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Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

If you are fortunate enough to have wild deer who visit your garden on a regular basis, you are probably always interested in learning more about what these animals will and will not eat, and this includes their interest in consuming some of the plants in your garden – possibly including fig trees.

Deer are known for browsing on all kinds of different plants, and it can be helpful to consider “do deer eat fig trees?” so you know whether you need to protect your plants or not.

Because deer are vegetarians that have very varied diets, it isn’t always easy to guess what they’ll eat, and fig trees seem to get a mixed reaction.

Some deer do eat fig trees, but on the whole, these are not considered a favorite meal for them by most people, because they tend to go for other greenery.

However, you can rest assured that a fig tree will not cause illness among the deer in your garden if they do decide to sample the leaves or bark. The trees aren’t toxic, and should be perfectly safe for a deer to nibble on.

Many people think that deer mostly live on grass, but in fact, they eat a very wide range of vegetation, and their diet varies as the seasons change and different foods become available to them.

In the winter, they often do eat foliage from trees, and sometimes even the bark of trees, especially if other vegetation is scarce.

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

Yes, deer do eat fig trees sometimes, although they do not tend to favor this food, and may not bother if there are other foods available to them.

However, if you have fig trees, especially with tender new shoots and young growth, you may sometimes see the deer browsing on them and munching at both the leaves and stems.

Often, they will only eat a small amount before moving on to the next plant, unless there is a lack of other food available to them.

Many people believe that deer do not eat fig trees, and this belief is held partly because deer tend not to prefer fig trees, fruits, or foliage to other sources of food that they can access.

However, deer do certainly eat fig trees at times, and even a deer that is not particularly hungry may occasionally sample a branch or two.

In other cases, deer will completely ignore the plants and go for other foods, and it seems to be hard to predict how they will behave; some people report that deer never touch their figs, while others report that they constantly attack them.

If you have figs in your yard and you want to protect them from being eaten, it is best to fence them in if possible. If you don’t mind the deer browsing on them, leave them unfenced, but be aware that deer can also rub up against plants and damage them in this way.

Nutritional Benefits Of Fig Trees For Deer!

It’s challenging to say what benefits the fig trees provide for deer, but we can gain some information about what nutrients the fruits themselves provide by breaking down what they contain.

Figs are thought to be good for digestive health because they contain plenty of fiber, and they have prebiotic properties, which helps to boost the bacteria in the gut and improve the ability of the deer to digest food.

Figs also contain calcium, which is good for bone health, and potassium. Furthermore, they have polyphenols, which can reduce the damage done by oxygen to tissues and cells within the body, decreasing the risk of cancer.

With potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and quite a lot of sugar, they are a food that is reasonably healthy for deer to consume, but only in moderation.

Overall, a small quantity of figs might be good for a deer, but eating a lot could cause problems because of the high sugar content.

Figs also contain latex, which deer appear not to like much, and they have laxative properties, which may be why deer only eat them in small quantities.

Should You Let Deer Eat Your Fig Trees?

Eating fig trees should not harm a deer, and in general, deer will only eat as much of the fruit as is right for them, as they have a good sense of how to find dietary balance.

In general, if the deer munches on the trees at all, it will moderate its intake to ensure its digestive system isn’t upset by it, usually only eating the young, tender leaves. It may nibble on the bark and a few twigs, but again, these shouldn’t do any damage to it.

If you would rather that deer did not eat your fig trees, it is best to fence the trees off to prevent damage.

There is no other way to prevent the animals from browsing on the trees if they choose to, and they can do a lot of damage if one does decide that it enjoys the tree and wants to eat a lot of it.

You may find that you even lose your trees if the deer get particularly keen on them, especially during the winter when the trees are not growing as much.

Some people choose to put the fruit out but fence off the trees, and this is a reasonable solution. On the whole, however, deer are not as fond of figs as other fruits, and they may reject them if there is a lot of other food available.


So, the answer to “do deer eat fig trees?” is that they do, but this is not enormously common behavior. You might see a deer munching on the trees in your garden if it is struggling to find enough other food, but on the whole, deer will not choose to eat fig trees, foliage, or even fruits if there is other food available to them. Even so, you should protect your trees with fencing if you do not want the deer to eat them.