What Animals Eat Tomatoes? (9 Examples With Pictures)

Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Humans aren’t the only ones that love this fruit, and if you’re wondering what animals eat tomatoes, you’ll soon learn that most of them are pests, as it’s very unlikely that an animal will come across tomatoes in the wild. When they do eat tomatoes, these animals usually have to break into your garden to find some!

Learn what animals eat tomatoes from the list below:

  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Deer
  • Groundhogs
  • Wild Boars
  • Chipmunks
  • Birds
  • 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

Just because they’re cute doesn’t mean that they’re not a threat…to your garden at least. These small animals eat tomatoes like crazy if they can get their paws on any. Defending against them can be difficult, as they can easily maneuver through fences.

Even more experienced gardeners that install fences can find rabbits burrowing through to their garden, which is why they’re a particularly annoying pest to deal with. Tomatoes are a great source of nutrients, and since they don’t grow in the wild, rabbits won’t hesitate to invade your garden and have a feast.

2. Raccoons

Photo: Neil McIntosh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Procyon lotor

Raccoons are possibly the most omnivorous animals in the world, since they’ll eat literally everything. They’re known as quite sneaky animals, and that’s with good reason – out of all animals that eat tomatoes, raccoons are the most dexterous ones.

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Climbing over the fence and avoiding traps is almost natural to them, as with time they’ve learned how to invade human establishments and steal food. In fact, stealing from us is one of their primary strategies when it comes to feeding!

Defending your garden against these animals can be very difficult, as they can dig, climb and squeeze through fences.

3. Squirrels

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

Scientific name (family): Sciuridae

Although they primarily feed on nuts, these tiny animals eat tomatoes too. If a squirrel spots tomatoes in your garden, you can almost guarantee that it will nibble at it.

Just like raccoons, climbing over fences isn’t a problem for them and they’ll gladly do it just to get a taste. In their world, tomatoes are a feast, yielding far more nutrients than nuts and keeping them satiated for a long time.

4. Deer

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

Scientific name (family): Cervidae

Deer won’t only eat tomatoes – they’ll eat other fruits, vegetables and flowers too. These animals don’t really get to choose when it comes to food, so they don’t have a problem jumping over your fence and eating your tomatoes.

In the wild, they can never find that food and because of a lack of natural nutrients, deer are always fighting for survival. However, they’re easy to defend against, as all you have to do is install a very tall fence that they can’t just jump over.

More experienced gardeners know that a 6-foot-tall fence will stop most deer from invading your garden, while keeping a dog there will help too.

5. Groundhogs

Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Marmota monax

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These rodents eat tomatoes very gladly, and they’re willing to eat them even if they’re not ripe! In the wild, they feed on grass and a selected few plants, so their menu is very limited.

However, they will gladly eat your tomatoes if they get the chance to. Luckily, they won’t eat the plant itself, as it’s no use for them. It still happens that they trample the entire plant since they’re so big and clumsy.

6. Wild Boars

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

Scientific name: Sus scrofa

The wild boar is a messy eater and a common problem for farmers. They’ll be happy to eat tomatoes and ruin entire fields of tomatoes if they get the chance. It’s also particularly difficult to defend against these animals.

They’re large and strong, so ripping holes in fences isn’t a problem for them. Then, they’ll move in a herd from one plant to the other, eating everything in their path and trampling everything else.

In comparison to other animals on this list, wild boars might be the most difficult to handle, since they won’t only eat everything you’ve made, they’ll also destroy anything that stands in their way to get to those tomatoes.

7. Chipmunks

Least chipmunk
Photo: U.S. Geological Survey / Flickr / CC0 1.0

Scientific name (family): Sciuridae

These animals, relatives to squirrels, are possibly even more of a pest when it comes to tomatoes. They’re going to eat them right off the vine, and they won’t hold back until they’ve eaten everything they can get their teeth on.

It’s also likely that they’ll ruin the entire crop not just by eating the fruits, but by ruining the plants with their excrement. Just like squirrels, fences won’t stop these small animals from getting to your garden and eating your tomatoes.

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This is why so many gardeners use animal repellents, since physical hurdles aren’t a problem for some species.

8. Birds

Tulsa bird
Photo: Phan Ly / Flickr / CC0 1.0

Scientific name (class): Aves

Most birds, excluding carnivorous species like eagles, are going to take a bite of your tomatoes if they spot them. Tomatoes are a great source of nutrients for them, and it’s almost impossible to stop them from getting to the tomatoes.

Unless you have the possibility of casting a large net over your entire garden, there’s nothing you can do to stop birds from flying in and eating your crops. To the common sparrow, for example, a single tomato is enough food to last them for days, so birds are never going to say no to these plants.

9. Rats

Photo: Sergey Yeliseev / Flickr / CC0 1.0

Scientific name (genus): Rattus

Just like raccoons, rats will eat anything and they’re not afraid of getting close to humans. Even though they prefer more nutrient-packed foods, eating tomatoes is still a great source of calories for them.

There’s very little you can do to stop rats from getting into your garden and you’re most likely going to encounter them as a pest at one point or another. Although small in size, they often move in numbers and they can destroy your crops in a matter of days.

To Finish

All animals that eat tomatoes are pests. It’s impossible for them to find this plant in the wild, and the only way they can get these fruits is by getting into your garden. Because of that, the battle between gardeners and pests is a constant one.

Wild boars can ruin entire fields of tomatoes if they can get to them, while raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks are species that can easily climb over the fences you put up and eat your food.

Animals like deer and groundhog are less likely to cause any trouble, since they’re not as agile and you can easily block them off with a fence.

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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