Have you ever sat in the backyard and wondered what that squirrely little critter was munching away on? If it looked like a giant bug, chances are good it was a cicada. But do squirrels eat cicadas? Well, the one potential food source for these furry critters is cicadas, which can be found in many parts of North America during the summer months.
This blog post will give you an in-depth overview of what cicadas typically eat and what hungry squirrels will go after when they’re looking for a snack. So keep reading if you want to know the answer to the question. Let’s find out!
What are Cicadas?
Cicadas are one of nature’s most fascinating insects. These stunning creatures are a type of hemipteran and belong to the family Cicadidae. An adult cicada is usually 2-3 centimeters in size, and its wingspan can reach up to at least 8 cm wide. They have large eyes and conspicuous membranes on their abdomen that vibrate when they produce sound using tiny air chambers. The sound produced from the chirping of these cicadas has become a symbol of summer in various cultures due to its intensity and musical allure.
Their life cycle lasts between two to seventeen years, during which time they remain underground as larvae until they finally emerge as adults.
Do Squirrels Eat Cicadas?
Squirrels are equally adept at foraging on the forest floor as they are scavenging in urban areas. As adaptable animals, their diet is quite varied and exciting – and yes, that does include cicadas! Research has shown that squirrels are particularly attracted to the sound of cicadas calling out, which indicates that when these insects emerge en masse. It also attracts hungry wildlife to feast. There are also many other food sources that squirrels turn to throughout the year: they eat plants and tree fruits, and various insects such as beetles, ants, butterflies, and caterpillars.
Even though it is not a regular part of their diets, squirrels, like many other animals, are known to feed on cicadas when available. Taking advantage of this array of protein available to them during a cicada emergence can sometimes keep them sustained through periods when other food sources may be more scarce. They might also save any ones they catch for a later snack. As opportunistic omnivores, it’s difficult to know precisely what these furry creatures are up to in the wild.
Are Cicadas Good for Squirrels?
Cicadas are a beneficial and essential food source for some squirrels. Although they don’t eat many, they can play a role in providing additional sustenance during warmer months like summer. For instance, the eastern gray squirrel has been observed taking adult cicadas from the bark of trees and stripping them of their wings before digging holes to bury the remains for a later snack.
Other species, like the northern flying squirrel, store hundreds of dead cicadas for snacking throughout hibernation. Hungry little rodents also appreciate leftover cicada exoskeleton bits that remain after molting. While some may consider cicadas pests, these noisy yet shy creatures are essential in feeding all types of wildlife – including squirrels!
Do Cicadas Provide Protein to Squirrels?
Cicadas are insects that live underground for several years before emerging in large numbers to create a cacophony. They have a reputation for providing protein-rich meals to animals like our friendly neighborhood squirrels. While the juicy cicada is vegetarian treat squirrels look forward to, new research indicates that it’s less than reliable in terms of protein content. Cicadas do not provide much nutrition to most critters, making them more of an occasional delight than a consistent source of sustenance. When it comes to protein, you won’t find much within these crunchy insects.
How Often Squirrels Eat Cicadas?
Regarding their diet, squirrels are not picky eaters and will happily dig into whatever tasty morsels they can find. One of their favorite meals is the delicious cicada- which they often see in trees or amongst leaves on the ground. This is a trendy food item when available, as squirrels can take full advantage of the brief period in which cicadas become active and plentiful once a decade.
Although cicadas usually come around no more than once every ten years, squirrels get to devour them liberally during this brief window. Their bodies are made up of healthy proteins and carbohydrates that provide vital nutrients for the agile creatures, fueling their ambitious tree-climbing activities. Therefore, if you ever notice many enthusiastic squirrels around your yard during cicada season, you know why!
No, not all squirrels eat cicadas. Some species of squirrels are more likely to take advantage of the abundance of cicadas, while others may find them less delicious.
No, cicadas are not bad for squirrels. Cicadas can be a great source of energy and nutrition for them during certain times of the year when food is scarce.
Squirrels feed on cicadas by stripping them of their wings and burying them for a later snack. They also enjoy the leftover exoskeleton bits that remain after molting.
No, squirrels only eat cicadas during certain times of the year when the insects become active and plentiful. Generally, this is only once every decade, so it’s a special treat for the furry creatures!
Squirrels are opportunistic feeders who take advantage of whatever food is available. Besides cicadas, they often consume tree nuts, fruits, vegetables, fungi, and other insects. They also sometimes scavenge from bird feeders and human garbage.
Cicadas are an important yet often overlooked part of the natural food chain. Not only do they provide sustenance for birds, bats, and other creatures, but they also offer squirrels a tasty treat from time to time. Sadly, these insects don’t provide much protein-rich nutrition for our furry friends. However, when cicadas come around, they can be an exciting part of a squirrel’s diet as they take full advantage of the brief period in which cicadas become active and plentiful. Now that you know more about these noisy yet shy creatures, you can appreciate their essential role in feeding all types of wildlife-including squirrels!
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