Xixu (Sonny) Wang, age 10 Beijing, China, Interlochen Arts Camp
Most American children would not ask this question. They are taught at a very early age that squirrels eat acorns. And grey squirrels do eat acorns…where and when acorns are present. But in many places, oak trees don’t grow, and in spring and early summer, the acorns are not ripe. So squirrels must eat something else.
Anything else. Squirrels just are NOT picky eaters. Anyone who feeds birds knows that squirrels are fond of bird seed and peanut butter. They love corn–fresh or dry…. and the oranges meant for orioles….and the flower bulbs in a garden. Yum-Yum. (My tulip bulbs must have been especially delicious.)
Grey squirrels are vegetarians, except for when they aren’t. They really do eat nuts and seeds and fruits, unless those things become scarce. But rather than starve to death, they will eat insects, frogsl, rodents, (including other squirrels if they have too) and small birds and their eggs.
Once in a while, you will see squirrels gnawing on antlers or bones. But that’s not really eating. It is more like taking a calcium supplement. They also, from time to time, chew on wires or rocks, but that apparently is how they sharpen their teeth.
When American kids tell you that squirrels eat acorns, they are usually right. Squirrels go nuts over acorns.