What Animals Eat Chestnuts? (11 Examples + Pictures)

Last updated on November 12th, 2022

What animals eat chestnuts? I’m sure this question has been on your mind or you wouldn’t be here right now, but look no further because you’re in the right place.

Suppose you have always associated chestnuts with being roasted on an open fire and consumed during Christmas. In that case, it will surprise you to learn that this nut is a favorite of humans and many animals.

Animals that eat chestnuts:

  • Squirrels
  • Foxes
  • Deer
  • Raccoons
  • Chipmunks
  • Voles
  • Black bears
  • Cattle
  • Badgers
  • Birds
  • Chickens

Since chestnuts are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it’s not only healthy for humans but for animals as well.

For example, if you have pets like squirrels or chipmunks, you can include chestnuts as a part of their diet. This nut can help your pets develop a strong and healthy immune system.

In the wild, too chestnuts are consumed by various animals, and some of these creatures are omnivores. Some of the animals that eat chestnuts are as follows:

List of animals that eat chestnuts:

1. Squirrels

squirrel eating chestnut 23012022

Squirrels are known to love nuts, and they hoard different types of them. These chestnuts are also collected by squirrels and hoarded by the creature for winter.

If you have a pet squirrel, then you can give it chestnuts. The primary reason why you should give chestnuts to your pet squirrel is that these nuts have a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

Along with that, chestnuts can be an excellent source of fiber for your pet. This can help your pet squirrel develop a robust digestive system.

2. Foxes

fox eating 23012022

Foxes are known to consume different types of food that are plant-based and animal-based. The common notion is that foxes are carnivores and hunt small animals.

But in reality, foxes are omnivores, and they love to eat different types of fruits like pears as well as nuts. Among them, foxes are known to eat chestnuts.

When bred in captivity, foxes are often given chestnuts to help them improve their immune system.

However, the chestnuts need to be peeled and cut into pieces before these can be given to foxes.

This is because the more rigid outer shell of the chestnut is quite challenging, and foxes cannot break it to access the nut inside. Therefore you need to remove the shell before giving a fox chestnut.

3. Deer

deer eating 23012022

Deer are known to consume several types of nuts, especially, Chinese chestnuts.

Deer are attracted to chestnuts primarily during fall and at the onset of winter, most of the vegetation on which deer survive is reduced significantly.

As a result, the creature is attracted to nuts found during winter, like chestnuts.

The nuts become an excellent source of nutrients for the deer when other food is scarce.

When deer are bred in captivity, they can be given different types of food, and deer keepers may feed deer chestnuts as a supplementary part of their diet.

Deer can be given chestnuts in their raw form, or you can boil and give the nuts. If you want to attract deer, you can plant a Chinese chestnut tree in your backyard.

4. Raccoons

raccoon eating 24102021

Raccoons are known for their voracious appetite and their ability to find food.

These creatures love ripe chestnuts, and they will eat the ones that fall on the ground. They will also forage for food in your garden and backyard.

When the raccoons can identify a suitable number of nuts that have fallen from the tree, they will be among the first foragers to find the nuts.

They are also quick to consume the nuts and if you want to protect your chestnut tree from raccoons, you need to install a fence. This will prevent the raccoons from gaining access to the nuts.

5. Chipmunks

chipmunk eating chestnut 23012022

Chipmunks like squirrels love to eat chestnuts and hunt for these nuts in the wild. When chestnuts become ripe, they burst out of their spiny shells and fall on the ground.

These nuts are then collected and hoarded by the creature in preparation for winter. Chipmunks are often known to collect more nuts than they are likely to consume during winter.

(Who can blame them though? It’s always better to be prepared for the unexpected.)

Chipmunks are not easy to domesticate, but if you have a chipmunk as a pet, you can give it raw chestnuts as part of its regular diet.

When chipmunks are kept in captivity, it is vital to give the creature food that provides them with a good supply of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

When you give chestnuts, you can be assured that the necessary nutrients are supplied to the creature.

6. Voles

vole eating chestnut 23012022

Voles are tiny mammals that belong to the rodent family. These creatures are known to be omnivores, and they can easily consume several types of nuts including almonds and chestnuts.

But the unusual thing about voles is that they will not just eat the chestnuts; they will eat the roots of the young plants as well.

So when you plant young chestnut trees, you need to have adequate protection around the young plants to protect them from a vole attack.

Voles can quickly burrow beneath the chestnut trees and chew on the roots. The creature can also consume the nuts that fall from the tree.

With their sharp teeth, voles can easily break the outer shell of the chestnuts to access the nut inside.

7. Black bears

black bear eating 23012022

Black bears are known to consume chestnuts. You will find that black bears can quickly identify the chestnuts when they ripen.

Bears can climb the chestnut trees to access the ripe nuts. Other than that, cubs of black bears are known to love chestnuts.

In the wild, bear cubs instinctively know that chestnuts can be delicious and can prove to be relatively healthy.

This helps the bear cubs find the chestnuts in the wild and eat these voraciously.

When bred in captivity, Black bears are given different types of food, and chestnuts are an essential part of their daily diet. These nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

When these creatures are bred in captivity, they are given a regular supply of chestnuts to help them build a robust immune system and digestive health.

8. Cattle

spotted cow 05032022

Chestnuts can be eaten by cattle.

You’ll find that cows actually enjoy eating chestnuts. In fact, they’re known to chew on them constantly when available. However, there is a slight risk that they may choke on the nut if they didn’t chew it enough.

On the other hand, cows are always chewing which makes the risk of this happening really low.

But a great side benefit of feeding cattle chestnut is based on the fact that it will not only improve the texture of the beef meat but also makes it rich in flavor. 

When feeding them this red-brown nut you don’t need to remove the hard outer shells because their strong jaws and teeth can easily break apart chestnuts thus making it easy for them to chew.

You can learn more about cows eating chestnuts here in this article that we wrote.

9. Badgers

badger 14012022

Badgers can eat chestnuts and they will use their sharp teeth to bite into them, peel off the skin, and access the nut inside.

Badgers are excellent scavengers and the creature is known for eating different types of food to satiate its appetite.

Even though badgers don’t go out searching for chestnuts, they will consume them when they are unable to find other food sources.

Still interested in learning more about badgers eating chestnuts? You can read more about it here – Do badgers eat chestnuts?

10. Birds

group of birds

Most birds do not have the ability to digest or process nuts properly. This means they will constantly pick at chestnuts in small amounts at regular intervals throughout the day.

The diet of wild birds living and foraging among the treetops includes chestnuts and nuts of all kinds along with fruits and seeds.

However, providing raw nuts in moderation to captive birds can contribute significantly to their well-being and overall health.

Interested in learning more about birds eating chestnuts, you can read more about it here – Do birds eat chestnuts?


chicken eating 07052022

The minerals sodium and potassium found in chestnuts are essential for the growth and development of chickens.

Even though chestnuts are healthy for chickens, it’s important to know that the hard shell and spiky outer layer need to be removed and boiled before they can be edible for these birds.

All in all, chickens can be given a variety of food, and there are different types of nuts that you can feed them.

If you are interested in learning more about chickens eating chestnuts, you can read more about it here – Do chickens eat chestnuts?

What eats chestnuts?

squirrel eating chestnut 23012022

The animals that eat chestnuts are squirrels, foxes, deer, raccoons, chipmunks, voles, black bears, cattle, badgers, and even birds. Even though chestnuts may be hard to find, these creatures have their way of locating and consuming these rare nuts.

Scroll to Top