Can Squirrels Eat Potatoes

Can Squirrels Eat Potatoes

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Squirrels are well-known for their love for nuts and seeds. However, recent studies have discovered that they also have an unexpected appreciation for potatoes.

This discovery has sparked the curiosity of many researchers, leading to further investigation into this peculiar love. So, what is the motive behind this research? Well, it is believed that understanding the behaviour and preferences of squirrels can provide valuable insights into their ecological and environmental impact. 

This article will explore the history and background of squirrels and potatoes, their unique love for potatoes, and their consumption methods. Let’s dive in and discover the fascinating world of squirrels and their peculiar food choices.

About Squirrels

Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents belonging to the family Sciuridae. They are known for their bushy tails, sharp claws, and quick movements. Squirrels are found in various habitats worldwide, including forests, parks, and urban areas. They are most commonly associated with trees, as they are excellent climbers.

Squirrels generally have slender bodies with long tails that help them balance and communicate. They have sharp incisors for gnawing nuts, seeds, and tree bark. Their fur colour can vary greatly, ranging from grey, brown, black, red, or a combination of these colours.

About Potato?

Potato is a starchy root vegetable that belongs to the Solanaceae family. It is one of the most widely consumed and cultivated crops globally. Potatoes are known for their versatility, nutritional value, and cooking ability in various ways. 

Potatoes are believed to have originated in the Andes region of South America, specifically in modern-day Peru and Bolivia. They were domesticated around 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. Today, potatoes are grown in many countries worldwide, with China being the largest producer, followed by India, Russia, and the United States.

Can squirrels eat potatoes?

Squirrels are primarily herbivorous; their diet consists mainly of nuts, seeds, fruits, berries, and tree bark. While squirrels generally do not consume potatoes as a significant part of their natural diet, there have been occasional reports of squirrels nibbling on potatoes.

It's important to note that potatoes are not a preferred or natural food source for squirrels, and they do not offer the same nutritional value as their typical diet. Squirrels may be more likely to sample potatoes if they are easily accessible or seek alternative food sources due to scarcity.

If you are concerned about squirrels damaging your potato crop or digging up potatoes in your garden, using fences or wire mesh to protect your plants is best. Additionally, keeping the potatoes appropriately stored in a cool, dark place can help prevent attracting squirrels or other rodents to them.


Health benefits of potatoes to squirrels

Potatoes do not offer significant health benefits to squirrels. While potatoes are a nutritious food for humans, providing carbohydrates, dietary fibre, vitamin C, and some minerals, they are not a natural or ideal part of a squirrel's diet.

Squirrels have specific dietary requirements best met by their natural foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, and tree bark. These foods provide the necessary nutrients, fats, and proteins that squirrels need for optimal health.

Feeding squirrels an inappropriate diet for their species can lead to health issues. It's important to avoid feeding squirrels human foods, including potatoes, as they may not provide the proper nutrition and can even harm their digestive systems.

If you want to support the health of squirrels, it's best to provide them with their natural food sources or squirrel-specific food specifically designed to meet their nutritional needs.

Alternative squirrel meals

To provide alternative meals for squirrels, it's best to focus on their natural dietary preferences.  They were offering these alternative meals in moderation and as supplementary food sources are essential, rather than completely replacing their natural foraging behaviours. 

Providing a diverse and balanced diet that mimics their natural feeding patterns is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Here are some suitable options:


Squirrels love nuts, especially acorns, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans. You can offer them unsalted and unseasoned nuts in moderation.


Squirrels enjoy a variety of sources, including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine cones. Ensure the authorities are not salted or flavoured.


Squirrels have a sweet tooth for apples, pears, berries, and grapes. Cut the fruits into small, squirrel-friendly pieces.


Squirrels occasionally eat broccoli, carrots, and leafy greens like kale or spinach. Provide small, fresh portions.

Tree Bark

Squirrels chew on tree bark to wear down their ever-growing incisors. Leave fallen tree branches or logs in their habitat to provide this natural source.

Squirrel-Specific Food

You can also find specialised squirrel food, or squirrel feed mixes at pet stores or wildlife supply outlets. These mixes are specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of squirrels.

Effect of excessive consumption

Excessive consumption of potatoes can have adverse effects on squirrels' health. Potatoes are not a natural part of a squirrel's diet and can be challenging to digest in large quantities.

Potatoes contain high starch levels, which squirrels are not adapted to break down efficiently. Overconsumption of starchy foods like potatoes can lead to digestive issues, including bloating, diarrhoea, and malnutrition.

Moreover, some potatoes may have been treated with pesticides or have sprouted, potentially harming squirrels if ingested in excess.

It's essential to prioritise the squirrels' natural diet of nuts, seeds, fruits, and tree bark to meet their nutritional needs. If you observe squirrels consuming excessive amounts of potatoes or other inappropriate foods, it's best to discourage this behaviour and provide them with healthier alternatives.


In conclusion, while squirrels are known to have a varied diet and can consume a range of plant materials, including nuts, seeds, fruits, and tree bark, potatoes are not a natural part of their diet. Squirrels primarily feed on items found in their natural habitats, such as nuts from trees or seeds from plants.

As a root vegetable, potatoes are not typically part of a squirrel's natural food sources. They lack the necessary adaptations for efficiently consuming and digesting this type of food. Potatoes contain different nutrients and starches that may not be well-suited for a squirrel's digestive system.

While squirrels can come into contact with potatoes, such as finding them in gardens or storage areas, they are unlikely to actively seek out and consume them as a preferred food source. Squirrels prefer their natural diet, such as acorns, seeds, or fruits.

Therefore, if you come across squirrels with concerns about their food sources, it's best to focus on providing them with their natural diet rather than offering them potatoes or other human foods. This will help ensure their well-being and preserve their natural behaviours in their habitats.

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