Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate? Ultimate Squirrel Feeding Guide

can squirrels eat chocolate

Chocolate is a delectable delicacy, and squirrels will steal it from you if they get the opportunity. But, can squirrels eat chocolate?

Most mammals are poisoned by theobromine, an alkaloid found in chocolate. Toxicity varies depending on the type of chocolate taken, consumed, and the animal and its digestive system.

Squirrels will have a lot of theobromine in their system if they eat a lot of it, which could be lethal to them.

It is advisable not to feed chocolates to squirrels to avoid this. We’ll get you covered with healthier alternatives that you can feed this little furry creatures, including nuts, berries, fruits, and sunflower seeds.

What makes chocolate unsuitable for squirrels?

There are numerous scientific studies, such as this one, that demonstrate how chocolate and its by-products harm wild and domestic animals.

Theobromine, the alkaloid ingredient in chocolate with a bitter flavor, has traditionally been the main reason. This drug is harmful to pets and is frequently the cause of unintentional poisoning in dogs, cats, and other household animals.

So, what does this have to do with squirrels?

Squirrels can die chocolate poisoning due to theobromine if they ingest large amounts of it.

There are several different types of squirrels, each with varied body size. The Eastern gray squirrel, about 11 inches long and weighs around 1.3 pounds, is a common species. An average Eastern gray squirrel of that body weight can be poisoned and potentially die if they consume 0.5mg of theobromine.

Squirrels who eat chocolates frequently may get stomach aches, gastrointestinal problems, and diarrhea. The delightful snack’s effect is too much for their youthful bodies to bear.

The symptoms of theobromine poisoning, often known as chocolate poisoning, might include diarrhea, trembling, hyperactivity, agitation, muscular tremors, seizures, elevated heart rate, and even death.

Squirrels don’t get much nourishment from chocolate. It can even prevent them from absorbing other nutrients from their food if they overeat it.

The hard truth is that squirrels can die from high doses of theobromine if they exceed 75 mg/kg of body mass. It is impracticable for many people to remember a squirrel’s body mass when giving them delectable sweets or other chocolate items.

Fon example, an average Eastern grey squirrel weighs about 1.3 lbs. This means that just by consuming 0.5 mg of theobromine, can poison them.

But why would you give something potentially hazardous to your pet squirrel or a wild squirrel when there are countless safe alternatives?

Is chocolate toxic to squirrels in all forms?

Chocolate goods aren’t all made equal. Some have a lot of theobromine, while others have very little.

Dark chocolate, for example, has a larger concentration of theobromine than white chocolate. White chocolate, however, is heavy in sugar and fat, making it unsuitable for these bushy-tailed rodents.

Here is a list of chocolate products with the highest amounts of theobromine:

  1. Dark chocolate (228 mg/square oz)
  2. Dark chocolate coated coffee beans (147 mg/oz)
  3. Baking chocolate (376 mg/square oz)
  4. Sweet chocolate candy (175 mg/1.5 oz)
  5. Semi-sweet chocolate chips (138 mg/1 oz)
  6. Chocolate wafers (21 mg/wafer)
  7. Cocoa powder (142 mg/100 grams)
  8. Hot cocoa (170 mg/cup)

Can squirrels eat chocolate in moderation?

While some pet owners recommend feeding chocolate in “moderation,” squirrels don’t have this option.

These cute, fluffy animals may be cunning, cunning, and clever, but they are still animals and aren’t concerned about eating in moderation.

Have you ever wondered why these creatures keep food in their pouches? Do you know that they can cram a lot of food into their cheeks even when they’re full? Their cheeks have been dubbed “giant grocery bags!”

Animals, for the most part, know what to eat and what to avoid. Squirrels, in particular, will not consume potentially harmful foods. When it comes to chocolate, however, that rule is broken! If a squirrel has unlimited access to chocolate bars, it will consume until nothing is left or it becomes too full. Even so, it’ll scurry away with a mouthful for later.

In a nutshell, squirrels rarely practice moderation.

Can squirrels consume chocolate if the amount of chocolate supplied to them is tightly regulated? Is it safe to feed a small amount of chocolate now and then? A short look at a squirrel’s digestive system may be the best approach to address this question.

Squirrels can eat meat and a variety of other foods, although they are primarily herbivores. These fluffy little rodents, however, do not have the same digestive processes as animals like rabbits. As a result, squirrels are unable to metabolize cellulose.

Guess what? Chocolates contain cellulose!

Consider how dangerous it is for a squirrel to consume something it can’t digest the next time you want to give it some chocolates.

Can squirrels die from eating chocolates?

Squirrels aren’t going to die from eating chocolate, but you don’t want to chance to feed them something that could hurt them.

Even if you don’t maintain squirrels but do have a few wandering around your yard, you should provide nutritious treats.

Animals, like people, are as healthy or unhealthy as the nutrients that make up their diet throughout time. For a squirrel, the cumulative impact of eating chocolates is usually not desirable.

Bottom line: don’t feed chocolates.

Is it possible for squirrels to consume dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate has a more significant concentration of theobromine than milk chocolate confectionery. According to The Squirrel Board, they can digest chocolate and be alright if consumed in small amounts.

Can squirrels eat chocolate-covered almonds?

No, chocolate-covered almonds, peanuts, cashews, or any other sort of nut should never be fed to squirrels. While nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, hickory nuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts are enjoyed by these little rodents,

To keep them safe, avoid giving them any form of chocolate.

Can squirrels eat white chocolate?

Squirrels, cats, dogs, and other animals are poisoned by white chocolate.
Because white chocolate doesn’t include non-fat cocoa solids, it doesn’t have much theobromine. However, because some white chocolate brands contain up to 35 percent cocoa solids, some white chocolate brands can still be harmful.

White chocolate has a high fat and sugar content. It doesn’t have any of the essential nutrients that your bushy-tailed pals do.

I would not go to great lengths to feed them something that could make them sick or perhaps kill them.

If you feed wildlife in your backyard, avoid feeding them human food and instead provide them with the foods that give them the nutrition they need.

Can squirrels eat chocolate chip cookies?

Squirrels devour everything, including chocolate squirrel candies, as seen here.
Squirrels don’t usually eat chocolate chip cookies or cake, but they are opportunistic feeders who consume whatever they can get their hands on.

It’s unlikely that a squirrel in a tree is eating a chocolate chip cookie because someone fed it to them. It’s likely that a child dropped a bit of cookie, which the squirrel discovered and returned to their drey or stored for the winter.

Squirrels are typically exposed to popcorn, cranberries, Oreos, cake, cookies, and other foods by humans.

Can squirrels eat chocolate cake?

No, squirrels are not allowed to eat cake, pies, cobbler, Nutella, or other sweets. These small animals require a diet of nuts, berries, seeds, fungus, plants, and other items found in their native environment.

Feeding them cookies, Oreos, candies, and other sugary foods will upset their stomachs and render them vulnerable to health problems. Squirrels would be pretty content if people did not feed them.

That isn’t to say you can’t put up a squirrel feeder and feed them; make sure you’re feeding them wild squirrel chow or other non-harmful foods.

Can squirrels eat the cocoa plant?

Cocoa beans are harvested from cacao trees and used to make chocolate. Squirrels that climb trees can and do eat cocoa plants without difficulty. Most squirrel species have used cacao plants without issue for a long time. It has no adverse effects and does not kill squirrels, unlike chocolate.

What foods should squirrels avoid?

We now have a definitive solution to the topic of whether or not squirrels can consume chocolate. What aren’t other things safe for squirrels to eat?

Here’s a list of items that are either harmful to squirrels or provide little to no nutritional value.

Foods with low nutritional value

1. Peanuts

This may come as a surprise given the popular image of squirrels shoving peanuts into their faces.

But here’s the truth: Peanuts are not nuts in the traditional sense. Instead, legumes like lentils and soybeans are used. Squirrels are at risk from deadly mold or fungus that can be found on raw peanuts. Peanut butter is also enjoyed by squirrels, despite it being not the healthiest or most nutritious alternative.

Excess peanuts (and other legumes) can inhibit the absorption of vital minerals and trace elements like calcium, zinc, potassium, and iron. Mineral deficiency can occur in both animals and humans as a result of this.

2. Sunflower seed

Sunflower seeds, like peanuts, have minimal nutritional value to squirrels and are not an essential part of their diet. As a result, they should not be put in a squirrel feeder.

3. Cereal

Breakfast cereals are popular with squirrels, but they are not part of their natural diet. Cereals are essentially empty calories for squirrels. They can cause severe malnutrition if that’s all you feed them regularly.

Toxic Foods

1. Junk Food

Artificial sugars and sweeteners are abundant in junk food. Excess sugar can excite these inherently lively animals even more, which is bad for their overall health and well-being.

Squirrels don’t like salted treats because they’re fillers and don’t add value to their diet.

Hot dogs, pizzas, French fries, chips, chocolate cake, chocolate bars, brownies, and other commercially prepared meals are examples of junk food.

2. Pet Food

High-meat content pet meals may be suitable for dogs and cats, but they are not ideal for squirrels. These fluffy little creatures are typically vegetarians and can become ill if they overeat meat.

Squirrels are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and meat; however, fungus, seeds, nuts, and fruit should make up most of their diet. Squirrels have been known to eat eggs, tiny insects, and caterpillars.

Birdseed commonly doubles as squirrel food, especially when added to a bird feeder, but it is nutritionally insufficient for any squirrel.

3. Human or Animal Formula

Squirrels can be killed by formulas, whether it’s a baby formula or puppy and kitten chow.

Formulas include far too many chemical additives and preservatives that are bad for a squirrel’s system, whether a baby or an adult. In squirrels, these foreign compounds can cause rickets, seizures, anxiety, and even death.

4. Corn

Corn may not be hazardous to squirrels if sliced into small pieces and served in small amounts. However, the food can quickly become moldy and nasty. Squirrels who consume sour or moldy corn might become poisoned or even die.

Ideal Squirrel Diet

The best diet for squirrels consists of natural, plant-based foods, including:

  • Bones: Bones are a good source of calcium for squirrels and can also aid in the maintenance of their teeth.
  • Fruits: Bananas, strawberries, grapes, peaches, kiwi fruit and just about any other type of fruit are good for squirrels. Fruits, especially sugary ones, should be fed in tiny amounts once or twice monthly.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts in their shells are great for squirrels. Hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and walnuts are the best nuts to feed.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, zucchini, carrots, beet greens, kale, turnip greens, radishes, and other high-calcium vegetables are excellent for squirrels. Avoid feeding garlic, fresh corn, yam, and dried veggies.

Also, provide lots of water because squirrels can drink a lot of water daily, especially during the summer. When they hibernate, they can go without water.

How can squirrels keep themselves fed throughout the long winter months when they are rarely observed scurrying for food? More information can be found in this article.

Final Thoughts

So, can squirrels eat chocolate?

The short answer is no. Just say so no to feeding chocolate to squirrels, especially in large quantities. They love the tasty treat and will even steal a mouthful, but it is not healthy for them and can even kill them.

Squirrels, like us, eat and like chocolate, sweets, fast food, and junk food. These, on the other hand, are entirely useless and cause them more harm than humans. If you give them a tiny bit of chocolate and think it won’t hurt them, it will hurt them more than it does us since they are smaller than we are, and that small piece of chocolate counts for a lot to them. A tiny amount of chocolate may not cause immediate or severe injury. Still, it will almost certainly cause minor harm if consumed regularly or in significant quantities.

Despite this, the squirrel will become addicted to chocolate and sweets and will not quit eating them. And they’ll pursue, steal, snatch, and even bite you for it, stealing a large quantity of chocolate that can either kill you or inflict significant injury. Some people believe squirrels are intelligent and won’t consume much chocolate; however, this is incorrect. They, like all other animals, are unaware of the issues. After all, they are animals and have no idea what is best.

It’s better not to feed squirrels chocolate because it would not only damage them, but it will also make them dependent.

Better to stick to healthier alternatives and keep the chocolate for you.

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Emma Olsen
I’m a gardener and blogger with over 20 years of expertise writing about and cultivating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I have extensive experience in organic and sustainable gardening, perennials, annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. I’m a nature freak and I enjoy bird watching and swimming with sea creatures.