What Animals Eat Carrots?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

The first image that springs to most people’s minds when reading this question is a cute little rabbit eating a carrot. After all, most of us grew up watching Looney Tunes, where Bugs Bunny would often be seen munching on the orange vegetable. This is present in a lot of children’s books and movies, as well as, of course, in nature. However, carrots are part of other animals’ diets, too, and some may surprise you!

RABBITS

Obviously, we have to start with the rabbit. Despite the popular association between this animal and carrots, wild rabbits usually eat grass and weeds, instead of rooted vegetables. They would often eat the part of the carrot sitting above ground and not the whole root. 

Pet rabbits can be fed carrots but in small portions. Its diet can consist of fruits and vegetables given a few times a week, however, they are only considered treats. It is more of a common myth that rabbits love carrots, and it is their favorite food. It is less known that rabbits can also be fed small amounts of chocolate.

An average rabbit that weighs 5-6 pounds (2.5 kg) should intake ¼ cup of chopped vegetables like spinach, peas, and carrots.

SQUIRRELS

Squirrels are popular in cartoons for their love for nuts. Carrots can be part of their diet as they are safe and very beneficial for their health. 

These small lovely creatures usually eat insects, fungi, and mushrooms. Fruits and vegetables, like grapes, strawberries, broccoli, and apples are also favored by them. They find carrots much more rarely in the wild, as they spend a lot of their time climbing trees in forests and parks. 

If you are wondering whether you should give a squirrel some of the orange vegetables, it wouldn’t mind as it is safe for them.

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DEERS

Anyone who owns a backyard garden near the wilderness will know how hard it is to keep deers out. They love their veggies and will occasionally eat the carrot tops.

You can easily find out whether it was in fact a deer that has intruded in your garden by the bite on the green leaves of the carrot. They would leave behind some uneven edges while smaller animals like rabbits and groundhogs will leave a smooth diagonal pattern. 

Also, deers could dig up the whole carrot and eat it. Gardens growing this vegetable is an easy attraction for them.

Deers can be fed carrots that are cut among other vegetables. 

HORSES

Some people might think of horses when it comes to animals that eat carrots. It is one of their favorite treats. In fact, they love them so much that the vegetables can be used as rewards for behavioral enrichment. These beautiful and intelligent animals prefer hay and wheat, so they would not eat large portions of carrots.

The vegetable should be cut into smaller pieces as the horse may suffer from choking if it eats a whole one. It can also be mixed into the animal’s bran mash.

Active horses will find carrots very beneficial as it contains several crucial nutrients and vitamins like calcium, iron, and vitamin C. This goes for both smaller ponies and larger stallions.

It is always important to consult a nutritionist before adding carrots as a regular part of its diet. Horses with HYPP, a genetic disease noted by mild spasms and trembling, should not be given carrots due to the high level of potassium contained in them.

DOGS

Yes, our loving friends enjoy eating carrots! They are a great low-calorie treat for them and are recommended by vets. 

Carrots contain beta-carotene which helps produce Vitamin A. It is also the reason why carrots are orange in color. They are rich in fiber, meaning that it helps their digestive system to expand and makes them feel full sooner. This helps them not overeat, something that a lot of our furry pets suffer from. It also keeps their teeth healthy and strong.

Dogs love munching on carrots, but be careful to not give them a whole one. As with all animals discussed so far, make sure the treat is sliced carefully.

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CATS

Cats also enjoy carrots as treats despite the common misconception that they hate them. It is essential to keep track of the number of carrots that they eat as cats can easily get their stomach upset. 

If you decide to feed your cats some carrots, make sure to always wash them thoroughly. The vegetable should be cut into very small pieces and cooked – steamed, boiled, or baked. Cook them to a soft and chewy texture. Raw carrots are too risky to be given to cats, especially younger ones. 

Despite the lack of protein, the vegetable will provide healthy fiber, as well as, vitamin K and E which are important for a cat’s wellbeing.

GROUNDHOGS

These marmots can be a true menace to your back garden. They enjoy insects but also eat a lot of garden vegetables and fruits like carrots. They are known to cause trouble by feeding on the plant seedlings and stopping the growth of plants. 

Groundhogs breed in March and April, giving birth a month later to usually 3-5 offspring. Both the younger and older ones enjoy the carrots’ green leaves so they can become a real issue in mid-spring when carrots usually start growing. It is also very difficult to protect rooted vegetables from them due to their small size.

A groundhog can chow down a whole carrot due to its strong and resilient teeth.

INSECTS

Last but not least, insects conclude our list of carrot-eating animals. They can cause a lot of damage to the crops of any type of ground vegetable and carrots are not spared. Caterpillars can be seen instantly, however, other pests that feed on carrots are noticed later.

Some insects could be beneficial for carrot crops like some nematode species.  They can kill harmful pests and protect vegetables while growing. Other nematodes though are harmful and damaging to crops.

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