Squirrels should not eat raw potatoes as that can cause health distress to them. They can eat cooked potatoes which are completely free of any oil and spices. Squirrels rarely eat the skin of vegetables but you can feed them cooked potatoes with peels intact only if the potatoes were grown organically and no chemical pesticides were being used.
Let’s take a deeper look at this topic…
Nutrition value of potatoes
About 100 gms of boiled potatoes which are cooked with the skin contain roughly:
- Calories: 90 to 103
- Water: 77%
- Protein: (1.8 to 1.9) gm
- Carbs: (19.5–20.1) gm
- Sodium: 237mg
- Calcium: 5mg
- Sugar: (0.8-0.9) gm
- Fiber: (1.7-1.8) gm
- Fat: 0.1 grams
Benefits of eating potatoes for squirrels
- Potatoes are stuffed with vitamin C which is important in boosting the immune system of the squirrels. They also contain vitamin B and vitamin K.
- Potatoes contain potassium in suitable amounts and potassium is essential in the proper functioning of the heart, muscle, and nerves.
- They are also rich in antioxidants that help in fighting the free radicals that can cause cancer. Potatoes contain antioxidants like phenol, carotenoids, flavonoids, etc.
- It is a low-calorie food item and is equally tasty as well.
Can squirrels eat potatoes: Deep Dive
Yes, squirrels can eat potatoes but in controlled portions, and that is also not on a regular basis. They love munching potatoes and hence should eat boiled and roasted potatoes once every few weeks only as a treat and it should not be included as a regular part of their diet.
Moreover, potatoes are:
- Stuffed with vitamins, phosphorous, and niacin.
- Low in calories
- Potatoes with skin help in enhancing the fiber content of the potato as well.
Squirrels should completely avoid eating raw potatoes or processed and fried potatoes with spices or any kind of seasonings. Eating these food items on a regular basis can cause severe health issues and can ultimately lead to even death.
- Raw potatoes are rich in an alkaloid called solanine which can be highly toxic in nature and if consumed even in larger amounts can lead to death.
- Solanine is regarded as a neurotoxin and affects the nervous system directly. It is not only fatal to rodents like rats, hamsters, and squirrels but to humans as well.
Symptoms of over-accumulation of solanine include:
- Excessive stomach pain
- Breathing issues
The solanine content is high in green potatoes and you should avoid feeding those potatoes to the squirrels. Smaller-sized organisms are much more vulnerable to such poisoning than adults hence it is advised that you should also avoid feeding greener-looking potatoes to children as well.
Hence you should present the squirrels with a very small serving of cooked potatoes, once every few weeks, and should never include it as a normal part of their daily diet.
If your squirrel has any medical conditions then it is best to consult with the vet first about making changes in their diet. Also, avoid feeding potatoes to baby and old squirrels as well.
Can squirrels eat sweet potato peels?
Can squirrels eat hash browns?
Alternatives to Potatoto and Potato peels for squirrels
So yes adult squirrels can eat cooked potatoes once in a while however by this point, you have already understood that it is not a food item that you should feed them regularly. So here are some of the alternatives to potatoes that you can feed squirrels:
So that’s it…If you have any comments let me know below…