We’ve probably all seen foxes darting across a field or maybe roaming a river or roadside, most likely trying to catch a meal or avoid becoming one themselves. While there are many things in your yard that foxes will eat, there are a few particular plants that they find simply delicious and are always willing to snack on.
Foxes are omnivores and will eat many plants including cherry tomatoes, corn, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, apples, cherries, raspberries, plums, melon, grass, acorn, seeds, beechnuts, and tubers.
Let’s take a look at some of these favorite plants in your garden that foxes may be making a meal of and the steps you can take to help keep your garden safe from unwanted guests.
- Foxes are omnivores and eat a wide variety of foods including rodents, rabbits, plants, and insects.
- Fox diets shift depending on the season and available resources.
- Fruits and vegetables from the garden are most vulnerable to foxes when they are ripe.
Here Are 15 Plants That Foxes Love To Eat
Foxes are omnivores, so they aren’t too picky about what they eat. Whether it’s a mouse, slug, berry, or grasshopper, they’re just happy to get a meal! Foxes have an extremely wide range of foods they will eat. In fact, their diets are so varied that scientists have a hard time pinning it down.
An article from the Journal of Mammal Review found that foxes have different diets depending on the region and latitude. For example, in the Iberian Peninsula, red foxes in southern areas consumed mostly rabbits, while northern foxes consumed mostly small mammals, fruits, and seeds.
So, just because we list a certain plant here doesn’t mean that the foxes in your area are zeroed in on that particular food item. Keep a close eye on your plants and keep your eyes peeled for signs of those fluffy red or grey tails!
Below, you’ll find 15 plants that foxes can’t resist. Don’t worry, we’ll go over each plant in detail and give you some ways to protect them from those sly foxes.
|Plants That Foxes Love
|Fox Feeding Time
|Favorable to Foxes
You’re not the only one who can’t resist a crunchy apple! When the fruit is ripe, foxes will eat it! Foxes can be so resourceful when looking for a fruit treat that they’ve been known to climb trees!
To protect apple trees from foxes, it is important to employ a combination of physical barriers and deterrents:
- Fence: install a sturdy fence around the apple tree. Bury it several inches below the ground to prevent digging. PotatoLife Plastic Mesh Fence is an excellent way to keep foxes away from your trees.
- Motion-activated deterrents: Motion-sensing lights or sprinklers can deter foxes from your apple trees. My personal favorite is the Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler. It sprays foxes with a harmless burst of water to deter them from your apples!
- Remove fallen fruit: Foxes will be attracted to an easy meal, so be sure to harvest any fallen fruit immediately.
You’ve probably heard the story about George Washington cutting down a cherry tree. Although that story is folklore, foxes truly do eat cherries!
Cherries are more vulnerable when they are starting to ripen. The color and aroma will attract foxes. You can use the same deterrents listed above to deter foxes. Additionally, try using scent deterrents to keep foxes away from your cherries.
Anything with a strong smell, such as peppermint, cloves, or citrus is likely to deter foxes from the area. We have a fantastic guide on the surprising smells that foxes can’t stand here.
You might think that because foxes can climb trees, your lower-hanging fruit is safe!
However, foxes can also be so gentle when removing berries from bushes or other low-hanging fruit from bushes and vines that they leave no trace of their activity!
Be sure to harvest your raspberries as soon as they are ripe to avoid attracting foxes. You can also try using sound deterrents to keep foxes away from your raspberries. Check out our article on the sounds that scare foxes to learn more!
Foxes love plums, and you might be wondering why. Fruits are a great source of vitamin C. And, because fruits are usually so easily obtained while in season, they become a larger part of a fox’s diet the more readily the fruits are available.
Plums typically ripen in late summer, so be especially vigilant in the early fall when foxes will be on the prowl for your plums!
Plums aren’t the only thing that attracts foxes to your yard. To find out what brings these bushy-tailed predators to your yard, check out our article on the things that attract foxes to your yard.
It’s not just small fruit that foxes crave. They will even eat larger fruits like melon! They are particularly attracted to the sweet, juicy flesh of ripe melons, making them susceptible to predation by foxes.
Foxes are known to visit gardens during the late summer when melons are at their peak ripeness, and they may be more active during the early morning or evening hours when they are most likely to forage for food. You can read more about what time foxes come out at night here.
6. Cherry Tomatoes
This smaller variety of tomato is a summer favorite. It’s the perfect size to pop into your mouth while passing by! It’s a favorite for many garden visitors as well. Just as easily as they can eat a raspberry, a fox can eat a cherry tomato.
Here are a few reasons why foxes love cherry tomatoes:
- Cherry tomatoes are small and easy for foxes to pick and eat.
- The sweet and juicy flavor of cherry tomatoes can attract foxes looking for a quick and tasty snack.
- The scent of ripe cherry tomatoes can be enticing to foxes, drawing them to gardens where the tomatoes are growing.
Corn ripens later in the summer, but for a fox, it’s worth the wait. This can be a bit trickier to reach, but compared to climbing a tree, this is easy for a fox!
So, how do foxes get to those delicious ears of corn anyway? They may use their sharp teeth and agile paws to access the ears of corn directly from the stalk, especially when the corn is at its ripest and most accessible. Additionally, foxes are known to scavenge for fallen or partially eaten corn cobs left behind by other animals or humans.
Their keen sense of smell and ability to navigate through agricultural areas enables them to locate and consume corn from fields or gardens. Be on the lookout in late summer and early fall for these thieving canines!
You would think that growing underground would protect potatoes from predators, but foxes love to dig for them. That’s right! Some of these vegetables are root vegetables but can still be dug up for a meal!
Look for these signs that a fox has dug up your potatoes:
- Visible disturbance of the soil around the potato plants
- The presence of paw prints or tracks near the dug-up area
- Partially eaten or damaged potatoes left on the ground
- Fresh digging marks and scattered soil around the potato patch
- Unusual holes or depressions in the garden where the potatoes were planted
You can also read about the sounds and noises foxes make to know if they are nearby.
Rabbits aren’t the only ones you will see in your garden eating carrots. Before you blame the bunny, consider that a fox might have dug up your carrots!
Carrots are a good source of vitamins A and K, as well as several B vitamins. These nutrients support the fox’s overall health, aiding in proper growth, vision, and immune function. Additionally, the crunchy texture of carrots can help keep a fox’s teeth clean and healthy.
When available, foxes may opportunistically consume carrots, especially during the fall when carrots are at their peak ripeness. As part of a balanced diet, carrots can contribute to the nutritional well-being of foxes in the wild.
Pickles provide a tart contrast to many meals. However, foxes don’t bother waiting for pickling to happen. Foxes will eat cucumbers right off of the vine! Cucumbers aren’t a favorite for many animals due to the prickly vines, but foxes don’t seem to be deterred by this.
The mild and refreshing flavor of cucumbers, coupled with their high water content, can make them an attractive food source for foxes, especially during the summer months when cucumbers are in season. The nutritional benefits of cucumbers, including hydration and some essential vitamins, may also contribute to their appeal for foxes.
We’ve gone over a few fruits and vegetables, now we’re moving on to wild plants that may grow in your yard. While foxes may not intentionally be eating the grass from your lawn, they will eat wild grasses, especially in warmer weather.
In addition to wild grasses providing a meal, these grasses can also help provide cover for the foxes while they grab a drink from a water source or hunt small rodents that may be nesting in the surrounding area. Keeping your grass mowed and eliminating tall weeds can help keep foxes away.
It may come as a surprise that these larger animals eat acorns – after all, they don’t exactly resemble the bushy-tailed squirrels that we often picture these nuts with.
Because acorns are high in protein and oil, they make an especially delicious treat for foxes, especially in preparation for winter! Just like squirrels, foxes will cache acorns and other food sources in preparation for winter. Foxes are extremely clever and adept at relocating their food caches, unlike squirrels who forget half the time!
Because of all the seeds in fruits, veggies, and other plants that foxes eat, foxes are actually a great help in dispersing these seeds while they eat the main plant.
Rest assured the foxes don’t eat the seeds they may have already passed, but in extreme circumstances, foxes may help themselves to the seed in your bird feeder or munch on sunflower seeds. To prevent foxes from raiding your bird feeders, consider getting a catcher tray such as Pranovo Bird Seed Catcher Tray. It doubles as a platform feeder!
What exactly is a beechnut? A fruit? A nut? Both?
Beechnut trees have prickly brown fruits that contain triangular seeds or nuts inside. So the answer is both! Despite its prickly outside, beechnuts are edible and provide a number of vitamin and mineral benefits to foxes including vitamin C, magnesium, and iron.
Tubers are often considered a form of root vegetable which is why this plant is another unique food item on our list.
Tubers are actually storage stems for nutrients that develop on root vegetables like potatoes. That’s right – those weird, small stem-like things that start to grow from your potatoes if you leave them lying around too long are tubers!
Since tubers are located underground, they aren’t a large part of a fox’s diet, but as these creatures dig for other food sources, they will absolutely eat tubers if they’re discovered.
If you spot a fox in the yard, there’s no need to panic. Cruise over to our step-by-step guide on what to do if you see a fox in your yard.
Other Things You Might See Foxes Eating
We mentioned that foxes are omnivores, so in addition to the fruits and veggies in your yard attracting these creatures, there are a few other creatures that may be lurking on or near your property that may increase the level of fox activity.
That’s right, worms aren’t just for the birds! It may come as a surprise to learn that foxes love worms and other grubs that may be circulating their way in your soil.
Whether the worms have come to the surface on their own or if foxes have dug through to locate these bugs themselves, it’s not been unheard of for foxes to eat them.
As temperatures warm and summer nears, insects also become a larger part of a fox’s diet as the insect population itself seems to explode.
I’ll be the first to admit that I find it hard to picture a fox chasing after a moth or leaping to catch a lightning bug in the moonlight. And in fact, insects typically comprise a small percentage of a fox’s diet, but this percentage can increase markedly depending on the region they live in and the season.
Some of a fox’s favorite insect snacks include crane flies, moths, and even grasshoppers and crickets!
While grabbing a drink at the neighborhood watering hole, foxes have been known to scoop up a fish or two during the process.
And those wild grasses that tend to grow several feet high near rivers and streams that we mentioned earlier allow perfect cover for these creatures to spend some extra time doing their version of fishing.
Ranging from small voles to larger rats and even the occasional squirrel, foxes rely on rodents and other small mammals as an important part of their diet as they help to provide a good source of protein.
Unfortunately, if you find yourself with a rodent problem in your yard, you may also see an increase in fox activity. This may ultimately end up with the foxes making their way over to your garden for dessert once the rodents have been consumed.
How To Protect Your Garden From Foxes
While foxes may be able to keep some of your other garden pests in check (mice, voles, etc.), they come with their own set of problems that you don’t necessarily want to open yourself up to.
To help keep foxes out of your garden – and your yard in general- consider implementing a combination of these five methods to deter their activity.
Keep Your Garden Tidy
Keeping a tidy garden and yard will help you more easily detect any sort of pest activity going on – fox or otherwise.
When plants have fallen over, died, or have been altered by any other pest activity, it’s best to tidy up the area as soon as the damage is spotted so that these plants don’t provide any coverage to unwanted pests.
If left unattended, damaged plants may also offer an easier meal for foxes while they hunt and scavenge during the evening hours.
PRO TIP: When fall comes, don’t forget to compost or rake leaves so that they’re off the ground and trim low-hanging branches. This will also help expose any fox tracks and help to eliminate ground coverings for other small garden pests.
Consider Building A Fence
While this option may not be the most cost-effective depending on the size of the area that you’re looking to enclose, fencing can be an effective way to help keep your garden safe from pests looking to make your fruits and veggies into a meal of their own.
To further complicate matters foxes can jump up to six feet high and, as we know by their love of worms, aren’t opposed to digging.
If a fence is in your budget, great! With a variety of materials, it may even be easier to enclose your garden than you originally thought. Just don’t forget to bury your chosen fence material several inches into the ground to help further deter any foxes who happen to be in the digging mood.
Another option for your fruit bushes or vegetables that may grow taller in height is protective netting. While Alpurple Insect Bird Barrier Netting Mesh may seem like it would only be effective against birds and insects, these drawstring bags add a layer of protection to your plants to keep them safe from a number of unwanted pests – foxes included!
Install Motion Sensing Deterrents
Since foxes are naturally curious and will conduct most of their exploring once the sun goes down, a sudden light might be just enough to scare them off and keep your garden safe.
If you have a structure near your garden that is already wired with electricity, it’s relatively easy to add a motion-sensing light to scare off any unwanted evening guests.
There are numerous solar motion sensing lights like HMCITY Solar Lights that can easily be added to nearby structures or posts in your garden to scare off foxes when they come to visit.
Use A Compost Bin With A Lid
While great for helping to fertilize your garden, your open compost bin may be welcoming foxes and other unwanted pests to your yard who can quickly make the jump from compost to garden in the blink of an eye.
While having your compost bin on the other side of your yard from your garden may not seem to be the most efficient way for the two to interact, it is safer to separate the two when possible. If this is a stretch though, covering your compost bin with a secure lid is a good alternative.
Clean Up Food Sources
Okay, we admit that this recommendation covers A LOT of different categories.
- Pet food
- Small pests (mice, voles, etc.)
- Bird feeder
- Fallen fruit
- Food scraps in garbage.
While fresh food and water are a must if your pets stay outside, you’ll want to be sure to pick up these items in the evening. Not only would foxes eat the food themselves, but many other unwanted pests are attracted to dog and cat food as well.
Similarly, we all know that birdseed can easily – and frequently – fall to the ground depending on the type of feeder that’s used. If you don’t have a protected feeder, be sure to clean up any fallen bird seed that foxes are willing to eat in extreme circumstances.
If you can’t seem to keep these rascally animals out of your yard, consider hiring a professional pest control specialist using our nationwide pest control finder. Pest specialists can help you identify what foxes are attracted to so you can make haste to eliminate it!
Putting It All Together
Foxes are omnivores so in addition to meat, they are happy to make a variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and other plants a regular part of their meals.
From your berry bushes to a variety of root vegetables, there are plenty of plants in your garden that may make their way into a fox’s stomach.
Here’s a recap of 15 plants that foxes eat:
- Cherry Tomatoes
To help minimize fox activity in your yard and the damage they can do to your plants, consider adding a fence or plant barrier where appropriate, keep your garden tidy, and keep your yard clear of food scraps that may welcome additional unwanted guests to your property.
Brangi, A. (1995). Seasonal changes of trophic niche overlap in the stone marten (Martes foina) and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in a mountainous area of the Northern Apennines (N-Italy). Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy, 7(1-2).
Dell’Arte, G. L., Laaksonen, T., Norrdahl, K., & Korpimäki, E. (2007). Variation in the diet composition of a generalist predator, the red fox, in relation to season and density of main prey. Acta oecologica, 31(3), 276-281.
Díaz‐Ruiz, F., Delibes‐Mateos, M., García‐Moreno, J. L., María López‐Martín, J., Ferreira, C., & Ferreras, P. (2013). Biogeographical patterns in the diet of an opportunistic predator: the red fox Vulpes vulpes in the Iberian Peninsula. Mammal Review, 43(1), 59-70.
Hockman, J. G., & Chapman, J. A. (1983). Comparative feeding habits of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) in Maryland. American Midland Naturalist, 276-285.
Sargeant, A. B. (1972). Red fox spatial characteristics in relation to waterfowl predation. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 225-236.
Sidorovich, V. E., Sidorovich, A. A., & Izotova, I. V. (2006). Variations in the diet and population density of the red fox Vulpes vulpes in the mixed woodlands of northern Belarus. Mammalian Biology, 71(2), 74-89.
West, B. C., Messmer, T. A., & Bachman, D. C. (2007). Using predator exclosures to protect ground nests from red fox. Human-Wildlife Conflicts, 1(1), 24-26.
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