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Do squirrels eat tree bark?
I was at a cabin in the woods for a few days and in the morning I sat out on the deck drinking my tea and watching the wildlife. Every morning a squirrel would tear off small pieces of bark chew on it for a bit and then drop it.
I couldn't figure out if it was eating the under side of the bark or the ants/bugs that were possibly there.
Where are you? Some squirrels actually harvest sugar maple.
I don't think they eat the bark or bugs, I think they're cleaning/sharpening their teeth. I have teeth marks all over the handrails of my deck. I have seen them eating (peanuts), stop, go over and take a "bite" out of the deck rail - and my deck is plastic, not wood.
Yes, squirrels definitely do eat tree bark. Especially in early spring, I believe they are trying to get some sap out. They also eat the tender leaves and buds in Spring so we don't really like to see them sitting on our favourite red maple tree then.
I would venture to say yes... those little critters will eat almost anything they can get get their claws on. Although, with the bark I would agree that possible it as insects they were feasting upon.
I'll add confirmation to other posters here that squirrels indeed eat tree bark—but it's not their favorite food. This is a major problem in Europe where gray squirrels from North America do damage to thin-barked native trees that the native, European red squirrels cannot.
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