Cicadas like to spend their time on trees and houses. You can usually tell how urban your area is by the number of cicadas chirping at once. But when in sufficient numbers, these insects are very noisy. Even in an urban context. All those pests have different tones, yet they scream at the same time.
Here is a reason to be grateful for chipmunks and squirrels in general. Not only do chipmunks eat cicadas, but they also their eggs and other insects too. For example, squirrels eat caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, and winged bugs.
Why Do Chipmunks Eat Cicadas?
In short, chipmunks need their protein.
Most squirrels wake up every day looking forward to eating nuts, ripe fruits, and high-fiber vegetables. But foraging for acorns and sweet desserts is a tiring activity, especially in such a vast natural supermarket like your neighborhood’s vegetable gardens, nut-bearing trees, and orchards. So, why wouldn’t they snack on a passing cicada if one happens to be there?
From a gourmand squirrel’s perspective, adult cicadas contain as many proteins as lean beef, all of them in a crunchy sandwich. In fact, just 100 grams of cicada meat provide more than 600 calories of energy.
After cicadas get out of their eggs, they turn into nymphs and spend years suckling on the roots of trees before reaching adulthood. Why is that important? Because their nutritional content also changes in different phases. Chipmunks know that. And they feast on these low-fat, high-carb insects like you would eat cherries.
They’re Lovin’ It!
It is not unusual to see a chipmunk feast on several cicadas in a row.
How fast do chipmunks eat cicadas? There is no definitive data to determine how many cicadas a chipmunk can eat per day. But it would not be a surprise if that number was more than 100 cicadas per day.
On average, a squirrel takes less than four minutes to consume an adult cicada.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are rodents that spend more time on the ground like chipmunks. And insects represent at least 50% of their diet. So, chipmunks might not be the members of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) that hunts most of them. But they are part of the same club!
Is The Cicada A Squirrel’s Favorite Food?
Cicadas symbolize the warmest season. But they are not a consistent and abounding food source for squirrels to feed on them throughout the year. Perhaps, in a densely cicada-infested area, most rodents would eat more cicadas than they would otherwise do. But still, they cannot store cicadas for the cold winter. So, they have to catch and consume them on the spot every single time.
As a pet, a chipmunk can end up eating too many bugs. But only if the owner feeds them to it. In nature, it is very unlikely that chipmunks eat as many insects after summertime if nuts are available.
Do Chipmunks Eat Cicadas?: Conclusion
While chipmunks will not turn down an occasional snack or two, cicadas are not the first item on their shopping lists. Chipmunks’ healthy diet consists of both plants and animals. And they will gladly feed on fresh buds and succulent vegetation first, especially in the summer.