Last updated on September 18th, 2022
Do you have strawberry plants in your backyard that fills the air with a lovely fragrance and brightens up your home garden? We know you just can’t wait to have a heavenly strawberry dessert after the harvesting is done!
However, do you know that we’re not the only ones who love to snack on strawberries?
They’re numerous animal species that love these mouthwatering red berries too! And that’s why you may often find your berries half-eaten or drilled in a particular fashion.
But it’s time to find out which wildlife may be the culprit in eating your strawberries.
Animals that eat strawberries:
- Guinea Pigs
Below we list the common animals that snack on strawberries and a few tips on how you can protect your crop.
Table of Contents
- 11 common animals that eat strawberries!
- What animals eat strawberry plants?
- What animals eat strawberry leaves?
- What animals eat strawberries at night?
- FAQ Roundup
11 common animals that eat strawberries!
We’ve all seen these tiny creatures nibbling on various things throughout the day. Yes, squirrels are highly energetic, and they eat fruits with great enthusiasm.
Squirrels love to eat all kinds of berries that they’ll find, such as strawberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, blackberries, and many others.
Do you know that squirrels also love feeding on other fruits like bananas, melons, and cherries?
The sugar levels in strawberries rise about 10% when ripe so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that squirrels are attracted to this fruit.
As the strawberry reaches the peak level upon ripening, the cell walls begin to break down which allows this fruit to become juicy.
It’s no wonder that this fruit is targeted by these fruit-eating animals since it’s so soft and sweet.
As we all know, squirrels live on trees for most of their day and feed on various plant crops.
These rodent species can also find your garden or backyard an excellent place to search for food.
Raccoons are omnivores that are notorious for eating and damaging sweet corn crops.
However, these species don’t spare other plants like strawberries, melons, potatoes, peas, and tree fruits.
Gardeners often find it challenging to keep these creatures away from their crops.
Here’s a tip. You can use repellent sprays as they provide some protection. But you may need to apply these sprays frequently to effectively keep them away from your favorite crops.
Also, you must apply the repellant more often after watering your plants or after rainfall.
If you use drip irrigation and live in dry climates, repellent sprays would be highly effective.
You can also use a wildlife net that’s animal friendly to wrap around your strawberry plant which will help to keep these animals at bay.
But you might be thinking to yourself “won’t this net damage the strawberry crop?”
Well, in this case, you can use 2 or 3 plant pots that are 10-20 inches high (depending on how big your plant is) with drainage holes on the sides.
Turn the plant pots upside down and place them over your strawberry crops and then you could place the netting over the pots giving your plant ample space to grow while preventing animals from eating it.
To prevent raccoons and squirrels from crawling underneath, you can place rocks alongside the edges of the netting to hold it down.
If you want to attract chipmunks to your garden, you could put out some strawberries, but putting out the fruits themselves is not advisable because they don’t fall under the standard foods that chipmunks eat in the wild.
Nevertheless, chipmunks are opportunistic feeders and will consume anything edible that crosses their path.
Chipmunks are the type of animals that will seek out food during the day because doing so at night limits their visibility and works as a disadvantage.
But a quick bite of this juicy red fruit, who can blame them?
After reaching its peak level of ripeness, the strawberry’s cell walls begin to break down, which allows it to become juicy.
It’s no wonder that this fruit is targeted by these fruit-eating animals since it’s so soft and sweet.
Want to know more about chipmunks eating strawberries? Check out our in-depth article.
How can we forget about birds when we literally see them feed on different kinds of fruits!
Strawberries are the favorites of birds as well, and many bird species like crows, robins, blue jays, etc., love to snack on these luscious red berries!
We love to have lots of different birds on our trees and plants. However, when they start destroying our crops, we need to take action to keep these fruit-eating birds away.
To keep them away from strawberry plants, you can hang metallic tapes or even tins around the berry plant area. In this manner, birds will get frightened and won’t ruin your plants.
However, keep in mind that these solutions are temporary, and birds may become habituated and visit your crops again.
In that case, you can go for bird netting that has ¼-inch holes. These are quite inexpensive and are effective in protecting your berries.
Another effective way to keep birds away from your strawberry plants is through the use of barrier or exclusion methods, which will make it difficult for numerous bird and animal species to reach your berries.
You can use chicken wire having a few 1-inch holes and spread it over your berries. This will also keep birds away from your plants.
But you need to keep in mind that this method won’t work in keeping away raccoons and squirrels as they have the ability to crawl under the wire.
Alternatively, you can place a custom-made PVC pipe loop tunnel or build a wooden frame to protect your strawberry plants.
At the time of harvesting, you simply need to remove the frame by lifting it gently out of the way.
These invertebrates almost go unnoticed due to their minuscular sizes, but they can cause greater damage to your crops than any other animal species.
Insects like snails, slugs, aphids, and earwigs are common pests that cause significant damages to our strawberry plants.
To keep these harmful insects away from your strawberries, try burying shallow containers of beer at the ground level.
When you place this around your strawberry plant, it’ll attract insects like snails and slugs, which will cause them to drown in it, thus keeping your plants protected.
However, as you can see from the image above, snails can crawl up the plant stem, not necessarily from the ground but from another closeby plant.
The best solution for this would be to closely monitor your strawberries and pick them off when ripe.
On the other hand, to get rid of aphids, you can spray some ready-to-use insecticidal soap solution on your strawberry leaves.
You can cover both the top and the bottom sides of the leaves and ensure that you use the spray on a cool day.
Avoid applying this on a bright sunny day as it may burn your strawberry plants.
Can I use insecticidal soap on my plants?
Don’t worry; insecticidal soaps are safer than most other pesticides, and hence, you can use them liberally.
However, before eating the fruit, always wash it thoroughly as the insecticidal soap may cause indigestion, eye and skin irritation, or vomiting if someone accidentally ingests it.
On the other hand, if you want to catch earwigs, you can place wet, rolled-up newspaper sheets on your berries.
Earwigs will come to have some shelter there. Every morning, dip the wrapped newspaper into a soapy water solution and replace them every day to catch more earwigs.
The primary diet of deer includes leaves and various plant parts. But they can also find these tempting fruits tasty and even end up trampling on your plants.
Since strawberries are extremely sweet when they’re ripe, it comes as no surprise that these are the most sought-after fruits for deer.
You can protect your berry plants from deer by using mesh hardware cloth of a minimum width of 6 feet.
This mesh helps build a strong and protective cylinder around the plant. You can either do this around each plant or select a small gardening area.
Since deer can’t dig holes you can easily encircle your plant using the mesh cloth and sink it about 6 inches deep underground for a firm grip.
Here is a further explanation as to why deer eat strawberries.
Don’t let the cuteness of these creatures fool you! Rabbits are extremely clever, and they can spend a good amount of time munching on your strawberry fruits.
Rabbits will also feed on foliage and other tender parts of the strawberry plant to balance off the high sugar content present in the fruit.
Rabbits have a particular sweet tooth for these red berries and wild rabbits, especially, love eating small berries.
If you have a pet rabbit and it’s always found near a berry plant, try including numerous kinds of berries in its diet.
For instance, you can feed them different kinds of berries, including blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Apart from rabbits, marmots also love the taste of strawberries and some of them can even damage the crop just to nibble on a few.
You might even face mysterious disappearances of your berries. If you’re a gardener, you may have already noticed this every morning.
To protect your strawberry plants from marmots, you can build a wooden cage and install a wire mesh over the cage to avoid approaching animals from entering this enclosure.
Unfortunately, fencing won’t always help to keep rabbits and other rodents away from your strawberry plants.
It’s because these culprits have the ability to dig underground holes and come up to your garden to feed on these mouthwatering berries.
9. Tortoises and Turtles
Fruit-eating tortoises can eat strawberries as well as tropical fruits.
Although tortoises aren’t common creatures that would be roaming in the backyard or garden, turtles, however, may be around, especially when a pond or some other water body is nearby.
Strawberries have a high sugar content and this can be harmful to your little shelled creatures when given in high quantities on a regular basis.
However, you can include an occasional piece of strawberry in your turtle’s diet as a nice treat.
If you have Mediterranean or desert turtles as pets, you need to keep them away from old strawberry plants that are beginning to decay because the old leaves release hydrogen cyanide gas which can be very toxic for turtles and tortoises.
In addition, you should make sure that there isn’t any rotting vegetation close by so that your tortoise doesn’t get sick with something poisonous.
Hamsters can eat strawberries quite comfortably without hurting themselves. If you have a hamster as a pet, you can feed about a teaspoon of tiny slices of strawberry once or twice every week.
However, give these berries to your pet sparingly as large amounts would spoil the creatures easily, and they’ll want more of it.
After feeding strawberries to your hamster, remember to remove the leftover fruit from the pen or cage as it may cause mold growth, which can be hazardous to your pet’s health.
11. Guinea Pigs
Strawberries are actually great to supplement a guinea pig’s diet.
You can serve around 1-2 small-sized strawberries to your pet once or twice per week – not more than that.
These fruits have great nutritional value for guinea pigs since it also provides them with many health benefits.
Also, the top of the strawberries is edible and safe for your guinea pigs to eat, unlike the top of a tomato, which is toxic to them.
So, don’t waste the strawberry tops while preparing a nice dessert for your family or guinea pigs.
What animals eat strawberry plants?
The animals that eat strawberry plants are deer, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, groundhogs, and birds. These wild animals prefer foraging for food in gardens and can severely damage strawberry plants in their wake.
Despite what many people believe, ants don’t harm strawberries but will only secrete the honeydew.
What animals eat strawberry leaves?
The animals that eat strawberry leaves are rabbits, guinea pigs, chipmunks, birds, and deer. The stems and green top part of the leaves from strawberry plants are safe for these animals to eat.
What animals eat strawberries at night?
The animals that eat strawberries at night are flying squirrels, rats, wild rabbits, and hamsters. These nocturnal creatures will come out at night to forage for food whether that be fruits or vegetables in your garden.