Yes, Rabbits Do Eat Tomato Plants {8 Ways To Stop Them}

Do rabbits eat tomato plants? Yes, absolutely they do. I love to grow tomatoes as much as rabbits love to eat them — here are 8 ways (that actually work) to deter rabbits from your tomatoes and vegetable garden forever.

A wild brown rabbit in the garden looking for food.

As cute as rabbits are, they can be very destructive to the garden you’re carefully tending to provide food for yourself and your family. And rabbits will absolutely decimate your tomato plants. Before you start thinking of rabbit stew, there are actually many ways to deter rabbits from your tomatoes and vegetable gardens.

Do Rabbits Eat Tomato Plants?

A wild rabbit’s diet is not a picky one and they will absolutely pilfer your tomato plants — along with many other wild and domestic critters (like your chickens and ducks, my chickens love to eat tomatoes SO much) and your pet rabbit can be fed tomatoes as a treat too in small quantities.

The plant is a great source of nutrition for them and the sweetness of tomatoes is a big draw.

Rabbits will eat your ripe tomato fruit before you can pick it, but they will even eat your green fruits.

Aren’t Tomato Leaves Poisonous?

Yes, tomato leaves and stalks are parts of the tomato plant that are toxic, whereas the fruits are not.

It’s why you should not feed the leaves or any other part of the tomato plant to your chickens or other livestock. That said, animals will nibble at the leaves and stalks to test them out will little ill effect and I have seen tomato vines being damaged this way with my own eyes.

I guess the poison is in the dose and the animals seem to understand they should steer clear after a bite or two.

Wild and domestic animals like rabbits can do a tremendous amount of damage to tomato pants in a single night. I would recommend taking preventative measures and I’ll share 8 ways to deter rabbits in this article.

Some are cheap or free and easy — others are not.

Let’s get into it.

But Is It A Rabbit?

How do you know if it’s a rabbit getting into your tomato plants at all?

First thing, look for rabbit poop (an excellent fertilizer btw) as they are constantly pooping.

The only way to be certain is to set up a trail cam and catch them, or be up very very early (before sunrise) and try and catch them in the act.

Rabbits are active mostly at dawn in the early morning and dusk.

8 Ways To Keep Rabbits Away from Your Tomato Plants

Raised Beds

One of the top benefits of raised bed gardening is that a raised bed can be enough of a deterrent for a rabbit, especially when paired with some other ideas from this list.

In our garden we’re using a combination of tools to keep the neighbourhood rabbit population away from my precious vegetable garden. And raised metal beds are a big part of that.

These are the raised beds we’re installing! Follow me along on Instagram or right here on the blog for all the designing and planning and planting.

9 in 1 Metal Raised Garden Bed From Vegega

Keep in mind that the raised beds need to be high enough to actually deter the rabbits and that means they should be at least 24 inches (2 feet) high — or even higher — to work their best.

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Rabbits are nervous creatures that will only jump very high if they feel threatened. And jumping up into a raised bed may leave them feeling very exposed indeed. So higher raised beds may be a perfect deterrent.

Will they jump up into the raised beds? They may, you never know what kind of rabbits you have.

Small amounts of leafy greens, or the delicious jagged edges of fresh tomato vines or cherry tomatoes hanging over your beds may make it worth their while to risk their lives for more food.

A 2-foot-high (24 inch) raised bed is generally enough to keep the average brush or cottontail rabbit out of your yard. A jackrabbit can jump higher and if they’re being chased and running for their lives, they may in fact clear that or more.

And that is why we’re not relying on raised beds alone to keep rabbits out of the garden. It’s too much of a risk to rely on one thing anyways.

We’re also installing fencing. Which brings me to our next point.

A white picket fence protects a garden from rabbits.
A fence can be beautiful — but make sure rabbits can’t jump over or get underneath.

Fencing

Kinda obvious? Yes. Expensive? That depends. Regardless, this is likely the best way to keep rabbits from your tomatoes.

You can cheaply and quickly throw up some snow fencing and t-posts and that can serve as a temporary fencing solution for your garden.

It will keep the rabbits out. The downside is that it can look a bit junky and ugly and you may find yourself annoyed at the prospective of constantly fixing sagging parts and bits of the snow fence.

T-posts and hog or cattle panels can be used, but you will still have to wrap hardware cloth or chicken wire around the bottom as rabbits can get through easily. It will take more work, and cost a bit more. In the end you will have a sturdier, more attractive fence.

Motion Activated Sprinkler

A motion activated sprinkler can be a great deterent for rabbits who do not like getting wet, and also will be startled at the sudden water falling.

Just turn it off before you go in there yourself.

This will work for a number of critters and even stray dogs.

Trap or Decoy Garden

Rabbits are prey animals and if they can limit the amount of time spent searching for food — they will.

So plant a trap garden, also called a decoy garden.

A great crop for this is clover, something that rabbits absolutely adore. A thick patch panted around your garden and even in various spots on your property (like hidden nooks and crannies rabbits will love) can really deter rabbits.

Clover is also just a great crop for pollinators and other wildlife too. It makes a much better ground cover than grass.

Predator Scents

Your local hunting store will sell scents from rabbit’s natural predators —scents like coyote urine. And they are amazing rabbit repellents. That alone can be enough to keep rabbits and many other creatures far away.

Blood Meal

Rabbits hate the smell and taste of blood meal fertilizer. You can sprinkle some around your soil or even just around your garden beds and see if that is enough to deter them from setting foot into your garden beds.

A wild brown hare in the garden looking for food.

Hot Pepper Spray

Mix up a simple spray of red hot chili peppers and spray them on your leaves.

Just soak a few peppers (or just hot sauce) in hot water for 24 hours and then spray the mixture on your tomato leaves.

Deer hate this too!

Homemade repellents like this (or something with garlic) can be just as effectie as commercial repellents.

Shiny Objects

Stringing shiny mylar tape or foil around can scare rabbits away by fluttering in the wind.

These objects look strange and might not be worth exploring, even for a juice tomato.

Decoy Predator Bird

A plastic decoy owl may deter rabbits from ever going near your garden and your precious, fresh tomatoes.

This is also a potential deterrent for other birds of prey for going after your chickens or ducks if you free range them.

The catch is that you have to change the location of the owl or they will get used to it.

Final Thoughts

The high sugar content of ripe tomatoes is too hard for anyone to resist — including rabbits. But green tomatoes are at risk too. And rabbits can destroy your hard work in a single night. Once they’ve found your garden, they will keep coming back again and again until everything is gone so you must be proactive and take action to deter rabbits. It is a good idea to start thinking about this as you plan and build your garden in the first place — that’s what we are doing.

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