Feeding squirrels is fun, and what’s better than chocolate, which everyone loves, and might also be liked by squirrels like raccoons eating chocolates. But, can squirrels eat chocolate, do they like it, and is it bad. Here’s the answer.
Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate?
Yes, squirrels can and love to eat chocolate but they shouldn’t. Chocolate is toxic for squirrels and if consumed in large quantities can kill squirrels but less quantity can cause toxic reactions and problems. Chocolate contains theobromine which is alkaloid that is lethal to cats, dogs, squirrels, and humans.
It takes 36g of a 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar to kill squirrels. Neither milk chocolate nor dark chocolate is beneficial, in fact, dark chocolate is even more lethal. However, it’s best to feed chocolate when hunting or trapping squirrels.
Why Chocolate is Toxic for Squirrels?
Chocolate contains the lethal compound “theobromine” which is an “alkaloid” also found in tea, cola, and beverages. That is produced in plants to protect them from the demolition of pests, insects, and diseases. And effects the nervous system of the consumer and either stimulate or sedates.
But different critters have different resistance and sensitivity to alkaloids like dogs have significantly less resistance and are 10 times more sensitive to alkaloids than humans. Meaning, they can die eating a small amount of chocolate.
In rodents, squirrels have nearly the same resistance to alkaloid in chocolate as humans meaning, they are less sensitive to alkaloid and won’t kill them with a fairly small amount like dogs and cats but over that amount of chocolate which might still count as small for us may cause problems in squirrels. And if used daily or used in large amounts, it may kill squirrels. Specifically, 0.5 mg of theobromine would kill 50% of all grey squirrels according to the LD50 rule.
Do Squirrels Eat Chocolate? Do They Like It?
Yes, squirrels do and like to eat chocolates. Squirrels are opportunistic omnivorous which eat meat and plants but mostly eat seeds, nuts, fruits, plants. But that are not the only things squirrels love to eat. Actually, squirrels love humans food more than natural ones, nonetheless, squirrels are mammals just like us and love to eat what we do like chocolates, sweets, cakes, biscuits. Among food, squirrels like this food the most, pizza, burger, humburger, pasta, barbecue, and among drinks, beer, wine. In fact, their babies also love these food.
Squirrels simply like what we like to eat, and may willingly eat these food anytime you give them. However, it is also harmful to squirrels just like us. Despite its harmful to them and some people believe squirrels are smart and won’t eat harmful things, they eat these food preferably more than other food anytime they get.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t eat other food like nuts and seeds. They will eat all the food, likely humans food first and their food next. Squirrels do not mushrooms. Also, they will invite other friends by making sounds. They don’t let any food waste and eat anything they come across even if it’s harmful. BTW, squirrels are most active in the morning.
Can You Feed Chocolate to Squirrels?
Yes, but you shouldn’t neither to squirrels nor any other animal. You should never feed humans food and other unnatural food to squirrels despite the fact that they have similar resistance to alkaloids, but may not have the same resistance to other compound chemicals.
Tested on a few small animals, rats, mice, and squirrels have a similar tolerance to chocolate as humans but in different amounts according to their size. Like the lethal dose of humans is around 1,000mg/kg body weight which will kill 50% of the people. Applying the same rule, the lethal dose for dogs is 300mg/kg and 200mg/kg for cats, despite the fact that cats don’t like chocolate as they can’t taste it.
Assuming the same rule for squirrels, 50% of all squirrels would die of 0.5 mg of theobromine which is alkaloid. As a result, you should never feed chocolate to squirrels, not even a small amount. The amount which seems small to us isn’t that small for them according to their body weight and that may also become addicted to it and sweets. Also, the amount of theobromine included in chocolate isn’t really known from chocolate to chocolate and brand to brand.
Is Chocolate Not Beneficial For Squirrels At All?
Although chocolate has some benefits, it’s more for humans and it does more harm to animals than good. Like for humans, it may have benefits besides its harm like improves the blood flow, reduces heart disease, protects skin, improves memory and brain.
Though squirrel’s tolerance is the same as humans and they are not very sensitive to chocolate, however, it’s harmful for them not as much as dogs or cats but is harmful. It does have some benefits but does have more harm. Chocolates are made up of different harmful ingredients that replace the positive points with negatives. Overall, chocolate is bad for squirrels, and do not digest it very well.
How Much Chocolate Can Kill A Squirrel?
According to the Lethal Dose (LD50) tested on small animals which include squirrels, it takes 0.5 mg of theobromine or 36g of a 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar to kill a squirrel very quickly like running in front of cars in the middle of road. However, lots of chocolate can also kill a person particularly the lethal dose which will kill a person is around 1,000mg/kg body weight that would be around 85 full-size chocolate bars.
How Long Does It Take For Chocolate To Affect A Squirrel?
Consumed in small quantity, it may cause some problems and affect as soon as 24 to 48 hours. However, if used in large quantities, it takes 24 hours to kill a squirrel. It can happen anytime in between and whatever they are doing like traveling.
Can Squirrels Eat The Cacao Plant?
Chocolate is made of cocoa beans which are produced on the cacao trees. Climbing trees, squirrels can and do eat cacao plants without any problem. Most squirrel species have been using cacao plants for a long time without a problem. Unlike chocolate, it doesn’t have any side effects or do not kill squirrels.
Can Squirrels Eat Snickers, Chocolate Cake, Chip Cookies?
Without doubt, squirrels can and do eat snickers, chocolate cake, chip cookies but they shouldn’t. Though they contain less chocolate, (which is still bad) they contain high sugar which is bad and they shouldn’t eat. Neither snickers, chocolate cake, chip cookies, nor any other cookies should be fed as all of them are harmful. However, it will also turn their poop dark black just like chocolate.
What Else is Toxic For Squirrels?
Although squirrels are primarily vegetarian, they will eat anything they get including popcorn and mushroom which is toxic for them. In addition to chocolate, there are also many other things which squirels love but are either harmful or lethal for squirrels, here’s the list.
- Human’s Foods – Pizza, french fries, burger, fried, grilled, or broiled food, sweetened food like chocolate, sweets, sugary items, gum, candy, coffee, junk items, and mostly fast food.
- Other harmful foods – Alcohol, avocado, onions, chocolate, coffee, and caffeine, peepers.
In general, anything that’s natural and beneficial is good for squirrels, however, anything which isn’t natural like chocolate and isn’t beneficial for humans isn’t beneficial for squirrels also.
With that though, squirrels are omniverse and eat both meat and plants, however, the favorite and beneifical foods for squirrels are seeds, fruits like carrots, strawberries, apples and plants, vegetables, nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms. Despite they like human food more than these, you shouldn’t feed that and they are also very harmful. You can feed these foods to squirrels which are quite beneficial and nutritious including water, which squirrels get from anywhere.
The Bottom Line
Squirrels are like humans and eat, and love chocolate, sweets, fast and junk food. But these aren’t useful at all and do more harm to them than humans. If you feed a small piece of chocolate and think it won’t harm, it will, in fact, it will do more harm than it does to us as they are smaller than us, and that small piece of chocolate counts large for them. A small piece of chocolate mightn’t do significant harm or immediately but would definitely do minor harm and if used daily or in large amounts, chances are it will kill.
Despite that, it will also addict the squirrel to chocolate and sweets and they won’t stop themselves from eating it. And chase, steal, snatch and even bite you for it and taking a large amount of chocolate that will either kill or may cause serious damage. Some people believe and say that squirrels are smart and won’t eat much chocolate, but that’s wrong. Like any other animals, they aren’t aware of the problems. After all, they are animals and don’t really know what’s the best.
It’s best to not feed squirrels chocolate not only because it will harm them but they will be also dependent.