Do Squirrels Eat Cashews?

Do Squirrels Eat Cashews?

We all know that squirrels love nuts and acorns, but do they also eat cashews? Squirrels are known for jumping from one tree to another in the hunt for food. Squirrels are active, cute, and incredible animals; a lot of times, people keep them around the house as pets.

Many times there’s confusion about what meal is best for your squirrel, and people may wonder if cashews are good for squirrels.

Cashews are tasty and yummy snacks that are packed with good fats, but they may be bad for squirrels. And suppose they must be given to your squirrel. In that case, they must be given in moderation as cashews are incredibly high in phosphorus which usually leads to calcium loss with continual consumption. 

Squirrels will eat any fruits, nuts, and seeds. And they are fond of living close to their source of food. If you have a pet squirrel in your home, you should minimally treat it with cashew.

One or two cashews once in a while are pretty okay for a squirrel, but when it exceeds this portion, then it’s overfeeding, and you are likely putting your squirrel’s health at risk. 

We will be taking a deeper look at whether squirrels should eat cashews or not, and clear some of your confusion.

Do Squirrels Eat Cashews?

Squirrels do eat cashews but it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Cashews have a high level of phosphorus in them, which is dangerous to their health.

Other nuts pose no threat to squirrels, and they are hazelnut, acorn, and almonds. Wild squirrels may feed on cashews, but it is very unsafe to give cashew to your pet squirrel. 

Whether roasted or raw, cashews should not be given to squirrels, and constantly feeding them with cashews can make them obese and overweight. They will also be at risk of calcium deficiency. Squirrels will eat anything as they usually have no clue of what is good or bad for them, it’s left to you to be selective of what you give to them.

Why You Shouldn’t Feed Squirrels With Cashews

It’s best to be very cautious of the type of food you feed your squirrel. Excessively giving them cashews or nuts may cause them to ignore other foods like veggies, herbs, and seeds. 

But that’s the least of your worries, as feeding your squirrel cashews has other profound implications.

1. Calcium deficiency 

Calcium is a very important nutrient to ensure that your squirrel bones are strong and healthy but cashews are very rich in phosphorus which sabotages the supply of calcium to their bodies. 

With the low levels of calcium in their bodies, squirrels are at the risk of suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), caused by an imbalance in calcium and phosphorus. This disease can be very serious and it comes with severe symptoms like paralysis, general weakness, loss of appetite, seizures, and lethargy. 

2. Obesity 

Cashews contain 12 grams of fat, which means that they are very high in fat. Squirrels usually consume 1.5 to 3 ounces of food per day. And their average calorie intake is 50 calories but 3 ounces of cashews contain 470 calories. This shows that cashews have excessive fat and energy content which can lead to obesity, and obesity can cause some health issues for your squirrels. 

Other Nuts That Are Safe For Squirrels 

Now you know that cashews may not be the best option for your squirrel, you may wonder if it’s the same with other nuts. The good news is there are a good number of other nuts that have great nutritional value and are safe for your squirrel to snack on.

1. Hickory nuts

Hickory nuts are very rich in calcium, folic acid, and proteins, which means they are very good for squirrels. Serving hickory nuts to your squirrels as treats is a great idea as it is very beneficial to them. 

2. Pine nuts

Quite similar to hickory nuts, pine nuts are also a  nice treat for squirrels. Pine nuts are natural meals perfect for feeding red squirrels and grey squirrels as they give enough energy to be active. Try to avoid giving them packaged pine nuts as it might be unhealthy for them.

3. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are nutritious as they offer all nutrients and minerals that your squirrel needs. They can also reduce fat in the blood, especially for overweight squirrels. Hazelnuts might be your squirrel’s favorite. 

4. Walnuts

Walnuts like every other nut are very helpful for squirrels when it comes to battling different diseases and it boosts the levels of calcium in their bones. It can also help control their weight. Adding walnuts to the list of food to give your squirrel, will do a lot of good. 

5. Acorns

Squirrels can’t do without acorns, they love them. Acorns supply a great amount of nutritional goodness for red and grey squirrels. And there are two types of acorns and they are white oak acorns and red oak acorns. Squirrels usually bury the red oak acorns to save them for later because it has a higher level of tannin.

While they instantly devour the white oak acorns because it has less tannin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are cashews bad for squirrels?

Cashews consist of high levels of phosphorus and fats when consumed in large quantities, cashews can be detrimental to the health of your squirrel. It causes a tremendous weight gain and causes to be obese because it’s large and fat. Also, it causes calcium deficiency which could result in paralysis, weakness, and loss of appetite. 

Can you feed squirrels salted cashews?

Yes, you can but only if you’re feeding it in moderation. Salted and unsalted are quite similar but the only difference you can spot between them is how they taste. But squirrels prefer salted cashews to unsalted because they love how it tastes better.

Are cashews poisonous to squirrels?

Cashews are not completely safe for squirrels. It contains a toxin known as urushiol, this toxin causes allergic reactions such as skin rashes to develop. Feeding your squirrel with a lot of cashews can also create other health issues for your squirrel. 

Can GREY squirrels eat cashews?

Grey squirrels have mostly survived by munching on different types of nuts. Usually, they show less interest in cashews, unlike other nuts. But that doesn’t mean they don’t eventually eat cashews, it just means that they are not as crazy about cashews as they are with acorns and hazelnuts. 

Will cashews attract squirrels?

Squirrels are vicarious when it comes to eating, they chew on just about anything that smells like food. Cashews will, however, attract them to eat as they are fond of trying out almost any food that comes their way, and most of the time they have no idea it could be bad for their health, as a pet owner it’s left to you to minimize their intake of cashews. 

Bottom Line

Whether cashew is safe for your squirrel to eat depends on the amount you feed it.

Cashew contains a high quantity of fat and phosphorus which can bring about health issues like obesity and calcium deficiency for your squirrel. However, this article recommends that you feed them one or two cashews from time to time. 

Also, other nuts are safe for your squirrels and they are acorns (which by the way are their favorites), hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, and hickory nuts. 

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