For some people, growing tomatoes in their garden are more trouble than it’s worth. Tomato plants are large and require lots of water, pruning, and attention to thrive.
As a plant, tomatoes are high in carbohydrates and low in protein. As such, they’re not as attractive to animal predators as other fruit; however, there are some animals that do eat tomatoes.
Squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, groundhogs, raccoons, deer, and birds are among the creatures that like ripe tomatoes almost as much as humans.
If you have a tomato garden that isn’t well shielded, you may regret it someday. Why? Because it is not only about planting trees but also about protecting them.
You may see your farm full of tomatoes one day and bare stalks the next day. There are a few animals that love tomatoes and can leave your garden empty. So, it would help if you had a good focus on protecting.
Here, I will show you what animals eat tomatoes and how you can keep them away from your plantation. Keep reading to make a good profit from your tomato garden without any substantial loss.
Animals that Eat Tomatoes
Tomatoes are not poisonous, so it’s natural to wonder which critters out there might be munching on your beloved tomatoes without your permission.
The truth is, not many animals eat tomatoes, whether they’re fresh from the vine or off the bush. However, there are some select few who do enjoy the tomato as a snack and even as part of their regular diet.
I’ve researched a lot to find out which animals have a hint of weakness in tomatoes. Also, good observation and real-life experience lead me to write about it.
Here, I will show you a group of animals that eat tomatoes you didn’t know.
Chipmunks are adorable, and we love seeing them climb trees in our backyard. Yet, if you have a tomato plantation near a wooded place, they can be a big problem.
Chipmunks are usually omnivorous animals. They eat both nuts and seeds. In the morning, they come to eat and finish tomatoes except for the main parts. They leave the remaining food on the plant for further growth.
And as they are swift and expert at jumping, they can cross any fence. And it is so frustrating that you won’t catch them after a second glance.
If you can, find where chipmunks live. They usually make homes at fallen logs and leaf piles. Remove their shack as humanly as possible.
Squirrels are almost like chipmunks. They are also rapid and maneuver enough to finish your plant. They are also known for early stealing. You may see a few bites on your sweet tomatoes in the morning because of them.
You can place fake animal sculptures to frighten the squirrels. However, it won’t be a long-term solution because squirrels are so acclimated that they frequently cause problems.
Setting up a mesh or cages over your plantation is the permanent solution for it. Or perhaps you may have to change the sculptures frequently. Snakes or owls sculptures sometimes do the trick.
3. Local Birds
If you see a top-down defect on your tomatoes, it’s sometimes birds to blame. Local birds often try to get a taste of your tomatoes. Yet, they are the culprit depending on your location.
You can’t plant a garden under a shelter. Hence, there always will be birds. When you see the deep gauge or pecking damage on your tomatoes, you can assume it came from the beak.
You can’t keep your garden under a shelter, but you can set a net over it. Especially for birds, it’s a better solution.
Mockingbirds, pigeons will eat the ripe tomato. while sparrows eat both green and ripe tomatoes.
Rats are night hunters. They move around the side of a raised bed planter or alongside the edge of your garden shed. When they come for your tomatoes, they leave excrement. You’ll find rat droppings alongside the trail that they use to reach your plantation.
You can use poisons to get rid of them. But it may trouble you with bad smells. So, you can use trap as well. This way, no rat will be killed. You can trap them and leave them somewhere else in the distance.
If you are in a place where groundhogs are common to see, then your tomato farm is in danger. They not only eat tomatoes but can surprise you by leaving a complete mess up.
Groundhogs are known as the messiest eaters of the garden. They trample the plants to seek more fruits, and if you don’t keep your garden under notice, they can tear down the entire garden.
Groundhogs are hard to control. They live in a mound hole and can underground so fast in a blink. The only solution to get rid of them is making traps. Your best course is to catch them with a professional and leave them somewhere else. Make sure they are getting no harm.
Rabbits are one of those common animals who eat tomatoes. They are fast, stubborn, and regular customers of your garden.
However, rabbits are clean eaters, as they don’t leave any jagged edges in tomatoes. Yet, they will frequently visit your garden and finish all tomatoes within a few days. Also, they eat seeds as well. In the early morning or evening, even at night, they come to eat.
Rabbits don’t go a long way to eat. If you suspect them, at first confirm their home is nearby. And if you found their shack, set up an electric rabbit fence in your garden. The equipment gives shocks but doesn’t hurt rabbits.
A backyard tomato garden is an easy target for deer. They are voracious and eat the whole fruit and leave tiny behind. And to feel their appetite, deer need 7 pounds a day. You can imagine how it will cost you if they target your garden.
So, if your location is where deer roam everywhere, you should keep an eye on them. Noticing the vanish of tomatoes, think about the strong-smelling deterrents around your garden for protection from deer.
Although, deer are so clever that they can find out the real cause of the unusual smell. And gradually, they may get accustomed to it. So, you can pet a dog for the permanent solution. Dogs barking and smelling frighten the deer, and they may never come back for your tomatoes.
Voles are a common headache for gardeners. As they love to chew both stems and leaves, you can easily suspect them seeing any of these signs.
Another thing is once you see the narrow grooves on leave, you can presume it comes from the front teeth of the voles.
The best way to get rid of voles is to locate their living tunnel and destroy it. But always keep in mind that they shouldn’t get hurt.
Raccoons are also another problem for your tomato garden. They are intelligent, swift, and eat tomatoes a lot. They are pretty good at climbing and stealing fruits from the garden.
To keep them away from your plantation, you have to set fences. Fences must be four feet tall. Also, raccoons dig holes in the yard. You have to take a look at this issue carefully.
The best way to keep raccoons out of your territory is to prevent them from making homes around your garden. Put the garbage can undercover and your inside food protected to keep the raccoons away. Thus they won’t be any longer dependent on neighbors for food. And you can get relief by saving your tomato plants.
9. Stray cats
Stray cats are the very unusual culprit. They don’t eat tomatoes though they can leave a complete mess up with urine. Also, they tear up gardens for playing purposes.
On the other hand, you may find stray cats chasing mice or other little animals in your garden. Don’t be happy seeing that cause you may discover your plants out of their roots.
To get rid of stray cats, you can set up cages. Or a pet dog is also a solution. But cages are a better option because the dog can also demolish a garden.
You may never have thought about it, but chickens are also to be blamed for the damage to your tomato. If they are roaming around your property, keep an eye on them. They like to bite everywhere, and before you notice, they can cause damage to the tomatoes and plants.
Fences can’t protect tomatoes from chickens because chickens can fly. Setting up nets or cages is the solution here.
Though they eat an array of fruits and vegetables, skunks are especially fond of tomatoes. Many pet owners who grow tomato plants in their yards often find their fruits scattered around by hungry skunks.
They can’t stand bananas though, so you may want to consider planting one near your garden if you worry about having these furry thieves poach your prized produce.
Bears are voracious eaters, especially in late summer when they’re gorging on salmon before hibernation.
They’ll eat up to 20 pounds of food a day. While they may snack on a tomato or two if it’s available, bears don’t have strong enough teeth to deal with a full-sized tomato. So if you see bear eating tomatoes, consider yourself lucky!
One of these animals is the pig. Pigs are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and meat. They are also considered domestic animals because people have tamed them so they can use them for their own purposes.
They might not enjoy fresh tomatoes straight off the vine, but dried tomatoes are another story. And if pigs had their way, they’d be chowing down on green tomatoes or tomato blossoms as well.
What animals eat tomato plant leaves?
While many animals eat tomatoes, only a few like to munch on tomato plant leaves. Woodpeckers are one of these few. Other animals that enjoy eating tomato plant leaves include rabbits, squirrels, and rats.
These small creatures nibble away at your plants when they’re in their juvenile form. Once they reach adulthood.
However, most will steer clear of tomato plant leaves due to their bitter taste and texture. This is probably why you see more damage near ground level than higher up.
What Is Eating My Tomato Plants At Night?
For centuries, gardeners have been asking themselves, What is eating my tomato plants at night?
Depending on where you live, it could be anything from squirrels to deer to raccoons. Knowing what animals eat tomatoes will help you plan your landscaping accordingly.
However, Snails, slugs, hornworms, cutworms, etc can destroy the tomato garden.
How Can You Protect Tomatoes From These Animals
We’ve given different solutions for each animal above. But what else can you do to get rid of all of them at once? Here are the three lasting ways you can follow.
Try a raised bed:
Anything that holds the shape of your plantation and keeps the soil in a boundary is called a raised bed. Woods, concrete, bricks, stones are used to make it. You can even use a container if you want. All you have to look for is the boundary that will keep your plantation in between.
An ideal raised bed should be 18 inches high. And it will be wise if you 6 inches wood planks underneath the soil. This way, you can prevent small animals from making tunnels. Then if you can put nets over it, your fruits will ultimately be safe.
And, you can also lay down wire mesh below the raised bed. It will give you sure protection from the borrowing of pests.
Using pots is the safest way to grow tomatoes. You can place it on your balconies, roofs, or anywhere you want. The most valuable benefits of using pots are, you can keep your tomatoes protected from animals.
Animals that eat tomatoes don’t go too close to people. If you use pots, you can always keep them anywhere near your house. And you can arrange a lighting setup over it. It will surely scare off the animal and keep them away.
Make a fence:
Fences are the best solution to keep your tomato garden safe. A few people consider it mandatory.
When building up a fence, make sure the gap of it is no more than 1 inch. Otherwise, you may stop some livestock but can’t prevent little creatures like rats or squirrels. And the fence should be set up deep in the soil.
To prevent relatively big animals like goats and deer, make a fence that is 8 feet tall. And if you’re concerned too much about birds, put a net over your garden.
Having a protective garden can always give you sound sleep. On the other hand, if your protection is weak, you may face a significant loss.
So, keep in mind what animals eat tomatoes and make your tomatoes safe from them. A protected garden can grow a more significant number of fruits than other gardens that are left unchecked.