Do Crows Eat Squirrels?

Crows can eat almost anything, from fresh vegetables to even dead animals.

However, fresh meaty meals are always preferred over wilting plants.

Therefore,

If a crow can manage a squirrel, it will most certainly eat one. 

That said, squirrels are extremely fast rodents.

Hunting them requires a lot of energy.

Consequently, crows normally get to eat only the injured, weak, or baby squirrels.

Now, I am pretty sure that you are hung up on the realization that squirrels are ‘Rodents’, like any other pesty mouse.

But then, imagining a crow eating a large squirrel also sounds a bit shady. 

So, let’s consider if crows and squirrels ever interact then:

Will Crows Eat Squirrels?

If they can, they surely will.

This means that whether a crow will eat a squirrel depends entirely on its ability to catch one.

Now, an average squirrel is about 0.5-0.7 kgs in weight and can grow as tall as 20-inches in height, with tails about 6-9 inches in length.

In contrast, a crow is 0.3-0.6 kgs in weight and is about 18-inches tall, with a wingspan of 0.7-1m wide. 

A regular squirrel is typically larger than an average crow.

Though crow feet are sharp, however, these are not muscular enough for hunting or lifting objects.

Crows possess poking bills and can fly at speeds exceeding 53km/hour.

Meanwhile, a squirrel has dextrous claws and ever-growing incisors

In fact, zoologists estimate that a squirrel bite packs roughly 7000psi, while a human bites a mere 500psi.

Furthermore, a squirrel can run and climb trees at about 32km/hour. 

Obviously, a crow cannot fly much fast through trees and hindrances, but a squirrel can run fast nearly all the time. 

Which means, catching squirrels is rather difficult for crows.

A single crow cannot hunt an adult healthy squirrel, therefore, it will not get to eat one.

But, crows never fight alone.

Instead, they act and hunt as a team. 

A murder of crows can capture and devour even a healthy squirrel.

However, such coordination and hunting require extra energy.

Which is why crows will not bother a squirrel unless resources are scarce.

But,

A crow will definitely eat a squirrel if it happens to be some injured, weak, or young squirrel.

Again, imagining a large squirrel as small crow prey may sound a bit unrealistic.

It may be “The Ice Age” movie has conditioned us to assume that squirrels are pretty large and can even break the earth’s crust. 

A scientific way to eliminate our bias would be eliminating the size factor. 

So, let’s ask again:  

Do Large Crows Eat Squirrels?

They do, whenever they must.

You see, crows have so many options on their menu that hunting for a healthy adult squirrel is only but an unnecessary and energy-draining task. 

All kinds of crows usually eat a weak, injured, dying, or baby squirrel. 

But then, we are more concerned with:

Can a Large Crow Manage to Capture a Healthy Adult Squirrel?

That depends on how you define a large crow.

If by large crow you mean ravens, then a large crow can most certainly capture and devour an adult healthy squirrel, alone. 

Ravens often take on fights with hawks and other raptors.

Therefore, it seems unlikely that a raven would let a squirrel simply walk away and have her acorns.

But, if by large crow you are referring to just some enormous member of a typical crow family.

Then, a large crow cannot hunt squirrels alone. 

However, a large crow family can definitely hunt healthy squirrels with their collective efforts.

To avoid any ambiguities, an understanding of how these animals interact is essential.

An easy way is by comparing their most prominent features (See figure 1).

Do Crows Eat Squirrels?

Figure 1: Comparison of features of a large crow, biggest raven, and an average squirrel

This comparison shows that if crows and ravens are willing to take some pains, they can manage any squirrel.

That also means that in all situations, crows are dangerous for squirrels. 

Here’s a question though

Are Squirrels Afraid Of Crows?

Though there is no way to know for sure, however, they don’t appear afraid at all.

In fact, squirrels respond to crow harassment with extreme aggression.

As if, they are making sure that no crow ever dares to see them as prey.

One may argue that “Perhaps squirrels are not intelligent enough to perceive danger”.

However, the same squirrels that walk around boldly in presence of a murder of crows, do not come out of their burrows whenever they smell an owl nearby.

We can claim that:

Squirrels are afraid of Owls, but neither Crows nor Ravens.

It may be that squirrels don’t see crows as their predators.

Or, perhaps they understand that they can always outrun a crow, but never a raptor.

There is also a slight chance that squirrels see crows as opportunistic prey.

This explains why: 

Squirrels do eat crow babies whenever they can manage.

Squirrels often take residence in crow nests and steal food from crow-claimed reservoirs.

They also have comparable IQ.

So,

Technically, crows and squirrels have roughly the same needs. 

They both are omnivorous animals and they both live in similar regions.

If anything:

Crows and squirrels are rivals rather than predators.

But if crows and squirrels are in some mutual relationship, then do squirrels bother crows the same way crows annoy them?

Or another question would be  

Do Squirrels Attack Crows?

They do but usually when they have no other choice.

You see, squirrels are estimated to have problem-solving potential similar to a 4-year old human child.

Though, crows are estimated to have mental capabilities resembling those of 8-year old humans.

But this means that: 

Squirrels are intelligent enough to not take fights they may potentially lose.

Therefore, a squirrel only attacks an adult crow while nesting or during harsh seasons with scarce resources

Still, a squirrel will eat crow nestlings if it can find an active nest. 

However, a whole murder of crows will likely kill a healthy adult squirrel if they find one in their nests, especially eating a crow baby.

Anyways, you may be interested in knowing:

How Does a Squirrel Attack a Crow?

It starts with the squirrel sitting upright and raising its tail to appear large and threatening.

Then, the squirrel chases the crow.

If the crow does not budge, then the squirrel may use its claws to hold that crow and incisors to bite as fiercely as possible.

However, such interactions are rarely ever recorded.

It’s mostly because crows and squirrels have come to a mutual understanding. 

Surely, they don’t like each other, but they have learned to endure each other.

In fact, crows and squirrels often forage from the same bird feeders.

Then again, birders do question if crows even get to interact with squirrels, cause who knows where squirrels come from?

Where Do Squirrels Live?

Squirrels live throughout the world, except Antarctica and Australia.

Now, the precise squirrel habitat conditions vary among its species. But, there are over 200 species of squirrels so it’s hard to tell which squirrel is living near your region.

However, based on their habitats squirrels can be roughly classified into the following groups:

1. Tree Squirrels

These live in trees and wood crevices.

Their major food source is tree nuts.

Their fur is usually longer than other squirrels.

Common examples include Red squirrels and eastern grey squirrels.

2. Ground Squirrels

These live in ground burrows and rock crevices.

Their ears are rounded and fur is usually short.

They do have body stripes but normally lack head stripes, setting them apart from chipmunks.

Examples include Tamias, Rock Squirrels. 

3. Flying Squirrels

These also live in trees.

However, they have special skin flaps called “Patagia” that help them glide from one tree to another. 

Examples include Southern Flying Squirrels and Thomas’s Flying squirrels

Now, you may be thinking, “If squirrels are everywhere and are as successful as crows then, how come we see so many crows but only a few squirrels?”

It’s because squirrels are far more predated than crows or any other bird.

In fact, squirrels are so significant in ecosystems that a decline in their population may also cause a decline in predators. 

For instance, Black-footed ferrets became nearly extinct when the population of prairie dog squirrels crashed in that region. 

But Ferrets and crows are not the only squirrel predators.

So,

What Other Predators Eat Squirrels?

The most common predators of adult squirrels are foxes and coyotes.

Other Squirrel predators include:

Predator Examples Remarks
Reptiles Alligators, Crocodiles, Snapping turtles, Monitor Lizards, Snakes. Adult Squirrels have some antidotes but baby squirrels are easily predated.

Snakes are the most common baby squirrel eaters.

Fish Bigmouth Bass. Happens only when a squirrel goes to drink water.
Birds Owls especially the Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owls, and Short-eared Owls.  Eat mostly flying Squirrels as they are nocturnal mammals.
Hawks, Falcons, and Eagles. Wait for squirrels to come to them.

Most common eaters of Arctic Ground Squirrels and Rock Squirrels.

Others include Corvids, Seagulls, Magpies, Shrikes, Long-tailed Jaegers, Kestrels, Harriers, Herons, Ospreys.
Mammals Foxes and Coyotes Most common predator of Franklin’s Ground Squirrels. 
Wild cats such as bobcats, mountain lions, cougars, lynxes.   Mostly eat Eastern Grey squirrels and California Ground Squirrels.
Martens, Opossums, Weasels, Ermines, Skunks, Minks, Badgers, Ferrets. Most can dig squirrel burrows and eat them.
Hounds, Wolves, Bears, Raccoons.  Rarely eat Squirrels.
Humans Hunting, entertainment, hate crime, otherwise regarded as agricultural pests.
Other Squirrels like white-tailed prairie dogs target newborn squirrels of other species to ensure they get enough resources. Male Squirrels may eat baby squirrels of potential mates to sire their own young ones.

Mother squirrels may eat some of their babies to reduce competition for resources.

Parasites Mange Lay eggs on squirrel skin but squirrel may scratch until it turns bald.

Parasites mostly target old squirrels.

Tree-squirrel Botfly and Roundworms.
Flesh-fly May cause lethal myiasis with squirrels dying at 5-6 days of infestation.
Pets Cats, Dogs, Rabbits May kill but not eat the squirrel.

Wrapping Up 

Crows eat squirrels whenever they can.

However, hunting a squirrel takes a lot of energy which is why most crows only eat injured, young, weak, or baby squirrels.

The same is true for squirrels.

But even with all predation, squirrels are not afraid of crows.

Instead, they attack them whenever a crow tries to hunt them. 

Since squirrels are present in all habitats, therefore, several predators hunt them.

Here’s some other articles about crows which I think you’ll find interesting

Can a crow kill a seagull?

Do crows attack humans?

Do crows eat crows?