Last updated on February 5th, 2022
While you might be thinking that orchids are beautiful flowers that are subjectively used to adorn your home or environment, some animals regard orchids as edible delicacies rather than their decorative purposes.
Like humans, animals are evolutionarily designed to get the best nutrients out of the foods they eat, which is why animals adapt to their food habits easily. Here is a list of animals that like to eat orchids.
Animals that eat orchids:
- Orchid Mantis
Here are 10 animals that eat orchids.
Most of these animals are usually farm creatures or wanderers mostly found in the forest.
We all know that in the immature stages, moths and butterflies are known as caterpillars. Caterpillars not only eat orchids but can cause significant damage to the plants.
While the smaller caterpillars eat through the veins of the leaves and petals, the larger ones eat these leaves and petals of the flowers from the outside.
In fact, as one of the ‘chewing insects,’ they can be voracious feeders. As a result, they cause huge damage to the foliage and the flowers of an orchid plant in a relatively short period.
Usually, caterpillars make it to the plants as the adult females usually lay their eggs on the host plant itself.
So, naturally, these caterpillars begin feeding on these ‘host plants’ immediately upon hatching and continue right up to their pupal stage.
Although iguanas hide in trees and other plants, tall grass, and bushes, it is not uncommon to spot an iguana sunbathing on various outdoor surfaces or simply running around.
They are herbivorous creatures and prefer to eat various fruits, roots, leaves, plants, and flowers. However, orchids are a true delight for them. Orchid leaves are rich in water, mineral, and nutrients.
Whenever an iguana comes into contact with an orchid, it will be long before the plant becomes the lizard’s next tasty meal.
A curiously funny thing to know is that iguanas will even relish any orchid flower with equal aplomb. So please make sure that you take ample precautions to protect your orchids from iguanas.
One ubiquitous orchid pest is the slug. These slimy creatures can run havoc upon your orchids. No part of the plant is safe from slugs and it is at night especially that they loot and plunder these beautiful flowering plants.
If you do not take immediate action, these slugs can infest and kill your entire collection of orchids in no time at all.
Wherever you grow your orchids, these pests are bound to be somewhere close by, waiting to make their move.
Imagine what can happen if a single adult slug lays its eggs – about 40 of them – in or near your orchids, and then they hatch. Now imagine if just 10 of these slugs when adults start laying eggs as well.
Surely you are getting the horrific picture I am trying to paint. So do take care of those precious orchids.
Though some orchids are known for their hardiness, they are not strong against insects, particularly aphids. These pests are tenacious at sucking orchids.
They attach themselves to the underside of the orchid leaves and then begin sucking on the sap for essential nutrients.
Where there is new foliage and buds, these aphids will rapidly multiply at those spots. Soon your orchids will display curled yellow leaves.
These pests are more dangerous in that they carry viruses that may harm your orchids permanently.
However, during the early stages of affliction by these pests, normal soap and water may be used to rectify the situation and avert much damage at all.
So please take precautions as early as possible so that your precious plants aren’t affected by these pests.
Don’t worry if a macaw finds those orchids beautiful as you do. They aren’t harmful to these large parrots.
They usually nibble on orchid plants as a means of keeping themselves entertained for the most part.
However, your pet macaws may ingest some of the foliage of your in-house orchids, which is a tad problematic.
Moreover, you really wouldn’t want to come home and see your favorite bloom defoliated, would you?
In the wild, orchids root themselves to branches of trees. And macaws perch in those same trees.
So it is only natural that, at times, they nip a little at these orchids. Nevertheless, orchids are hardly ever poisonous or harmful to macaws.
If you grow your orchids indoors or on your windowsills, they can still be afflicted with snails. This happens mostly because those orchids were originally being nurtured in some greenhouse.
It is within the greenhouse that snails and orchids come in contact for the first time.
Once they reproduce enough, they may cause absolute havoc on your orchids, whether outdoors, indoors, or on your windowsills and raised plant platforms that you keep on your decks.
Humidity is the main condition that snails and orchids love alike. These snails will wait for nighttime because it is the best time for them to make those holes in the leaves of your precious plants.
The main damage they do is to the roots. So do take all the precautions you can to save your orchids from these pests.
7. Orchid Mantis
While the orchid mantis is a beautiful little thing, it is a master of disguise that uses its shape and attractive, flowery colors to lure its prey while fooling potential predators.
Predominantly found in Malaysia, these sublime creatures change their colors within just a few days, based on their surroundings’ humidity and light conditions.
This color change is also affected by the type of orchids in their vicinity. At times, especially when they are empty of any food, they take a nibble at the nectar within their namesake (read ‘orchid’) flowers, but only a small, almost invisible nibble.
Lizards and geckos will thrive on your orchids. They usually strike at the roots of these beautiful plants.
Sometimes they will eat the flowers, even the unopened bloom as well. They usually bite holes into these flowers and plants, at times causing irreparable damage to these plants.
What truly happens is that these lizards go near these plants to prey on the insects devouring those plants.
When eating them, these lizards may bite off a part of the bloom more often than not. Once they taste the nectar and the juicy plant parts, they tend to nibble at them every now and then.
Moths take over the shift for pollination. Since moths are typically one of the animals that eat nectar, it stands to reason that they will go for orchids because of the attractive color and great copious dilute nectar reserves hidden deep within them.
Additionally, they usually prefer the clusters of flowers that provide a good landing platform and which remain open for a longer time. All these specifications are easily found in orchids.
That is why we can find so close a relationship between moths and orchids. They are interdependent.
Moths get the food that they need from these flowers. And the pollen from these orchid flowers is transferred onto flowers of other orchid plants when these moths hover onto them.
Squirrels are voracious eaters that munch on so many things that it is difficult for us to list them within so short a topic.
However, if given the scope, squirrels will love to eat orchid blooms any day. Unfortunately, they will not eat the seed, root, or stem (maybe they’re bitter, ah well, to each their own).
And when they have had their fill, they may even uproot the plants indiscriminately. They are like vermin to any orchid garden.
So while you still have time, take precautions to protect your plants lest they be mauled beyond repair by these furry little creatures. So do begin to take care of those orchids now.
The animals that eat orchids are caterpillars, iguanas, slugs, aphids, macaws, snails, orchid mantis, lizards, moths, and squirrels. However, the orchid plant isn’t a part of the daily diet for most animals but when other food sources are unavailable, they’ll nibble on orchids if it crosses their paths.