Chipmunks are pretty adorable until they are in your garden. They are not pretty eaters. They can eat seeds, leaves, fruits, nuts, insects, and other small animals.
So, you have a tomato garden and wondering if they are harmful to your tomatoes? Keep reading to know everything about chipmunks, tomatoes, and how to deter them from your garden.
Do chipmunks eat tomatoes?
Chipmunks eat tomatoes. They prefer the fruit, but young plants, leaves, and flowers are also on their food menu. They are aggressive eaters when they give birth and can destroy a garden if left unnoticed. However, there are many simple methods to repel them from your garden.
I know how it feels when something destroys loving plants. I am into gardening too. Once an unknown animal ate my tomato plants, I still feel sad every time I see a salad plate.
Chipmunks are cute little creatures and suit well in children’s movies. But if you have a garden, there are valid reasons not to like them. Well, some peoples love watching and feeding them.
However, it is also possible to keep them away from your garden without hurting them. Now let’s talk about tomatoes and chipmunks. They will love to eat tomatoes but, it is not something they can take home.
So, most of the time, chipmunks eat as much as they can and then leave. A unique characteristic of chipmunks is their extendable mouth. They use their mouth like small pouch.
Although compared with their size, it is equal to carrying a travel bag in our mouth. Keeping chipmunks out of the tomato garden can be tricky if you don’t know what to do.
Chipmunks are skilled diggers. They can even make an underground tunnel to enter your garden. Due to their small size and climbing skill, fences are also almost useless to stop them.
Most chipmunks will not eat the tomato plants if their sufficient food. But they will eat the newly germinated tomato plants. Once the young tomato plant grows a bit with some leaves, there is a lower chance that chipmunks will eat it.
So, you will have to be extra careful while germinating and fruit growing time. Chipmunks are attracted if there is a bird feeder in the garden. Check if chipmunks eat those tomatoes.
Chipmunks will eat green tomatoes, but they like red ones most. Green tomatoes are not easy to eat due to their acidic smell. Chipmunks will not care before winter and while giving birth. They need extra calories before hibernating and giving birth.
Cherry tomatoes are more petite in size, and they will love to eat them all. Due to its small size, chipmunks can quickly gulp them.
Potted tomato plants:
Chipmunks will not care if the tomato plants are in the garden or a pot. They will eat the tomatoes if they get access to the tomatoes.
Tomatoes in the vine:
Chipmunks will eat the tomatoes from the vine if the garden area is not adequately protected.
Do chipmunks like to eat tomatoes?
Chipmunks do like tomatoes, but many other foods are above tomatoes in the chipmunk’s food menu. It is hard to tell how much they like it as there are different species of chipmunks, and even every chipmunk of the same species has their taste and habit.
Some chipmunks may like tomatoes more than others, and it is hard to determine if it is not your pet. All the chipmunks eat tomatoes, and some of them may like it more than others.
Sometimes, chipmunks take some bite from tomatoes and leave the fruit, and sometimes they eat the whole tomato.
Do chipmunks eat tomato plant leaves?
Chipmunks do not prefer the tomato leaves, although the new germinated leaves are their favorite due to their high nutrition content. Chipmunks prefer the sweet ripe tomatoes.
However, there are times when they become furious about food. They can eat anything in those times. They have two breeding seasons, and the mother needs to eat a massive amount of food to give birth. They eat a lot before hibernating and after waking up from hibernation.
They breed in the springtime when they get a lot of food around. Some of the chipmunks can breed again in the fall season.
So, you should take extra care of your tomato garden before the winter, spring, and fall seasons. Protecting your garden in those times should be enough to avoid massive damage in the garden.
Is it safe to eat a tomato that a chipmunk bit into?
There should not be any problem eating fruit eaten by chipmunks or squirrels. Chipmunks can spread no known disease for us. But wait, how can you be sure that birds or other animals haven’t done that?
You can cut the bitten and eat the fruit, but it is always better to avoid animal bitten fruit. Bitten fruits can become bad faster. And there is a possibility of diarrhea even if the animal does not carry any disease for humans.
We can eat other chipmunks bitten fruits by cutting them, but tomatoes are more likely to worsen due to their juicy nature.
How to keep chipmunks away from tomato plants?
Chipmunks are intelligent and always find a way to get something they want. They are hard to repel due to their small size and digging and climbing skills. Well, but it is pretty easy if you know what to do.
Chipmunks are at the lower part of the food chain, and they have many predators. Another weakness is they cannot bear spicey and strong-smelling things. Using that information, we can easily protect your tomato plants from chipmunks.
Here is a list of ways to repel chipmunks from your garden. Go through the list and find out the most suitable one for you.
Pepper powder and spray:
You can use pepper powder and paper spray to protect the tomato plants of your garden. You can spread pepper powder on the leaves of the plants or mix it with water and spray it on the leaves.
The pepper powder creates irritation on their nose and eyes, which helps to repel them from the garden. Cayenne pepper works best to repel rodents.
Coffee grounds have a strong smell, and you can use them to deter the chipmunks from your garden. Spread the coffee grounds around the plants. The pungent smell of coffee ground will help to repel them. Coffee grounds also work as a fertilizer.
Chipmunks keep close attention to the signs of predators, and if a place has predators sign such as hairs and urine smell, They will avoid the site as soon as they notice that.
Leave some dogs’ fur in the different parts of your garden. It should be enough to repel them.
Fences are not very practical to protect tomato gardens from chipmunks. They are good climbers and can even dig under the walls. However, a cleverly designed fence with nets can work to save a garden from them.
Traps can also work to catch chipmunks. You can find specially designed traps to catch them. After capturing, you can leave them a few miles away from your garden. Although, remember the chipmunks may have helpless babies in her home.
Get some real-looking owl and snake dolls and hang them around your garden. They will avoid the place once they notice that.
Get an active cat or dog. Those pets will enjoy chasing the chipmunks. Chipmunks should never come back after getting chased by them.
Commercial rodent repellent:
Some commercial rodent repellents also work to repel chipmunks effectively.
Those are some methods you can use to repel chipmunks from your garden. Note that coffee ground, paper, and commercial repellents will lose their effect after rain.
Are tomatoes good or bad for chipmunks?
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals and are suitable for chipmunks. Although, it is not a regular food for them. They need vitamin C and other necessary vitamins for their health.
Tomatoes have a high amount of vitamin C, Follet, and potassium which are essential for them especially, in the winter. They will eat tomatoes at every stage, but red and sweet ones are their favorite.
Green tomatoes are also nutritious, but chipmunks don’t like their bitter and sour taste. They will eat green tomatoes anyway if they are in search of nutrition.
If you have pet chipmunks or are feeding them, you can feed them ripe tomatoes with nuts, seeds, and other fruits.
Chipmunks eat all types of tomatoes and can harm the tomato garden by digging and eating the young plants and flowers. Chipmunks are protected in some states, but most states do not have any rules. But why harm chipmunks if you can repel them without eliminating them.