What Animals Eat Flower Bulbs? (7 Examples + Pictures)

Last updated on October 10th, 2022

When spring and summer roll around, my friends come to me with a common problem, “I have a garden with flower bulbs but I don’t know which animal is responsible for the damages?”

Since I’m an ardent gardener, I know it’s essential to protect the bulbs as they hibernate during winter and burst into bloom during spring and summer.

Animals that eat flower bulbs:

  • Rabbits
  • Squirrels
  • Deer
  • Rats
  • Chipmunks
  • Voles
  • Raccoons

The beauty of flower bulbs is that they come in several colors and can last long. But the worst part would be when you have animals like rabbits and squirrels chewing on them and destroying your beautiful flower bulbs.

However, the question remains, what animals eat flower bulbs? When I began studying about them, I came across these animals that eat flower bulbs.

List of animals that eat flower bulbs

1. Rabbits

rabbit 29082021

These creatures are known to devour flower bulbs. If you love plants flowers like tulips, which grow from bulbs, you should protect them from rabbits.

If you have rabbits nesting in your garden or have them regularly visiting your garden, you must take precautions to protect your flower bulbs.

Rabbits are excellent burrowers, and they love to sink their teeth into fresh plants. Being from the rodent family, their front teeth continue to grow throughout their life.

Hence, rabbits tend to seek out hard and sometimes fleshy things with one of those items being flower bulbs.

2. Squirrels

squirrel eating flower bulb 29082021

Squirrels are another category of creatures that love eating flower bulbs. However, there are certain types of bulbs that squirrels will avoid.

For example, squirrels tend to avoid daffodils, hyacinths, scillas, and bulbs of other similar plants.

Squirrels have an excellent olfactory system, and they can smell the bulbs of most plants.

So if you leave the bulbs of your favorite summer plants in the garden during winter, chances are there that when spring comes, squirrels will dig these out.

If you want to protect the bulbs of flowers like tulips and crocus, then plant daffodils, garlic, and onions around these.

3. Deer

deer eating flower bulb 29082021

Deer love to eat flower bulbs, but it depends on the type of flower bulbs you plan to plant in your garden.

Expert gardeners have been known to mention that deer can devour a whole bed of tulip bulbs.

Deer tend to visit gardens at night, making it difficult for gardeners to keep an eye out for the animals.

But you can try to deer-proof your garden by putting up fences. You can also plant other bulbs that deer will avoid to prevent them from devouring the tulip bulbs.

You can also grow prickly or scented plants that deter deer from going close to the tulip bed.

You could also use other methods of protecting the bulbs like plants, garlic, and onion bulbs around the flower bulbs.

This would give you a chance to harvest a vegetable later on in the season and prevent the flower bulbs from being consumed by the deer.

4. Rats

rat sniffing hyacinth flower bulb 29082021

Rats love to eat flower bulbs of nearly all types of plants. If you enjoy planting plants like tulips, and crocus, you must take steps to protect these from rats since these two flower bulbs are high up their list of consumables.

There are very few flower bulbs that rats wouldn’t munch on which include alliums, squills, snowdrops, daffodils, and leucojums.

If you’re an ardent gardener, then you’ll have taken steps to protect your garden against rats or rodent infestation.

But it’s essential to take steps to protect your flower bulbs against any rat attack.

Palatable flower bulbs such as the crocus and tulips tend to attract rats, so it’s best to keep an eye out for any looming infestation.

If you think rats are attacking your flower bulbs, contact your nearest pest control service to prevent the infestation from spreading.

5. Chipmunks

chipmunk eating flower bulb 29082021

Chipmunks are excellent diggers, and they tend to store food for winter. If you plan to leave the flower bulbs in your garden during winter, it’s best to weigh them down under a net with a piece of wood or stick propping up the areas where the plants are growing.

This will prevent chipmunks from getting through to the flower bulbs. However, they can also consume the bulb underground which means that you’d have to plant unpalatable flower bulbs among the vulnerable ones to deter these rodents.

There are very few flower bulbs that chipmunks won’t eat. Chipmunks often remove the flower bulbs from their place to store these with their stash of nuts.

Thus, it’s necessary to protect your flower bulbs from chipmunks as well, and you can do this by putting up a net, spreading oyster shells, or using another deterrent to keep chipmunks away.

6. Voles

vole looking for food in garden 29082021

Voles are herbivorous animals and voracious eaters. Much like moles, they can dig up almost anything from the ground! They can also sniff out the scents of edible flower bulbs.

Being herbivores, bulbs of plants are quite delicious to voles, and there are very few bulbs that voles won’t eat.

If you find that the bed of bulbs you’ve planted has been dug up overnight, then the chances are that it’s the work of voles.

These tiny creatures have sharp teeth that can easily break into the outer shells of nuts and the bark of trees.

They can easily dig up the ground and eat into the bulbs of flowers. Voles have enormous appetites. Therefore they can dig up and consume an entire bed of flower bulbs in a single night.

7. Raccoons

raccoon digging for food in a garden 29082021

You wouldn’t normally associate raccoons with consuming flower bulbs.

But raccoons tend to dig up flower bulbs, not to destroy the bulbs but to eat the grubs and slugs surrounding the bulbs.

Raccoons are omnivores and forage for food. They aren’t usually drawn toward plant-based food.

But if they’ve been constantly digging up your flower bed, then it’s a clear sign that you have a bug infestation in your garden.

Getting rid of this infestation will reduce the raccoon’s attacks on the flower bulbs.

One of the methods of doing so would be to use the organic bug-controlling method, such as pest deterrents.

What eats flower bulbs?

The animals that eat flower bulbs are moles, raccoons, chipmunks, rats, deer, squirrels, voles, rabbits, and gophers. However, rabbits and deer are known for feeding on the stem when the spring season begins whereas mice, chipmunks, voles, and squirrels dig underground and begin eating from the root up.

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