Do Squirrels Eat Tomatoes? & 5+ PROVEN Ways to Keep Them Away

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By: Chenell - Lead Writer and Gardening Advocate
Published:

Watching plants grow in the garden can add so much happiness to your garden. You get to see beautiful yellow flowers with happy, buzzing bees all over them. It’s magical.

Until you watch a squirrel run up your tomato plant and rip a tomato off and run away with it.

Yes, that happened to me last week.

Do Squirrels Eat Tomatoes off the Vine?

It’s common for squirrels to eat tomatoes when they’re ripe, but do squirrels eat tomatoes on the vine?

Squirrels and other animals like rabbits and deer are notorious for eating from the garden, especially if you grow them next to a fence where they have easy access.

Squirrel eating cherry tomatoes from a fence

Squirrels will definitely eat tomatoes off the vine, but they’ll also eat tomatoes on the ground. If you have any overripe ones that have fallen, make sure to move them away from the garden. Otherwise, they’ll get a taste of what’s nearby and it might be harder to keep them out.

What Do Squirrels Generally Eat?

Squirrels are omnivores, so their diet is comprised nuts, seeds, berries, mushrooms, and insects like grasshoppers or even bird eggs. But when there is a garden nearby, they will mosey on over and eat the delicious plants they find.

Squirrels will change what they eat based on their needs at the time and their environment.

Squirrel eating a cherry tomato on the ground

How to Keep Squirrels Away from Your Tomatoes

Here are 7 ways to help keep them out of your garden and away from your tomato plants.

1. Get a Dog or Cat

Not just for the chasing, which can be effective for keeping squirrels out, but also fun for the dog.

In addition, dog and cat hair is a great repellent for squirrels because they do not like their scent. After you brush your dog, sprinkle their hair around the garden to help repel squirrels (rabbits hate this too!).

2. Fake Predators

This is a cheap option that works great! Squirrels are terrified of owls and hawks, as they can become food quickly for them.

You can also drop a rubber snake near your tomatoes and they’ll know not to go near it.

However, you’ll want to move these fake predators pretty regularly as squirrels aren’t stupid, and will notice a lack of movement. But these fake predators work on other animals like birds and raccoons as well.

Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture

Fake owls are great for keeping many animals out of the garden, including squirrels, deer, birds, and more.

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I like the ones with the bobbling heads so they don’t get used to them as easily.

3. Fencing and Covers

Physical barriers are often a great option – but don’t expect a fence by itself to keep them out. Squirrels climb 100-foot tall trees, you don’t think they can climb your 5-foot fence? 🙂

I’ve watched squirrels climb my fence and then proceed to eat an almost ripe tomato from my garden while watching me. Jerks.

To fully keep them out, you’ll want to add a top to your fence – something like netting or wire mesh. Hardware cloth is made of metal with small holes in it, so you can easily see through it, and squirrels cannot climb it.

Use netting or chicken wire to cover your tomatoes, as this will also prevent climbing creatures from getting at them.

4. Companion Plants

Companion planting is an ancient technique that uses plants to distract and confuse pests from finding your food.

  • Daffodils
  • Alliums
  • Garlic
  • Onions

These are all good options for keeping squirrels out of the garden.

5. Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Ready for a good laugh AND an awesome way to keep squirrels away from your tomato plants?

Enter: the motion-activated sprinkler.

This bad boy will send squirrels running for their lives, and stop them from eating your tomatoes.

The Garden Enforcer - Motion Activated Sprinkler

A motion activated sprinkler works wonders for keeping animals (and people!) out of your yard. It sprays intermittently as it detects continuous motion so animals won't get used to the timing of it.


We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Get a trail cam to capture the footage so you can post it on YouTube and we can all laugh with you 🙂

Here is a video of the sprinkler I bought recently to help keep squirrels from eating all of my tomatoes.

6. Garden Location

The first thing that you want to consider is where you’re locating your garden. If it’s close enough to a fence or tree line for squirrels to easily jump in and out of the garden, you’ll have a problem.

Consider placing your garden further away from trees or fences.

squirrel on ground

Keeping Squirrels Out of the Garden

Squirrels are a real problem for gardeners. They can eat up to 15 tomatoes in one day and make it difficult to keep them out of your garden. Luckily, there are many inexpensive and effective ways that you can use to protect your plants from these furry creatures. Whether you’re looking for companion planting ideas or the best way to deter squirrels with spikes, our article will help you find what works for your home!

chenell

AUTHOR

Hi - I'm Chenell! I'm on a mission to learn how to grow my own food, and help other people do the same.

I lived in the city for almost a decade, but after moving to the suburbs, I started making my Iowa blood proud and growing all kinds of food 🌽 I started this website to help keep track of the journey while teaching others the mistakes and things I'm learning along the way. You can follow along with the journey and learn more here.

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