Last updated on November 3rd, 2022
What animals eat nuts? I’m sure this question has crossed your mind at least once right?
Have you been wondering where the peanuts in your garden are disappearing? Well, you can rest assured knowing that these have been consumed by several visitors that arrive unobserved. Here is a quick summary of what animals eat peanuts.
The animals that eat nuts are monkeys, raccoons, squirrels, mice, pigs, woodpeckers, crows, chipmunks, blue jays, cardinals as well as deer, however, peanuts are an excellent source of energy for these animals and even though it has numerous health benefits for them, it should be fed in moderation.
List of animals that eat nuts
A visit to the zoo will tell you that monkeys love to snack on peanuts. Most monkeys, as you’ll probably know, are omnivores.
They can eat almost anything. However, it has been observed that monkeys prefer a plant-based diet.
This often necessitates the requirement of choosing food that has high protein content.
Nuts have a high amount of protein compared to other nuts available in the wild, and peanuts have higher protein content.
In one hundred grams of peanuts, twenty-six grams is protein. Also, peanuts are drought-resistant plants, making these nuts readily available in many parts of the world.
As a result, the consumption of peanuts gives monkeys a continuous supply of protein even in the most adverse situations.
When plants and other food supplies have been reduced, monkeys can depend on peanuts to get a collection of protein and other essential nutrients.
Moreover, peanuts are more readily available in the wild when compared to other types of nuts.
Peanut plants can grow in the wild and don’t require much nurturing.
Being legumes, monkeys can easily dig for these nuts and directly consume them. Oftentimes, monkeys wouldn’t break open the shell and finish the whole nut.
The shell of the nut is hard, but the muscular jaws of the monkeys are hard enough to chew the outside and the nut.
Thus, peanuts form a regular part of a monkey’s diet for their several unique qualities.
However, most monkeys in tropical regions consume wild jungle peanuts. These types of peanuts can be found in South America.
Peanuts also contain the necessary amount of fats and carbohydrates that raccoons require to survive in the wild.
If you check the mineral content of peanuts, you’ll find that it has several B group vitamins, vitamin E and selenium, manganese, and copper.
In the wild, getting a healthy diet entirely from plants and fruits can prove a challenge, so raccoons prefer to consume peanuts.
Peanuts are also high-energy food. Raccoons use a large amount of their body fat in daily activities, and this fat needs to be replenished through food.
A plant-based diet cannot fill this loss of energy, and hence, raccoons have to depend on high-energy foods like peanuts to supplement their diet.
Interested in learning more about raccoons eating peanuts? Check out that article for more information
Squirrels are another animal species that eats peanuts. They’re not only fond of them, but they also enjoy eating them roasted.
Squirrels belong to the rodent family and can be easily distinguished by their frontal teeth.
You must have observed squirrels gnawing on the outer shells of nuts. The nuts grow around 2 feet underground, and squirrels dig out the nuts from the soil.
Some of the reasons why squirrels eat peanuts are as follows:
1. Being a member of the rodent family, the teeth of the squirrel grow throughout its life.
Hence, it needs to gnaw on something hard to keep reducing the size of its teeth.
One of the best ways of doing so would be to grind it against the tough outer shell of a nut like a peanut.
You must have seen how hard it is to break the cover of a peanut. So, a squirrel uses it to grind its teeth and reduce its size.
2. Peanuts can survive the harshest of winter without getting spoilt. Moreover, squirrels tend to store nuts throughout winter.
To create a stash of nuts, squirrels often lookout for suitable nuts and peanuts are ideal in this situation due to their longevity.
Squirrels collect peanuts and store them to consume them during winter since they spend less time foraging outside their dens during this cold season.
House mice will eat almost anything if they think it might be food.
House mice are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat both plants and animals and their protein supply through either type of food will be limited to what it has to offer.
However, this might not be sufficient to provide mice with a steady supply of protein.
Therefore, to supplement their protein requirements, mice will consume peanuts to adequately satisfy their needs.
On the other hand, mice are a few animals with multiple uses for the entire peanut.
These animals use the outer shells of the nuts to grind their teeth to keep them from becoming too long and consume the nuts to ensure that they get a steady supply of protein.
Pigs are natural omnivores, but when they’re bred, their diet needs to be controlled.
Anyone involved in pig farming will tell you that several factors need to be considered when breeding pigs.
First, the diet of pigs should consist of a high amount of proteins. You must have seen pigs dig through the ground and pick through foliage and eat.
Some of the reasons why pigs are given peanuts are as follows:
1. Pigs tend to have weaker bones, which need to be strengthened with a good supply of calcium.
It has been observed that pigs that have been put on a steady supply of peanuts have stronger bones.
The calcium content in peanuts is high. In one hundred grams of peanuts, there are nearly nine-two grams of calcium. This helps pigs have stronger bones.
2. In the case of a lactating sow, a steady diet of peanuts is necessary to ensure no change in the sow’s weight.
Peanuts are not only full of proteins and calcium but will also provide all the nutrients needed for the sow.
The milk composition will also not change irrespective of the changing season if the sow is given a steady diet of peanuts.
The objective of including peanuts in a pig’s diet is to provide them with all the necessary nutrients they would otherwise not be able to extract from the other plant-based food items.
This becomes necessary, especially in pig farming, where weight gain is essential for the pigs.
However, you should never feed pigs shelled peanuts as it may damage their digestive tract after being chewed and swallowed.
When you think of birds, you’ll find that there are several which consume peanuts, including woodpeckers.
If you want to attract these birds to your garden, you can easily do so by planting some peanut plants.
Peanuts plants are easy to grow and they don’t require extensive care. You don’t have to add much fertilizer to help these plants to grow either.
But soon, you’ll find several birds in your garden like a robin, blue jay, nutcracker, woodpecker, and many more such birds.
Some of the reasons why woodpeckers enjoy having peanuts are as follows:
1. Peanuts have a high amount of fat content. In one hundred grams of peanuts, forty-nine grams is nearly fat.
A woodpecker requires an extensive amount of energy not just to fly but also to bore into trees. As a result, woodpeckers tend to feed on nuts to supplement their energy requirements.
As peanuts have high fat content, it’s a preferred nut amongst woodpeckers.
2. It provides all the fat and protein that the birds need, making it a sure-shot way of attracting woodpeckers.
If you’re a birdwatcher and you want to attract woodpeckers, then you could consider putting peanuts in your bird feeder.
Peanuts are rich in dietary fibers and have a trace content of minerals like vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
These minerals and nutritional fibers are necessary for the excellent health of the birds.
Amongst most birds, crows are easily attracted to peanuts. The primary reason is the outer shells of the nuts that draw the crows as this gives them a chance to use their beak to break open the shell to reach the nut inside.
Along with that, the nuts themselves are loaded with nutrition that the birds require to keep themselves healthy.