What Food is Poisonous to Squirrels? A Comprehensive Guide

Hey there, did you know that squirrels are some of the cutest critters out in the wild? It’s always great seeing them scurrying around and gathering nuts for the upcoming winter months. Unfortunately, as much as we love these adorable creatures, there are some things we may not know about their dietary habits that could harm them. One of the most significant threats to a squirrel’s well-being is the consumption of poisonous foods. While some people may think it’s harmless to feed squirrels anything, there are specific items that can be detrimental to their health.

So, what exactly are the foods that squirrels should avoid? You may be surprised to learn that some of the most commonly consumed fruits and vegetables can be poisonous to these little creatures. Although fruits like apples, grapes, and oranges are healthy for us to eat, they can potentially cause harm to squirrels if ingested in large amounts. Vegetables like raw beans and tomatoes are also toxic to squirrels, as well as potato peels and rhubarb leaves. The effects of consuming these foods can be fatal to squirrels, so it’s essential to know what to avoid when feeding them.

As you can see, it’s crucial to be mindful of what you feed squirrels, especially if you want to keep them healthy and happy. By knowing what foods to avoid, you can help prevent harm to these little critters and ensure they can continue to thrive in their natural habitat. So, next time you’re out in the park and tempted to feed them, be sure to stick to squirrel-friendly options like sunflower seeds or corn. Your furry friends will thank you for it!

Common Poisonous Foods for Squirrels

Squirrels are known for their love for nuts, seeds, and fruits. However, not all human food that we consume is safe for them. In fact, some foods that we find harmless can be poisonous to squirrels. Here are some common poisonous foods for squirrels:

  • Chocolate – Chocolate contains theobromine, which is harmful to squirrels and can cause seizures, muscle tremors, and even death.
  • Avocado – Avocado contains persin, which is toxic to squirrels and can cause heart damage, respiratory issues, and even death.
  • Caffeine – Caffeine, be it from tea, coffee, or energy drinks, can cause rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, and seizures in squirrels.
  • Alcohol – Squirrels can get easily intoxicated from alcohol and it can cause liver and brain damage, as well as dehydration.
  • Nuts – While most nuts are safe for squirrels, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans can be toxic and cause seizures, tremors, and muscle stiffness.

If you suspect that your squirrel has ingested any of these foods, it is crucial to take them to the vet immediately. Prevention is always better than cure, so make sure to supervise your squirrel’s diet and keep unsafe foods out of their reach. When in doubt, always do your research and consult with a vet.

Toxic nuts to avoid feeding squirrels

Squirrels are known to be avid nut collectors, but not all nuts are safe for them to eat. In fact, some types of nuts are poisonous and can cause serious illness or even death to these cute little animals. As such, it’s important to be mindful of the types of nuts you give to squirrels to keep them healthy and safe. Here are some toxic nuts that you should avoid feeding squirrels:

  • Acorns – While acorns are not toxic per se, they contain high levels of tannins that can cause digestive problems in squirrels. Eating large quantities of acorns can also lead to liver and kidney damage.
  • Buckeyes – Also known as horse chestnuts, buckeyes contain a toxic compound called aesculin that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even paralysis in squirrels. Eating a few buckeyes may not be lethal, but larger amounts can be fatal.
  • Black walnuts – Although black walnuts are safe for human consumption, they contain a toxin called juglone that can be deadly to squirrels. Juglone can cause seizures, muscle tremors, and even death in squirrels.


Feeding squirrels may seem like a harmless and fun activity, but it’s important to remember that not all foods are safe for these animals. As a general rule, it’s best to stick to natural foods that are part of their diet in the wild, such as fruits and vegetables. Avoid giving them processed or sugary foods, as well as any nuts that are toxic or pose a choking hazard. By being mindful of what you feed squirrels, you can help keep these adorable creatures happy and healthy.

Dangerous fruits for squirrels to eat

As cute and innocent as squirrels may seem, they have a voracious appetite and will eat almost anything, including fruits that are poisonous to them. Some fruits can be fatal to squirrels, while others can cause serious health problems.

  • Grapes: These sweet and juicy fruits may be a favorite for humans, but they are toxic to squirrels and can cause kidney failure.
  • Cherries: The pits of cherries contain cyanogenic glycosides, a toxic chemical that can cause respiratory failure. It’s best to avoid giving cherries to squirrels altogether.
  • Avocado: While not a fruit in the traditional sense, avocados are still a popular food item. However, they contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in squirrels. They should be avoided at all costs.

It’s essential to keep in mind that every animal has its own dietary needs and challenges, and squirrels are no exception. While certain fruits are not suitable for squirrels to consume, there are numerous healthy and nutritious fruits that they love to eat.

It’s best to provide squirrels with a healthy and balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fruits like apples, bananas, and berries are great for squirrels as they provide essential vitamins and minerals that they need to stay healthy and active.

Fruits hazardous for squirrels to eat Health risks
Grapes Kidney failure
Cherries (including pits) Respiratory failure
Avocado Vomiting and diarrhea

Remember, when it comes to feeding squirrels, moderation is key. Too much of anything can be harmful to them, so it’s important to offer them fruits in small amounts and make sure they have access to clean water at all times.

Harmful vegetables for squirrels

While squirrels are generally known to be herbivores, there are some vegetables that can be harmful to their health. As a responsible squirrel feeder, it is important to be aware of these vegetables and avoid feeding them to these cute critters.

  • Onions and garlic: These vegetables contain sulfoxides and disulfides which can cause anemia in squirrels and damage their red blood cells. It is best to avoid feeding them onions and garlic in any form, including cooked and raw.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage: These cruciferous vegetables contain isothiocyanates, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation and thyroid gland damage in squirrels. It is recommended to avoid feeding them large amounts of these vegetables.
  • Tomatoes and eggplants: These vegetables belong to the nightshade family and contain solanine, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, weakness, and even seizures in squirrels. It is best to avoid feeding them these vegetables completely.

If you’re not sure about feeding a certain vegetable to squirrels, it’s always advisable to do some research beforehand or consult a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals.

Here is a brief summary of the vegetables that are harmful to squirrels:

Vegetables Harmful components Health risks
Onions and garlic Sulfoxides and disulfides Anemia and red blood cell damage
Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage isothiocyanates Gastrointestinal irritation and thyroid gland damage
Tomatoes and eggplants Solanine Gastrointestinal upset, weakness, and seizures

Being aware of harmful vegetables can help you keep the squirrels in your yard healthy and happy. Always make sure to provide a balanced and nutritious diet, avoiding foods that can cause harm to their health.

Foods that cause illness in squirrels

Squirrels, like any other animals, have certain foods that they should avoid. Some foods which may be healthy for humans can cause illness and health problems in squirrels. Here are some of the common foods that are poisonous to squirrels:

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Nuts (specifically peanuts)

These foods can cause a range of health issues in squirrels and can even be fatal in some cases. It is essential to keep these foods away from squirrels, both domestic and wild. Below, we will discuss each of these poisonous foods in detail:

1. Avocado: Avocado contains a toxin called persin, which can be harmful to squirrels. Persin can cause respiratory distress, heart damage, and can even be fatal in large doses.

2. Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is toxic to squirrels. Theobromine can cause muscle tremors, seizures, and can be fatal in large doses. Dark chocolates contain higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolates, making it more dangerous for squirrels.

3. Caffeine: Caffeine can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, and increased heart rate in squirrels. It can also lead to dehydration and muscle tremors in large doses.

4. Alcohol: Squirrels should never be given alcohol as it can cause respiratory depression, metabolic acidosis, and even lead to coma and death. Even small amounts can be harmful to squirrels.

5. Nuts (specifically peanuts): Peanuts are not toxic to squirrels, but they can cause digestive issues. Squirrels may have difficulty digesting peanuts, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and other stomach problems. It is best to avoid giving peanuts and other nuts to squirrels.

Toxic Foods Symptoms of Poisoning
Avocado Respiratory distress, heart damage, and death
Chocolate Muscle tremors, seizures, and death
Caffeine Hyperactivity, restlessness, increased heart rate, dehydration, and muscle tremors
Alcohol Respiratory depression, metabolic acidosis, coma, and death
Peanuts Vomiting, diarrhea, and other stomach problems

It is crucial to note that squirrels have sensitive digestive systems and may have health issues if given the wrong food. If you suspect that your pet squirrel or a wild squirrel has ingested any of these toxic foods, seek veterinary help immediately.

How to Keep Squirrels Safe from Toxic Food

Squirrels are interesting creatures that love to explore and forage for food. However, not all food items are safe for them to consume. It is important to be aware of what food is poisonous to squirrels to avoid any harm or potential death to these furry creatures. Here are some strategies to keep squirrels safe from toxic food:

  • Provide clean and fresh water: Squirrels need access to clean water just like any other animal. Providing a water source for squirrels will not only keep them hydrated but also prevent them from seeking out unsafe water sources.
  • Discourage squirrels from eating unsafe food: Some food items can be toxic to squirrels and often lead to a fatal outcome. Examples of unsafe food include chocolate, caffeine, sugary snacks, alcohol, and some human foods. It is important to discourage squirrels from eating these food items by keeping them out of reach and limiting exposure.
  • Offer alternative food sources: Squirrels love nuts, seeds, and fruits. Provide them with safe food items such as peanuts, acorns, apples, and berries to keep their diet healthy and diverse.

One effective way to keep squirrels safe from toxic food is to understand their dietary needs. Squirrels need a balanced diet to maintain their health and well-being. Feeding them with different types of food will ensure that they are getting the nutrients they require.

There are also some food items that can cause harm to squirrels when ingested. Here is a table of common food items that are poisonous to squirrels:

Food Item Toxicity Level
Chocolate High
Caffeine Moderate
Sweet treats High
Alcohol High
Avocado High

It is important to take measures to secure and properly store any toxic food items in the house, garden or surrounding areas. This will not only protect squirrels but also other animals that may be tempted to eat the food items.

Signs of Squirrel Poisoning and What to Do

Squirrels are often seen running around parks and residential areas searching for food. However, not all food is safe for them to eat. In fact, some types of food can be extremely harmful and even poisonous to these furry animals. It is essential to know the signs of squirrel poisoning and what to do if you suspect a squirrel is affected by it.

  • Loss of appetite: Squirrels love to eat, and if you notice a squirrel is not interested in food, it could indicate some form of poisoning.
  • Difficulty in breathing: Poisoning can harm the respiratory system and cause difficulty in breathing.
  • Seizures and tremors: Poisoning can cause seizures and tremors in squirrels, which is a sign of damage to the nervous system.

If you observe any of these symptoms, it is crucial to take immediate action. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Contact an animal rescue center or a veterinary clinic: They are equipped to handle cases of poisoning and can provide the necessary treatment and care for the squirrel.
  • Provide first-aid: If you are unable to obtain professional assistance, give the squirrel some water and place it in a warm and quiet place. This will help to stabilize its condition until professional help is available.
  • Identify the source of poisoning: Try to identify what the squirrel may have eaten to get poisoned. This information can assist in the treatment and prevention of future cases.

In addition to knowing the signs of squirrel poisoning and how to respond to it, it is essential to be aware of the types of food that are poisonous to squirrels. Some of the common items that are dangerous for them are:

Food Reason for Poisoning
Chocolate Contains theobromine, which is toxic to squirrels and can cause heart problems and seizures.
Avocado Contains persin, which can cause stomach upset, breathing difficulties, and heart congestion.
Grapes and Raisins Contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure in squirrels.
Onions and Garlic Contain thiosulphate, which can damage the red blood cells in squirrels and cause anemia.

It is always advisable to research the suitability of food before giving it to squirrels. When in doubt, stick to their natural diet, such as fruits, nuts, and seeds that can provide the essential nutrients without causing harm.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Food is Poisonous to Squirrels

1. Can squirrels eat chocolate?

No, chocolate contains a toxic substance called theobromine, which is lethal to squirrels.

2. Are avocados poisonous to squirrels?

Yes, avocados contain persin, which is toxic to squirrels and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.

3. Is it safe for squirrels to eat grapes?

No, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in squirrels and should be avoided.

4. Can squirrels eat mushrooms?

No, there are many varieties of mushrooms that are toxic to squirrels and can cause severe gastrointestinal distress or even death.

5. Are onions and garlic bad for squirrels?

Yes, onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a squirrel’s red blood cells, leading to anemia and other health problems.

6. Can squirrels eat nuts from trees?

While many types of nuts are safe for squirrels to eat, certain nuts such as black walnuts can be toxic and should be avoided.

7. Is it okay for squirrels to eat bread?

Bread is not toxic to squirrels, but it is not a good source of nutrition and should not be a staple in their diet.

Closing Thoughts

We hope you found this article informative and helpful in keeping your furry friends safe. Remember to always do your research before feeding squirrels any new foods, and avoid anything that could be potentially harmful. Thank you for reading and please visit us again for more helpful tips!