Do Crows Eat Squirrels? The Answer is astonishing

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Do Crows eat Squirrels

Do crows eat squirrels? The answer to this question may surprise you. Crows are opportunistic omnivores that will eat various foods and prey on various animals, including small mammals like squirrels. 

While it is not common for crows to actively seek out squirrels, they will attack and eat them if the opportunity arises. This blog post will explore why crows might eat squirrels and when you can expect a crow to attack a squirrel.

Do Crows Eat Squirrels?

Yes, crows do eat squirrels! Crows will typically eat dead squirrels or hunt baby squirrels left unattended by the parents. Crows are opportunistic feeders and tend to choose the easiest option for a meal which often means they prefer squirrel carrion or baby squirrels than try to go after an adult squirrel. 

Why do crows eat Squirrels?

Crows will eat almost anything they can find and are true omnivorous scavengers when the need arises. They have been known to prey on various other animals too, including small mammals like squirrels.

Crows will hunt and scavenge for food on the ground and in trees or other high places where squirrels may live and tend to pick the most accessible food source available to them at the time, and sometimes the easiest source of food is a defenseless baby squirrel.

When do crows eat Squirrels?

There are two main ways crows eat squirrels, and they are often the most opportune or less dangerous ways to do so. Crows primarily eat dead squirrels or baby squirrels that cannot defend themselves.

Dead Squirrels in the form of roadkill or a leftover carcass provide an easy meal for Crows as they do not fight back, and no effort is required to kill the ground squirrels.

You may often see Crows feasting on Squirrels that have been killed by vehicles or a carcass leftover from another predator such as a hawk.

There are times when a murder of hungry crows will steal a meal by bullying and harassing a predator such as a Hawk away from its fresh squirrel kill.

Baby Squirrels are often a target for a hungry Crow because they are small animals and cannot defend themselves.

Crows are brilliant birds that can pick the most suitable time to raid a squirrel’s nest, primarily when the adults have left their offspring alone in the nest.

Crow feeding on squirrel roadkill

Why Do Crows Attack Squirrels?

There are several reasons why crows might attack a squirrel. For example, if a crow feels that a trespassing squirrel is threatening its territory, it may resort to attacking or chasing the intruder away.

Similarly, crows may see a squirrel as competition for food resources or a danger to its offspring and attempt to drive it away.

Crows attacking Squirrels over Food

The most common reason for crows to attack adult squirrels is over food. Crows are opportunistic omnivores and will eat almost anything they can find, including the types of food squirrels like to eat, such as seeds, nuts, fruits, and small insects.

Squirrels may be seen as competition for food resources by crows and attempt to drive them away from their territory.

Crows attacking Squirrels to protect offspring

The second most common reason crows attack adult squirrels is over their offspring. Crows may see an intruding squirrel as a danger to its offspring and attempt to attack and chase the squirrel away.

Squirrels will eat bird eggs when needed, so this crow behavior is justified and quite common.

Crow Attacks on Squirrel to Protect Territory

The third most common reason for a Crow attacking an adult Squirrel is in defense of its territory. Crows are highly territorial birds and will often attack any intruders that enter their territory or threaten their nests, including squirrels.

How Do I Stop Crows From Attacking Squirrels?

There’s not much you can do to stop a crow from attacking tree squirrels, as it is an instinctual behavior pattern passed down over generations. However, you can take steps to reduce the risk of predation or attacks on both animals.

For example, if you have a bird feeder in your yard, make sure to keep it well stocked with food so that crows and other birds are not competing with the local squirrel population.

Additionally, try to use squirrel-proof bird feeders to lessen the chances of the two species fighting over an easy food source.

How Do Crows Attack Squirrels?

A crow will typically attack a squirrel by landing on its back and pecking at the squirrel’s neck until it dies or runs away. This attack usually happens when crows are in a group called a murder, and they can overpower a single squirrel.

If the crows are able to kill the squirrel, they then pick up the dead animal and fly away with it, usually to eat later or feed young crows that are still in the crow’s nest.

If a murder of Crows can identify and locate a squirrel’s nest, they may even harass and excite the adult squirrels to attack them while one or two members of the group raid the squirrel nest for their young.

Do crows and squirrels get along?

Generally speaking, crows and squirrels do not get along. While a crow will sometimes attack a squirrel over territory or food, the main reason for aggression between the two species is that crows see squirrels as competition for resources (Food, location) or as a threat to their crow eggs.

Do not expect your backyard crows to go after these furry creatures regularly; they generally coexist peacefully unless one or the other is provoked or feels threatened.

What Predators Eat Squirrels?

Apart from crows, many other predators feed on squirrels. Some include larger mammals like coyotes, bobcats, weasels, martens, foxes, or giant reptiles such as snakes.

Birds are, however, the main predator squirrels need to be worried about. While crows typically hunt and prey on young or baby squirrels, other larger birds are not afraid to hunt adult squirrels consistently as a primary food source.

Birds of prey such as hawks, eagles, falcons, shrikes, and owls are all species of birds that regularly eat squirrels. Larger scavenger birds such as vultures may also beat crows to a squirrel carcass and are the main feeders at squirrel roadkill.

Eagle with a half eaten squirrel

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Squirrels Eat Crows?

No, squirrels do not typically eat crows. However, this does not mean that squirrels will not prey on crow eggs. Squirrels have been known to raid birds’ nests to eat their eggs.

The two species generally coexist peacefully unless one or the other feels threatened or does not feel the need to share a common food source.

Which is faster? Crows or Squirrels?

Crows are typically faster than squirrels; however, the difference in speed can vary depending on the situation or terrain.

For example, a crow is likely to be much quicker when flying overhead than a squirrel running up a tree.

However, if the squirrel has enough time to climb a tree and get away from the crow, it will be faster and have the advantage. In general, though, crows are quicker and can outpace most squirrels.

Do Crows Eat Other Bird Species?

Yes, crows are omnivorous birds, and as such, they eat various things, including other bird species. While they may not always prey on adult birds, they are more likely to hunt and prey on the nestlings of other birds species because they are not expected to fight back and baby birds are typically an easy meal for large adult crows.

Are Squirrels Afraid of Crows?

No, squirrels typically are not afraid of crows. The two species will often share a common food source. The only time squirrels may be somewhat fearful of crows is if they have been previously attacked or harassed by them.

Otherwise, they generally go about their business without paying much attention to one another. On the other hand, crows may see squirrels as potential competition for resources and so can be aggressive towards them if given a chance.

Do crows eat dead squirrels?

Absolutely yes – Carrion is one of the primary sources of food for crows, and they will feed on dead adult squirrels when the opportunity presents itself.

This can either be roadkill, dead animals, or the leftover carcass from another predator.

A murder of crows may even be bold enough to harass and chase a predator such as a hawk away from its fresh squirrel kill.

Keep an eye out

While crows are not considered at the top of a squirrel’s predator list, they do have the ability to eat them. They will occasionally feed on young or baby squirrels when given the opportunity.

A crow may also attack a smaller adult squirrel if it is injured or sick; however, this is less likely to happen because most healthy adult squirrels can easily outrun or evade an attacking carnivorous bird species like a crow.

Squirrel Carrion from roadkill or leftover carcasses from another predator’s kill is a more readily available food source for crows, so do not expect your local murder to go after bigger prey such as squirrels unless absolutely necessary.

Crows will typically attack adults squirrels when they are competing for a common food source or if the crows see squirrels as a threat to their nests or territory.

If you have any questions or have seen any exciting crow behavior, let us know! We would love to hear from you and provide more information to our readers.

Don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for more information about birds and nature. Also, don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family!

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I am an avid birdwatcher with a passion for learning all I can about these fantastic creatures. I love finding new species of birds in my backyard, neighborhood, or when I travel. I enjoy sharing everything I learn about how these creatures live their lives; feedback and experience is much appreciated!

4 thoughts on “Do Crows Eat Squirrels? The Answer is astonishing”

  1. I have two ravens that come to my home daily for food – they’ve been regularly coming for a few months now. I leave unsalted peanuts in the shells out for them. It’s a larger male and a female that always come together at approximately the same time of day, but in the last three weeks the male doesn’t visit anymore. Instead, the female will wait for me to throw out the peanuts and then fly away. She returns a couple minutes later with a squirrel. She flies low to the ground and the squirrel runs below her. They both come to the patio at the same time and eat next to each other, and when the peanuts are gone they both leave together. I haven’t been able to find anything documented about squirrel/raven friendships, but I think they have some sort of relationship, even if it’s just watching out for each other while they eat. They don’t pester or attack each other at all, and they’ll often stand right next to each other while they gather nuts. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them interact with each other.l!

    Reply
    • Hi Lauren,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I have never heard of Crows or Ravens getting along with squirrels, let along sharing food together. They usually compete for food sources so its quite a unique encounter and one that not many people will ever see. Hopefully you get to see more of it!

      Reply
  2. Hi Jon: we’ve found three dead squirrels in our yard within the last two weeks. Could crows be carrying and then dropping them into our yard? It looks like the squirrels’ stomachs have been opened (I know, gross). We have a lot of crows in our neighborhood, and that’s the only explanation we can think of. Thanks, John and Heather

    Reply
    • Hi John and Heather,
      That’s interesting and disturbing at the same time, ha. While crows can eat dead squirrels, I am not sure they are responsible for killing them.
      Crows are very intelligent, so it is possible (if not rare) that a murder of crows has figured out how to work together to hunt squirrels.

      The first culprits that come to mind are larger raptors like hawks, but they would most likely carry the squirrels back to their nest (especially since it’s breeding season).
      Another culprit could be feral cats. Big cats such as lions and leopards will often disembowel their prey once killed, and perhaps feral cats behave the same way.

      Please let me know if you can catch the culprit in action. If it is a murder of crows, I would love to update this information for our readers.

      Reply

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