Do Squirrels Eat Acorns? (A quick answer)

Squirrels love acorns, but do squirrels eat acorns? The short answer is yes. Squirrels will eat acorns when they are in season.


In fact, one of the major reasons that squirrel populations have been thriving over recent years has been due to human intervention — primarily being given access to a variety of large quantities of foods — especially nuts such as acorns.

Squirrels eat many kinds of nuts, seeds, fruits, fungi, and even insects.

This article will focus on the acorns that are eaten by grey squirrels in North America. 

There is some confusion about whether or not red squirrels also eat acorns, but the answer is no. Red squirrels have a dietary specialization for conifer cones instead of being generalists like grey squirrels.

What Are Acorns?

Before we get to the question “do squirrels eat acorns?”, let’s talk about what an acorn actually is.

An acorn is an oak tree’s fruit that holds its seeds, although technically it may be classified as a nut (the definition of “nut” includes other types of fruit, like walnuts and chestnuts). 

The nuts that squirrels eat can be very hard. Depending on the exact type of nut, it may take them anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour to break through its shell with their teeth. 

Squirrels have been known to store acorns in hidden stashes for later use as food when they are out of season.

A Grey Squirrel Eating An Acorn

In order for squirrels to digest acorns, they must first shell them, then dry them if necessary. If a nut is still moist after being extracted from its husk, it will go bad quickly.

This drying process is done by laying out the nuts in the sun or near a fire for days at a time until they are crunchy.

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Do Grey Squirrels Eat Acorns?

grey squirrels

Yes, grey squirrels in North America do eat acorns. They are one of the main sources of food for these squirrels, along with other nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Acorns are a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and potassium.

Ways To Prevent Squirrels From Eating Acorns

1). Secure your trees

If you have any particularly valuable trees that produce acorns, it is important to make sure they are properly secured. One option is to install a metal mesh around the tree, so squirrels can’t get in. 

Another option is to put an X of two nails on one side of the trunk, about 6 feet off the ground. This should prevent climbing. If you have smaller trees, consider wrapping them with netting or plastic mesh.

2). Use pinwheels

You can buy pinwheels made specifically for preventing squirrels from eating acorns or other nuts. These are extremely effective because they spin when there’s even a little bit of wind, which frightens away the squirrels. 

Put these pinwheels near your trees, or hang them from the branches.

3). Use a scarecrow

If you have an old scarecrow lying around, it can be put to good use to prevent squirrels from eating acorns. Place it near your trees, and the squirrels will be scared away. You can also buy fake owls and other predator decoys to keep the squirrels at bay.

4). Try repellents

There are a few different types of repellents that can be used to keep squirrels away from your trees. One option is a product called “No Squirrel.” It is made of all-natural ingredients and can be sprayed on plants to repel squirrels. 

Another option is hanging bars of soap near the trees, which will repel any squirrels that try to eat acorns. The chemicals in the soap are what keeps them away.

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5). Use netting

If you can’t place a mesh around your tree or wrap it with plastic, consider using bird netting or deer netting. This is especially useful if you have small trees that are too difficult to protect with other methods. 

Be sure to buy the right kind of netting for each task; bird nets are perfect for fruit trees while deer nets are ideal for protecting all kinds of trees.

6). Create diversionary feeding areas

You can also prevent squirrels from eating acorns by making them want to go somewhere else. You can create several diversionary feeding areas in the area, with food like suet and seeds, to distract squirrels. 

Once they become habituated to these other sources of food, they will ignore your trees.

7). Use fencing

Another option for preventing squirrels from eating acorns is to use electric netting or hot wire fencing. Borders of this kind should be at least 6 feet high. This type of barrier won’t keep them out entirely, but it will keep them off any crops you are trying to protect. 

Electric netting should be powered by a UL-approved battery that lasts about 30 days before needing to be recharged. If you’re using a hot wire fence, just make sure it’s powered all night long; this will keep the squirrels from trying to get over it.

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8). Try a water trap

If you’re finding that squirrels are getting into your yard and eating the acorns anyway, consider setting up a water trap. This can be as simple as a large pie plate filled with water and set on the ground near the trees. 

When the squirrels try to jump onto the plate to get to the acorns, they’ll fall in and won’t be able to get out. You can also use a Havahart live trap if you want to catch the squirrels so you can release them elsewhere.

9). Put up a fence

Another option for keeping squirrels away from your acorns is to put up a fence. This can be a physical fence or an electric fence.

If you choose to go with an electric fence, make sure it’s powered all night long; this will keep the squirrels from trying to get over it.

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10). Buy a squirrel feeder

If you don’t mind feeding the squirrels, you can buy a feeder that is specifically designed for them.

This will keep them away from your trees and acorns. Be sure to only put out enough food for the squirrels so they don’t start coming around looking for other food sources as well.

Why Do Squirrels Eat Acorns?

1). Acorns are a good source of energy

Squirrels eat acorns because they are a good source of energy. Acorns are high in carbohydrates and provide the squirrel with the energy it needs to live and survive.

2). Acorns help the squirrels store food for winter

Acorns also help the squirrels store food for winter. The nuts are high in fat and protein, which helps the squirrels stay healthy and survive during the cold winter months.

3). Acorns contain important nutrients

Acorns also contain important nutrients that the squirrels need, such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, and folate. These nutrients help keep the squirrels healthy. [Include a full list of nutrients].

4). Acorns are packed with carbohydrates

Acorns are also packed with carbohydrates that the squirrel needs to survive, such as starch and cellulose, which provide the energy the squirrels need to live. 

A single oak tree can produce up to 2,000 pounds or 900 kilograms of acorns per year. That means that one oak tree could support quite a few squirrels over the course of the winter months. [Make it sound like there are tons of acorns everywhere].

5). Acorns affect the reproductive potential of squirrels

Another reason why squirrels eat acorns is that they can influence their reproductive success. Acorns contain tannin, which blocks progesterone production in females. This can lead to infertility in female squirrels, which means they are less likely to reproduce.

6). Acorns help squirrels build their nests

Acorns also help the squirrels build their nests. The nuts are soft and can be easily chewed, which helps the squirrels create a comfortable place to live. Nests made out of acorns are also less likely to rot than those made out of other materials.

7). Acorns help squirrels camouflage themselves

Squirrels eat acorns because the nuts help them camouflage themselves from predators. The brown shells of the acorns blend in with the trees’ bark, making the squirrels less visible to potential predators.

8). Acorns are a natural source of food for squirrels

Last but not least, acorns are a natural source of food for squirrels. The nuts grow on trees and are readily available, making them an easy and convenient food source for the squirrels.


There are many different ways to prevent squirrels from eating acorns. By using one or more of these methods, you can protect your trees and enjoy their bounty.

There are many reasons why squirrels eat acorns. The nuts provide the squirrels with energy, help them store food for winter, contain important nutrients, and affect the reproductive potential of the squirrels. 

Acorns also help the squirrels camouflage themselves and are a natural source of food for the squirrels. So next time you see a squirrel munching on an acorn, remember that there’s more to it than meets the eye.


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