What Animals Eat Tomatoes in Garden?

Do you have a garden that is full of tomatoes? If so, you may be wondering what animals will eat them. In this guide, we will provide you with some useful tips about which animals like to feast on tomatoes. We will also discuss some ways to protect your tomatoes from being eaten by animals. So, whether you are just starting out in tomato gardening or you have been doing it for years, this guide is for you!

What Makes Tomato Plants Attractive to Animals

There are a few things that make tomato plants attractive to animals. First, the plant itself is relatively soft and easy to bite into. This makes it a tempting target for animals like rabbits and deer who are looking for an easy meal. Second, the fruit of the plant is sweet and juicy, which makes it appealing to animals with a sweet tooth. Finally, the tomato plant produces a large number of fruits, which can be appealing to animals who are looking for a food source that will last them through the winter months.

What Animals Love Tomatoes

Gardens are a great place to grow your own food.

Tomatoes are a popular choice for many gardeners, but they can also be a target for pests.
Knowing what animals love tomatoes can help you keep your garden safe and healthy.

Squirrels

Squirrels are a type of rodent that can be found in many different parts of the world. They are known for their bushy tails and their love of nuts. There are many different types of squirrels, but the most common one is the red squirrel.

Squirrels

Red squirrels are often considered to be a nuisance by gardeners because they will eat just about anything, including tomatoes. If you’ve ever seen a squirrel darting around your garden, there’s a good chance they’re after your tomatoes. While they typically go for the ripe fruit, they’ll also eat unripe or fallen tomatoes. Not only do they eat the fruit itself, but they also enjoy munching on the leaves, stems, and flowers.

Chipmunks

Chipmunks are small, striped rodents that are closely related to squirrels. They are found in North America and have an average lifespan of three years. Chipmunks typically eat seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects.

While they generally prefer to avoid humans, chipmunks can become a nuisance if they decide to build their nests in your yard or garden. And chipmunks love tomatoes!

Chipmunks are known to be very agile and are excellent climbers.This makes it difficult to keep them out of gardens and tomato plants.

Groundhogs

Another rodent that enjoys eating tomatoes is the groundhog. Groundhogs are one of the most common animals that eat tomatoes in gardens. These burrowing rodents are also known as woodchucks, and they’re notorious for their appetite for vegetables. If you have a groundhog in your garden, you’ll likely see it during the day as it munches on your tomatoes. Groundhogs typically weigh between four and seven pounds, and they’re brown or gray with white patches on their bellies. These animals dig dens underground, and they often live in groups.

Rabbits

Rabbits are small, furry mammals that are found in many different parts of the world.

There are many different types of rabbits, but the most common one is the domestic rabbit.
Domestic rabbits typically weigh between two and four pounds and can be white, brown, black, or gray.

Rabbits are herbivores that feed primarily on grasses and other plants. However, they will also eat fruits, vegetables, and flowers. In some cases, rabbits can be a nuisance to gardeners because they will eat newly planted seedlings or dig up bulbs. And they are in this list for a reason – rabbits can cause harm to your tomato plants as well. [1],[2],[2]

Deer

While deer are primarily a forest animal, they can come to gardens in search of food. Deer are large mammals that can weigh up to 1500 pounds. The most common type of deer is the white-tailed deer, which is found in North America.

Deer

Being big eaters, deer will nibble on just about anything in your garden. But their favorite foods are leafy greens, fruits, and flowers. And of course, tomatoes are in this list as well.

Skunks

Skunks are small, furry mammals that are found in North America and parts of South America. They are black or brown with white stripes on their backs, and they have a distinctive odor.

While skunks are best known for their spray, they’re also famous to be opportunistic eaters and will eat just about anything they can find. This includes fruits, vegetables, insects, and even small mammals. Skunks are attracted to tomato plants because of the sweet smell of the fruit. They will often dig up the plant in search of a meal.[3]

Rats and Mice

Rats and mice are commonly known to cause havoc in gardens. They are attracted to the soft flesh of the tomato fruit and can quickly destroy a plant. In addition, rats and mice will also nibble on the leaves of the plant, which can damage the plant and make it more susceptible to disease. If you have a rat or mouse problem in your garden, it is important to take steps to control them as soon as possible as they can quickly destroy a tomato garden if they are not controlled. [3]

Raccoons

Raccoons are small mammals with bushy tails and black masks around their eyes. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night. They are excellent climbers and can scale walls and fences easily.

Raccoons are also omnivores, which means they will eat both plants and small animals. They will eat just about anything, but their favorite foods include crayfish, frogs, fish, snakes, birds, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and insects. In urban areas where human garbage is readily available, raccoons often become nuisance animals because they will rummage through trash cans in search of food. In terms of tomato gardening, this means that raccoons will go after your ripe tomatoes if they can get to them. [1],[2],[3]

Voles

Voles are small, mouse-like rodents that can be a big problem in gardens. These pests burrow underground and feed on roots, bulbs, and other plant material. This can damage or even kill your plants. Voles are especially fond of eating tomatoes.

Voles

If you see your entire tomato plant get sewered off at the ground level, chances are you have voles. Voles leave behind telltale signs of their presence, including small tunnels in the soil and grass that lead to your plants.

Birds

Birds are one of the most common animals that love to eat tomatoes. In fact, many people consider them to be pests because a flock of birds can easily destroy a crop in a matter of days. However, not all birds are a threat to tomato plants. Only certain species, such as common garden birds, are known to eat tomatoes. Those species of birds that do eat tomatoes typically go for the ripe fruits, as they are the sweetest.

The most common type of bird that eats tomatoes is the cardinal. Cardinals are a type of songbird that is native to North America. They are known for their bright red plumage, which makes them easy to spot in the garden. Cardinals typically eat the fruit of the tomato plant, but they will also occasionally eat the leaves and stems.

Another type of bird that loves to eat tomatoes is the blue jay. Blue jays are a type of songbird that is native to North America. They have a bright blue plumage and a very loud call. Blue jays typically eat the fruit of the tomato plant, but they will also occasionally eat the leaves and stems.

The last type of bird that loves to eat tomatoes is the mockingbird. Mockingbirds are a type of songbird that are known for their ability to mimic the calls of other birds.

Chickens are also known to eat tomatoes. They will peck at the fruits of the plant, and if given the opportunity, will also eat the leaves and stems. While chickens generally won’t do too much damage to a tomato plant, they can still be a nuisance if they’re allowed to run rampant in a garden. [3],[4]

Opposums

Being usually found in cities and suburbs, the opposum is a scavenger that will go through your trash cans in search of food. They are also known to eat fruits and vegetables from gardens. In terms of tomato gardening, this means that they will go after any ripe tomatoes that they can find. [1]

Bugs

Of course we can’t forget about bugs! There are a variety of different bugs that love to eat tomatoes, including caterpillars, aphids, and whiteflies. Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies, and they can do a lot of damage to tomato plants. They typically eat the leaves of the plant, but can also eat the fruits themselves.

Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can infest tomato plants. They typically feed on the undersides of the leaves, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop off.

Whiteflies are another type of sap-sucking insect that feeds on tomato plants.
They typically congregate on the undersides of the leaves and can cause the leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop off. [5]

How to Protect Your Tomato Plants From Animals

As you can see, there are a variety of animals that love to eat tomatoes. But don’t despair! There are a few things you can do to protect your tomato plants from these hungry critters. Of course not all methods will work for every type of animal. For example, if you’re trying to keep rabbits out of your garden, you’ll need to take a different approach than if you’re trying to keep deer out. The good news is that there are a number of effective methods for keeping both types of animals out of your tomato patch.

Clean your garden regularly

More often than not, prevention is the best method for keeping animals out of your garden. This means regularly cleaning up your garden so that there is no food or shelter for animals to take refuge in. Remove any fallen fruits or vegetables, and keep the area around your plants free of debris.

Clean your garden regularly

Another way to deter animals from coming into your garden is to make it less inviting. This means removing any places where animals can hide, such as dense foliage or piles of wood. Keep your tomato plants well trimmed and prune any dead or dying branches.

Many animals, like raccoons will be attracted to your garden if there is a water source nearby. So it’s important to keep your pool or fountain clean and free of debris. You should also make sure that there is no standing water in your garden, as this will attract mosquitoes and other pests.

Inspect the ground for holes or burrows

One of the best ways to keep animals out of your garden is to physically block them from getting in. This means inspecting the ground around your garden for holes or burrows that animals may use to get into your garden. If you see small tunnels in the soil, chances are you have voles. If you see large holes, chances are you have raccoons.

Usually, animals like rabbits won’t travel far from their homes to find food. So, if you see evidence of animals around your tomato plants, chances are they’re coming from a nearby burrow or den.

In either case, take steps to fill in the holes or block off the tunnels to prevent the animals from getting to your plants. You can use rocks, dirt, or even chicken wire to block off access to your garden.

Pick them early

Another way to prevent animals from eating your tomatoes is to pick them early. This isn’t always possible if you want to let them ripen on the vine, but it’s worth a try if you’re having trouble with animals getting to your plants.

Luckily, tomatoes can be ripened indoors if you pick them when they’re still slightly green. Just put them in a sunny spot and wait a few days for them to turn red.

Install fences around your garden

A great method to keep animals out of your garden is to install a fence. This will create a physical barrier that animals will have to cross if they want to get to your tomatoes.There are many different types of fences you can choose from, so be sure to pick one that’s appropriate for the type of animal you’re trying to keep out.

For example, with rabbits you’ll want a fence that’s at least six feet tall. If you’re dealing with deer, however, you’ll need a much taller fence – at least eight feet.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some animals are good climbers. So if you’re dealing with something like squirrels or raccoons, be sure to choose a fence that has an overhang or is otherwise difficult to climb.

Avoid making gaps in your fence too large, as this will give animals an easy way to get into your garden. And be sure to repair any damage to your fence as soon as possible, as this will give animals a way in.

You can also build a wire cage around your tomato plants. This is especially effective against small animals like rodents and rabbits. Be sure to use heavy-duty wire so that the animals can’t chew through it. You’ll also want to make sure the cage is tall enough so that the animals can’t jump over it.

Fences won’t do much to protect your plants from birds however. So if you’re having trouble with birds eating your tomatoes, you’ll need to take additional measures. One way to do this is to place netting around your plants. This will deter animals from being able to get to the plants, and it’s also a good way to keep birds from pecking at the ripe fruit.

Use an animal repellent spray

If you’re dealing with small animals like rabbits or squirrels, you can try using an animal repellent spray. There are a number of animal repellant sprays available on the market that can help keep animals away from your tomato plants.

Be sure to read the label carefully before purchasing, as some repellents are only effective against certain types of animals.
You’ll also want to make sure you follow the instructions on how and when to apply the spray.

Use an animal repellent spray

If you don’t want to harm animals, look for a natural animal repellent. There are a number of recipes available online for homemade animal repellents that use ingredients like cayenne pepper, garlic, or citrus oil.

Place traps

One of the most common ways to keep animals out of your garden is to place traps. This can be anything from a simple mouse trap to a more elaborate live trap. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of killing animals, there are also humane options available that will capture the animal without harming it.

For example, you could bait a live trap with some of the foods that animals love to eat and then release them far away from your garden. Just be sure to check the trap regularly so that any animals that are caught don’t suffer needlessly.

Place a scarecrow in your garden

One of the simplest ways to keep animals out of your garden is to place a scarecrow in it. This won’t work 100% of the time, but it’s definitely worth a try. You can either purchase a scarecrow from your local gardening store, or make one yourself using old clothes and stuffing them with hay.

Another option is to use visual deterrents such as shiny objects or streamers. These will startle the animals and may cause them to stay away from your plants. However, keep in mind that some animals get used to these deterrents over time, so you may need to switch them up every once in a while.

You can also try using auditory deterrents such as radios or ultrasonic devices. These emit sounds that animals don’t like and will hopefully keep them away from your garden.

Grow tomatoes in pots or hanging baskets

To prevent animals from getting to your tomatoes, you can grow them in pots or hanging baskets. This will keep the plants off the ground and away from curious critters that might want to take a nibble.

If you choose to grow your tomatoes in pots, be sure to use a potting mix specifically designed for tomatoes.
This type of mix will provide the nutrients that tomatoes need to thrive. It’s also important to choose a pot that is large enough for the plant to grow.

Hanging baskets are another option for growing tomatoes. These can be hung from a porch, balcony, or even a tree branch. Be sure to choose a basket that is large enough for the plant to grow and has drainage holes to prevent the roots from getting waterlogged.

Hanging baskets have the added benefit of deterring some animals, such as birds, from getting to the tomatoes. The movement of the basket can also scare off some animals.

Try raised beds

Raised beds are simply planting areas that are elevated above the surrounding soil. They can be built out of a variety of materials, including wood, stone, or concrete. Raised beds offer a number of benefits for both gardeners and plants.

Try raised beds

For gardeners, raised beds make it easier to plant, weed, and harvest. They also improve drainage and keep roots warmer in cold weather. Plants also benefit from raised beds because they have better drainage and aeration, and they warm up faster in the springtime.

Raised beds can also help to deter animals from getting to your plants. Raccoons, for example, are less likely to rummage through a raised bed in search of food. By raising the bed off of the ground, you make it more difficult for animals to access the roots and stems of your plants.

Install bright lights around your garden

Another way to deter animals from getting into your garden is to install bright lights around the perimeter. This will make it more difficult for animals to approach your garden without being seen. Motion-activated lights are a good option, as they will only come on when an animal is close to the garden.

These lights will also make it easier for you to see any animals that are trying to get into your garden. You can then take steps to scare them off or remove them from the area. [1],[3]


FAQ

What animal loves eating tomatoes?

There are actually quite a few animals that enjoy eating tomatoes! Some of the most common include: deer, rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs, and rats. But even some less common animals like raccoons, opossums, and chipmunks will go for them too. Birds can also be culprits, especially when tomatoes are ripe and soft.

What is eating my tomatoes at night?

There are several nocturnal animals that could be eating your tomatoes at night. The most common culprits are raccoons, opossums, skunks, and groundhogs.

What is eating my tomatoes at night?

All of these animals are attracted to the sweet smell of ripe tomatoes and will gladly make a meal out of your hard work.

How do I keep animals from eating my tomatoes?

The best way to keep animals from eating your tomatoes is to build a fence around your garden. Another option is to spray your plants with a natural repellent, such as hot pepper sauce or vinegar. You can also try placing plastic owls or snakes near your tomato plants. Finally, make sure to keep your garden clean and free of debris, as this will attract animals looking for a place to hide.

Do squirrels eat tomatoes out of the garden?

Yes, squirrels will eat tomatoes out of the garden if they can reach them. Squirrels are attracted to the sweetness of the tomato and will also eat other fruit such as strawberries. To keep squirrels away from your tomatoes, you can try using a squirrel-proof bird feeder or covering your garden with netting.

Useful Video: Which Animals Will Eat Tomato Plants?

Conclusion

Tomatoes are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed by humans and animals alike. So no wonder why it also attracts pests. If you live in an area with a lot of wildlife, you may need to take additional steps to protect your tomatoes. You can purchase netting or cages to keep animals from getting to your plants. Or, you can also try spraying your plants with a repellent made with water and cayenne pepper. Be sure to check the netting regularly, as some animals (like squirrels) are clever enough to find their way into the garden even with these measures in place. With a little effort, you can enjoy fresh tomatoes all summer long – even if there are animals in your area! By following these tips, you can keep your tomatoes safe from animals and pests


References:

  1. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/protecting-tomatoes-from-animals.htm
  2. https://wildlifeinformer.com/animals-that-eat-tomato-plants/
  3. https://farmingmethod.com/what-animals-eat-tomatoes/
  4. https://learnbirdwatching.com/do-birds-eat-tomatoes/
  5. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tomato-plant-attract-58025.html