It’s normal to associate squirrels with eating nuts, especially acorns, because that’s how they’re depicted in the media and kid’s shows, but these rodents are omnivores with a widely varied diet.
Squirrels chew on bones, enjoy berries, fruit, lots of vegetables, and eat squash like zucchini. In fact, they’ll eat most things that grow in a garden. Do Squirrels eat zucchini?
Squirrels will happily eat zucchini if they find it in nature or your private backyard garden. Squirrels don’t just eat nuts but will eat a variety of vegetables as well. A squirrel will eat mature squash or devour your squash blossoms which will wreck a crop of zucchini.
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Do Squirrels Like Zucchini
Squirrels, like many wild animals, like to eat zucchini. Skunks and groundhogs will happily eat it, but so will most rodents, including rats, mice, and squirrels.
The mature fruits make a nutritious, slightly sweet meal for any creature lucky enough to chance upon a patch of this squash. Regrettably, that almost always means they found it in your yard.
Luckily, you can protect your zucchini by erecting a cover or cage. Choose a mesh wire or net that is fine enough to keep squirrel’s paws off your fruit.
While this method doesn’t work on all animals, like groundhogs and rabbits who can tunnel in, it should be enough to prevent the average squirrel from getting inside.
How Often Do Squirrels Eat Zucchini
Squirrels eat zucchini when they have access to it. Zucchini isn’t exactly common in forests and parks where most arboreal squirrels live.
However, it is native to the Americas and commonly grown in the USA. Initially, the plant came from further south in Mexico and Central America, where ground squirrels and tree squirrels are likely to encounter it.
According to Squirrel Enthusiast, “…on average squirrels will eat about one pound of food per week. Squirrels like to eat pretty much anything, but they have a natural appetite for many native fruits, nuts, tree bark, plants, flowers, veggies, fungi, and some insects to their habitat. Some people think that squirrels only eat nuts, but their dining experience is extensive. They love eating anything they can get their little paws on, and this includes human foods that may or may not be good for them.”
Nuts and seeds make up the bulk of many squirrels’ diets. Plants matter like fruits and vegetables is the second most common ingredient in the squirrel diet.
Meanwhile, protein sources like insects and calcium from gnawing on bones only add about two percent to their overall food choices.
How Much Zucchini Will Squirrels Eat
When it comes to the issue of how much zucchini a squirrel will eat, the more critical question is often, ‘how much zucchini can the squirrel get?’
As members of the rodent family and omnivores, squirrels are opportunistic eaters who enjoy a wide variety of foods. While an individual squirrel can only eat about a quarter pound of food at most in a single sitting, that doesn’t mean your squash is safe.
They won’t take a single serving and leave.
Once a squirrel finds a source of food they enjoy, they will remember it and come back. Sure, they aren’t the greatest at recalling all their hiding spots for the food they hoard for winter; they’ll undoubtedly get back to your garden patch.
Unfortunately for you, zucchini is among the squirrels favorite foods. In fact, they’re fond of most food that has a little sugar in it, regardless of the source. Zucchini has four-point nine grams of naturally occurring sugar inside.
Is Zucchini Harmful To Squirrels
If zucchini were harmful to squirrels, it would be an effortless way to get them out of your yard, considering how much they love to eat it.
However, zucchini is not harmful to squirrels. Most fruit and vegetable plants are on the menu for all the rodent family members, including squirrels.
Very few wild plants are toxic to squirrels. However, they cannot tolerate cardboard or sago palms and members of the cycad palm family.
Any plant that’s been treated with pesticides, fungicides, or other chemicals could harm the squirrels as well. Finally, some wild mushrooms and acorns containing aflatoxin will kill squirrels.
Additionally, there are some run-of-the-mill garden plants that aren’t healthy for squirrels. These aren’t toxic, but they aren’t suitable for squirrels and may cause them discomfort or intestinal distress.
Please do not feed squirrels white potatoes, turnips, swiss chard, spinach, rhubarb, okra, collard greens, eggplant (aubergine), or bell peppers of any kind.
Do Squirrels Eat Zucchini Blossoms
Squirrels love zucchini and other squash blossoms. Considering how tasty squash blossoms can be, it’s hard to blame them.
Still, you don’t want them eating all the flowers, or you won’t have any fruit later in the season. Regrettably, squirrels are decent problem solvers and often find ways around our attempts to thwart them.
If all else fails, you can try spraying tobacco or other hot pepper sauces on your zucchini blossoms. Since squirrels have keen senses, spicy peppers can be very unpleasant.
Capsaicin, the component that makes peppers ‘hot’, is sometimes added to suet cakes for birds to help keep squirrels out. Luckily, the birds don’t seem to mind.
Birds don’t have the same receptors as mammals and cannot feel the heat from hot peppers.
Helpful Tips To Know If Squirrels Eat Zucchini
Squirrels will enthusiastically raid your zucchini patch and eat both the flowers and fruits. There are very few edible (to humans) plants that a squirrel won’t eat, but those with high natural sugar content, like zucchini, are especially desirable.
Here are a few more helpful tips to know if squirrels eat zucchini.
- If you cannot find tabasco, a blend of cayenne pepper powder, a tablespoon of dish soap, and some water in a spray bottle will help keep the squirrels out of your garden and away from the zucchini.
- Zucchini is not a vegetable despite what most people think. As Organic Facts explains, “When zucchinis develop, however, they form from an overgrowth of the zucchini flower, and is botanically classified as a berry. Any fruit is classified as the ripened ovary of a flower that contains the seeds for the plant.”
- If you are raising a rescued squirrel, zucchini is one of the foods that wildlife rehabilitators recommend for them. However, it’s also essential to keep in mind that squirrels need balance, and that means more seeds and nuts rather than a ton of veggies.
As members of the rodent family, squirrels are willing to eat just about anything. These opportunistic eaters love their food, from acorns to zucchini. They have a vast diet.
Not only will squirrels eat your zucchini, but they will eat the blossoms early in the season before they can grow, too if you don’t protect them.
Fortunately, you can use hot pepper sauce in a spray bottle or vegetable cages to keep the squirrels away from your veggies and out of the zucchinis.