Do Squirrels Eat Thistle Seed? Find Out Now!

As a nature lover and an experienced observer of squirrels around the world, I can confidently tell you that yes, squirrels do love nyjer (thistle) seed. But why? What makes it so special? In this blog post, I’ll explain what makes thistle seed so attractive to these furry little creatures and answer the question: do squirrels eat thistle seed?

Squirrels will eat thistle seed, but only as part of an overall nut and seed-based diet. In nature, they preferentially feed on tree nuts (acorns and hickory nuts) and the occasional blackberry or raspberry. Thistle seeds act as a nutritious alternative source of food during times when their preferred options are not available.

What Is Nyjer (Thistle) Seed?

Nyjer or otherwise known as thistle seeds are an important dietary staple for many species of birds, including some varieties of squirrels. These tiny black seeds come from the flower heads of the yellow-flowered thistle plant, native to the Old World. The seed has a high oil content that can help keep your feathered friends warm in cold winter months.

The nutritious seed is also savored by rodents like field mice and voles and is usually sold in birdseed mixes or bulk form at feed stores.

The Nutritional Benefits of Thistle Seeds

The benefits of thistle seed for birds are well-documented, but what about squirrles? Many people feed wild squirrels without realizing that their diet may not include this important source of nutrition. However, with its high oil content and essential fatty acids, it’s no wonder these small creatures find it tasteful!

Vitamins and Minerals in Thistle Seeds

  • Vitamin A: good for vision health and skin protection
  • Vitamin B complex: strengthens bones and boosts energy levels
  • Folic acid & biotin: helps metabolize fats & carbohydrates
  • Calcium & phosphorus: promote bone strength & joint development

Health Benefits of Eating Thistle Seeds

  • Improves digestion issues such as bloating
  • Helps maintain lower cholesterol levels
  • Boosts heart health due to omega 3 fatty acids

Promotes healthy bones thanks to abundant minerals like calcium and phosphorus found within each tiny seed!

Do Squirrels Eat Nyjer (Thistle) Seed?

Squirrels are well known for their varied diet, often helping themselves to whatever food can be sourced. As such, one of the most frequently asked questions related to squirrels is whether or not they eat thistle seed. The answer is yes; in fact, thistle seed — also commonly referred to as “nyjer” seed — is one of the most popular and nutritious foods that a squirrel can snack on.

Nyjer seeds are small black grains with a thick husk full of essential oils and proteins. They contain large amounts of fat, protein, carbohydrates and various minerals and vitamins. Thistle plant itself has long been studied for its medicinal purposes due to its rich source of nutrients.

How Does a Squirrel’s Diet Affect Their Preference for Thistle?

Tree squirrels feed mainly on nuts, fruits, seeds, buds and fungus in their natural habitat. However, during winter months when food becomes scarce they turn towards diverse sources like nyjer. Because thistle is high in quality nutrition it becomes a desirable food source for many rodents including tree squirrels.

Rodents consuming thistle kernels experience less sugar intake resulting in better carbohydrate regulation which helps them survive through cold weather seasons without storing too much fat. Additionally they benefit from healthy dietary fats that support brain development while promoting strong bones.

Tree Squirrels’ Consumption of Thistle Kernels

Tree squirrels love Nyjer (thistle) seed! They are known to go crazy for it! Thanks to its high oil content, the seed provides an excellent food source for these bushy-tailed critters and is great for helping them survive the winter months. Thistle seed also has many benefits for bird-feeding enthusiasts. It is a popular ingredient in backyard birdseed blends and often attracts a variety of colorful finches that can be seen feasting on the kernels. So if you’re looking to feed both tree squirrels and birds this winter, make sure to include Nyjer (thistle) seed in your mix!

What Do Squirrels Prefer To Eat?

When selecting food for themselves or their young ones, tree squirrels choose carefully based upon availability and quality factors like taste preferences – though not always! At times they will break into human homes just for a tasty snack after evaluating if it will pass through their choosiness criteria when other options fail to lure them.

  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Shellfish
  • Insect Larvae

Squirrel’s Diet Compared To Other Diets

Tree squirrel diets tend to differ from other terrestrial rodents due primarily to behavior related habits as well as accessibility differences such as a lack of readily available vegetation found within certain habitats. Nuts, grains, insects, mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, flowers & leaves occupy majority share when that population inhabits meadows or woodlands containing plentiful supply whereas deserts or suburban areas will usually lean toward elevated levels grain – feeding. Numerous affinities exist even beyond geography however; for instance bammies have become notorious omnivores with carnivorous tendencies showcasing prime examples strange dietary flexibility.

Thistle Seed as Part of A Balanced Nutritional Diet for Squirrels

For centuries, squirrels have been eating thistle seed as part of their balanced diet. Thistle seeds are high in essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, Vitamin E, B6 and calcium that are necessary to maintain a healthy body. Additionally, they provide the perfect combination of carbohydrate and fat content that help fuel the little creatures’ active lifestyle.

It’s important to note that thistle seed is not the only type of food source available to squirrels. Besides its nutritional benefits, thistle seeds can also be found in abundance in some areas. This makes it relatively low-cost for those living near a patch or field – particularly when compared with other sources such as maize, nuts and fruits.

Digestibility Of Nyjer (Thistle) Seeds For Squirrels

Nyjer (thistle) seeds have an optimal level of digestibility for most squirrel species. Unlike corn or oats, which require complex digestion processes before they can be digested by a squirrel’s digestive system, Nyjer has an inner core that easily breaks down once ingested.

That being said, it’s still important to monitor what your pet eats because consuming too much at once could cause indigestion or bloating issues due to the high fat content. To avoid this discomfort it is best to share small portions every day or every few days instead.

Other Types of Seeds for squirrels to Enjoy

In addition to thistle seed, many other types of seeds can make up a nutritionally balanced diet for our beloved squirrel friends! Most species eat sunflower seeds with enthusiasm – particularly black-oiled varieties which contain higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids–and suet cakes are often also popular additions.

Tree nuts such as walnuts act as excellent sources of dietary fiber while dried fruits like papaya provide extra antioxidants needed by all wildlife creatures. Peanuts remain one of the most favored foods among both ground and tree species due to their flavorability and ease of consumption.


It’s clear that squirrels love Nyjer (Thistle) seed! Not only do squirrels eat thistle seed, but they also love to forage and store it for later consumption.Unlike other types of seeds, Squirrels find thistle Seeds more appealing because of the higher fat content and smaller size. This is why knowing how to feed them this particular type of seed can become beneficial.

In conclusion, you can be sure that if your yard has a large number of squirrels visiting, then offering them Nyjer (Thistle) Seed is a great way to supplement their diet. So don’t hesitate – do squirrels eat thistleseed? Yes! And it’s sure to be much appreciated by these furry friends!

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