Squirrels are interesting creatures. They have some odd eating habits, and they actually eat a variety of foods that you may not expect.
While the average gardener may find the squirrel to be an annoying pest, they can be quite entertaining to watch. Squirrels are omnivores that will eat bugs and many common plants in your garden, however will squirrels eat tomatoes?
Squirrels do eat tomatoes found in the common garden. Squirrels will occasionally eat the entire tomato, however most of the time they will just take a few bites from many tomatoes and leave the rest behind. They may also pull the tomato off the vine to take with them to eat outside the garden where they feel safe.
Do Squirrels Eat Tomatoes On The Vine
As a gardener, when you walk out to check on your vegetables, you may find bite marks on the tomatoes. There are many culprits who could be eating the tomatoes.
You can usually get a good idea of the animal snacking on your tomatoes by the way they are eaten. Squirrels will eat tomatoes on the vine.
But what is so very frustrating about squirrels in your garden is that many times they will simply bite one tomato and move on to the next on the vine.
They can easily ravage an entire tomato plant in very little time.
Do Squirrels Eat Rotten Tomatoes
Squirrels usually don’t eat rotten tomatoes. The squirrel has a keen sense of smell, and they are able to find the ripe tomatoes while avoiding those that aren’t yet ready to eat.
Rotten tomatoes have a very strong smell which would likely deter most squirrels from snacking on them. If a squirrel was very hungry, however, they might choose a rotten tomato if other food sources were scarce.
Do Squirrels Eat Green Tomatoes
Yes, squirrels will occasionally eat green tomatoes. They tend to leave the tomatoes on the vine until they have ripened, but sometimes the temptation is too much, and the squirrels will take the tomatoes early.
They usually don’t eat the entire green tomato though. They may take a bite or two, then move on.
Do Squirrels Eat The Whole Tomato
There are some garden pests that will eat the entire tomato. You may have lovely tomato plants one evening, only to go out the next morning to find your tomatoes completely gone.
But this is usually not the work of a squirrel. Gardeners have found that squirrels like to take one or two bites from a ripe tomato, but they rarely finish the whole thing.
Sometimes, especially with cherry and grape tomatoes, the squirrel will actually pull the fruit off the vine to take it with them.
What Part Of The Tomato Do Squirrels Like Best
Squirrels prefer the fleshy exterior of the tomato. This is why many gardeners will often find their tomatoes with holes in them from squirrels taking a bite and then moving on to the next tomato.
Sometimes the squirrel will eat the entire fruit.
How Do Squirrels Eat Tomatoes
Squirrels have sharp teeth that are made for gnawing, so it’s no problem for them to bite through a juicy tomato. Think of how the squirrel is able to break open walnuts and acorns.
Those teeth are multipurpose to help the squirrel find all sorts of food. They are perfect for eating tomatoes and other soft fruits.
Squirrels may simply stand up to eat the tomatoes directly off the vine. They also sometimes pick the tomatoes to eat later.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Tomatoes
The squirrel is an animal that has a varied diet, much like humans. They enjoy ripe fruits and vegetables and can be quite the menace in your garden.
Squirrels have a strong sense of smell to help them survive. This means they can easily find food sources around your yard.
They’re also very quick, which means they can get your tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables without being noticed. Squirrels also have a strong survival instinct, so they will eat whatever is available when they are hungry.
Do Squirrels Eat Tomatoes At Night
Most squirrels are not nocturnal like many other small rodents. They are actually considered diurnal with sleep patterns similar to humans.
Squirrels are active during the daytime, especially during the morning and evening. If you find that your tomatoes are being eaten overnight, it’s not likely by any animal in the squirrel family.
Gray squirrels, fox squirrels, and chipmunks all tend to sleep through the night without raiding gardens or otherwise foraging for food in the dark.
Flying squirrels, on the other hand, are nocturnal. Tomatoes disappearing overnight could be eaten by deer, raccoons, or other nocturnal animals.
Are Tomatoes Harmful To A Squirrels
Tomatoes are not harmful to squirrels. They are full of vitamins and nutrients. Just like tomatoes are healthy for humans, they are also beneficial to squirrels.
Wild animals like the squirrel have an instinct that tells them what foods to eat. While they may not understand the nutritional value of specific foods, they usually gravitate towards foods that are good for them.
The squirrel likes tomatoes because they are tasty, readily available in most gardens, and safe to consume. The tomato plant is actually harmful to most animals.
Horn worms and other bugs will eat the entire plant, but mammals like the squirrel usually avoid toxic plants. The knowledge of what not to eat is passed down from mother to baby and is also partly instinctual.
How Many Tomatoes Will A Squirrel Eat
Squirrels can be greedy when it comes to food. They have a natural instinct to store food away for the winter.
Tomatoes may not be the best food for long-term storage, especially when compared to nuts and seeds that are normally stored by squirrels.
But the animal instinct can take over and cause the squirrel to take many more tomatoes than they could ever eat.
Will A Baby Squirrel Eat Tomatoes
The mother squirrel is tasked with teaching the baby squirrel what foods are safe to eat. So, if the mother squirrel eats tomatoes, she will likely pass that down to her offspring.
Once a squirrel finds a food source, like your vegetable garden, they will return frequently to eat what is available.
Squirrels will nurse their young for up to 3 months, so in that time period, the babies will have nothing but milk until the mother decides it’s time to wean them and introduce them to other foods.
Helpful Tips To Know About Squirrels Eating Tomatoes
- There are several ways to prevent squirrels from eating your tomatoes. Some gardeners prefer to enclose their garden area or to enclose individual plants with squirrel-proof caging. You can also use a spray to deter the squirrels. They don’t usually like the smell or taste of a spray made with chili peppers.
- Once squirrels find your tomato plants, they can be relentless. They will even use your garden space to hide food for the upcoming winter season. If you can cover most of your dirt with plants and reduce the area in which they have to hide their food supply, you can discourage them from ruining your vegetable garden.
- Squirrels will not only eat tomatoes on the vine, but they will also take them from the garden when they fall off the plant. It’s best to keep an eye on your tomatoes and remove the ripe ones every day to discourage squirrels, chipmunks, and other wildlife.
- Squirrels will also eat other fruits and vegetables in your garden. They enjoy squash, beans, and cucumbers. The mother squirrel, who can have anywhere from 3-15 babies, depending on the species, teaches her young which foods to eat.
Squirrels do eat tomatoes and other plants in your garden. They can easily destroy many tomatoes in very little time, and they often take bites from multiple fruits and vegetables without consuming the entire thing.
While squirrels can be amusing to watch, they can also be quite destructive. If squirrels are eating your tomatoes and other plants in your garden, you can take action to keep them away and protect your plants.