Q:

What Do Arctic Ground Squirrels Eat?

A:

Quick Answer

Arctic ground squirrels mostly eat vegetation, but they're opportunistic feeders that will eat everything from bird eggs and hatchlings to invertebrates like insects, spiders or small reptiles. They've also been known to eat carrion, collared lemmings and weaker members of their own species. Ground squirrels are foragers, which means they search for their food.

Continue Reading
Related Videos

Full Answer

When it comes to plants, Arctic ground squirrels will eat members of the rose family, brassicas, willows, gentians, asters, ranunculus, true grasses, rushes, dianthus, figworts, sedges, sandalwoods and basically all manner of flowering plant. Sometimes, the Arctic ground squirrel will store these plants in its very extensive burrow to eat when plants become scarce.

The Arctic ground squirrel will also eat all parts of the plant, including the roots, tubers, leaves, stems, flowers, fruit and seeds.

Despite its varied diet, the squirrel has been shown to pick foods that are fairly high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Biologists believe that this is because the squirrel hibernates and must keep a level of polyunsaturated fatty acids in its system while it undergoes this long sleep. However, foods that are abundant in polyunsaturated fatty acids can create compounds that can damage bodily cells. Somehow, the squirrel knows how to avoid these foods.

Learn more about Rodents

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What Does a Raccoon Eat?

    A: Wild raccoons eat primarily worms, insects and other invertebrates, plant materials and fruits, according to About.com. Raccoons are omnivores, so they eat... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What Do Deer Mice Eat?

    A: Deer mice feed on a variety of organic matter from seeds, nuts, fungi and fruit to insects and small invertebrates. They even feed on their own feces durin... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What Do Shrews Eat?

    A: Shrews are omnivores, eating insects, spiders, worms, frogs, mice and some plants and seeds. The main diet of a shrew is carnivorous, with shrews preferrin... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do Squirrels Eat Meat?

    A: Squirrels do not generally eat meat, but occasionally they catch and eat insects and smaller animals such as caterpillars and tiny birds. Squirrels are cla... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore