9 Interesting Animals That Eat Wood! See Pictures

Last updated on February 23rd, 2022

Wood is the tree’s core substance, and the xylem vessels form it. This fibrous material mainly consists of 2 substances, lignin, and cellulose.

It can be used to build buildings or to make furniture and paper. It is strong and difficult to cut, although it can be cut into lumber and short or long pieces of wood.

There is a variety of this resource and maple, oak, redwood, as well as pine are most of its commonly used types.

Animals that eat wood:

  • Porcupines
  • Termites
  • Camel Crickets
  • Wood-boring Beetles
  • Squirrels
  • Woodlouse
  • Paper Wasps
  • Cockroaches
  • Elephants

It is typically divided into hardwood and softwood and the names may create confusion because it is not necessary for hardwoods to be hard or softwoods to be soft.

The popular hardwood balsa is softer than any softwood used commercially. However, several animals use wood for survival based on food rather than economic gains.

List of animals that chew wood:

1. Porcupines

porcupine on wood 29122021

The Erethizontidae family’s New World porcupines and the Old World porcupines belong to the family Hystricidae, although both of them are of the same infraorder Hystricognathi.

Their sharp quills or spines coats protect these large rodents. Excluding beaver and capybara, no other rodent in the world is larger than the largest of their species.

The Old World porcupines reside in southern and western Asia, most of Africa and Europe, whereas the New World ones are native to North America and northern South America.

They predominantly eat the stems, seeds, roots, and grasses in the summer and spring seasons, and they shift feeding on the inner tree bark and evergreen needles in the winters.

They can eat anything made up of wood, or that has some mineral-like salt on it.

2. Termites

termite eating wood 29122021

Termites belong to the epifamily Termitidae in the same order as cockroaches, Blattodea.

These eusocial insects were in a distinct order. Still, the modern phylogenetic studies suggest that the cockroaches are their ancestors, for they are intensely nested in the group and their close relatives, wood-eating cockroaches.

There are 3,106 of their described species, whereas some hundreds are yet not.

Ants are not their close relatives, albeit they are frequently referred to as ‘white ants.’

The sterile sexes are divided as ‘soldiers’ and ‘workers,’ whereas the fertile males and females are called ‘king’ and ‘queen’ respectively.

They are detritivores, and their diet mainly consists of cellulose and dead plant matter, usually in dry animal dung, soil, litter, and wood. They play an ecological role by recycling these materials.

3. Camel Crickets

camel cricket in cave 29122021

Camel Crickets are distributed throughout the world, and the ones present in Tasmania, Australia, and New Zealand are generally known as a cave or jumping wētā.

They are mostly found in caves or forest ecosystems, cellars, animal burrows, in woods and under stones, or in identical environments.

All of their species are nocturnal and flightless and typically have long legs and antennae. They are omnivorous, so they feed on feces, dead animals, plants, and wood.

The ones found in the caves predominantly feed on fungi and little insects.

4. Wood-boring Beetles

wood boring beetle 29122021

Wood-boring beetles cover numerous beetle families and species, which in their larval or full-grown forms destroy or eat wood.

Some of the beetles’ larval stages are called woodworms in the wood-working industries.

They frequently attack dead or dying trees, they cull the weak trees and give the scope to the new ones to grow, and thus, they play an ecological role.

Wood-boring beetles are the tree’s primary decomposers in the forests, though to grow and attain maturity, they have to get the nutrients present in fungi with wood.

Most of them provide ecological benefits without any harm being done to the forest, but some are categorized as pests for infesting lumber yard’s downed trees or attacking considerably healthy trees.

Additionally, there are a few of them that invade wood but restrain their activities within a living tree’s roots or forests, while some also invade in the construction of wood.

5. Squirrels

squirrel eating wood 29122021

Squirrels are a member of the Sciuridae family, and their family consists of prairie dogs, marmots, chipmunks, flying squirrels, tree squirrels, and ground squirrels.

Their bodies are slender, their eyes are large, and their tails are very long and bushy and squash, broccoli, corn, as well as mushrooms are among their favorites.

Squirrels are mostly vegetarian, but they also feed on animal matter like insects, bird eggs, amphibians, and small mammals. They also love chewing wood to restrain their teeth’ growth.

They are naturally found in Africa, America, and Eurasia and were introduced to Australia by humans. The mountain beaver and dormice are their closest relatives.

The size of these little animals varies from 10-14 cm long and are 12-26 gram heavy, the least pygmy squirrel and African pygmy squirrel to the 1.27 m long Bhutan giant flying squirrel and numerous 8 kg heavy species.

6. Woodlouse

woodlouse eating wood 29122021

Woodlice belong to the Oniscudea, a monophyletic suborder in the Isopoda order. They are named woodlice for being frequently discovered in old wood.

They have to gradually shed their shell-like exoskeleton as they develop or grow.

Unlike the majority of the arthropods that shed their entire cuticle in one process, the molt happens in 2 stages; at first, the Woodlice lose their back half, and then 2-3 days subsequent, they lose their front.

Woodlice are crustaceans, just like crabs or lobsters, but their taste is said to be unpleasant as ‘strong urine.’

Apart from rotting and damp wood, they also eat fungi, dead animals, feces, fallen fruit, leaf litter, and their excrement, and this practice is known as coprophagy.

7. Paper Wasps

paper wasp eating wood 29122021

Paper wasps belong to the Polistinae, a vespid subfamily. They gather plant stems and dead wood fibers and mix them with their saliva to construct the nests of brown or gray papery material.

For their unique nest designs, some of these vespid wasps are also known as umbrella wasps.

22 Polistes paper wasp species were identified in North America and roughly 300 worldwide. Europe’s most common wasp is the Polistes dominula.

The main traits of the true paper wasps’ nests include a ‘petiole’ to attach the nest with something like a branch, and for the rearing of broods, it has open combs along with cells.

The primary diet of a full-grown paper wasp consists of sugary feed like ripe fruits, honeydew, and nectar; they may also eat caterpillars from time to time and they also chew the pulp of wood.

8. Cockroaches

cockroach eating wood 29122021

Cockroaches belong to the Blattodea order that also consists of termites; these insects have 4,600 species, out of which 30 are connected with human habitation, and some are referred to as pests.

Most of their species are about a thumbnail long, but numerous of them are larger.

The giant burrowing cockroach of Australia is heavier than any other cockroach in the world and can attain a length of 8 cm and a weight of 35 grams.

Their compound eyes are large with two ocelli and flexible, long antennae. They have a tough exoskeleton on their external surface that includes calcium carbonate.

These omnivorous scavengers find sweets, starches, butter, and meats most enjoyable. They may also feed on dead wood, decaying plant matter, and even feces.

9. Elephants

elephant eating 29122021

There is no other living land animal larger than elephants. Three of their living species currently acknowledged are the Asian elephant, African forest elephant, and African bush elephant.

They are grouped informally in the Elephantidae, the only living proboscidean family. Elephantidae also comprises numerous extinct groups consisting of straight-tusked elephants and mammoths.

African elephants’ ears are larger, and their backs are concave; in contrast, Asian elephants have relatively smaller ears with level or convex backs.

Their characteristic features include their trunk, huge ear flaps, tusks, and massive legs. They breathe through their trunk and take its help to bring water or food into their mouth and grab objects.

These vegetarians eat various plant species like herbs, shrubs, grasses, small branches, and leaves; they also feed on fruits and tree bark.


The animals that eat wood are porcupines, termites, camel crickets, wood-boring beetles, squirrels, woodlouse, paper wasps, cockroaches, and elephants. Not only do these animals eat wood but some live in it too which makes it very easy for them to consume, leaving homes & building vulnerable to damages.

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