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What animals eat tomatoes in garden: Protect your garden from unwanted tomato eaters

Are you loving growing tomatoes in your garden, but every now and then unwanted tomato eaters pop up? If you want to know what animals eat tomatoes in garden, then you are in the right place.

Animals that eat tomatoes in garden include the likes of birds, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and more. Humans aren’t the only species that loves delicious tomatoes.

In this article, you will get to know all about what animals eat tomatoes in garden, how to protect your garden from tomato eaters, and a lot more. Continue reading to know all the answers.

Animals that love eating tomatoes 

One of the most fun and delicious plants that you can grow is a tomato. These are very attractive, delicious, and highly nutritious. However, humans aren’t the only species to find tomatoes a delicious snack. Tomatoes have natural sugars in their skin and pulp, making them irresistible for tomato eaters. There are many animals and unwanted garden visitors who love tomatoes. They cannot resist when they see your hard work and effort in growing red, juicy tomatoes. Luckily, for you, there are many ways you can stop unwanted animals from infesting your garden and eating tomatoes. 

Whichever method you go for, never use harsh chemicals for keeping your garden and plants safe. There is no need to douse food or plants in insecticides. The list of animals that love eating tomatoes is fairly long. All of these animals have a different way of enjoying tomatoes. Without further ado, let’s know what animals eat tomatoes in garden.

What animals eat tomatoes in garden?

Chipmunks

Chipmunks can be quite adorable participants in your backyard wildlife. However, they can pose a lot of issues when gardening. Chipmunks tend to be omnivorous, but they love seeds and nuts. They absolutely love eating tomatoes. Chipmunks will be very common if your garden happens to be close to a wooden area. They prefer making homes in leaf piles and fallen logs.

As they’re agile jumpers and climbers, they can be quite difficult to control, and they easily jump over many fences. They normally feed in the early morning and love eating tomatoes. They prefer to love the main part of the tomatoes alone. It can be quite frustrating if you have spent a lot of time and effort growing tomatoes.

Squirrels

Squirrels, similar to chipmunks, are agile gymnasts, and they can maneuver through the air and up your tomatoes with ease. These omnivores also prefer to eat early morning, and they cannot help but steal a few bites off your tomatoes

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You can protect your precious tomatoes by putting a mesh. Placing a mesh cage over your tomato plants will be similar to how you squirrel-proof bird feeders. This method is recommended only if squirrels become a big enough issue. Placing a fake owl or snake could also do the trick. Squirrels can easily be acclaimed to anything, which means you should change the type of animal and position frequently.

Rabbits

Rabbits are one of the most common animals that love eating tomatoes in your garden. These cute little pets are neat eaters as they rip off chunks of leaves without leaving anything behind. They are known for eating the seeds and fruits as well, usually during the night, early morning, and evenings.

what animals eat tomatoes in garden - rabbit in garden

Rabbits do not prefer traveling far from their burrow in search of food. If you suspect that rabbits are eating your tomatoes, you should look around for potential rabbit homes. If rabbits continue being an issue, looking for fences or using ivory soap will be a popular remedy.

Birds

Depending on your location and environment, local birds could also be one of the culprits. If you see top-down damage on tomatoes high on the vine, then birds are the likely culprit. The pecking damage can be quite distinctive, as it’s a deep gauge that looks like it comes from the beak. 

A common way of discouraging this practice would be by placing a mesh or net over the top. By offering more bird-friendly plants in the garden like marigolds, sunflowers, or other local seed-bearing plants, you will be able to encourage diversity in your backyard. Moreover, it will also increase pollination and encourage your precious tomatoes to remain safe.

Deer

Deer are normally voracious eaters, and tomatoes in backyard gardens are common targets. They will graze on every part of the tomato plant, and they will leave very little behind. For keeping the energy up, deer have to eat as much as 7 pounds of tomatoes per day.

It can be rare to see deer eating tomatoes in gardens, but their tracks can tell an entirely different story. 

If you’re worried that deer might be eating your tomatoes, strong-smelling deterrents in your garden might be an issue. Strong-smelling deterrents around the garden might stop them for a while. It’s a short-term fix as deer tend to be surprisingly intelligent as they become accustomed to unusual smells quick. The best deterrent would be a dog. Both the barking and scent will be a great way of ensuring deer never return to eat your tomatoes.

Groundhogs

Groundhogs are among the messiest eaters of garden pests. They can easily trample tomatoes in the process of seeking out fruits and branch out into peas, beans, and corn. They’ll end up being a common nuisance as they can tear down your entire garden if left unchecked.

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Groundhogs are very difficult to control when they start damaging your plants and plow through your tomatoes. They normally live in burrows with mounds at the entrances of the holes and come out at night. They are very wily and fast underground, so the only viable option is to locate and trap them.

Raccoons 

Raccoons are largely considered to be the most intelligent among the garden pests who love eating tomatoes. They are very difficult to catch and control, as raccoons happen to be avid climbers with dexterous hands. If you’re building a fence to combat raccoons, then it must be 4 feet tall or more. It should also be buried in the ground for preventing them from digging holes in yards.

what animals eat tomatoes in garden - raccoon eating tomato

The best way of protecting your tomatoes from raccoons would be to be preemptive. You must stop them from nesting in and around your garden in the first place. If you place pet food indoors and keep garbage cans tightly covered, you can keep them away. These practices will go a long way in discouraging raccoons from wandering too close to your garden. It’ll also stop them from being reliant on your tomatoes for easy food.

Voles

Voles can end up causing considerable damage to your tomatoes, as they’re a common pest for backyard gardeners. Voles are a common culprit if entire plants get served. They love chewing through the stems, leaves, and fruit portions of tomatoes. Major evidence of voles would be narrow grooves if the leaves have imprints of animals with two front teeth.

The best way of discouraging voles would be by destroying the local tunnels. They normally stay hidden in leaves or grassy patches near the garden. The positive aspect of voles is that they end up getting controlled quickly. They attract hawks and owls, which eventually keeps their population in control. 

Stray cats

Stray cats are very opportunistic, and they end up feeling hungry from time to time. Cats might be an unlikely name, but even they love nibbling at your tomatoes. Cats will not only eat your tomatoes, but they’ll also ruin your garden with urine and feces. It would be smart to keep an eye out for cats and ensure that they don’t come near your tomatoes. 

How to know which animals are guzzling on your tomato plants?

Most animals are very slick when they’re nibbling at your tomatoes. It is common to know that your tomatoes are being eaten, but not know who is responsible for that. Instead of sitting by your garden and waiting for the culprit to show up, you can use a trail camera. Using a camera to record the culprit will give you a lot of details. For starters, you’ll see which animal is responsible, while you’ll also know which direction/area they’re coming from. Most cameras come with great night vision. This will help you know if a nocturnal animal has been nibbling at your tomatoes.

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The biggest hint that your tomatoes are being eaten would be if there are half-eaten tomatoes lying around. You can also identify the culprits by looking at the footprints left behind. Some of them even leave footprints behind, while some leave feces behind, which can be a crucial detail. While their footprints might be hard to spot in a luscious garden, if you have clay soil or wet soil, it can be easy to see their tracks.

How to protect your tomato plants from unwelcome animals?

You can try going for raised beds as it’ll keep unwanted animals from eating tomato plants. Raised beds that are 18-inches or higher will be difficult for animals to overcome. It would also be a smart idea to have a few inches of wood plans below the soil level. This way, the animals will not be able to burrow under the raised beds. You can even lay down a barrier of heavy-duty hardware cloth or wire mesh below raised beds. This will prevent animals from burrowing under the boundary and into your garden. 

what animals eat tomatoes in garden - fence around tomato plants

In case you have limited space, you can grow tomatoes in large pots. This will make the tomatoes too high for animal pests. Another positive would be that you can place the tomato pots on patios, balconies, or other areas where animals cannot reach. Rabbits, deer, raccoons, and more tend to avoid being close to humans or areas frequented by pets. You can even place the garden beds near your house or in the vicinity of motion lights. This will scare off the unwanted tomato eaters.

Another great way of protecting your tomatoes from unwanted animals would be to use animal deterrent spray. You can even use bird netting or liquid fences around your tomato plants. Sometimes, the best thing that you can do to keep animals from eating your tomatoes is to build a fence. The fence will protect your plants against most types of unwanted animals. For keeping naughty rabbits out, the fence will have to be below the soil level and have gaps that aren’t bigger than 1-2 inches. For keeping deer out, the fence should be 8 feet tall or more.  

Conclusion

Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about what animals eat tomatoes in garden, how to know the culprits, and how to protect your tomatoes. It can get quite frustrating when your hard work and efforts get eaten up by unwelcome animals. There are many animals who love eating tomatoes such as rabbits, deer, birds, squirrels, and more. Luckily for you, there are several ways you can prevent animals from coming into your garden and nibbling on your tomatoes. Taking preemptive measures will be best. You can use strong-smelling repellents, fake snakes, or fences to keep unwanted animals away.

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