When we think of feeding squirrels, I’ll be the first to admit that meat and bugs definitely do not come to mind!
Not that a squirrel wouldn’t eat it, but I’m not one for watching living things get eaten.
But what about squirrels? Are they likely to want a chunk of your hot dog or hamburger?
Well, not likely….but that doesn’t mean they are vegetarians.
I’ll go over meats that squirrels do enjoy and link to a few shocking videos of squirrels eating meat.
Table of Contents - Click to Open
- Do squirrels eat meat or not?
- Will Squirrels Eat Caterpillars?
- Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs for Meat?
- Do Squirrels Hunt Insects and Eat Them?
- Do Squirrels Eat Lizards in Florida?
Do squirrels eat meat or not?
Even though you may never see it with your own eyes, squirrels do eat meat. They will dig up grubs, snack on cicadas, crack eggs, gobble up crickets, and have even been captured on video eating birds, snakes, and other small sources of meat.
Meat, guts, bones, shells and other meat sources do make up a small, yet essential, percent of a squirrel’s natural diet.
Let’s get into some other types of meat that a squirrel might munch on.
Will Squirrels Eat Caterpillars?
In the wild, caterpillars are an essential part of a squirrels diet. That’s especially true of tree squirrels and flying squirrels. Since caterpillars have little defense, they are an easy way for a squirrel to load up on essential vitamins and minerals.
In addition to caterpillars, squirrels will enjoy eating other invertebrate.
Grubs, butterflies and snails are all on the table to be eaten by a hungry squirrel. Check out this article about squirrels and mealworms too.
Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs for Meat?
Squirrels have been known to snack on unattended eggs. Eggs provide squirrels with much needed vitamins and minerals and they also serve to quench their thirst when water is scarce and they risk dehydration.
While they don’t often raid guarded nests or occupied bird houses, a squirrel may take advantage, especially if no fighting is involved.
At the wildlife hospital, we offered the occasional hard boiled egg. Most squirrels enjoyed them. You can read more about the what we fed them in rehab here: Squirrel Favorite Foods List
Do Squirrels Hunt Insects and Eat Them?
Squirrels will eat insects. Beetles are definitely on the menu as is most insect larva.
However, hunting is probably the wrong word.
What’s more likely is that a foraging squirrel comes upon a beetle and decides to eat it. Squirrels can also be attracted to the scent of larva which could lead them to grubs just beneath the earth.
Will a Squirrel Eat a Cicada?
You may have to wait another few years to witness this, but squirrels will eat cicadas and looks like they rather enjoy them.
From a nutritional standpoint, cicadas are loaded with protein, while being low in fat and carbohydrates.
Many cicadas, especially those who cannot fly right away, end up being a tasty treat for opportunistic squirrels.
Here is a quick video of a squirrel happily eating a cicada.
Do Squirrels Eat Lizards in Florida?
I’ve seen a squirrel munching on the tail end of gecko in Florida, so yes, squirrels eat lizards. What’s unclear is how they catch them. Do they actively chase them?
Unlikely since squirrels are foragers and not really known for their stealth stalking abilities.
But foraging squirrels will often come upon lots of injured, immobile, (or freshly dead) meat sources. Many times, the squirrels will eat these immobile meat sources as they are tasty and loaded with nutrients.
Here is a video of a squirrel eating a lizard
Now, just because a squirrel eats something, doesn’t necessarily equate to enjoyment. Squirrels are amazing foragers who will do what they need to do to survive.
One thing seems certain…just about every squirrel I’ve ever met, will drop what it’s eating if you introduce a nut.
Go ahead and try it! Have fun.