Squirrels have to make a lot of effort to catch and eat roaches, so they try to focus on other resources, but it does not mean they are not interested in eating insects.
Do Squirrels Eat Roaches? Squirrels can eat roaches only when they find an injured cockroach on the ground because it is difficult to catch these winged insects that fly away from their enemies. Moreover, they are omnivorous and can digest plants and animals. In addition, these roaches are a rich source of fat and protein required for their ideal growth and development. Furthermore, these insects provide vitamins, minerals, and essential elements, so they prefer eating roaches when fruits and nuts are unavailable.
They prefer to eat food sources that can help meet their nutritional requirement and are easy to access, like nuts and vegetables, but it is challenging to consume flying roaches.
Do squirrels like to eat roaches?
Roaches mean cockroaches have almost 4600 species around the globe, but only 25 to 30 of their species are in close association with humans.
Many animals, including squirrels, prefer to eat roaches as their bodies are packed with nutritional elements to help meet their food requirements.
These winged insects have joint legs and a hard exoskeleton that can help avoid the attack of animals as they cannot be squished easily and fly away.
Furthermore, it is challenging to catch these insects; that’s why many predators switch to different food sources to meet their nutritional requirements.
In the same way, squirrels try to seize them but are hard to catch due to their wings. It is only possible to enjoy a feast on these insects when they are injured and cannot move anywhere.
They need food at multiple times of the day to keep themselves energetic for activities like jumping and moving from trees to home.
Therefore, they find other food sources because it is impossible to catch insects frequently; otherwise, they would die due to hunger.
Why do squirrels eat roaches?
Squirrels target multiple types of food, from legumes to fruits and even insects like roaches, as they are a good source of nutrients for these furry animals.
They are omnivores, meaning they can eat animals and plants, or their digestive system is designed to digest and absorb nutrients from both foods.
The choice of diet depends on the availability of food type, as it is easy to grab vegetables from the gardens rather than following a flying cockroach with a rare chance of seizing it.
However, they can quickly shift to the fleshy diet and consume the meat of the roaches whenever they find harmed or injured insects in their surroundings.
So, they can eat roaches, fruits, vegetables, and nuts depending on the type of food that is easier to access and fills their stomach.
These insects have almost 18% to 20% fat content that can be stored in the bodies of squirrels when consumed. It helps them survive winters when the temperature is low outside and they need warmth.
Moreover, they need fat for muscle strengthening and proper circulation, but their deficiency can cause cardiovascular issues and decrease muscle strength.
It becomes difficult for these furry animals to resist the freezing temperature when everything is covered with snow, and they cannot maintain internal body temperature.
Probably, you can see fat squirrels in winter who have stored fat inside their bodies to live at low temperatures.
They need a proteinaceous diet to live a healthy life, as amino acids play a crucial role in their growth, developmental processes, and muscle repair.
In addition, plants and insect bodies are rich in proteins that are essential for their maintenance and reproduction. Therefore, they can get more protein content from insects rather than from eating nuts.
Small to large insects can provide almost 21% to 23% proteins, while they also provide around 14% moisture and are low in carbohydrates.
Furthermore, you can get almost 7% to 8% of fiber from these cockroaches, which can help normalize water content in the intestines.
Availability of essential vitamins and minerals
Some elements like calcium, potassium, and phosphorus are necessary for performing activities like jumping and running, which stress their muscles and bones.
They provide a sufficient amount of calcium that is used for muscle strength, cells, and nerves. The absence of calcium in their diet can decrease bone density and cause muscle weakness.
Furthermore, the body’s muscles need potassium and calcium for better movement as they allow muscles to contract. So, they can enjoy a calcium-rich diet if they successfully catch roaches.
It is easy for squirrels to meet their daily intake requirements for mineral and vitamin-rich insects. This is because they are rich in both macro and micro minerals and essential vitamins.
Their bodies contain almost 8 to 10 times more B12 required for daily consumption. It helps keep their blood cells healthy and allows them to multiply their genome.
Shortage of nuts and fruits
They move to secondary food resources like meat, which is difficult to collect as insects are so quick to catch when their primary sources are unavailable.
Shortage of nuts and fruits due to natural disasters and the presence of injured cockroaches at a close hand allows them to consume the meat of these insects.
In addition, they are nutritious and improve their diet by providing all the essential elements, vitamins, and minerals.
What type of squirrels can eat roaches?
Many types of squirrels or tree-climbing animals are common in America, like Eastern grey, American red, and fox grey squirrels.
All of them have different habits for food consumption, and their priorities vary for food type; some prefer fruits, while a few like to eat meat.
An eastern grey squirrel and an American red squirrel can consume various foods, but they prefer nuts like hazelnut and walnuts.
In the same way, Western, Fox, and Arizona grey squirrels also prefer to eat walnuts and acorns and try to reach the pine cones.
However, northern flying squirrels prefer to eat insects like roaches as a primary source of nutrition as they can easily catch these flying insects, and fungi and lichens are also part of their diet.