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Tree bark and young branches are excellent for keeping the teeth healthy and satisfy the squirrel’s need to gnaw.
Tree Bark, fungus and lichens provide a source of natural nutrients to wild tree and flying squirrels.
Trees provide many sources of food for tree squirrels, from Catkins (above) to tender buds (center), many varieties of berries (right), and seed pods or helicopters (below)
Tree squirrels find many foods on the ground, including seeds, pine cones (particularly for pine squirrels), flower bulbs and buds, roots, fungus, mushrooms, greens, and berries.
Natural Sources of Nutrition for Squirrels in Rehabilitation
When determining what is safe for a squirrel, watch what the wild squirrels in your area are eating.
Wash everything well and be sure no pesticide, soap, or other chemical residues are present in anything you provide the squirrel.
Always provide clean, fresh water.
Antlers and weathered bones are excellent for keeping the teeth trim and providing a great source of calcium. These are also a great source of entertainment as squirrels love to have something to gnaw on.
Don’t forget the sunshine. Squirrels need at least 20 minutes per day of exposure to unfiltered sunlight to facilitate proper calcium absorption by helping the body generate vitamin D3. Access to a UV Lamp/Full spectrum lighting (available in most pet stores for reptiles) or drops containing vitamin D3 made for pet guinea pigs or rabbits may also effectively substitute for sun. Take care when supplementing vitamin D as too much is fatal to squirrels.
Ground squirrels eat a variety of vegetable matter; grasses, leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, berries and fruits. Research more specific information by species.
You can offer both ground squirrels and flying squirrels the same foods as tree squirrels to select from. Squirrels have very distinct preferences based on natural foods available for the region and time of year. Observe what their wild counterparts are eating.
Flying squirrels dine on mushrooms and other fungus including truffles. The eat tree products such as saps, lichens, flowers, & buds. Try also a variety of fruits and berries.
Flyers will also eat insects. Offer insects available for reptiles in most pet stores. Freeze dried crickets or meal worms are an easy alternative.
Antlers can be found on ebay, craigslist or by contacting nature or hunting clubs.
Make sure that they have not be varnished or treated with chemicals that may be
dangerous to squirrels.