While most people associate apples with being a sweet treat, did you know that apples grow naturally in the wild too? A variety of animals actually love munching on these delicious fruits. Small critters such as rabbits, chipmunks and deer all enjoy refuelling their energy by snacking on apples.
You may even be surprised to learn that larger carnivores also enjoy feasting on this juicy snack! Thanks to their high sugar and protein content, apples provide a filling feast for many creatures. In this article, we will tell you about all the different animals that enjoy eating apples.
Table of Contents
Find out what animals eat apples from the list below:
Scientific name (family): Leporidae
Rabbits may be herbivores that primarily eat fruit and vegetables, but wild apples can be hard to come by. On the rare occasions that a rabbit is able to find one, it is considered a real treat. A single apple can easily satisfy the hunger of a rabbit for hours on end, far longer than the typical daily diet of grass and other vegetation would. As such, it’s no surprise that rabbits often head towards gardens where they can seek out any apples they might find lying on the ground.
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Scientific name (genus): Capra
Goats have a special fondness for apples regardless of the species. Although domesticated goats are the only kind that can be raised on farms, wild goats also partake in eating apples when they get the chance. This includes some extreme acrobatics because many of these species live in forests, where apples might be spread out and hung high in the trees. The nine species of goats often scavenge off the ground for fallen fruit, but they’re also quite agile climbers that don’t shy away from stretching to reach those juicy branches.
Scientific name (order): Simiiformes
Monkeys are clever and curious creatures who appreciate the sweetness of delicious apples, but they don’t limit themselves to just one kind of fruit. Fortunately for them, their agility helps them find a variety of different fruits throughout the year. However, apple season is truly a special time of year for them since apples are a nutritious and energy-packed meal that can easily keep a monkey’s stomach full.
Not only do monkeys enjoy eating apples all by themselves, but they also love hanging from apple trees, pulling each other up in search of these delectable treats. When an entire family is able to get together at an apple tree, it’s not long before this festive orchard is altogether destroyed.
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Scientific name: Procyon lotor
Raccoons are not only incredibly sneaky and persistent, but they are also versatile eaters – they’ll chow down on virtually anything they can get their little paws on. Apples definitely make their list of preferred morsels, which means that homeowners living in raccoon-populated areas should take extra care to ensure no apples are left unavailable for the scavenging creatures.
In fact, raccoons will often venture as far as orchards in order to scope out their favourite snacks – even if the apple has been forgotten and is now a bit overripe.
Scientific name (family): Sciuridae
Even though small animals seem to enjoy apples, they likely can’t eat too much of them. Squirrels, for instance, prefer nuts as their primary source of food. Though excellent climbers, wild squirrels will usually shy away from an apple tree if they don’t deem it safe to explore.
On the other hand, some people have taken to feeding wild squirrels by chopping up apples into small portions. But even then, a single apple is more than what is necessary for a single squirrel; these small animals simply don’t possess large stomachs that can accommodate a lot of food.
Scientific name (family): Cervidae
It can be extremely frustrating for homeowners when a herd of hungry deer hops the fence into their yard and start chowing down on the apples from their trees. This is especially true because deer tend to be very tall and agile, making it easy for them to reach fruits from high in the branches.
Fortunately, deer are cognizant of humans, so they’ll only take the risk of entering a property if there’s no one around; this means regular patrols can cause them to scatter before they have had the chance to do too much damage.
Conversely, wild deer will often jump at any chance they get to eat apples as these juicy fruits rarely make up a part of their normal diet; if they come across an apple tree, chances are they’ll try to devour each and every fruit it holds.
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Scientific name: Alces alces
Moose are incredibly impressive creatures in more ways than one. With their large size, they require a lot of sustenance and manage to consume a massive 10,000 calories daily; five times the average human!
Although they’ll eat apples if the opportunity arises, these enormous herbivores usually feed in areas where apples don’t tend to grow due to the colder climate. Picking and choosing only the most calorically-dense sources of food, moose have managed to survive in both nature and culture for many years
Scientific name (subfamily): Erinaceinae
While hedgehogs might not seem like the first animals you’d think of when finding pieces of fruit on the ground, they actually love to eat them and will happily venture into gardens and other places where humans frequent. This is more common than you might think, as hedgehogs typically have no natural fear of humans.
Even though they might take a nibble out of an apple if they find one, their preferred meal is usually insects, snails or even snakes. Worse yet, they’re not picky; any source of fresh food will do. Though it’s important to make sure that these creatures get their proper nutrients from meats rather than relying on fruits for energy.
Scientific name (family): Canidae
Foxes have long been known for their omnivorous tendencies, and apples make for a frequent snack. While these wild animals have the inclination to dine on small animals whenever possible, the presence of an apple is certain to make them salivate.
What’s more, foxes need about 2 pounds of food per day in order to survive – meaning that apples fit nicely in their diet. It is worth noting that grey foxes are especially dexterous, capable of climbing trees if they choose to seek out some high-hanging fruit.
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Scientific name (order): Didelphimorphia
Impressively adaptable to their environment, opossums are omnivores with an expansive diet. Practically nothing is off limits when it comes to food sources – be it dead animal parts, eggs, or a variety of fruits including apples – so these remarkable creatures will have no trouble at all finding something to eat.
While most species of opossums prefer meals that come conveniently close to the ground, some species have evolved to become master climbers and scale even the tallest apple trees in search of a delicious meal. With over 120 different varieties of opossums around the world, it’s easy to see why these captivating creatures should never be underestimated.
11. Wild Boars
Scientific name: Sus scrofa
Wild boars are well known for their strength and intelligence and these traits mean they can be a real headache for apple farmers. Despite not being able to climb trees, boars use their brute force and physicality to knock apples from a tree and onto the ground.
They are also very capable of destroying fences, allowing them to burst into an orchard and eat whatever is in sight. These omnivorous animals have huge appetites and consider an apple orchard a blessing as it supplies not just calories but also tasty fruit. Boars need around 4000 calories per day to keep up with their regular activities and will often revisit an apple orchard multiple times throughout the year until the food source runs out.
Scientific name (family): Mustelidae
Badgers are a remarkable species of omnivory, displaying little pickiness when it comes to their diet. Though they prefer meat to vegetables and plants, they often eat fruit if they can’t find other food sources.
That being said, you’re just as likely to find badgers looking for scraps such as an old rotten apple as much as a mouse or frog! Surprisingly, some naturalists have even observed instances where badgers became intoxicated due to the alcohol in fermented fruit. But that aside, we must also not forget their very talented skill at using excavation techniques like burrowing and digging.
Scientific name (family): Ursidae
As it may seem obvious, bears cannot depend solely on apples for sustenance, as much as large animals might enjoy them. In fact, bears generally consume more plant matter than animal-based food sources! Just like humans, they are omnivores — requiring a balanced diet and varying food sources to remain healthy.
Polar bears may be the exception to this rule; apples won’t grow in the tundra of the North Pole! But in southern regions where bear sightings are more common, they can definitely be found happily gobbling up apples and tomatoes among other plants. Technically speaking, 90 pounds of food per day is required to maintain a bear’s strength and size before hibernation begins every winter, so bear diets include roots, mushrooms and other fruits along with their favourite apples.
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Scientific name (genus): Rattus
Rats are cunning and often sneak around to get the food they need to survive, but they are also savvy climbers. Quite surprisingly, they can climb trees and take apples off of the branches without trouble. In this way, the plants that provide nourishment are within easy reach for these rodents and it is no wonder, then, why rat infestations can become a problem even though they don’t need that much food per day. With their resourceful methods, one apple might be all they need in a day’s time as they are smart enough to store it away for later.
Pandas are among the most beloved of all animals. They have unique black and white fur, kind eyes, and loveable personalities. But perhaps the most amazing thing about pandas is their diet – they eat almost exclusively bamboo! However, apples are one of the few exceptions things in their diets – they seem to particularly enjoy this sweet snack. Apples are full of the nutrients pandas need to stay healthy and make an enjoyable treat compared to the boring processed food that pandas in captivity must sometimes rely on.
What animals will eat an apple?
Apples are a favourite snack for many animals. From winged birds to four-legged mammals, nearly every species can enjoy a taste of this sweet and juicy fruit. Eg; Deer, mice, bears, raccoons, turkeys and many songbirds.
Which animal eats apples the most?
Out of all the animals, the one that eats apples the most is likely the deer. They often gather in great numbers around apple-bearing trees in autumn when the fruits ripen and give off their irresistible smell.
Do squirrels eat apples?
With their sophisticated front teeth perfect for nibbling and cracking out treats, it’s no surprise that squirrels enjoy eating apples.
Can animals have apples?
While apples are often associated with humans, certain animals can indeed enjoy this nutritious fruit. Domesticated dogs and cats have been known to be able to eat apples in moderation, enjoying their sweet taste as a snack or a treat. Cattle, horses, and even sheep can reap the benefits of apples, due to their high content of iron, calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin B6 which make them especially useful for farm animals.
Do cows eat apples?
Many people may be surprised to learn that cows do in fact enjoy apples! Cows are actually omnivores, meaning they eat both grass and plants, as well as fruits and veggies.
Apples are a favourite fruit for many animals. For small animals like squirrels and rats, apples are an especially great source of calories that can last them several days. It’s not as nutritious for much larger animals, though; they’d need to eat hundreds of apples in order to get enough calories! Some species that benefit from eating apples will actually climb the trees to get them while others stay on the ground and wait for the apples to fall off. All these options make apples a fantastic food source for many different creatures.
An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.