Do squirrels eat acorns?
Squirrels eat mainly nuts, grains, and fruits. They eat all kinds of nuts from almonds to acorns and every nut in between. Peanuts, which are actually in the bean family, are also a favorite for squirrels. Grains like corn, oats and wheat are also a favorite, which explains why squirrels will so eagerly eat a piece of bread that someone tosses to them.
If you’re interested in feeding squirrels and want to know which nuts to feed them, probably the easiest and least expensive nut to use are acorns. Acorns are the seeds of oak trees. There are many varieties of oaks and each has a different type of acorn. Determining which type of oak trees you have in your area will help you to know what time of year they drop their acorns. In the southern United States for example, the Live Oak drops acorns every October. Oak trees produce acorns in cycles and will produce a fair amount of acorns each season for a few years and then suddenly one year will produce hundreds of thousands of acorns in one season, so many that the branches will bow under the weight of all the acorns.
With such productive trees, it’s very easy to collect enough for squirrel food to last a long time. Collecting acorns is made even easier when part of the tree hangs over a sidewalk, driveway or street. The acorns that fall there can be swept up with a broom making collection very easy.
If you’re collecting acorns, keep in mind that you’ll be competing with the acorn weevil, a small beetle that drills a tiny hole into acorns to lay its eggs. Once hatched the grub will eat the inside of the acorn. When the acorn falls to the ground the grub crawls out. People collecting and storing acorns will undoubtedly discover some of these grubs lying at the bottom of their container. No need to worry, however, they are harmless.
After collecting acorns, keep them refrigerated so that they will remain fresh. Then refill your squirrel feeder after it becomes empty. Keep in mind that squirrels have a habit of burying any extra food they find. So if you are filling up the squirrel feeder with acorns, the squirrels will likely empty it quickly by removing each acorn and burying it in your yard. Allowing the squirrel feeder to remain empty for a few days before refilling it will encourage the squirrels to eat what they’ve buried.
Storing acorns in the fridge can, of course, be an inconvenience. It’s often easier to give squirrels peanuts. You can purchase them at most feed stores, grocery stores or online at places like Amazon. Make sure you get the ones that are still in their shells and have not been salted or boiled or had anything else done to them.