’t need nearly the amount iron or b vitamins that we can safely consume.
Vitamins Added to Breads Can Hurt Squirrels
Some breads and cereals take an extra step and add all types of extra vitamins and minerals. Sometimes these added vitamins are 100% of a human adult’s recommended daily dose.
We might view this as tremendously beneficial and convenient. Especially for those of us who don’t get vitamins and minerals from natural sources.
However, squirrels are especially susceptible to excess vitamins. Especially Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol-D3.
Vitamin D3 has historically been added to food as a fortifier to improve calcium levels in the human body.
It is commonly added to milk and other similar food products. Vitamin D3 (i.e., cholecalciferol) has been used as a rodenticide since the 1970s. It is used in the creation of pellets and other baits targeted at mice, rats, moles, and gophers – Source link USDA
Moldy Bread Can Harm Squirrels
Molds can be benign to a squirrel, but that’s rare. On the mild end, they are allergens which may cause difficulty breathing, hair loss, rash or diarrhea. It often happens with cracked corn.
In some cases, mold is toxic and will kill the squirrel.
While squirrels may be keenly aware of dangerous smells, sometimes they miscalculate. This happens with molds and fungi such as certain toxic mushrooms.
Bread Has Dangerous Preservatives
Some breads never go moldy and that is equally concerning to a squirrel. If your bread looks the same as it did 30 days prior, it’s loaded with chemicals.
Feeding chemicals and preservatives to squirrels can be harmful. Think of how much tinier their organs are. That’s a lot of work for a small organ.
Added Sugars in Bread is Bad for Squirrels
Squirrels and sugar do not go together. Sadly many breads have added sugars to make us crave them!
When a squirrel consumes sugar, it’s best to come from sources loaded with fiber such as fruits it would find in its natural environment.
Breads are not even all that healthy for us. Many nutritionists encourage us to skip it or make it count. Such as sourdough from home starters.
In general, it is not a good idea to toss bread out to the squirrels, and never toss moldy bread. A good rule of thumb for feeding squirrels is “no prepared foods” which means stay away from anything with an ingredient list.
While you may see a squirrel eating bread, there are better choices. Have a look at our food list and how squirrels behaved when fed these foods in rehab.