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Do Deer Eat Squash And Zucchini (Fruits And Foliage)?

» Deer stories » Deer resistant plants » Do Deer Eat Squash And Zucchini (Fruits And Foliage)?
farmer notes Featured Deer
🦌 Mad Red #2723
gardener notes Gardeners Notes
Plant type: annuals
Deer resistant: somewhat
Our plant hardiness zone:
New Zealand: subtropical
U.S. Zone 10b

All sorts of squashes ( summer squash, zucchini (courgette), pattypan ) are members of the same family with pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) and are somewhat similar in taste and texture. Yes, deer will eat squash and zucchini if they are hungry and food sources are scarce. However, they are not typically a preferred food source for deer.

will deer eat squash foliage

In our experience, courgette plants are ignored for the most part. Also, deer have never been seen fighting over a bit of zucchini fruit.

But it will get eaten eventually, just less enthusiastically, as they're waiting for something like bread, carrots or apples.

courgette inside deer mouth
Ignore Junkie on the picture above, she's been known to eat practically anything, just how she is, she probably likes a round shape (for her figure).

Regarding squash foliage, we've tested deer enthusiasm for this freshly cut slightly yellowing pattypan squash leaf, and 3 out of 3 present does did partake in eating it.

Watch Mad Red the Deer Devour Squash Leaf

Our deer gave it a taste today and this was MadRed's review. 

Babushka actually chewed the stalk into spaghetti when she has finished with leaf:

deer chewed down pattypan stalk

One out of 3 ate a little pattypan fruit that was also not looking promising, so I cut it off and decided to see if deer wanted it. So tastes differ among deer.

Still, one leaf was seen on the ground for a while. That's another sign they don't really fancy squash plants, won't cross a street for them, but will eat if they're right under their noses and nothing tastier in vicinity.

So the bottom line? Squash plants are deer resistant to an extent that the animals in the area have better options. On the other hand, some even eat the fruits and stalks. So if you want a true peace of mind, keep your squash, zucchini/courgette or gourds inaccessible to the hungry critters. Ours have been fenced off just in case, experience says 'never trust a deer with your harvest'.

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