Do Raccoons Eat Tomatoes? 8 Ways To Protect Your Garden

The question, “Do raccoons eat tomatoes?” often raises concerns for garden enthusiasts as these masked creatures are known for their scavenging tendencies. 

Raccoons are known to enjoy tomatoes, relishing their juicy and sweet flavors. They are known to raid gardens and orchards in search of easily accessible food.

In this exploration, we’ll delve into the culinary preferences of raccoons, especially regarding plump, red tomatoes.

Do raccoons eat tomatoes?

Yes, raccoons are known to eat tomatoes. These omnivorous animals have a diverse diet that includes fruits, vegetables, insects, small mammals, and even scavenged food from human sources. Tomatoes, being easily accessible in gardens and yards, may attract raccoons.

In urban and suburban areas, raccoons may venture into gardens in search of food, including tomatoes, as part of their foraging behavior. The accessibility of these fruits in residential areas makes them susceptible to raccoon activity, especially during the growing season when tomatoes are ripe and appealing.

Do raccoons eat tomato plants?

Raccoons are known to eat tomato plants, and their foraging behavior can pose a threat to gardens and crops. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders with a diverse diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and other plant materials. In residential areas, gardens often become targets for raccoons, especially during the growing season.

Raccoons may damage tomato plants in several ways. They can dig up the soil around the plants in search of insects, grubs, or other small creatures. Additionally, raccoons may nibble on leaves, stems, and even the fruits themselves. The scent and taste of ripe tomatoes can attract raccoons, leading to potential destruction of the plants.

In addition to eating tomato plants, raccoons can pose an additional threat by potentially defecating and urinating on the plants. Raccoon droppings and urine may contain bacteria and parasites that can lead to diseases, posing a health risk to both humans and other animals. When raccoons visit gardens and come into contact with tomato plants, their waste may contaminate the soil and the fruits themselves.

How to keep raccoons out of tomato garden?

To safeguard your tomato plants in your garden from raccoon interference, consider implementing the following strategies to keep these curious creatures at bay.

  • Fencing: Install sturdy fences around the garden, preferably with electric wires at the top, to create a barrier that deters raccoons from entering.
  • Cayenne Pepper or Hot Sauce: Sprinkle cayenne pepper or hot sauce on and around the tomato plants. The strong smell and taste can act as a deterrent for raccoons.
  • Ammonia Soaked Rags: Place rags soaked in ammonia around the garden. Raccoons are sensitive to strong odors, and the ammonia smell may discourage them.
  • Use Predator Urine: Purchase predator urine, such as that of coyotes or foxes, and apply it around the garden perimeter. The scent can create the illusion of potential danger, deterring raccoons.
  • Netting or Covers: Covering the tomato plants with netting or row covers can physically prevent raccoons from reaching the fruits while still allowing sunlight and water to nourish the plants.
  • Remove Attractive Debris: Clear away any debris or hiding spots near the garden that could attract raccoons. They are less likely to approach if there’s no convenient cover.
  • Employ Scarecrows or Decoys: Install scarecrows or decoys that mimic predators to intimidate raccoons and dissuade them from entering the garden.
  • Harvest Timely: Pick ripe tomatoes promptly to reduce the attraction of scents that might draw raccoons to your garden.

Implementing a combination of these measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of raccoons damaging your tomato plants and help maintain a healthy and thriving garden.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Do Raccoons Eat Tomatoes

Q1: Do raccoons eat green tomatoes?

A: Raccoons may consume green tomatoes, although they generally prefer ripe ones. The less overpowering smell of green tomatoes might make them less attractive, but if encountered, raccoons may still eat them.

Q2: Are raccoons the only pests that can damage a vegetable garden?

A: No, raccoons are not the sole culprits. Other pests like deer, squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, groundhogs, and birds can also damage vegetable gardens. Identifying the specific pest causing damage is crucial for implementing effective prevention strategies.

Q3: Can raccoons be relocated if found in the garden?

A: While raccoons are native to North America and have a good chance of survival when relocated, it’s crucial to approach the situation responsibly. It’s generally better to release them away from your neighborhood to prevent them from returning. However, it’s important to note that relocating wildlife may be subject to legal regulations, and it can be illegal without the proper permits. It is advisable to contact wildlife assistance or professionals directly to ensure a safe and lawful approach to handling raccoon-related issues.

Q4: What vegetables do raccoons avoid, and why?

A: Raccoons tend to avoid vegetables in the nightshade family, such as eggplants and peppers. The presence of solanine, a neurotoxin, in nightshade plants might contribute to their aversion. Raccoons are known to have preferences based on taste and nutritional content.

Q5: How can gardeners coexist with raccoons responsibly?

A: Gardeners can adopt responsible coexistence practices by securing trash bins, eliminating potential food sources, and creating designated foraging spaces for raccoons. Balancing the protection of the garden with respect for wildlife contributes to a harmonious coexistence.


While raccoons are undoubtedly resourceful and adaptable creatures, their preference for tomatoes can be influenced by various factors. Understanding their behavior and implementing preventive measures can help coexist with these wildlife neighbors without sacrificing your garden harvest. By taking proactive steps, you can enjoy the beauty of both your tomatoes and the intriguing raccoons that share the urban landscape.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.