What Animals Eat Pecans? 9 Examples with Pictures!

Pecans are one of the tastiest nuts, and my nephews and nieces love to break open the kernel to eat the nut inside.

But the problem that I have faced is that once the pecans begin to ripen, it attracts many pests like squirrels and raccoons.

The pecan tree in my backyard is a favorite spot for my nephews and nieces to gather and pick the nuts right off the tree’s branches.

However, they were disappointed when many of the nuts were eaten by pests this year. When I spoke about this problem to my neighbor, she said that pecan is one of the favorite nuts of many animals.

In this article, we will discuss nine animals that eat pecans and how you can protect your trees.

Animals that eat pecans:

  • Squirrels
  • Deer
  • Raccoons
  • Crows
  • Woodpeckers
  • Blue Jays
  • Ducks
  • Sparrows
  • Goats

List of animals that eat pecans:

1. Squirrels

squirrel eating pecan 24042022

Squirrels love to eat nuts, and they are known to consume different nuts like hazelnuts, acorns, and even pecans.

When it comes to pecans, squirrels love to eat these because they can easily break open the kernel to access the nut inside.

If you have a pet squirrel, you can give it pecans as it will provide the creature with the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals.

But if you are harvesting pecans, you need to protect your produce from squirrel attacks. These creatures can attack both mature and un-ripe pecans.

One of the ways of protecting your produce is to harvest the pecans as early as you can.

Otherwise, you will have to try and cover the tree with netting to prevent the squirrels from gaining access to the pecans.

2. Deer

deer in pecan orchard 24022022

Deer are another animal that loves to eat pecans. But they will avoid unripe pecans and only consume the ripe ones.

The dark covering of the pecans does not stand a chance against the strong jaws of deer. They can easily break through the cover to eat the nuts inside.

But deer are known to cause damage to pecan harvests because farmers often mention that they can consume the nuts, shoots, and pecan tree leaves.

Farmers who produce pecans commercially mention that young pecan plants are often chewed thoroughly by deer.

Hence, protecting pecan trees and the harvest from deer attacks is necessary.

Protecting the trees with the help of a fence is one of the easiest ways of preventing deer from reaching the pecan trees.

3. Raccoons

raccoon eating pecan 24042022

Raccoons are omnivorous creatures and scavengers.

The urban raccoons are often found near garbage dumps, and dustbins scrounging for food.

They eat different nuts, and pecans are often their favorites.

Raccoons are excellent climbers, and they can easily climb pecan trees to access the nuts.

Even urban raccoons are excellent climbers.

Hence, if you are an amateur gardener like me and have a pecan tree in your garden, you can do it by installing motion detectors, lights, and other similar systems to ward off the critters.

Raccoons can be dangerous for a pecan tree as they will not differentiate between ripe and unripe fruits and tear the nuts from the branches indiscriminately. This can reduce your harvest significantly.

4. Crows

crow in tree 24042022

Farmers often mention that crows can prove to be dangerous for pecan trees.

Research shows that a single crow can consume nearly fifteen pounds of pecans in a month.

Hence, if a whole flock of crows attacks a pecan orchard, it can reduce your harvest significantly.

Crows will hold the pecans between their claws and break open the kernels.

Once the kernel breaks open, the crow can easily access the nuts.

The strong beaks of the crows make it easy for them to consume the nuts.

But as the ability of crows to consume pecans is exceptionally high, it becomes necessary for farmers to protect the harvest from the attack of crows.

One way is to use a sound system that will make the sound of other birds like owls and hawks to ward off the crows.

In addition, farmers often use camouflage to ward off crows from attacking their pecan harvest.

5. Woodpeckers

woodpecker on tree 24042022

Woodpeckers will bore holes into your pecan trees in search of suitable insects, which are their food.

You will not find woodpeckers eating the fruit of the tree.

However, boring holes in a pecan tree can prove quite harmful to the tree itself.

It can even result in the sap from reaching the branches of the trees. In the long run, the holes can even permanently damage the tree.

Woodpeckers are also known to consume the sap of the pecan tree and this can also prove dangerous for the tree in the long run.

One way to prevent woodpeckers from boring holes into the pecan tree in your garden is by putting aluminum sheets on the branches and tree trunk.

The light reflected off the aluminum sheets, and the sheets themselves will act as a deterrent for woodpeckers.

6. Blue jays

blue jay 24042022

Several birds can consume nuts, and pecans are one of them.

You can count the blue jays among the birds that love to eat pecans.

A blue jay can hold a pecan between its beak until the outer skin breaks open.

The outer skins of pecans are not rigid, and hence, it does not take long for the skins to break.

Once the skin breaks open, the bird can easily access the nut inside and will discard the skin of the nut.

If you are a bird watcher and want to attract blue jays in your garden, you can add pecans to your bird feeder.

Be careful to remove the outer skin of the pecans before adding them to the feeder, as these skins can prove to be quite dangerous for the birds.

7. Ducks

duck eating 24042022

Pecans are one of the softer nuts, and these are a favorite of ducks.

However, it would help if you were careful when giving pecans to ducks because they need to be broken into manageable pieces before being given to ducks.

Poultry farmers often mix different nuts among their bird feed, and pecans often feature in the food they give to ducks.

It gives the birds the necessary minerals and vitamins to build a healthy immune system.

But when you give ducks pecans, you need to ensure that these do not get stuck in the gullet of the birds.

Another thing to remember while feeding pecans to ducks is to give these in moderate amounts to the birds.

Pecans contain a significant amount of unsaturated fats that can reduce inflammation but prove quite harmful if given in excess.

8. Sparrows

sparrows eating 24042022

Sparrows like blue jays can eat pecans and you will often find sparrows pecking the ripe pecans on the tree.

However, they are not dangerous pests like crows because sparrows will eat pecans only in moderate amounts.

They always break open the external shell of the pecans to access the kernel inside and if you add pecans to the feeder, you will often find sparrows flitting near the bird feeder.

Nuts are a favorite of many birds, and soft-shelled nuts like pecan can be more attractive.

The primary reason why sparrows are attracted to pecans is that these nuts give them a boost of energy and it’s full of vitamins and minerals.

In addition, these nuts can help supplement their daily diet of seeds and grains.

9. Goats

goat 24042022

Farmers raising goats for commercial purposes often feed pecans to the animals.

The primary reason is that pecans are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help goats build robust immune systems.

You can always give goats pecans in the form of snacks or treats.

As pecans are quite calorie-dense, it is essential to control the number of pecans you give to the creature; otherwise, it can be counterproductive.

You cannot replace the regular food of goats with pecans, but you can give it occasionally.

Pecans can also help goats overcome mineral deficiencies and help them build strong bones.


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