Do Deer Eat Walnuts? Explained By Expert

Most of us love walnuts, as it is very tasty, and we love to take them any time of the year. Like humans, many other animals love its taste; but is it the same with deer? – let’s discuss.

Being herbivores, fruits, vegetables, leaves, twigs, and various types of nuts are favorite snacks for deer. But, for walnuts, the scenario is different. Deer feel uneasy about breaking the hard shell of walnuts. So, in general, they avoid walnuts. 

Do Deer Eat Walnuts
Do Deer Eat Walnuts: All You Need To Know

They place it at boundary areas. So that deer don’t like their entire garden and ruin their beautiful place. But, there are some exceptional cases; where you can see deer eating walnuts. The reason for this is competition from other food sources. If there are a lot of squirrels or birds who rely on the same food source, then deer may eat walnuts.

If you are thinking about protecting your garden and crops using walnut trees, please go through this entire article; I hope all of your doubts will be resolved. People who are too concerned about protecting their walnut trees from deer can also benefit from this article. 

Do Deer Eat Walnuts? The Actual Answer

Deer don’t prefer to eat walnuts as much as they like other types of nuts. The hard shell of the walnuts is the main reason behind it, and we all know that it is very hard to crack, and deer find it very difficult to eat walnuts.

So, first of all, they look for other alternatives. This may be leaves, bananas, pumpkins, beans, cabbage, or any other type of nuts. But, if they fail to arrange some or are hungry, only then deer opt for walnuts. 

So as deer avoid walnut trees, you can use them to deter them from your compound and easily protect your garden and crops from deer. But growing walnuts doesn’t deter deer. So, you need to protect the tree for some initial months (until it starts to produce some fruits). 

What kind of nuts do Deer eat?

Beechnuts, acorns, hickory, pecans, walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, and cashews are mostly preferred by deer. In the forest, deer mostly prefer acorns. These are easily available, and humans don’t forage on oak trees. So the deer can freely enjoy their snacks without fear of being chased. And there are ample oak trees in every forest area. So this is their good source.

What kind of nuts do Deer eat: complete list

Through nuts, they can easily obtain healthy fats and protein. Deer usually bulk up a lot of nuts for the winter; by consuming some nuts, they can instantly gain some energy. It gives them the power and energy to deal with the predators. Deer usually consume nuts in the fall and winter seasons.

Do deer eat walnut shells?

We all know that walnuts have a hard shell, and these are not easily breakable. But deer can eat both shelled and unshelled walnuts. But they preferred unshelled or decayed walnuts more; because they need less effort to crack them.

Do deer eat walnut shells actual answer

Sometimes they don’t even go for shelled walnuts. Their jaws and teeth are not strong enough to crack the walnut shell. The back walnuts have harder shells, so you can hardly see any deer eating a shelled walnut.

Can deer eat shelled walnuts?

In general, deer don’t like shelled walnuts. They find it difficult to break. But if the shell is cracked or they find any unshelled walnut, they will love to eat them.

Do deer eat black walnuts?

A deer’s diet does not normally include black walnuts. They don’t even like back walnuts for their harder shells. But if any deer finds no other option except back walnut, it goes with it.

Do deer eat black walnuts all you need to know

But in general, they don’t prefer it. But black walnuts are full of all the necessary vitamins and proteins a deer usually needs. Their teeth and jaw are not strong enough to easily break the outer shell of a back walnut.

Do deer eat walnut seeding and spent?

Yes, deer consume compact walnut seedlings, and sometimes you can find them eating sprouts from stumps. The young deer are especially addicted to it. They used to wipe out the buck of walnut trees to get the taste.

How to Use walnut trees to deter deer?

Deer don’t like walnuts. Many people use walnut trees to fence the boundary of their yard or garden. Growing walnut trees is not very effective for this purpose. Deer hate walnuts for their hard shell. So, unless the trees are fully grown and start to produce walnuts, they are not ready to be used for fencing.

So, if you are about to use walnut trees for fencing, then grow them in another protected place. Once they are fully grown, transplant them to your boundary area. So it can deter deer from entering your premises. 

But you can see that the trees or plants placed around the walnut trees face difficulties in surviving. That is because of juglone. It is a toxic substance produced from the roots of walnuts, especially black walnuts. Some plants and trees can tolerate juglone, but it is a toxic substance to most of them.

You can notice that the leaves of such plants that are placed near the walnut trees are getting yellowish and wilting foliage. So you need to leave space between the crop you are growing in your garden and the walnut trees.

Can Deer Harm Your Walnut Trees By Any Other Ways?

Deer rub their antlers and buck against the bark of plants. So the barks of trees get damaged. Gradually the trunk of the tree gets damaged. From a walnut shell, you can get a pungent smell. The deer don’t like this aroma. Sometimes, unconsciously they damage the young seedlings. 

Can Deer Harm Your Walnut Trees

We have already mentioned that deer don’t usually like walnuts to eat; unless no other option is left. Deers can also damage your walnut trees. If you are very concerned about your walnut trees, try to provide proper fencing; so that deer can’t reach them, and you can also spray some deer repellent to keep them away from your trees.

Are raw walnuts poisonous?

Walnut trees are non-toxic. But raw walnuts are poisonous, and you should avoid consuming them in the raw state. Walnuts consist of antioxidants, Omega 3, and fatty acids. If you want to keep the nutrients intact, avoid storing them in air-tight containers.

What is a deer’s favorite natural food?

Oak acorns are the favorite natural food for deer. Ragweed, white cedar, greenbrier, Oldfield aster, pokeweed, beggar’s lice, blackberry, honey lotus rods, wild grapes, and various types of nuts are other rich natural food sources for deer. In forests where the density of such plants is more, hunters set up traps for deer in such areas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What animals will eat walnuts?

Walnuts secrete polyphenols. It is very toxic to insects. And it is not suitable for some animals too. But we can notice squirrels, raccoons, and bears consume a lot of walnuts. 

Do deer eat almonds?

Yes, deer are very fond of almonds. You can easily locate a deer consuming almonds directly from the tree or ground.

Do Deer Eat Peanuts?

Deer love to munch peanuts. You can frequently find deer to munch it in the early spring seasons. Peanuts are very healthy and full of useful proteins, and by munching some peanuts, deer can easily gain some extra energy.


If your garden is full of fruits and crops, you must keep any type of animal away, especially the deer. A walnut tree can serve this purpose to some extent. But in extreme conditions, deer eat both shelled and unshelled walnuts. So you need to keep special attention to it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top