Can squirrels eat lettuce? (Explained With Facts and Nutrition)

Can squirrels eat lettuce? A common question many have asked after watching them nibble on leaves in their gardens and backyards. 

You are not alone in your confusion over squirrels and lettuce since they are commonly known to feed on fruits and nuts.

Squirrels relish lettuce over other veggies. Your average garden lettuce variety is a healthy and safe snack when your squirrels needs to nibble on something. 

You may have been visited by squirrels or maybe seeking intelligent ways to attract them to your garden. There are many ways to do this with safety in mind.

 One option is to lure them with food, the kind of food they relish. Speaking of what squirrels love to eat, the list is endless, most of which are present in your kitchen.  

You may have concerns about the variety of lettuce good enough for squirrels or have a lettuce garden you want to protect from them. Whatever the case, this article is resourceful on the subject. 

In trying to understand the squirrel’s diet, most people only focus on fruits and nuts without realizing that their diet is varied. Squirrels are omnivorous, meaning they will eat just about anything they can find, including veggies.  

Is lettuce healthy for squirrels?

Are you familiar with what the squirrel’s natural diet looks like? These furry buddies feed on veggies, fruits, nuts, and rodents. Surprisingly, lettuce appeals to them more than all the other food that makes up their diet. 

But the question arises, is lettuce beneficial for the squirrel’s health? To answer the question effectively, we need to understand the nutritional composition of lettuce as compared to the nutritional requirements of squirrels. 

 The list below contains the nutritional composition of lettuce, to guide us further:

Lettuce: Nutritional Facts

  • Carbohydrates: 2.87 g
  • Protein: 1.36 g
  • Manganese, Mn: 0.25 mg
  • Phosphorus, P: 29 mg
  • Magnesium, Mg: 13 mg
  • Vitamin A: 370 mcg
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.07 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.08 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.375 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 0.134 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 0.09 mg
  • Vitamin C: 9.2 mg
  • Calcium, Ca: 36 mg
  • Iron, Fe: 0.86 mg
  • Fat: 0.15 g
  • Potassium, K: 194 mg
  • Zinc, Zn: 0.18 mg
  • Dietary fibers: 1.3 g
  • Water: 94.98 g
  • Sugars: 0.78 g

From the list above, we can confidently infer that lettuce is rich in all the essential vitamins (Vitamins A, B, C, and K) and minerals (Calcium, Iron) required for squirrels’ growth and development, proving that lettuce is an excellent addition to a squirrels diet. 

Lettuce for Squirrels: Best Feeding Ideas & Tips

With the knowledge of how beneficial lettuce can be to squirrels, you may wonder, how do I feed lettuce to them? Since the little critters are not your pet waiting around for food. 

There are several techniques you can adopt to feed squirrels visiting your backyard:

  •  If they are found more on the trees in your yard, one option is to put up a hanging feeder up one of the trees. On the feeder platform, you can spread chopped lettuce for them to eat. Be careful to hang the feeder high enough so they can feel safe. 
  •  If your garden visitors happen to ground squirrels, you can put some chopped lettuce in a shallow bowl on the ground, with the bowl 10 feet from your vegetation or plants. This allows them to grab the lettuce and flee immediately. 
  •  If the last trick fails, it’s an indication that your presence scares them away. So what next? You can scatter chopped lettuce in different corners of your lawn for them to eat safely. 
  •  Once they get accustomed to you, chances are they’ll eat right off your hands. 

Squirrels and Lettuce varieties

There are over a thousand varieties of lettuce in the markets. All of which come in various textures, forms, tastes, and shapes.  

Among the varieties of lettuce, one factor stands out and that’s the taste, an indication that their nutritional composition will vary.

While all lettuce is healthy, some are healthier choices. 

With that in mind, let’s examine three of the most popular lettuce varieties to determine how beneficial they can be to a squirrels health: 

Romaine Lettuce

Rome is home to the romaine lettuce but has since spread to many other parts of the world. It is a lot taller than other varieties while lacking the typical lettuce color and shape.

 It also has dark green leaves. The Romaine lettuce is abundant in Vitamins A, B, and C, a great source of calcium, so we can say it is a good source of nutrients for squirrels. 

Watercress

The watercress lettuce belongs to the cabbage family. It has small green leaves and a sturdy stem attached to it. This lettuce is abundant in Vitamins A and K and packed with dietary fibers. So, you can safely feed these to the squirrels. 

Iceberg Lettuce

This is one of the least nutritional varieties of lettuce. It has a mild flavor and crunchy feel to it. Because of the poor nutritional composition, we do not recommend feeding it to squirrels. 

Is it safe for baby squirrels to eat lettuce?

Chances of finding baby squirrels in your yard are slim, this is because they are well guarded by their mothers until they can fend for themselves.

Can squirrels eat lettuce?
Baby Squirrel

However, if you bump into one, is it a great idea to feed them lettuce?  The answer is no. It is unsafe to feed baby squirrels lettuce. Lettuce can be lethal to squirrels under 3 months old because they are better of with their mother’s milk. 

Solid foods can only be fed to squirrels once they are 3 months old. Since determining the age of a random squirrel found in your yard is difficult, you should avoid feeding them anything at all and that’s the safest thing to do. 

How to keep squirrels away from your lettuce plants?

So far, we have looked at ways to safely attract squirrels to your yard, but what if you want to keep them off?

Are you growing a vegetable garden and these pesky little rodents have become a problem to your lettuce plants? Then continue reading for a solution.

One fundamental fact about squirrels is that they will eat just about anything, irrespective of what you plant in your garden. But don’t be frightened, certain plants are natural repellants against these little rodents.

Let’s take a look at some options:

Plant garlic plants

Garlic is a healthy spice for cooking, but it can also be used to keep squirrels away. With a pungent smell to it, garlic works well in keeping them at bay. So, start planting some garlic now and watch them avoid your garden. Garlic is also known to repulse rabbits and deer. 

Grow hot peppers

Pepper is also effective against squirrels. You do not necessarily have to grow them, you can easily purchase pepper sprays and spray generously around your lettuce plants to keep squirrels away.

Grow plants like daffodils, hyacinths, and fritillaries

PLants such as hyacinths, fritillaries, and daffodils are known to put off squirrels. So you can grow some to keep squirrels away.

Cats and dogs as a deterrent

Dogs and cats have proven effective against all kinds of critters, and that includes squirrels. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which nuts can I feed squirrels?  Squirrels relish nuts, and there are many nut choices to choose from, including almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts are some of their favorites.

Is it okay to feed cat food to squirrels? No, it is unsafe to feed squirrels cat feed. It is a common misconception among pet owners. Commercial cat feed is formulated with carnivores in mind. Squirrels on the other hand are strictly herbivores. Thus, feeding them cat food will disrupt their digestive system and cause health problems. 

Can squirrels eat cashews? No, squirrels cannot eat cashews. The high-fat content in cashew can make them obese, causing all sorts of health problems. Cashews are also dense in phosphorus, a mineral capable of depleting their mineral reserve, leading to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

 

Final Thoughts: Can squirrels eat lettuce?

Can squirrels eat lettuce? Yes, they can eat lettuce, we have examined whether or not squirrels can eat lettuce, health benefits, and the variety best for them. 

If you’re facing a squirrel infestation, you can adopt any of the methods discussed earlier. These options are safe, meaning you do not have to resort to traps or killing them. The plant-based option is particularly effective, as this has a long-lasting effect. 

Most people are naturally inclined to feeding squirrels that randomly show up in their yards. However, if you come across them, remember to feed them based on a well-informed guide. 

While squirrels are varied eaters, the best practice is to feed them vegetables and fruits capable of adding nutrients to their body. Lettuce makes a great option should you ever be in doubt about what to feed them.

Do squirrels eat lettuce? Yes! Take your time to find the best lettuce.