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Do Squirrels Eat Ants? List of Insects & Bugs They Forage for (2024)

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Do Squirrels Eat Ants?As busy as a bee, squirrels are constantly searching for their next meal. Do they eat ants? Yes! While scavenging and foraging, these creatures may consume an array of insects such as ants, beetles, caterpillars, and bees.

Not only do these small critters provide an excellent source of protein that can help fuel the energetic needs of squirrels, but they also provide essential vitamins and minerals that are difficult to find elsewhere in nature.

Key Takeaways

  • Squirrels have evolved foraging strategies to identify insect species with high nutritional value, including ants.
  • Ants can provide protein, essential vitamins, and minerals for squirrels.
  • However, some ants may contain harmful chemicals like formic acid, which can be dangerous in large quantities and lead to formic acid poisoning.
  • Insect consumption, including ants, is more common during warmer months when food sources for squirrels are scarce.

What Can Squirrels Not Eat?

Do Squirrels Eat Ants? 1
You should be aware that squirrels cannot eat certain insects, such as mosquitoes and cockroaches, even though they may look tempting with their high nutritional value. Squirrels have evolved to feed on a variety of foods depending on the availability of resources in order to meet their nutritional needs.

While ant species vary greatly in size and formic acid content, which can be harmful if eaten in large amounts, gray squirrels mainly feast on nuts, fruits, seeds, and other plant-based food sources. They supplement their diet with smaller invertebrates like ants when needed. Ant stings are no issue for them since they’re agile enough to catch these small prey without being harmed by them thanks to their small size.

However, caterpillars or lawn grubs offer much more nutrition than most insect types due to their higher fat content, making them an ideal protein source for the furry creatures during times when food is scarce.

Do Squirrels Eat Bugs and Worms?

Do Squirrels Eat Bugs and Worms?
In addition to nuts, fruits, and seeds, you’ll often find squirrels snacking on insects such as ants, caterpillars, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, and crickets for a tasty treat!

Insects provide an important source of nutrition in the form of protein, essential vitamins, and minerals. Squirrels have evolved over time to develop foraging strategies that allow them to identify insect species with high nutritional value.

They are then able to consume these small arthropods more efficiently by using their digestive system.

Eating insects is most common during warmer months when food sources become scarce or difficult to come by. However, they may supplement their diet with mealworms or other insect species throughout the year too due to plant-based foods being less abundant in winter seasons.

Eating bugs also allows squirrels access to essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can be beneficial if there is not enough variety present in a nutritionally balanced diet from natural sources alone.

What Food is Poisonous to Squirrels?

What Food is Poisonous to Squirrels?
Be aware that some ants may contain harmful chemicals, such as formic acid, which can be dangerous for squirrels to ingest in large quantities. Foraging habits of experienced nature aficionados have shown that eating insects offers many nutrient benefits, but it also carries risks.

Slow movements make them a low-risk prey source, and their small size provides an abundant energy source when other food sources are scarce or difficult to come by.

However, there are certain seasonal eating habits the experienced nature aficionado should keep in mind:

  1. Some ant species contain poisons or toxins.
  2. Eating too many ants can lead to formic acid poisoning.
  3. Mosquitoes do not provide significant nutritional value.
  4. Lawn grubs and spiders offer high amounts of fat and protein, respectively – yet they should only be eaten if better food sources cannot be found first.

To ensure safe insect consumption, it is important for the experienced nature enthusiast to know what foods are poisonous before offering any up as a snack!


We can conclude that squirrels eat ants and other insects as a source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Squirrels generally prefer nuts, fruits, and seeds over insects, but when food is scarce, they’ll turn to bugs to get the nutrients they need.

It’s important to be mindful of what you feed squirrels as some food can be poisonous.

All in all, ants are a great snack for these furry critters, and they can be a lifesaver in times of need.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.