Can Squirrels Eat Cashews? – 5 Risks of Feeding

Squirrels are among the most common animals in many parts of the world. They are known for their intelligence, agility, and ability to adapt to different environments. They are also known for their love of nuts, seeds, and other types of food. One of the most popular questions about squirrels is, “Can Squirrels Eat Cashews?” The answer is “YES” squirrels can eat cashews, but there are some important things to consider before feeding them this type of nut.

Can Squirrels Eat Cashews?

Can Squirrels Eat Cashews

Squirrels are opportunistic eaters and consume a wide range of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Cashews are not toxic to squirrels and can be consumed by them, but it’s important to note that cashews are very high in fat and salt, which can be detrimental to a squirrel’s health if consumed in large quantities.
If you choose to offer cashews to squirrels, make sure they are unsalted and unflavored, as salted and flavored cashews can harm squirrels. Additionally, offering nuts and other treats in a feeder or dish is always best rather than scattering them on the ground. This can attract other unwanted wildlife and may be less healthy for the squirrels.

Nutritional Benefits of Cashews

Can Squirrels Eat Cashews

Cashews are a highly nutritious food that offers a wide range of health benefits.

Here are some of the essential nutritional benefits of cashews:

  1. Rich in healthy fats: Cashews are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, considered healthy fats that can help enhance cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.
  2.  Good source of protein: Cashews are a good source of plant-based protein, with around 5 grams of protein per ounce.
  3.  High in essential minerals: Cashews are a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, copper, and zinc. Magnesium is important for bone health, while copper and zinc play a role in immune system function.
  4.  Contains antioxidants: Cashews contain antioxidants such as vitamin E, which can help protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
  5.  May help with weight management: Despite being high in fat, studies have suggested that including cashews in a balanced diet may help with weight management because they are a good source of fiber and protein.
  6.  Some studies have suggested that cashews may have anti-inflammatory properties, potentially due to the high levels of healthy fats and antioxidants.
  7.  May help regulate blood sugar levels: Cashews have a low glycemic index and are a useful source of fiber, which can support the control of blood sugar levels.
  8.  May improve bone health: Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which is important for bone health. Some studies have suggested that including magnesium-rich foods like cashews in your diet may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Risks of Feeding Cashews to Squirrels

While cashews are generally safe for squirrels, some risks are associated with feeding these nuts to these furry creatures.

Can Squirrels Eat Cashews

Here are some potential risks to consider:

  1. High-fat content: Cashews are high in fat, and while squirrels need some fat in their diet, consuming too much can lead to weight gain and other health problems. It’s important to offer cashews to squirrels in moderation as part of a varied diet that includes different types of food.
  2.  High sodium content: Many cashews are salted, which can lead to high sodium intake in squirrels. High sodium levels can cause dehydration and other health problems, so offering unsalted cashews or avoiding them altogether is important.
  3.  Risk of choking: Squirrels, like other animals, can choke on large pieces of food. Make sure to offer cashews in small amounts or in a feeder to reduce the risk of choking.
  4.  Attracting unwanted wildlife: Feeding squirrels cashews or other types of food may attract other wildlife to your yard or property. This can lead to other problems, such as unwanted pests or predators.
  5.  Dependency on human-provided food: If squirrels become too dependent, it can interfere with their natural foraging behavior and survival ability in the wild. It’s important to only offer food to squirrels in moderation and as part of a varied diet that includes natural food sources.

How to Feed Cashews to Squirrels

Can Squirrels Eat Cashews

To feed cashews to squirrels, follow these steps:

  1. Purchase unsalted cashews: You can buy unsalted cashews at most grocery stores or online.
  2. Choose a feeding location: Select a location to feed the squirrels, such as a tree, fence, or squirrel feeder.
  3. Offer small quantities: Offer a small handful of cashews at a time, or break them up into small pieces. It’s important not to overfeed the squirrels, as too many cashews can be harmful to their health.
  4. Use a squirrel feeder or dish: Place the cashews in a squirrel feeder or dish to prevent other animals from stealing them, and to make it easier for the squirrels to access the nuts.
  5. Monitor the squirrels: Keep an eye on the squirrels while they eat to ensure they are not choking on the cashews or having any other problems.
  6. Offer a varied diet: Cashews should be only a small part of a squirrel’s diet. Be sure to offer a variety of other foods as well, including other nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

Why Feeding Cashews to Squirrels Isn’t a Good Idea

While cashews are a nutritious food for humans, feeding them to squirrels isn’t always a good idea.

Here are some reasons why:

  1. Cashews are high in fat: While cashews are a good source of healthy fats for humans, they are high in fat for squirrels, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. This can be especially problematic for squirrels during the winter months when they may be less active.
  2. Cashews are low in calcium: Squirrels need calcium in their diet to maintain healthy bones and teeth, and cashews are relatively low in this important nutrient. Over time, a diet that is low in calcium can lead to bone and tooth problems for squirrels.
  3. Cashews can be difficult to digest: Squirrels have a sensitive digestive system, and some types of nuts can be difficult for them to digest. While cashews are not as difficult to digest as some other types of nuts, they can still cause digestive issues for some squirrels.
  4. Salted cashews are harmful: Many cashews that are sold in stores are salted, which can be harmful to squirrels. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and other health problems for squirrels.
  5. Cashews are not a natural part of a squirrel’s diet: While squirrels may enjoy eating cashews, they are not a natural part of their diet. Squirrels are adapted to eating a variety of foods that are found in their natural environment, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. Feeding them cashews can disrupt their natural diet and lead to health problems over time.


Are Cashews Safe for Squirrels?

Yes, cashews are generally safe for squirrels if they are fed in moderation. However, it is important to make sure that the cashews are unsalted and not roasted, as these can be high in fat and sodium.

How Many Cashews Can a Squirrel Eat?

It is best to limit the number of cashews that a squirrel eats to a few per day. Cashews are high in fat and sodium, so it is important to make sure that the squirrel does not consume too much.

Are Cashews Good for Squirrels?

Yes, cashews are a healthy snack for squirrels. They are high in protein, healthy fats, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they are a good source of fiber, which can help keep a squirrel’s digestive system healthy.

Can Cashews Make Squirrels Sick?

Yes, if a squirrel consumes too many cashews, it can lead to obesity, kidney damage, and dehydration. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the squirrel does not consume too many cashews.


In conclusion, squirrels can eat cashews, but it is important to do so in moderation. Cashews are a healthy snack for squirrels, as they are high in protein, healthy fats, and other essential vitamins and minerals. However, they are also high in fat, phosphorus, and sodium, which can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts. Therefore, ensuring the squirrel consumes only a few cashews is important.

Read More Articles

What Time do Squirrels Wake up? Informative

What Smells do Squirrels Hate? | 06 Smells

Where do Squirrels Go When it Rains?| Shelters

Do Squirrels Eat Lettuce?| 05 Benefits

How Fast are Squirrels? | What about Speed?

Do Squirrels like Peanut Butter?| Informative

Do Squirrels Eat Suet? | Do You Know?