Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Acorn conundrum

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2021
    Location
    Pellston, MI
    Posts
    32
    Thanked: 16

    Default Acorn conundrum

    So the squirrels in our yard mow on acorns. We have lots of oaks around us. I thought there would not be a problem giving my two black squirrels some, until I read the Henry's squirrel diet which warns that acorns can contain aflatoxin, which is a deadly poison.

    ?????

    So...should I never let them eat acorns? I have not yet, as I read Henry's warning when they were still nursing (they are 11 weeks now), but the more I think about it, the more it just seems silly. Squirrels eat acorns. Can they tell if some are toxic and avoid those in the wild?

    Perplexed,
    Rabs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    17,551
    Thanked: 7019

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabs View Post
    So the squirrels in our yard mow on acorns. We have lots of oaks around us. I thought there would not be a problem giving my two black squirrels some, until I read the Henry's squirrel diet which warns that acorns can contain aflatoxin, which is a deadly poison.

    ?????

    So...should I never let them eat acorns? I have not yet, as I read Henry's warning when they were still nursing (they are 11 weeks now), but the more I think about it, the more it just seems silly. Squirrels eat acorns. Can they tell if some are toxic and avoid those in the wild?

    Perplexed,
    Rabs
    Yes, they can. In captivity, they will likely get AN acorn as a treat. That ONE acorn is very valuable, since there is only the ONE acorn. In the wild, that one acorn is sitting with a million OTHER acorns.

    If his ONE acorn seems a little off, he may try it just because it is the only one he has access to. In the wild, a "little off" acorn is much more easily discarded, given the tons of others available.

    I used to lay a tarp on the ground under one of the oaks in my yard at dusk and in the AM I knew all the acorns on the tarp had been there only overnight, not lying on the ground for who knows how long. I would keep some in the fridge for short periods but there isn't any really safe way to store them.

  3. Serious fuzzy thank you's to CritterMom from:

    island rehabber (10-27-2021)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
    Posts
    8,236
    Thanked: 11126

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    You can also cut the acorns open to see that there’s no mold on the meat.

  5. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

    Diggie's Friend (10-21-2021), HRT4SQRLS (10-20-2021)

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    2,798
    Thanked: 2841

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Just don't freeze or refridgerate acorns or any other nuts either. Place the opened kernels after examining them in small lots into vacume sealed bags and store them in a cool dry place to store for no more than 3 mo. tops. Open one bag for a couple of weeks save you are including nuts in a homemade recipe and need more. Always check the kernels to see that they have no evidence of fungal growth before you feed them; a simple magnifying glass can help with that.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
    Posts
    8,236
    Thanked: 11126

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    I have read many times on here not to refrigerate or freeze nuts. I just ordered a 50# bag of in shell pecans from an orchard in Georgia. They state right on their packaging, and their website, that the nuts can be stored in the refrigerator for a year and in the freezer for 3 years. I have been buying nuts in bulk like this for at least 5 years. I divide the large bag into two-gallon sized ziploc bags and freeze them. I have not encountered any issues with mold or degradation. I will say that the nuts remain frozen and I don’t allow them to thaw and re-freeze over and over again, which could be the case if they were laying on the ground somewhere. I have had equal success with in shell hazelnuts.

    Acorns may be completely different…they may have a higher moisture content in their meat which would make them more susceptible to mold.

    I just wanted to share my personal experience and what the pecan grower recommends. I realize squirrels would be more susceptible to the toxicity of aflatoxins, but mold is mold. If freezing or refrigerating the nuts would cause them to mold and be inedible for humans, I doubt the grower would recommend doing this.

  8. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Mel1959 from:

    KCullen (10-26-2021)

  9. #6
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Southwestern USA
    Posts
    155
    Thanked: 141

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I have read many times on here not to refrigerate or freeze nuts. I just ordered a 50# bag of in shell pecans from an orchard in Georgia. They state right on their packaging, and their website, that the nuts can be stored in the refrigerator for a year and in the freezer for 3 years. I have been buying nuts in bulk like this for at least 5 years. I divide the large bag into two-gallon sized ziploc bags and freeze them. I have not encountered any issues with mold or degradation. I will say that the nuts remain frozen and I don’t allow them to thaw and re-freeze over and over again, which could be the case if they were laying on the ground somewhere. I have had equal success with in shell hazelnuts.

    Acorns may be completely different…they may have a higher moisture content in their meat which would make them more susceptible to mold.

    I just wanted to share my personal experience and what the pecan grower recommends. I realize squirrels would be more susceptible to the toxicity of aflatoxins, but mold is mold. If freezing or refrigerating the nuts would cause them to mold and be inedible for humans, I doubt the grower would recommend doing this.
    Thanks for pointing this out Mel! I have seen the same recommendations by the growers and I have been freezing pecans and hazelnuts in their shells for up to 1 year (that has been my personal limit but this is without any evidence to support it as a limit and I really don't doubt that they could probably be stored longer than this in the freezer) without any problems I could attribute to the freezing itself, contamination or spoilage! I usually take a small amount from the freezer and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks for immediate use for Squirrels including my beloved Sammy and also for my own consumption periodically. I store the frozen and later refrigerated nuts in Ziploc bags as does Mel and I compress the bags to remove as much air as possible before I close them. I have never been tempted to eat or give acorns to the Squirrels but I have wondered about the prevalence of aflatoxin in those particular nuts since first noticing the Toxic Warning about feeding acorns on Henry's pyramid page and reading similar comments from others. It just hasn't been a real issue or concern and I will probably continue to refrain from use of acorns at least until there is some definitive evidence to refute the anecdotal cautions most of us follow regarding acorns.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

  10. Serious fuzzy thank you's to SamtheSquirrel2018 from:

    Mel1959 (10-21-2021)

  11. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Daytona Beach, FL.
    Posts
    9,593
    Thanked: 1062

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    I buy nuts in bulk and store them in ammo cans
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...OW-A-NEW-MOMMY!!!!!
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RAINBOW-BRIDGE
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...e-called-Simon
    charleychuckles1@gmail.com

    I'm not poof reading any of this

  12. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Charley Chuckles from:

    island rehabber (10-27-2021)

  13. #8
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Southwestern USA
    Posts
    155
    Thanked: 141

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by Charley Chuckles View Post
    I buy nuts in bulk and store them in ammo cans
    I'm compelled to ask you; what is the muzzle velocity of a Hazelnut?
    StS

  14. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to SamtheSquirrel2018:

    Diggie's Friend (10-22-2021), island rehabber (10-27-2021)

  15. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
    Posts
    8,236
    Thanked: 11126

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    Thanks for pointing this out Mel! I have seen the same recommendations by the growers and I have been freezing pecans and hazelnuts in their shells for up to 1 year (that has been my personal limit but this is without any evidence to support it as a limit and I really don't doubt that they could probably be stored longer than this in the freezer) without any problems I could attribute to the freezing itself, contamination or spoilage! I usually take a small amount from the freezer and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks for immediate use for Squirrels including my beloved Sammy and also for my own consumption periodically. I store the frozen and later refrigerated nuts in Ziploc bags as does Mel and I compress the bags to remove as much air as possible before I close them. I have never been tempted to eat or give acorns to the Squirrels but I have wondered about the prevalence of aflatoxin in those particular nuts since first noticing the Toxic Warning about feeding acorns on Henry's pyramid page and reading similar comments from others. It just hasn't been a real issue or concern and I will probably continue to refrain from use of acorns at least until there is some definitive evidence to refute the anecdotal cautions most of us follow regarding acorns.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel
    Yeah, we rarely reach the 1 year mark with our stash of frozen nuts. They have been consumed…or stashed….by the squees long before then.

  16. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    11,423
    Thanked: 12720

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    I always give my flyers acorns when in season. I am VERY careful and I don’t store them at all. During the fall I take a fresh acorn and cut it in half. It is very clear if the acorn is good or bad. I only give it if it passes my inspection. The reason I do this is because they LOVE them and it is the only thing I can give them from their world. They were never meant the be caged animals even though Bonzai was a captive bred flyer by a breeder in the exotic pet trade. I did not buy him. I don’t believe in that trade. He came into rehab as a sickly baby so I adopted him.

    I do recognize that aflatoxins are a REAL problem. I also know they are deadly so it’s better to err on the side of caution.
    With that said, the big hysteria quite a few years ago was from a ‘rehabber’ of questionable practices. ALL of her rehab practices have been annihilated as far as being anywhere near acceptable. Deplorable is a fitting word so I basically reject anything from that incident.
    The anecdotal evidence from that incident is flawed.

    Again, I know it’s a real problem but think about how squirrels in the wild stash acorns and nuts. I have seen them dig up an old black acorn covered in dirt and eat it like it’s a delicacy. If I gave them that they would surely die. I think we have to use common sense but never lose sight of the fact that there is risk involved.

  17. 5 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to HRT4SQRLS:

    Diggie's Friend (10-21-2021), island rehabber (10-27-2021), KCullen (10-26-2021), Mel1959 (10-21-2021), SamtheSquirrel2018 (10-21-2021)

  18. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    2,798
    Thanked: 2841

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    By closing the zip down on a straw inserted at the closing end of a, "Ziplock" bag, then sucking the air out of the bag and finishing by closing the zip; most of the air can be removed.

  19. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Diggie's Friend from:

    SamtheSquirrel2018 (10-21-2021)

  20. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    2,798
    Thanked: 2841

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    I'm compelled to ask you; what is the muzzle velocity of a Hazelnut?
    StS


    My husband timed just how quick it took for our dear foxer Rosey, aka: 'muzzleloader' to open a hazelnut.

    Her best time clocked out at two seconds! He still has the two halves of that shell.

  21. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    2,798
    Thanked: 2841

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Again, I know it’s a real problem but think about how squirrels in the wild stash acorns and nuts. I have seen them dig up an old black acorn covered in dirt and eat it like it’s a delicacy. If I gave them that they would surely die. I think we have to use common sense but never lose sight of the fact that there is risk involved.
    There is a reason why not all acorns develop toxic mold. Since both red and black acorns do not germinate quickly, but remain in the soil uncompromised for months if not cracked or accessed by nut weevils, that drill into the capsule shell of the acorn while it is still soft to deposit their eggs in it, the larva will drill their way out that opens up the acorn to fungus. For this reason, sealed red and black acorns remain in tact without fungus though the winter; so if they are not consumed after a few months they will they eventually dry up..

    White acorns, on the other hand, are most often consumed on the spot by tree squirrels, rather than buried; for these acorns germinate quickly. Save that a squirrel bites off the embryo end of the nut capsule, which moreover prevents the kernel from germinating, this will extend the viability of white acorns shorterm.

    (For reference: see North American Tree Squirrels by Michael Steele and John Koprowski)

  22. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Diggie's Friend from:

    island rehabber (10-27-2021)

  23. #14
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    North Central FL
    Posts
    41
    Thanked: 30

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggie's Friend View Post
    There is a reason why not all acorns develop toxic mold. Since both red and black acorns do not germinate quickly, but remain in the soil uncompromised for months if not cracked or accessed by nut weevils, that drill into the capsule shell of the acorn while it is still soft to deposit their eggs in it, the larva will drill their way out that opens up the acorn to fungus. For this reason, sealed red and black acorns remain in tact without fungus though the winter; so if they are not consumed after a few months they will they eventually dry up..

    White acorns, on the other hand, are most often consumed on the spot by tree squirrels, rather than buried; for these acorns germinate quickly. Save that a squirrel bites off the embryo end of the nut capsule, which moreover prevents the kernel from germinating, this will extend the viability of white acorns shorterm.

    (For reference: see North American Tree Squirrels by Michael Steele and John Koprowski)
    So, I feed my squirrels acorns. I do so seasonally, from trees in my yard, at my work, & a specific tree behind a local grocery store. I know these trees are popular with the local squirrel squads. I ONLY pick my own ripe acorns, not gathering from the ground. This bacteria also grows in some other nuts & peanuts, corn, & additional foodstuffs. My squirrel squad decimates our pecan & oak trees without fail. If my rescues are with me near fall, they get the wild serving of up to 25% acorns in their diet, with choice amounts offered fresh. This way they can wild up with the stash at hand in their release enclosures.

    Buried black acorns are also eaten by humans who forage/eat wild. Usually buried for about a year in riverbanks to leach out the tannins, these are the sweetest acorns. White acorns are also the least bitter, again due to tannins. There are also less tannins in the top of the nut, so this is why sometimes squirrels will just eat half of an acorn & toss the rest. The bigger the acorn cap, the more bitter, so this is another way to Guage preference if you do feed acorns.

    Hope this helps

  24. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
    Posts
    8,236
    Thanked: 11126

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Very good to know. Thank you.

  25. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Mel1959 from:

    KCullen (10-27-2021)

  26. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Daytona Beach, FL.
    Posts
    9,593
    Thanked: 1062

    Default Re: Acorn conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    I'm compelled to ask you; what is the muzzle velocity of a Hazelnut?
    StS
    Humm good question 🤔
    I'll test it next time I go to the range 🤣
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...OW-A-NEW-MOMMY!!!!!
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RAINBOW-BRIDGE
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...e-called-Simon
    charleychuckles1@gmail.com

    I'm not poof reading any of this

  27. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Charley Chuckles from:

    SamtheSquirrel2018 (10-31-2021)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •