Discover if Squirrels REALLY Eat Dandelions – All the Facts You Need to Know!

As someone passionate about squirrels and knowledgeable about their diet, I’ve spent lots of time observing and interacting with these amazing critters around the world. One of the questions people often ask me is: do squirrels eat dandelions? Well, I’m here to give you all the facts you need to know about this topic!

Yes, squirrels can eat dandelions. In the wild, their diet consists of a variety of fruits, nuts, greens and plant foods like dandelions. Dandelion leaves, stems and flowers are all edible for squirrels and provide them with necessary nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A. Additionally, dandelion can also act as a medicinal herb for squirrels by helping to cleanse the digestive system and improve overall health.

Do Squirrels Eat Dandelions?

Squirrels are omnivores that feed on both plants and animals in their natural habitats. In terms of dandelions, squirrels often forage for these vibrant yellow-green wildflowers to gain access to various essential nutrients. Dandelion leaves, stems and flowers are all edible for squirrels and can provide them with essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin A.⁠

What Nutrients Do Dandelions Provide To Squirrels?

Dandelion greens are a great source of minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc as well as vitamins A and C. Additionally, these nutrient-packed wildflowers can also act as a medicinal herb for squirrels by helping to cleanse the digestive system and improve overall health.

As far as calories are concerned, squirrels won’t get enough energy from dandelions alone to meet their dietary needs – they would need to consume other foods in addition to dandelion greens.

Do Squirrels Prefer Wild Or Cultivated Dandelions?

In general, the wild variety of dandelions are more nutritious than cultivated varieties since the wild plants tend to be more exposed to different elements that increase their nutrient content. However, both versions of the plant offer valuable nutrients – so regardless of where you find your dandelion greens, they will still be beneficial for your squirrel.

What Other Foods Do Squirrels Enjoy?

Fruits And Berries

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries



Squirrels are avid foragers, and their diet is made up of a variety of food items. Vegetables such as dandelion greens can be harvested, stored, and enjoyed by these omnivorous creatures! These nutritious greens are packed with protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals – all essential components of a healthy squirrel diet. Additionally, wild plants like clover may provide birds with much-needed nourishment. Before giving any type of food to your furry friend, however, make sure it is safe for them to consume – avoid garlic, onions, hot peppers and dairy products.


Squirrels are opportunistic foragers and can enjoy a variety of food items, including fungi! Edible mushrooms such as morels and chanterelles make nutritious treats for these furry creatures. In addition, fungi can also provide squirrels with essential vitamins and minerals that may not be found in other foods. Squirrels should only be given edible mushrooms that have been properly identified and prepared.


Squirrels are omnivorous rodents who aren’t afraid of a little extra protein. They will gladly feast on insects such as ants, caterpillars, beetles and grubs. Insects can offer squirrels important nutrients that other food sources lack, such as chitin and amino acids.

It’s best to feed squirrels a variety of insects rather than just one type; this helps ensure that they get all the essential nutrients needed for proper health. When possible, it is best to provide live insects over dead ones since scavenged insects may no longer be nutritious.


Squirrels are also known to eat lizards when they have the opportunity. This often happens when lizards become stuck in tree bark or nests too high off the ground for them to escape. While not a common food source, consuming lizards may provide squirrels with additional calcium and phosphorus.

However, it is generally agreed upon that feeding wildlife lizards is not ideal. It is considered animal cruelty and can lead to population declines in certain species where their natural habitat has been destroyed or compromised by human activity.

Tree Bark

When times get tough, squirrels can strip the bark from trees in order to subsist on the sap and inner wood layer. This is especially true during winter months when food sources are scarce and temperatures are low. Not only does this provide energy, but it also gives them something to chew on, so their teeth don’t overgrow in length.

But tree bark should never be seen as an adequate substitute for a proper diet of fruits, nuts, bulbs, seeds and greens; while tasty, it doesn’t contain enough nutritional value to sustain a healthy lifestyle in squirrels.


Eggs are another option for squirrels when their usual food sources have been depleted. Though mostly found scavenging bird eggs as opposed to hunting them, they will indulge if given the opportunity. Eggs provide much-needed fats and proteins which help keep squirrels warm and energized during cold winter months.

Don’t worry if you find squirrels eating eggs near your property – this behavior is normal and quite beneficial for their survival! Just be sure never to feed them any fully cooked eggs since these can cause digestive issues in some animals.

Pet Food

As long as you’re careful about leaving pet food out around your home, providing scraps or kibble could be a nice treat for furry neighbors. It’s important to remember that feeding wild animals human-grade food isn’t necessary – it won’t do much more than encourage persistent begging behavior from creatures looking for an easy meal.

If you do decide to feed pet food to squirrels anyway, make sure that it contains the right kinds of nutrition – look for those made specifically with small mammals like mice or hamsters in mind instead of cats or dogs.

Food Scraps

Even though you shouldn’t deliberately feed scraps to wild animals like squirrels, some leftover items could end up in their bellies if left unattended outdoors. Foods like popcorn kernels (without butter), fresh vegetables or nuts can all make tempting snacks for curious critters if you’re not careful.


Squirrels are Nature‘s opportunistic foragers, and dandelions are no exception! These nutritious greens can be stored similarly to other vegetables, providing squirrels with a reliable food source. However, certain foods should be avoided, like raw garlic and onions, hot peppers, and dairy products. It’s important to remember that wild plants may also provide sustenance for songbirds, so the Songbird Diet Index can help you identify which plant material they can safely eat. Nutrition is key to squirrel health, so it’s vital to ensure they get healthy doses of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Grubs & Worms

Grubs and worms are a great source of nutrition for wild squirrels. They provide protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals that keep the animals healthy and fit. Squirrels have been documented eating grubs and worms as part of their natural diet. However, it’s important to consider that these food items may have parasites or toxins attached to them. As a result, it’s best to provide store-bought pellets or nuts when feeding your wild squirrels.

Is There Anything Squirrels Don’T Like To Eat?

Although squirrels are opportunistic eaters, there are some things that they don’t like to eat. Unusual flavors, smells or textures may be unappealing to a squirrel, so foods such as raw garlic and onions, hot peppers, and dairy products should not be offered. Also, many squirrels will avoid foods that are too sweet or salty.

Some foods that are dangerous for squirrels include chocolate—which can be toxic in large quantities—avocado (which contain a toxin known as Person) and any type of nut with the husk still intact. Additionally, some plants such as cacti and oleander can be toxic if consumed by squirrels.

Is There Food That Squirrels Can’T Eat?

In addition to those mentioned above, there are certain foods that a squirrel should never consume. This includes candy and any other processed sugary snacks, nuts with shells that haven’t been opened yet (as these can contain harmful toxins), fatty meats, dog food or cat food, caffeine products such as tea or coffee, alcohol and mushrooms.

It’s important to also remember that even healthy foods should only be given in moderation. For example, animals‘ needs vary according to age, environment and species – a diet of nothing but nuts is likely to cause long-term health problems for a squirrel.

Do Squirrels Eat Dirt?

Squirrels do occasionally consume dirt when scavenging for underground caches of nuts. In some cases it may be necessary in order to gain access to food buried beneath the soil. However, eating large quantities of dirt is not healthy for squirrels and doing so could lead to digestive issues such as gas or diarrhea.

Attracting Squirrels To Your Yard

What Can You Do To Make Your Yard More Attractive To Squirrels?

If you’re looking to attract more squirrels into your yard then the first step is creating a natural habitat for them using native plants. These can provide shade during hot days and act as protective cover during cold spells. Planting shrubs and small trees also provides valuable sources of food such as fruits and nuts.

These snacks can either be placed directly on the ground – where they are easier for the animal to find – or hung up on birdfeeders at different heights.

Using a bird feeder is also beneficial because it allows you to control how much food is left over at any given time which helps ensure you don’t end up providing too much food which could lead to obesity in the animals.

Creating A Natural Habitat

Creating a natural habitat for squirrels can be beneficial not only to the local ecosystem, but also to you as an animal lover! To create a welcoming environment for these little critters, plant a variety of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Provide plenty of exciting food sources such as flowers, nuts, fruits, and dandelion greens! Finally, add water to your garden in the form of bird baths or mud puddles. With these tips in mind, you’ll soon have squirrels hopping around your yard all year round!

Providing Food Sources

Providing food sources for squirrels is essential to attracting these amazing animals to your yard. The best way to provide food is by offering a variety of items, such as dandelions, nuts, fruits, and insects. A diversified diet should also include access to fresh water and proteins. To ensure safety when feeding squirrels, avoid giving them raw garlic or onions, hot peppers, and dairy products. Additionally, research has demonstrated that specific bird species may be able to eat certain plant material; use the Songbird Diet Index to learn more about this relationship. Nutritional needs of animals should be considered too; providing protein, fat, vitamins and minerals will help keep multiple species healthy and fit.

Creating A Water Source

Having a water source in your yard or garden is essential for attracting squirrels. Provide multiple sources of water such as bird baths, natural ponds, and shallow dishes filled with fresh water. The water will not only provide them with hydration but also make it easier for them to find food sources like dandelions that are growing nearby. It’s also a great way to watch the squirrels up close and observe their behavior.

Providing Shelter

Having appropriate shelter for squirrels is important for their survival, both in the wild and within urban settings. Natural shelters in the form of hollow trees or dense vegetation are ideal, as these provide the necessary protection from predators. Additionally, providing man-made shelters such as nesting boxes can be beneficial to communities of squirrels.

When building a shelter for squirrels, it’s important to keep a few key features in mind. The shelter should be spacious enough to comfortably fit several adult animals without feeling cramped, and it should provide adequate protection from inclement weather. Also, make sure that the roof or lid of the box is made out of something that won’t rust so that the box doesn’t become damaged over time.

Are There Any Risks In Attracting Squirrels?

The attraction of wild animals can have both positive and negative consequences. While having a healthy population of squirrels can help promote biodiversity and natural pest control, there are also some risks associated with attracting them to your yard. These include disease transmission, property damage, and displacement of native species.

  • Disease Transmission – Wild animals such as squirrels are often carriers of diseases that can spread to humans and other domestic animals if proper precautions are not taken. This includes common illnesses such as rabies and salmonellosis.
  • Damage To Property – Unattended food sources or poorly maintained shelters can lead to property damage as wild animals try to access these resources.
  • Displacement Of Native Species – The introduction of new species into a given environment can result in competition between existing species, ultimately leading to displacement.

Disease Transmission

Wildlife can transmit diseases to humans, so caution must be taken when feeding squirrels. Safe handling of food and diligent sanitation is essential when feeding them. Natural foods are unlikely to cause vibes, but it’s important to research what native plants in your area may carry diseases like salmonella.

Damage To Property

Squirrels can cause considerable damage to property and gardens. They may gnaw on electrical wires, chew holes in wooden structures, dig up roots and bulbs, and eat fruits, nuts and vegetables. To prevent this destruction, consider surrounding your yard with a fence and taking measures to deny access to food sources such as bird feeders or compost bins. Additionally, you can use deterrents such as sprinkler systems or motion activated lights that scare off the squirrels when they approach your garden.

Displacement Of Native Species

Squirrels are generalists when it comes to choosing food sources, which means they often compete with other animals for food and resources. These competition pressures can have significant implications for native species that are adapted to certain environments. For example, if a non-native species like the gray squirrel is introduced into an area, they may displace native red squirrels due to competition for resources.

Interesting Facts About Squirrels

Squirrels have been around since ancient times and even appear in some famous works of literature! However, there is a lot more to learn about these cute rodents. Here are some interesting facts about squirrels that you may not have known:

  • Squirrels use their tails for balance when jumping from one tree branch to another.
  • They never forget where they bury their nuts.
  • Their scientific name translates to “shadow tail” because they always seem to disappear quickly into shadows.


Can squirrels consume cheerios as a food source?

Yes, squirrels can certainly eat cheerios! Cheerios are a type of breakfast cereal comprised of several wholesome ingredients, making an excellent food source for many wild animals. Cheerios typically contain whole grains such as wheat, oats and barley, alongside other healthy components like nuts, seeds and dried fruit. All of these nutrients make cheerios a tasty treat for squirrels.


It is clear from the evidence that squirrels do indeed eat dandelions. Not only does dandelion provide them with necessary nutrients, it also serves as a medicinal herb to improve their overall health. This means that when looking for something to feed your local squirrel population, dandelions should be at the top of the list.

Do squirrels eat dandelions? Absolutely! Dandelions are a great snack, providing essential nutrients and acting as a healing herb. And if you’re looking for an easy way to make sure your local squirrels get the nutrition they need, this is definitely something worth considering.

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