What Animals Eat Corn? 9 Species Examples (Pictures)

Wild boars standing in mud
Photo: Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Humans aren’t the only species to eat corn. Farmers particularly worry what animals eat corn since some of them will often invade a corn field and eat as much as they can. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at all the wild animals that eat corn.

Take a look at what animals eat corn below:

  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Deer
  • Wild Mice
  • Quail
  • Wild Boars
  • Wild Geese
  • Bears
  • Wild Turkeys

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

1. Raccoons

Photo: Neil McIntosh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Procyon lotor

Raccoons are animals that will eat literally anything to survive. Because of this trait, they often wander into human habitat and if you leave some corn on the porch – they’ll definitely eat it.

Not only that, but they will eat raw, uncooked corn, straight from the fields if they can get some. Luckily, they aren’t real pests since they can’t eat much, not to mention that corn has very little nutritional value for them, so they focus on other foods.

2. Squirrels

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

Scientific name (family): Sciuridae

Squirrels are quite possibly the most famous nut collectors in the world, but they’re also small animals that eat corn. A squirrel will gladly eat corn, which is why corn fields near forests are often invaded by these little creatures.

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Similar to the raccoon – a squirrel can’t eat too much. What they do is stuff their cheeks full of corn and carry it to the hole in the tree trunk where they live.

3. Deer

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

Scientific name (family): Cervidae

These large animals travel in herds and they can pose a big problem to farmers! Deer will gladly eat corn if they can safely get to a corn field. In that case they’ll trample a lot of corn plants, resulting in bad crops for the farmer.

There is a bright side to this – these animals are incredibly alert. They won’t approach a field of corn if they hear machinery or any other loud sounds. Deer are so careful that they might stay away from corn fields for good, even if there’s no sound to scare them off, just because they’re used to the noise.

4. Wild Mice

Wild mouse held in hand
Photo: HerPhotographer / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name (genus): Apodemus

There’s a stark difference between house mice and wild mice. Even though both of these small animals eat corn, wild mice depend on it. They most often live in burrows, near or in corn fields.

With their innate climbing abilities, reaching the corn on top of the crops isn’t a problem for them, but they will eat more than corn itself – if food is scarce, wild mice will start eating the plant itself.

5. Quail

Rock bush quail
Photo: Koshy Koshy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (order): Galliformes

Quail is one of the most prominent birds that eat corn. These birds travel in flocks and they’ll gladly pick on any corn that’s fallen to the ground, which doesn’t make them much of a threat to farmers, since they don’t eat corn from the crops.

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Other than corn, they’ll feed on seeds and nuts, even worms if possible. Hunters often use corn fields as their primary hunting grounds, since these birds often dwell there, feeding.

6. Wild Boars

Wild boars standing in mud
Photo: Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Sus scrofa

If you’re wondering what animals eat corn the most – wild boars are the answer. These animals are without a doubt the biggest threat to corn farmers. They move in small herds, they’re very strong, and unfortunately – they’re very hungry.

An adult wild boar needs at least four thousand calories each day to survive, which is twice as much as the average human. To achieve this, they’ll often mow the corn fields down with brute strength and eat corn right off. Many farmers need to fence the field off to protect themselves from the boars.

7. Wild Geese

Canada geese
Photo: Chris Sorge / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name (family): Anatidae

Wild geese are another species of bird that’ll gladly eat corn. These animals need a lot of calories to successfully migrate every year. However, they’re not much of a problem, as they usually eat corn that’s fallen on the ground.

Additionally, corn isn’t the primary focus of these animals. They focus on water plants, but it’s also possible to catch a goose eating a small fish, although that is rare.

8. Bears

Photo: Andrew Nicholson / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Scientific name (family): Ursidae

Bears are omnivores – they’ll eat meat, plants, fruit and even seeds. Corn isn’t off the menu either. Although it’s not their primary source of calories, bears are more than willing to eat it if food becomes scarce.

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Polar bears don’t come in contact with corn in the wild, but it’s possible for grizzly bears and black bears to stumble upon corn fields. They, however, need many calories to survive, so they’ll eat the entire plant too.

9. Wild Turkeys

Wild turkey
Photo: Alan Vernon / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Meleagris gallopavo

The last entry on our list, the wild turkey will eat as much corn as it can fit in its stomach. These birds are foragers – meaning that they collect food, instead of hunting it.

A wild turkey will eat corn, but also nuts, seeds, worms, snails and insects. They’re very attracted to corn fields, picking them off from the ground, so hunters often roam those areas in search of turkey.

To Finish

Many wild animals eat corn as a last resort, like the bear, but to others – it’s a full-course meal. Squirrels, mice and wild boars are three species that definitely deserve to be mentioned in this regard, as they’re often eating corn in large amounts.

Some of these species, once again wild boars, but also deer, can cause problems to local corn farmers as they often destroy the crops. It’s also a source of food to many birds, with turkeys and quail particularly enjoying it.

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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