Watermelon is one of our favorite and most refreshing summer fruits. They are large and easily accessible but can draw a lot of attention from pests. From insects to wild boars which are known to break them open with their jaws before eating them.
What about deer, though – do deer eat watermelon? If so, is it possible to prevent deer from eating your watermelon crop? In this article, I’ll be answering these and many more questions. Read on to uncover my refreshing insight.
- Do Deer Eat Water Melon?
- Are There Any Deer Resistant Water Melon
- How to Keep Deer from Eating Water Melon
- Making Home-Made Deer Repellent
- Verdict: Do Deer Eat Water Melon
Do Deer Eat Water Melon?
Yes, deer will gladly eat watermelon. They’re easily accessible as they’re on the ground, and deer can break them open with ease. Although they may not be as nutritious for deer, watermelons are a great source of water.
On a separate note – watermelon is some of the most pest-prone fruits, especially when it comes to insects and fungi. Regarding mammals other than deer, watermelon is frequently damaged by raccoons and wild boars, but also coyotes (which are actually omnivores, not carnivores).
Birds are also a threat to your watermelons, but they have a bit of trouble breaking the hard outer shell open.
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Is It Safe for Deer to Eat Water Melon Rind?
The rind of a watermelon is safe for deer to eat, but not enough is known about how their digestive system can cope with it.
It is likely safe for them to eat the watermelon rind (it’s even possible that they’ll like it because of how hard it is).
However, the only relatively unsafe part of the watermelon is the seeds. This is because there is an ever-present danger of choking on a seed!
There is a single watermelon cultivar, called Lanatus, with small fruits that cause poisoning in sheep. These watermelons have bumpy skin, and given that they poisoned the sheep that ate it, it is plausible that they would poison a deer too if they ever came into contact.
Aside from that cultivar, there are no varieties poisonous to deer (that are known). However, if a deer eats an unripe watermelon, it’ll likely get sick (just like a human would).
Will Water Melon Regrow After Deer Eat Them?
Unfortunately, no, a watermelon will not regrow after a deer eats it. They’re annual flowering plants, meaning that you have to replant them each year. Once a deer eats a watermelon, you have to plant a new fruit in its place.
This is why protecting your watermelons from deer is so important – the damage is irreparable.
Are There Any Deer Resistant Water Melon
There is no deer-resistant watermelon – they’re actually some of the most defenseless plants when it comes to deer resistance. Aside from the one cultivar mentioned before, no watermelons are toxic to animals.
There are two fruits, though, that are very similar to watermelons and people often confuse them for watermelons. Coastal manroot and kiwano (also known as ‘horned melon’) are both covered in spikes.
kiwano is actually more closely related to cucumbers than it is to watermelons, while coastal manroot is a manroot found in the USA. It is both toxic, causing severe dehydration, and prickly on the surface.
How to Keep Deer from Eating Water Melon
It’s not all bad news for watermelon growing, however! You can keep them safe easily by building a metal cage around them. Unlike many other vegetables, they don’t grow tall, although their vines can grow up to 10 feet in length so you would need to ensure they were spread out evenly inside the metal cage.
Instead of building a fence around your entire garden, which is more expensive and takes longer, you can simply build a metal cage around your watermelons.
Make sure the cage is secured to the ground with a few weights and you have perfect protection for your watermelon from any hungry deer!
Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden
There are three basic ways of keeping deer out of your garden. You can physically prevent them from entering, scare them away, or repel them with repellents.
Tall fences are the most effective way of keeping deer out of your garden as they can’t climb them or jump over them. However, deer can jump very high, so you have to build an 8-foot-fence if you want to ensure that your garden is fully deer-proof.
This solution is often expensive, which is a good reason to opt for a metal cage option instead.
Then, there are scare tactics, such as letting your dog protect your garden or hooking up your sprinklers to a motion detector.
Deer are easily scared away by unusual sounds, lights, or unexpected showers. This means they are unlikely to stay in an area where they have to fear for their life.
Lastly, there are repellents. While repellants are a great addition to any of the aforementioned methods, they’re not a good method to use on their own. Animals can become accustomed to repellents and learn to ignore them, while they also evaporate (becoming less effective) with time.
Making Home-Made Deer Repellent
There are some great commercial deer repellents readily available to buy, but if you prefer, you can make your own in just five minutes with ingredients found in your cupboards at home.
Smells That Repel Deer
Animals are naturally deterred by smells that scare them, overwhelm their senses (because of the smell’s intensity), smell foul, or remind them of something painful.
Because of this, deer can be repelled with human hair, putrid eggs, vinegar, and tabasco, but also lavender and mint. Admittedly, the last two entries do smell nice to humans, but to deer, they release such a strong scent that they have trouble smelling anything else. This causes them to become disoriented and then scared.
How to Make Home-Made Deer Repellent
Here’s how to make your own deer repellent in just a few minutes.
My preference for the primary ingredient for a homemade deer repellant is putrid eggs. They are by far the most effective repelling agent, but you can use whatever you want in the same way.
All you need is water and any of the ingredients mentioned above (aside from human hair, that’s something you spread around the garden).
Step 1 – Grinding the Ingredients
If you have solid ingredients, such as days-old cooked eggs, you will need to grind them in a blender before you mix them with water. Make sure they’re ground finely to remove any lumps.
Step 2 – Mixing the Ingredients with Water
Mix the ground ingredients with approximately 2 gallons of water and then filter the mixture to remove all the solid lumps. If you’re using tabasco, you won’t have to grind the mixture in a blender first.
Step 3 – Applying the Repellent
This type of repellent should be applied directly to the plants that you want to prevent intruding deer from eating. Take care to direct the repellant onto the foliage and the flowers. Make sure to reapply it every other week, as it will evaporate with time. In addition, you will also need to reapply after rainfall.
Verdict: Do Deer Eat Water Melon
Yes, deer eat watermelon, but you’ll be happy to learn that you can defend your watermelons quite easily.
Since they stay low to the ground, you can cheaply build a metal cage around them and keep them safe from any animal (other than insects).
You can also repel deer with natural repellents and scare devices such as a dog. For a longer-term solution, especially if you live in a rural area that is regularly frequented by deer, your best option is to build an 8-foot tall perimeter fence.