Do Chipmunks Eat Tomatoes? (8 Solutions To PROTECT Your Tomato Plants)

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As a nature lover with a keen interest in observing wildlife, I’ve often found myself wondering: do chipmunks eat tomatoes? Unfortunately, the answer is yes! While these adorable rodents may bring joy to our yards, they can quickly become a nuisance for tomato growers. In this post, I’ll discuss effective solutions to protect your tomato plants from chipmunk feeding and fecal damage.

Do Chipmunks Eat Tomatoes?

Do chipmunks like tomatoes? Chipmunks are known to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes. While they may be a delightful sight to witness, they can quickly become troublesome as they have a tendency to destroy tomato yields and leave behind feces throughout the yard. It is advised to take preventative measures to deter chipmunks from feeding on tomato plants, such as using fences or repellents.

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Do chipmunks eat tomato plants?

Will chipmunks eat tomato plants? Chipmunks may occasionally sample tomato plants, including nibbling on leaves, stems, or ripe tomatoes. However, tomato plants are not typically a preferred food source for chipmunks.

What do Chipmunks Like to Eat?

Chipmunks are cute and furry little creatures that often scamper through our yards with their cheek pouches bulging with food. These omnivores have a diet that is varied and diverse. They are known to consume nuts, seeds, berries, insects, fungi, and even small reptiles and amphibians in some cases.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, chipmunks love them just as much as we do! They particularly enjoy eating tomatoes, among other plants, like strawberries, blueberries, and corn. Chipmunks have a keen sense of smell that allows them to forage even the tiniest and greenest tomatoes that are otherwise unfit for our consumption.

Can Chipmunks Eat Tomatoes at Any Stage?

Yes, chipmunks can eat tomatoes at any stage, from the initial green stage to the ripe and juicy one. As soon as a tomato plant starts to bear fruit, it becomes a target for chipmunks. They can climb and reach whether the tomato plant is fully grown or still young and sprouting, which makes tomato ripeness irrelevant to them. Some people believe that unripe tomatoes are less appealing to chipmunks, but it is not true. Chipmunks are opportunistic feeders and will happily munch on any tomato they come across, whether it is red or green.

Protecting Tomato Plants from Chipmunks and Squirrels

How to keep chipmunks out of my tomato plants? If you are wondering how to stop chipmunks from eating tomatoes, you are in the right place! Squirrels and chipmunks are small critters that love to feast on tomato plants. They can easily find their way into our gardens and destroy our hard work. So, how to keep chipmunks away from tomato plants? There are a few steps that we can take to minimize the damage caused by these animals.

1. Physical Barriers

Physical barriers such as fences are a reliable way to prevent chipmunks from eating your tomatoes. A fence that is at least two feet high and extends several inches underground to prevent the animals from digging underneath it.

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Cover the top of the fence with a netting material that is too small for chipmunks to pass through. If you use chicken wire or hardware cloth, make sure the openings are smaller than two inches. A smaller opening size also means greater difficulty for squirrels, who can’t chew through wire-like materials.

Pros:

  • Durable and effective as a permanent solution.
  • Can protect other plants and prevent also larger wildlife from entering the garden.

Cons:

  • Could be expensive, depending on the materials used.
  • Installation may require some skill and technical knowledge.

2. Natural Repellents

There are several natural repellents that can keep chipmunks and squirrels away from tomato plants. These typically rely on odor, taste, or sound to scare the animals away. Strong-smelling herbs like mint, garlic and onion, mothballs, or citrus peelings around the tomato plants can all be effective repellents.

Another natural repellent you can use is to spread coffee grounds around your tomatoes. Chipmunks don’t like their odor and will usually stay clear. Moreover, the coffee grounds would also serve as fertilizer.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive and eco-friendly.
  • They don’t harm the animals or plants.

Cons:

  • Some repellents have a strong odor that we may find unpleasant or even harmful.
  • They need to be reapplied frequently.
  • They may not work for all animals and could take weeks to show results.

3. Decoy Predators

Decoy predators, such as fake owls or plastic snakes, are an option to scare off chipmunks and squirrels. These animals are naturally skittish and will avoid areas where they feel threatened.

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While these decoys work for a while, the chipmunks may eventually get used to them and resume their activities. Moving the decoys around every few days may help keep the chipmunks guessing.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive and eco-friendly.
  • They don’t harm the animals or plants.
  • They can be easily moved around the garden.

Cons:

  • They may not work for all animals and could take weeks to show results.
  • Animals may get used to them over time, requiring us to move them frequently or invest in different solutions.

4. Ultrasonic Repellents

Ultrasonic repellents are an electronic device that emits high-frequency sound waves that chipmunks and squirrels find extremely uncomfortable. These are environmentally friendly option and work by disrupting the animals’ communication and mating patterns.

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Pros:

  • They are eco-friendly and do not harm the animals or damage the plants.
  • They work 24/7 and have a wide range of coverage.

Cons:

  • Ultrasonic repellents can be expensive compared to natural repellents.
  • They may not work for all chipmunks or squirrels, as some can become used to the sound over time.
  • They may require a power source, making them impractical for gardens that are not near an electrical outlet.

5. Companion Planting

Companion planting is the practice of planting certain crops near each other to promote growth or deter pests. Plants like marigolds, garlic, and onions have properties in their roots or leaves that can naturally repel pests like chipmunks and squirrels.

Pros:

  • An organic and natural pest control solution.
  • Can add beauty to your garden and make it more diverse.

Cons:

  • It may require some research to determine which companion plants work for our climate and soil.
  • Some companion plants could attract other pests.
  • It may not offer a complete solution to chipmunk and squirrel pests and might require other supplementals like fences.

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6. Leaving Water for Chipmunks

Many experienced gardeners are reporting that squirrels and chipmunks eat tomatoes when they are thirsty and cannot find any available water.

Providing a water source for the animals could prevent them from targeting our tomato plants. Consider placing a bird bath like the one below or a shallow dish of water in a shady area near our garden.

Provide water to the squirrels

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Although it is true that squirrels and chipmunks may nibble a bit on a tomato and discard most of it because they are looking for water, leaving out water is not always a foolproof solution. Other factors, such as hunger, could still lead the animals to target our plants.

Pros:

  • It is a humane way to offer animals a source of refreshment.
  • Could prevent harmless wildlife from looking for hydration elsewhere.

Cons:

  • May not entirely solve the issue of chipmunks and squirrels eating our tomatoes.
  • Could attract other wildlife or pests to the water source.

7. Remove Attractants

Make sure to not have anything edible available for squirrels and chipmunks around your garden. This can include seeds in bird feeders and even garbage.

I would suggest making sure that all of your bird feeders are squirrel-proof so that the squirrels will not have anything attracting them in your garden.

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8. Get a cat or dog

Cats and dogs are natural squirrel predators. As such, squirrels and chipmunks will stay clear of your garden if they feel their presence or their smell around.

There you have it! Now you know how to keep chipmunks from eating tomatoes.

Tips for Monitoring Chipmunks and Squirrels Around Tomato Plants

Tomatoes are a favorite food of both chipmunks and squirrels, making it important to monitor their activity around your tomato plants. By doing so, you can take appropriate action to protect your plants before significant damage is done. Here are some tips for monitoring and identifying chipmunk and squirrel activity around your tomato plants:

  • Look for holes or burrows in the soil near your tomato plants. Chipmunks and squirrels will often dig burrows near their food sources.
  • Observe any nearby trees or structures for signs of squirrel nests. Squirrels may have built their nests in nearby trees or structures to be closer to your tomato plants.
  • Check for bite marks on your tomatoes. Chipmunks and squirrels will often bite into a tomato, take a few bites, and then move on to another one leaving behind a partially eaten tomato.

Identifying Chipmunk and Squirrel Activity

Identifying chipmunk and squirrel activity is the first step in protecting your tomato plants. Both species can be very sneaky, making it important to stay vigilant. Here are some key signs of chipmunk and squirrel activity around your tomato plants:

  • If you notice small holes in the ground near your tomato plants, it may be an indication that chipmunks are present. Chipmunks will often create small burrows near their food sources.
  • Squirrels have a tendency to climb up trees and structures to access food sources. So if you notice squirrels frequently climbing up nearby trees, they may be after your tomato plants.
  • You may find defecation around your tomato plants which is another indication of chipmunk and squirrel activity.

Checking for Damage on Tomato Plants Regularly

Regularly checking for damage on your tomato plants is crucial to protect them from chipmunks and squirrels. These small rodents are notorious for damaging tomato yields, so checking your plants on a regular basis can help identify problems before they become major issues. Here are some key things to look for when checking your tomato plants:

  • Look for bite marks on your tomatoes, if you notice any it may be an indication that chipmunks or squirrels have been feasting on your plants.
  • Check for droppings or feces near your tomato plants. Chipmunks and squirrels will often leave behind droppings as they feast on your tomato plants.
  • Observe the leaves of your tomato plants. If you notice that they are chewed, it may be an indication of chipmunk or squirrel activity.

By regularly monitoring your tomato plants for chipmunk and squirrel activity and checking for damage you can quickly respond to any issues before they become significant problems. By taking preventative measures to deter chipmunks and squirrels away from your tomato plants, you can ensure a healthy yield of ripe, juicy tomatoes for your enjoyment.

What animals eat tomatoes?

Chipmunks are not the only animals eating tomatoes. In fact, there are many other animals that like them. The animals that eat tomatoes include:

  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Deer
  • Raccoons
  • Possums
  • Chipmunks
  • Birds (such as sparrows, finches, and robins)
  • Groundhogs
  • Wild boars
  • Porcupines
  • Skunks
  • Field mice
  • Caterpillars (such as tomato hornworms)
  • Slugs and snails
  • Beavers
  • Lizards (such as iguanas and geckos)
  • Turtles
  • Monkeys
  • Guinea pigs
  • Chickens
  • Goats
  • Pigs
  • Hedgehogs
  • Bats
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Herbivorous fish (such as tilapia)
  • Wallabies
  • Koalas
  • Kangaroos
  • Possums
  • Wombats

Conclusion

So, there you have it. Do chipmunks eat tomatoes off the vine? Yes, chipmunks do indeed eat tomatoes! While it may be tempting to let these cute little critters roam free in your yard, it’s important to remember that they can wreak havoc on your tomato plants. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some effective solutions to protect your precious yields.

Whether you opt for a sturdy fence or a trusty repellent, taking preventative measures will save you from the frustration of seeing your beloved tomato plants destroyed by these furry foragers. So, don’t let those chipmunks defeat you – arm yourself with the right tools and enjoy a bountiful harvest of juicy, delicious tomatoes!

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