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Do Rabbits Eat Tomatoes? (10 Ways to PROTECT Your Plants)

It can be frustrating to find out that your tomato plants are being eaten by wild animals. What could it be? Do rabbits eat tomatoes?

Key Takeaways

  • Rabbits eat tomatoes and the plants, enjoying both the fruit and green parts.
  • Prevent rabbit damage with physical barriers, repellents, or diversion tactics.
  • Monitor for signs of rabbit presence, like bite marks or droppings, to protect plants.

Rabbits are known to consume tomatoes. They not only eat the fruit but also the plants, primarily due to easy accessibility as a tomato plant typically grows 3 to 4 feet high. Due to the reduced height, it is easily accessible to these small animals, providing them with an effortless meal option.

Recognizing Rabbit Damage to Your Tomato Plants

do rabbits eat tomato plants - Recognizing Rabbit Damage to Your Tomato Plants

It is essential to exercise caution after sowing young tomato plants, as these rabbits may voraciously devour them overnight, leaving naught behind but barren soil.

Identifying rabbit damage to your tomato plants is crucial to take appropriate action. Look for the following signs:

  • Bite marks: Rabbits have distinctive teeth marks that are roughly angled at 45 degrees. These marks can be found on leaves, stems, and even the fruit itself.
  • Missing foliage: If you notice large sections of leaves disappearing or entire stems vanishing, rabbits may be to blame. They have a voracious appetite and can quickly strip a tomato plant of its greenery. However, keep in mind that also other wildlife like deer can cause this type of damage to tomato plants.
  • Nibbled fruit: Rabbits will gladly nibble on your tomatoes, leaving behind half-eaten or partially damaged fruits. However, this is also typical of squirrels, chipmunks, and birds as well, so you should evaluate the bite marks carefully.
  • Tracks and droppings: Rabbit footprints and droppings near your tomato plants are clear indicators of their presence.

If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to take action to protect your tomato plants from further rabbit damage.

How to Prevent Rabbits from eating your Tomato Plants

Fortunately, there are several effective gardening deterrent techniques you can implement to keep rabbits away from your tomato plants.

1. Physical barriers

The Best Rabbit-Proof Barriers

Fencing is the most reliable physical barrier against hungry bunnies. Use small mesh fencing or hardware cloth that rabbits can’t squeeze through or dig under. Bury the fence about 6-12 inches underground to prevent digging. The fence should be at least 2-3 feet tall to stop rabbits from jumping over.

Regularly inspect the fence for any gaps or holes and promptly repair them to maintain its effectiveness. This physical barrier will act as a deterrent and discourage rabbits from entering your tomato patch.

Protect tender tomato plants with fabric row covers, cloches, plastic tunnels, or netting. Secure the edges with weights or garden staples so sneaky rabbits can’t lift the barriers and sneak in.

Row covers create a protective blanket that hides those delicious-smelling tomato plants.

2. Scare Devices

The Best Rabbit Solution

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Deter timid rabbits from the garden with frightful stimuli. Motion-activated sprinklers, flashing lights, wind chimes, and loud noise makers startle rabbits. Their instinct will be to run away rather than stick around.

However, the after creating a physical barrier, the best rabbit repellent is hands down based on ultrasound. The nice thing is that humans can’t hear those frequencies of sound!

Another popular scare tactic consists in using decoys of predators that you can place around your garden or yard. The most popular ones, like the one below, are owls, which may also add a touch of style to your garden while scaring away the rabbits.

Decoy To Scare The Rabbits

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Just remember to periodically move your decoy around, or the rabbits will get used to it and start ignoring it.

I also mentioned motion-activated sprinklers. The moment that they detect motion from wildlife in the area, the device will start watering your garden for a few seconds. This will usually scare away animals like rabbits, deer, and squirrels.

3. Repellents

Natural Rabbit & Deer Repellent

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Rabbits have a strong sense of smell and dislike pungent odors. Spraying garlic, hot pepper, castor oil, peppermint oil, or citrus oils around plants overwhelms those sensitive bunny noses.

When using rabbit repellents, carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. It’s important to reapply the repellent regularly, especially after rainfall, to ensure its continued effectiveness.

3. Sacrificial Plants

Distract rabbits from tomato plants by giving them an alternative food source. Plant tasty treats like clover and lettuce around the garden’s edge to divert bunnies from the good stuff. They’ll nibble the sacrificial plants first.

Unfortunately, this method doesn’t guarantee that the rabbits will not nimble on your tomatoes, but it just reduces the chances of this happening.

If you’re concerned about rabbits feeding on your tomato plants, it may be useful to provide alternative food sources to divert their attention. Offering a variety of other fruits and vegetables can help satisfy their dietary needs while reducing their reliance on your precious tomato crop.

Recommended Fruits and Vegetables for Rabbits

Some recommended fruits for rabbits include apples, bananas, berries (such as strawberries and blueberries), and melons (like watermelon and cantaloupe).

For vegetables, consider offering leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, and dandelion greens, as well as carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

5. Predator Urine

The scent of predator urine like fox or coyote pee scares rabbits away by mimicking a dangerous animal’s presence. Place it around the garden’s perimeter and rabbits will turn tail to avoid becoming dinner.

6. Blood Meal Fertilizer

Sprinkling blood meal fertilizer around plants hints at recent predator activity. The blood scent screams danger, triggering the rabbits’ instinct to flee rather than risk being eaten next.

7. Reduce Hiding Spots

Rabbits feel safest eating plants when they have quick escape routes and hiding places. Remove brush piles, trim back vegetation, and create open space around the garden to leave shy rabbits feeling exposed.

8. Harvest Ripe Produce

Prevent rabbit damage by not giving them the chance! Pick ripe tomatoes, peppers, and other crops as soon as possible. Fewer fruits on the vine means less opportunity for rabbits to steal a snack.

9. Companion planting

Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves growing certain plants together to provide mutual benefits. In the case of repelling rabbits, consider planting natural deterrents alongside your tomato plants.

Plants such as marigolds, onions, garlic, and chives have strong scents that rabbits find unpleasant. By interspersing these plants throughout your tomato patch, you can create an aromatic barrier that deters rabbits from approaching.

Additionally, some herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme are known to repel rabbits and can be strategically placed around your tomato plants.

Remember to research the specific needs and growing conditions of companion plants to ensure they thrive alongside your tomatoes.

10. Raised Beds

Elevated planting beds surrounded by rabbit fencing place plants conveniently out of rabbits’ reach. Hopping up onto the bed to eat plants takes more effort than bunnies are willing to expend.

Potential Health Benefits of Tomatoes for Rabbits

It’s worth noting that tomatoes are technically fruits, but they are often used as vegetables in culinary applications. Despite their classification, they offer some potential health benefits for rabbits.

Tomatoes provide several important nutrients that can benefit rabbits. They are a good source of Vitamin C, which plays a vital role in boosting the immune system and promoting overall health. Additionally, tomatoes contain antioxidants, such as lycopene, that help protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.

Furthermore, tomatoes are rich in water content, which helps with hydration. This can be especially beneficial during extreme weather conditions, such as cold winters or droughts when water sources may be scarce.


Finally, let’s not forget our four-legged helpers: consider getting a dog or a cat, as their presence alone can often keep rabbits away. With these strategies in your arsenal, you can enjoy your ripe, juicy tomatoes while ensuring the bunnies find their meal elsewhere!