Squirrels are common animals that spend most of their time in trees. They like eating bird seed, but do they like eating popcorn? Should squirrels eat popcorn?
Squirrels can eat popcorn as long as it is plain and air-popped. Don’t feed squirrels popcorn with oil, butter, salt, popcorn seasoning, or sugar on it. Squirrels like popcorn and will eat it if it’s left out in a safe place. Don’t feed microwave popcorn to squirrels.
Now that you know that squirrels can eat air-popped popcorn, you may be wondering if they can also eat popcorn kernels. Keep reading to find out and read some fun ways you can feed popcorn to squirrels.
Can Squirrels Eat Popped Popcorn?
Squirrels can eat popped popcorn as long as it is not popped with oil. They can eat air-popped popcorn, and should not eat popcorn that has oil, salt, sugar, or popcorn seasoning on it. Most squirrels love eating plainly popped popcorn and will eat it if it is left in an area that they trust and associate with food.
If squirrels have popcorn that has preservatives or sweeteners on it, they can develop kidney problems and become obese if they have too much of it. Luckily, popcorn typically doesn’t have many preservatives added to it. However, microwave popcorn does typically have added preservatives that will cause squirrels to develop health issues.
Squirrels should not be fed microwave popcorn because it has a high butter and salt content.
If squirrels eat too much salt, they will become thirstier than normal, which is dangerous because they can be harmed if they drink too much water in a short timespan. They can also develop sodium ion poisoning and die from it. Because of this, don’t feed squirrels salted popcorn.
If you feed squirrels popcorn that has vegetable oil or butter on it, they can have digestive problems because of the level of fat and amount of calories in those foods. Because of those digestive problems they can have diarrhea or start vomiting, which isn’t good for squirrels.
Plain, air-popped popcorn isn’t necessarily healthy for squirrels to eat, but it contains Vitamin B, protein, iron, and fiber that will give them some extra nutrients and help them be slightly healthier than before, although it won’t do much. (Source)
Now that you know that squirrels can eat popcorn, you may be wondering if they can also eat popcorn kernels.
Can Squirrels Eat Popcorn Kernels?
Squirrels can eat popcorn kernels. However, you should only give them a few popcorn kernels at a time because they pose a choking hazard for them and can potentially harm their teeth.
Popcorn kernels are small, even for squirrels. Squirrels store nuts and other food in their cheeks, and they will do so with popcorn kernels.
However, if a popcorn kernel slips out of their cheek pouch and gets stuck in their throat, they can choke and die. For this reason, you should only give them a few popcorn kernels at a time so they don’t feel the need to store them for later.
The shell of popcorn kernels is very thin and typically can’t be removed, and these pose a slight danger to squirrels when they eat popcorn kernels. The shell on the popcorn kernel and the actual popcorn kernel get stuck in their teeth and gums and cause gum disease. They can also cause their teeth to decay over time, which will negatively impact their health because they won’t be able to eat if their teeth are damaged.
Squirrels can’t easily digest popcorn kernels, so if they eat too many popcorn kernels they won’t be able to digest them properly and will suffer because of it.
Now that you know that squirrels can eat popcorn and popcorn kernels, you may be wondering how you should feed them popcorn.
Ways to Feed Squirrels Popcorn
Squirrels won’t eat from your hand if they don’t trust you, but they will eat popcorn and popcorn kernels if they are left out and the squirrels trust the area as a reliable food area. If you want to know some fun ways to feed popcorn to squirrels, and possibly birds when they come by, keep reading.
Fill a birdfeeder with popped popcorn or popcorn kernels and let squirrels eat from the birdfeeder. Place the birdfeeder in trees or near them if you want the squirrels to eat from it.
Build a platform and place the popped popcorn and the kernels on the platform. Leave the popcorn and the kernels out for a few days before you expect any squirrels to appear. Place it far away from garbage cans and bird feeders.
Fill a wide bowl with popcorn kernels or popped popcorn and leave it out for a few days, or until all of the popcorn is gone. It will take a few days for them to find and eat the popcorn.
Pinecone with Peanut Butter
Get a pinecone and tie a thread through the top of it. Then, take that pinecone and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on it. Next, roll the pinecone in popped popcorn or popcorn kernels. Popcorn kernels will likely stick to the peanut butter easier and longer than popped popcorn because more surface area will cover the popcorn kernels than the popped popcorn.
However, keep in mind that peanut butter in large amounts can harm squirrels because of the high fat content and because of the oils in it. If you need to add more peanut butter in order to make the popcorn stick to it, feel free to do so.
Birds may eat the popcorn as well because squirrels and birds eat similar things. Don’t be surprised if you see birds going to your popcorn feeding stations. If you don’t want to feed birds popcorn, place a birdfeeder in trees and place the popcorn feeders away from the trees.
Squirrels enjoy eating popcorn, but they should only eat air-popped popcorn or a small amount of popcorn kernels at a time because popcorn isn’t loaded with nutrients, and too much can harm squirrels over time.
Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn
Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details: