If you are growing watermelons in your garden and you also have visits from the local wildlife from time to time, you may well be wondering “do deer eat watermelon?”
Deer are known for ravaging crops of all kinds, and it is not surprising if this question has arisen when you’re out tending to your plants. After all, deer are keen grazers, and watermelons are tempting, sweet crops that attract a lot of attention from hungry creatures of all kinds.
It’s important to understand what is likely to eat watermelon and, if you wish to feed the deer in your local area, what it is safe for them to eat. You do not want to accidentally give them a food that is dangerous and could make them sick.
Watermelons might seem harmless, but it’s still good to check anything that you plan to offer to animals, even if you think that the animals will simply help themselves from your vegetable garden.
We’re going to explore whether deer will eat watermelons and how you can tell whether they have been munching at your crops, as well as what benefits watermelons might offer to the animals that nibble on them.
If you’re growing watermelons, this is important information to have; it will help you work out what foods to leave out, and what is likely to be munching on your offerings. Arming yourself with knowledge about what local wildlife will and will not eat is key to gardening in harmony with nature.
Do Deer Eat Watermelon?
Deer do eat watermelon, yes, and in fact, they are very keen on this fruit, although they rarely eat whole watermelons.
They will happily feast on bits of watermelon as they forage through your garden, nibbling at the various plants, but it is unusual for them to consume an entire watermelon at once. That is because there is a lot of sugar in a watermelon, and it’s also a very large meal for a deer.
A herd of deer might finish off several watermelons between them, even if a single deer won’t eat a whole one.
Because watermelons are sweeter on the inside, you will often find that a deer has left the rind of the watermelon mostly intact, and instead opted to consume the sweet red flesh within. This is perfectly normal behavior, although the rind is also edible to deer, and they will sometimes eat that too.
Usually, a deer will gnaw a hole in the rind of the melon and then scoop some of the flesh out with its tongue. It will eat the seeds as well, but leave most of the rind behind, unless it is extremely hungry and there are few other options for it to try. In general, deer prefer the flesh, which is packed with vitamins and carbohydrates.
If you are looking for something to feed the local wild deer then one of the options from our article on inexpensive deer food is probably better than watermelon in most cases though.
Nutritional Benefits Of Watermelon For Deer!
So, what are the nutritional benefits of a watermelon for a deer? There are quite a few, but the biggest is probably that watermelons are full of carbohydrates, and these are needed in order to keep the deer’s energy reserves topped up.
The carbohydrates are the biggest attraction, but of course, watermelons do contain other nutritional benefits too.
Watermelons contain lots of vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, which benefit a deer’s immune system, just like they do for humans.
Vitamin B6 also helps deer to store and use energy gained from protein and carbohydrates, and vitamin A is important for cell growth and vision health. All of these contribute to keeping the deer healthy, and helping it fight diseases.
Watermelons also contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that protects the cells from damage, and deer are very attracted to this.
There are other antioxidants in a watermelon’s flesh too, along with amino acids, which serve a variety of roles, including building muscles, transporting nutrients, and warding off illnesses.
All of these things make watermelons very attractive to deer, ensuring that they get the nutrients they need to form a balanced diet and stay strong and healthy.
Should You Feed Wild Deer Watermelon?
If you wish to feed wild deer anything, you must first check that this is legal in your area, as many states have banned the feeding of wild deer, or have strict stipulations that you must follow to avoid issues with the law.
If this is the case in your state, thoroughly familiarize yourself with the rules so that you don’t get into trouble or cause problems. However, if your state allows you to feed wild deer, it may be safe to give them watermelon in small quantities.
Remember, however, that watermelons are a very sugary food that most deer will rarely – if ever – encounter, and they should be fed to them with great caution and in moderation.
You could make a deer sick if you give it too much watermelon, because it will get a lot of sugar all at once, and it may not continue to forage for itself as it should.
If you are going to feed the deer in your garden on anything, including watermelon, you should do so in small quantities so that the deer continue to forage naturally.
However, watermelon is a safe addition to the food table, and deer will enjoy many nutritional benefits as a result of consuming it in small quantities. If you are going to feed them to help them get through the winter, you will find that watermelons are a gratefully received treat that most deer love.
Yes, deer do eat watermelon, but most will only eat the flesh inside and will reject the rind in favor of other foods unless there is very little else available. The inner flesh of the watermelon contains lycopene, which deer are very keen on, and also provides deer with lots of vitamins and nutrients that they may struggle to get from other parts of their diet. However, you should only offer watermelons to deer with care, because they may otherwise become overweight due to the sugar, or too dependent upon you to forage for themselves sufficiently.