Do Crows Eat Squirrels? Are They Friends or Enemies?

Crows are known as one of the most common scavenging birds of nature. From plants to smaller animals, they don’t really judge their meals. But do crows eat squirrels? Let’s find out.

Crows and squirrels often survive in the same habitat (trees) and one might wonder whether crows prey on these small rodents. 

The answer may is not as simple as a yes or no. Crows are known to hunt and feed on small and weak squirrels, but only for specific reasons. Squirrels may also attack a crow once in a while. 

So, what really goes on between them? Let us learn about the interesting relationship between crows and squirrels.

Do Crows Eat Squirrels

Will Crows Eat Squirrels?

If faced with a food crisis in their natural habitat, crows will most definitely hunt and feed on squirrels. Though crows mostly feed on dead animals, they occasionally hunt for their food. 

Small animals like baby squirrels or injured and weak squirrels are easier as prey and crows will go after them. They will also look for small rodents as easy prey in the wild. 

Adult squirrels are almost 20 inches when fully grown and are much more muscular than crows. This is why squirrels are not very easy for crows to hunt. 

However, crows will have the advantage of a wingspan of up to 2.5 – 4ft wide (depending on the species) and they can drop down to snatch squirrels from the ground. 

This is why, when they are hunting and get hold of a squirrel, they can eat them. 

Do Crows Eat Squirrels

Can A Large Adult Crow Eat An Adult Squirrel?

The size of an adult squirrel is bigger than the regular American crow, so it is unlikely that a crow can eat a full grown squirrel.

Squirrels are also extremely fast and run at a speed of 20mph, even through branches of trees. Their bite is also very strong (about 22,000 psi, many times stronger than a human)

On the other hand, a crow can fly at a speed of 30-60 mph and dive down at 70mph, giving them a hunting advantage.

Crows can eat small baby squirrels that are not so fast and are easy to hunt, if they are left unprotected. 

Which Birds Eat Squirrels?

Among the small animals hunted by birds, squirrels are one of the main forms of prey. Some of the main birds of prey that hunt squirrels are:

  • Hawks and kestrels 
  • Eagles
  • Owls
  • Falcons

How Do Crows Attack Squirrels?

Crows are scavengers, so they will normally look for dead adult squirrels to eat, not live ones. They go in search of food and feed on what they deem fit. 

They will only attack squirrels when they are hungry and feel threatened by possible prey. Crows, like other predators, follow a very particular pattern to hunt their prey.

Marking their targets

Crows are extremely intelligent creatures. They are known to plan out their hunt. 

The first thing they do is select a target. Since crows do not have the muscle capacity to hunt a healthy adult squirrel, they will target babies or weak adult squirrels. 

Do Crows Eat Squirrels

Attacking as a Group

When a crow is hunting, they usually attack in a group. The entire group will surround a squirrel and start pecking together. 

The sharp pecking will be enough to take down a small or a weak adult squirrel. When they realize that the prey has been killed, they will start eating the dead squirrel together. 

How Often Do Crows Eat Squirrels?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it varies based on the geographical location of the crows and the availability of other food sources. 

In areas where crows have access to both squirrels and alternative food sources, they will not eat squirrels unless they are very young and defenseless.

Why Do Crows Attack Squirrels?

There are several reasons why crows can attack squirrels. Since they are not birds of prey, there are only specific situations where a crow will attack squirrels. 

One reason could be that the crow is protecting its territory. Another reason could be that the crow is hunting for food. Crows will also attack squirrels if they are feeling threatened or frightened in any way. 

As a meal

For any animal, hunting for food is one of the primary reasons to attack other animals. Small and weak squirrels are the most common targets for birds as food. 

If a hungry crow finds themselves lacking food sources in a specific area, they might start hunting smaller animals.

Squirrels are not exactly easy targets, but they can be hunted in groups and make for an easy meal. 

Do Crows Eat Squirrels

Protecting their babies

Studies on the behavior of crows show that they are very social animals. The whole community of crows comes together to protect their young ones from dangerous situations. 

In most cases, the danger comes from other hunting creatures. If a squirrel happens to come near a crow’s nest, especially when there are crow eggs or chicks, the crow will attack. 

It is a defense mechanism and in all probability, they will kill the squirrel right away. 

To protect their territory

Crows live in communities called roosts. If they find any stranger coming into their territories, they are bound to attack. 

So if a squirrel enters a crow’s territory, they may attack as a group and kill them. This is another form of defense that the birds use to protect the area that they are living in. 

Are Crows Natural Predators For Squirrels?

In their natural habitat, crows aren’t natural predators of squirrels. Squirrels are normally hunted by owl and hawks. When a crow is hunting a squirrel, there may be a specific reason behind it. 

Crows tend to hunt squirrels because of their tender flesh and have been known to mob young squirrels. 

Are Squirrels Afraid of Crows?

Crows and squirrels do not share a predator-prey relationship. But due to the meek nature of squirrels, they are believed to be scared of crows. In reality, the case is different.  

Squirrels are known as excellent fighters. When faced with a possible predator, they retaliate by making barking sounds, stamping their feet, and often attacking with their sharp paws. 

But if we consider both sides, it can be said that they are natural rivals. Normally, a squirrel will simply flee from a crow when they face off with one.

Squirrels have extremely soft meat and become easy targets for carnivores. In their natural setup, the common predators of squirrels are:

  • Ground-level carnivores such as bobcats, foxes, weasels, and domestic cats or dogs
  • Birds of prey like owls, hawks, badgers, and eagles 
  • Reptiles like snakes and big monitor lizards 
Do Crows Eat Squirrels

Do Squirrels Attack Crows?

Yes, if they feel threatened, a squirrel will definitely attack a crow. Squirrels are really intelligent creatures and they do not back down when threatened by any kind of predator. 

Female squirrels when pregnant or mother squirrels protecting newborns will fight off crows that try to come near their nest.

Mother squirrels have been known to sacrifice themselves to protect their young ones. 

How does a squirrel attack a crow?

When a squirrel is threatened by a predator like a crow, it will sit upright and raise its tail. The tail grows large to look fierce and then faces the crow. 

Right away, they will start chasing the crow at full speed. But if the crow is not budging, the squirrel will use its sharp claws to get hold of the crow and bite as hard as possible. 

Do squirrels eat crows?

Contrary to common belief, squirrels are omnivores so they eat both fruits and some forms of meat. The normal diet of squirrels consists of nuts, pine cones, different seeds, and sometimes flowers. 

But, depending on their living conditions, squirrels are known to eat raw meat as well. It is rare for squirrels to find big animals to feed on, but it is possible. 

So it is very much possible that if a squirrel attacks a baby crow and kills it in the encounter, they may use the crow as their next meal. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do squirrels get along with crows?

Squirrels and crows can have different relationships depending on the individual animals involved.
In some cases, they may co-exist in peace, while in other instances they may view each other with suspicion or outright hostility.

Do crows kill and eat other birds?

Crows have been known to kill smaller birds for food. They can also eat bird eggs of other birds at times.

Do crows eat live animals?

Crows are scavengers and omnivores. They may eat live animals on occasion. 
In one case, a group of crows was observed killing and eating a live squirrel. And while this behavior isn’t necessarily common, it does seem that crows are capable of it.

Final Words

One thing that can be understood is that all animals will retaliate when threatened.

Just like crows will feed on squirrels when they are threatened with lack of food, a squirrel will attack a crow if it senses that the crow is a danger for it. 

Both are evenly matched in their strength and speed. Thank you for reading this article on the interesting rivalry between these beautiful creatures!

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

One Comment

  1. I just watched a large crow & squirrel hasing around in our back yard. At 1st I thought they were playing as I often see 2 squirrels chasing each other back & forth up the trees etc. I’m so envious of their ability to climb. Then it occured to me that the large crow was looking for dinner. Crows are the same as us humans, they like to eat whatever is available to catch (except for the vegans, of course) Your article confirmed it was a hunt & not play.

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