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do squirrels eat sunflower seeds

Can Squirrels Eat Sunflower Seeds? Is It Safe?

Squirrels are big fans of seeds and nuts. They love eating sunflower seeds, be they raw, salted, roasted, or shelled. However, it is advised not to give your little pets a lot of sunflower seeds because they are not high in nutrition. Squirrels may eat it for taste, but to have a balanced diet, they should eat fruits and vegetables.

Pet owners should keep a check on their little animals and should make sure that they get every nutrition they need. They should also keep a regular check on their health.

On that note, let us elaborate more on the topic to help you understand if your squirrel can eat sunflower seeds or not, and if it can, then in what quantities.

Do all squirrels eat sunflower seeds?

Sunflower seeds for squirrels

Squirrels like eating sunflower seeds, especially black oil sunflower seeds. They eat the seeds with full love and adoration, but the seeds are not as healthy for them as we think.

Sunflower seeds are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which may weaken the squirrel’s bones. And yes, all kinds of squirrels can eat sunflower seeds like wild squirrels, baby squirrels, grey squirrels, flying squirrels, ground squirrels, and red squirrels. Some may not be fond of sunflower seeds as much as others, but they all enjoy eating them.

Also Read: Can Squirrels Eat Watermelon?

Are sunflowers seeds bad for squirrels?

Sunflower seeds are not bad for squirrels if eaten in the right quantity. Excess in amount can be problematic. So it is important to keep a check on the portion size of food that your pet is eating. As sunflower seeds are low in nutrition, they may not be healthy for squirrels. 

Opt for more nutrition-rich food that provides more vitamins and minerals to the pets. Also, squirrels need a good amount of water to survive; never leave them dehydrated.

What happens if a squirrel eats sunflower seeds?

If the squirrels eat sunflower seeds in the right amount, say two per day, then it is not a problem. But if the squirrels eat many sunflower seeds, they can be prone to some major diseases like malnutrition, excess calories, weak bones, paralysis, etc.

Sunflower seeds are poor in nutrition and unhealthy for squirrels. 

How many sunflower seeds can a squirrel eat? Do squirrels eat sunflower seeds whole?

Squirrels should eat sunflower seeds in a controlled amount, like only two per day. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are the healthiest for them and have better nutritional value.

Squirrels should eat the seeds with shells as shells are also rich in nutrition and are required for a balanced diet of the squirrel. 

How to keep squirrels from eating planted sunflower seeds?

Squirrels can ruin planted sunflower seeds by feeding on them. We can keep them away by covering the seeds; You can create a baffle directly beneath the flower using cardboard or metal.

The animal won’t be able to get to its prize because of these. Alternatively, since squirrels are great jumpers, you could wrap aluminum foil or sheet metal around the stem. However, you would need to climb quite a distance.

One can also opt for methods like using the sprays available in the market, putting up a fence, or putting up a net to protect your sunflower seeds from the squirrels. 


What should you not feed squirrels?

Some foods that are unhealthy for squirrels are:

  • High-starch foods (pasta, bread, rice, potatoes)
  • Salty foods.
  • Cashews.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • High-sugar foods (candy, cookies, granola, sweetened breakfast cereals)
  • Dried corn.
  • Human junk food.
  • Pine nuts

What kind of sunflower seeds do squirrels eat?

Squirrels are a fan of almost all sunflower seeds, but they love black oil sunflower seeds; they can also ruin your planted plants in search of the same. Beware of the squirrels in your yard. If you have black oil sunflower seeds planted, they may attack the plants.


Squirrels are picky eaters, they choose their food according to taste and are very fond of eating fruits and nuts. They have their favourites too. Although soil, twigs, and bark are significant sources of nutrients and roughage, dried corn on the cob is a squirrel favourite.

Squirrels are primarily herbivores, but when the seasons are challenging, they will also eat a range of insects like caterpillars, crickets, and larvae.

Squirrels require good care for their healthy survival, as these animals are small and can be food for many other animals. So a squirrel needs to stay healthy and feed on stuff that will help it in the long run. 

Sunflower seeds are not particularly harmful, but squirrels should be fed the same in moderation. So, keep that in mind and you’re good to go and feed a few sunflower seeds to your squirrel.

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