Squirrels are omnivorous, which means that they will eat a variety of meat and plant-based foods. Some squirrels eat a lot of caterpillars, as well as other insects. However, they also eat various fruits, seeds, plants, and nuts. This article will answer the question, ‘do squirrels eat caterpillars?’ in more detail.
We’ll also discuss what other foods squirrels eat and how they play a part in pest control.
Do squirrels eat caterpillars?
Squirrels are opportunistic feeders that have evolved to take advantage of many food sources. As a result, they will eat a wide variety of insects, including caterpillars, grubs, and larvae.
Some studies have found that up to 40% of the diet of squirrels in certain areas can consist of insects and other small invertebrates like caterpillars.
What types of caterpillars do squirrels eat?
While squirrels will eat a wide variety of caterpillars, they tend to prefer those that are soft and full of protein. Some examples of caterpillars that squirrels eat include forest tent caterpillars, gypsy moth caterpillars, and fall webworm caterpillars. Squirrels also eat a variety of other types of insects, including beetles, roaches, and grasshoppers.
Squirrels help to control insect pests by eating many of the caterpillars that can damage trees and other plants. This means that they play an essential role in helping to ensure the health of forests, grasslands, yards, and agricultural areas.
What else do squirrels eat?
Squirrels have a very diverse diet that adapts to the changing seasons and availability of different foods. While they will take advantage of many different insect species for their protein content or other nutritional benefits, they will also eat a wide range of animal and plant-based foods.
Squirrels eat various fruits and nuts, such as acorns, pine cones, bird eggs, and berries. They will also eat eggs and young birds, as well as small animals like mice and sometimes even baby rabbits.
Some squirrels have even been known to scavenge food from human sources, such as garbage or pet food. They will also steal food such as tomatoes or apples from gardens or orchards. For this reason, squirrels are often considered pests by gardeners.
What do baby squirrels eat?
Baby squirrels are dependent on their mother for food until they are about ten weeks old. They will primarily nurse from their mother, but she will also regurgitate partially digested food to feed them as well.
Once the baby squirrels are weaned and independent, their diet will continue to consist mainly of insects and other small invertebrates, but they may also eat fruits and nuts as well.
Overall, it is clear that squirrels are not strictly carnivorous animals and will take advantage of a wide range of different food sources to survive. While they may eat a lot of caterpillars at certain times of the year, this is just one part of their diverse diet.
Like many other animals, squirrels must balance their nutritional needs with what is available in the environment around them, making them true omnivores.