What Animals Eat Apples? (14 Examples With Pictures)

Photo: TheNoteTraveler / Shutterstock

Apples grow in the wild too, and if you’re wondering what animals eat apples, you might find some answers that you didn’t expect. Apples are a great source of sugar and protein to many small animals, but there are also larger and carnivorous animals that eat apples.

Find out what animals eat apples from the list below:

  • Rabbits
  • Goats
  • Monkeys
  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Deer
  • Moose
  • Hedgehogs
  • Foxes
  • Opossums
  • Wild Boars
  • Badgers
  • Bears
  • Rats

* Note: animals are ranked in order of their search volume. 

1. Rabbits

Photo: Kevin Jump / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scientific name (family): Leporidae

Rabbits are herbivores and they can only eat fruit and vegetables. Finding apples in the wild isn’t an easy task and that’s a type of food that they rarely come across.

However, they’re definitely happy when they do. Instead of munching on grass all day, eating a single wild apple can satisfy a rabbit’s hunger for a very long time. This is a rarity, however, so they’re often attracted to man made gardens to try and pick off all the apples that have fallen on the ground.

2. Goats

Photo: TheNoteTraveler / Shutterstock

Scientific name (genus): Capra

There are nine official species of goat, with only one of them being the domesticated goat, while others are still wild. However, all of these species enjoy eating apples if they get the chance to.

Apples are actually a common part of their diet, as many of these species live in the forest, where wild apples often grow. Although they prefer picking them off the ground, goats are extraordinary climbers, and stretching upwards to pick apples from the branches is not uncommon.

3. Monkeys

Photo: Doug88888 / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name (order): Simiiformes

Monkeys are animals that eat apples very gladly, but they’ll also eat most fruit if they can find some. Since apples are a seasonal fruit, it’s impossible for monkeys to eat them throughout the year.

Therefore, they consider apple season a feast, since a few apples a day can be enough to get a monkey through the entire day. Additionally, a family of monkeys can easily devour an entire apple tree because of their incredible climbing abilities.

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4. Raccoons

Photo: Neil McIntosh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Procyon lotor

Raccoons will eat virtually anything and apples are definitely on the menu. These animals are incredible at sneaking and stealing, so if you live in an area populated with raccoons, you shouldn’t leave any apples out for a long time.

If they can’t find any apples on the deck in your backyard, then they’ll find an orchard and pick apples off the ground. They also aren’t picky, so they’ll bite into a rotten apple too.

5. Squirrels

Squirrel eating a mushroom
Photo: hedera.baltica / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name (family): Sciuridae

Small animals eat apples too, but they likely can’t eat a lot. Squirrels primarily feed on nuts, and they won’t try to get to an apple tree if they think it’s too dangerous. However, they’re excellent climbers and if they deem it safe – they’ll eat an apple right off the tree.

Some people chop apples up in small portions and use them to feed wild squirrels too. One apple, however, is already too much for a single squirrel. These small animals don’t have too much of a stomach, so finding a wild apple tree can be a blessing for the entire family.

6. Deer

Photo: John Stratford / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Scientific name (family): Cervidae

Deer will eat almost any fruit if they come across it and apples are certainly on the menu. What makes deer particularly difficult to deal with is the fact that they’re so tall and agile. Because of these qualities, they can easily hop over a fence into someone’s yard and eat apples right off the tree.

However, deer don’t like coming into contact with humans, so they won’t do this unless they’re absolutely certain there’s no one around. In the wild, they don’t often get the chance to eat apples, but if they find a tree, that herd of deer will try to pick every single apple off of it.

7. Moose

Photo: Al_HikesAZ / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Alces alces

These massive herbivores are capable of eating most species of fruit and they need almost 10,000 calories a day to maintain body weight – that’s five times more than the average human!

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If possible, they will eat apples in the wild, but apples rarely grow in areas where moose live because they live in colder climates. They’re very picky eaters and they won’t eat any plant as they concentrate on the most calorically-packed food.

8. Hedgehog

Photo: semantix_photo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (subfamily): Erinaceinae

Hedgehogs are omnivorous and they’ll gladly eat an apple if they find any on the floor. This happens more often than you’d think – hedgehogs aren’t afraid of getting close to humans and wandering into a garden is a common occurrence.

However, they would prefer insects, snails and snakes much more than eating apples, as meats usually offer more nutrients to them than fruits. It’s also possible to find hedgehogs eating other fruits, as they’re not picky animals.

9. Foxes

Red Fox
Photo: Irene Steeves / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (family): Canidae

Many people think that foxes are exclusively meat eaters, but these omnivores eat apples more often than you’d think. Most foxes prefer eating small animals such as birds and rabbits, but they’ll eat vegetation if they’re hungry.

If a fox finds an apple on the ground, it will definitely eat it, as they need 2 pounds of food every day to survive. There is also a species of fox called the gray fox which is known to climb trees. It’s possible that these animals know how to climb a wild apple tree to snatch a few apples.

10. Opossums

Photo: Ilan Ejzykowicz / Shutterstock

Scientific name (order): Didelphimorphia

Opossums are very similar to raccoons as they’ll eat almost everything in their way. From dead animals to eggs and fruits – these small animals eat apples too.

In the wild, they’ll primarily eat apples that have fallen on the floor, but some species of opossum (note that there are more than 120 species) are good climbers and they can climb trees to find food.

11. Wild Boars

Wild boars
Photo: Jan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Sus scrofa

Because of their strength and their behavior, wild boars are considered a pest to many apple farmers. These animals are surprisingly intelligent, and while they can’t climb trees, they use their massive size to smack the tree and have apples fall down on the ground.

They’re also strong enough to rip holes in fences, so it’s entirely possible for them to burst into an apple orchard and eat everything in their path. These omnivorous animals need plenty of food to survive in the wild, and an apple orchard presents a feast to them.

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Wild boars are highly versatile when it comes to their diet and these animals eat apples with a vigor, since they need more than 4000 calories a day to maintain their weight.

12. Badgers

Tim Brookes / Flickr / CC BY NC 2.0

Scientific name (family): Mustelidae

Badgers are omnivorous animals, but they prefer meat to plants. However, if they can’t hunt or find anything, they’ll eat fruit and vegetables. They’re not picky at all and they’re more than happy to eat rotting apples.

Interestingly, scientists have discovered that some badgers become intoxicated with alcohol after eating rotting fruit – you read that right, badgers get drunk by accident.

They’re also quite good at digging, so they can find food that another animal has burrowed to save for later.

13. Bears

Grizzly bear
Photo: Janko Ferlic / Pexels

Scientific name (family): Ursidae

It’s obvious that large animals that eat apples can’t live off of that completely. However, bears actually consume more plant matter than actual animal meat. Extremes, such as the polar bear, don’t follow this rule since fruit doesn’t really grow on the North Pole.

Bears that live in more southern areas, however, will gladly eat apples and other fruits to get to that 90 pounds of food they need to intake every day before entering their den during the winter.

Bears will also eat roots, mushrooms and other fruits, so apples aren’t the only plant on the menu.

14. Rats

Photo: Sergey Yeliseev / Flickr / CC0 1.0

Scientific name (genus): Rattus

Rats are willing to eat anything to survive and plants are a great source of nutrients for them. They don’t have a problem sneaking around and stealing, but they can just as easily climb trees and eat apples off the trees.

Because of this, rat infestations aren’t rare. Rats don’t need that much food, though, so it’s unlikely that a single rat will eat more than an apple a day. However, they might grab and carry an apple to save it for later.

To End

Apples are a favorite fruit to many species, but small animals primarily profit from eating apples. They’re filled with fruit and they provide small animals, such as squirrels and rats, with enough calories for a few days.

Large animals eat apples too, but it’s less profitable for them – calorie wise – as they would need to eat hundreds of apples to survive. Many of these species are collectors – these animals eat apples once they fall off the trees, while some species can actually climb the trees to get food!

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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