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Do Deer Eat Zucchini? (Quick Answers)

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Deer are often termed as voracious eaters. They could be unforgiving to green plants that they find highly palatable. Zucchini is common in the summertime and is seen in other seasons as well. So, will a deer feed on zucchinis? 

Please read the article cause we answered all your questions.

Do deer eat zucchini?

Deer do not eat zucchini. Most of the time, you will see deer steering away from zucchinis. This is because zucchini has got a strong smell that deer find highly repulsive. However, during the winter season, you may see deer near zucchini plants in times of scarcity.

We humans have a lot in common with our tender four-legged buddy deer. Deer can sense the smell and taste more than we humans can do. So, it is general to consider that just like humans, deer have their preferences.

Deer are herbivores and are termed as selective feeders by many. This is because deer are picky eaters. Deer feel repulsive of a lot of vegetables, and zucchini is one of them.

Zucchinis are easy to cultivate. They are low maintenance, so many people grow them in their backyard. Zucchinis, commonly known as courgettes, are a storehouse of vital nutrients. They contain antioxidants and aid your health in every way possible.

Now zucchini has got a distinct smell that deer seem to despise. Zucchinis are also planted to keep deer away from gardens as they are deer resistant. Another reason is zucchini has prickly hair all over them that deer do not like.

So, it is safe to say that deer will not eat zucchini in normal conditions. As stated before, deer are picky eaters when there is an abundance of food supply, and the weather is suitable.

However, you will find deer near zucchini plants during winter. Deer will only try to eat zucchini when no other food is available, as seen in winter. Let’s see if deer eat different parts of zucchini plants.

Zucchini plants:

Zucchini plants grow at a height that is suitable for deer. Deer do not eat zucchini plants. These plants act as deer repellants. Garden owners plant zucchini plants to deter deer.

The leading causes for your zucchini plants being eaten away could be bugs or other animals.

Zucchini leaves:

Deer do not eat zucchini leaves. Zucchini plants, as a whole, act as deer-resistant plants. So, the leaves are deer resistant too.

Zucchini flowers:

Even though the zucchini plant is deer resistant, and the zucchini flower is a part of the plant, deer eat zucchini flowers. Zucchini flower is not safe from deer at all. Its high nutrient value makes it even more palatable to deer.

Do whitetail deer eat zucchini? Do deer like to eat zucchini?

Whitetail deer do not eat zucchini, just like other deer. They always ignore this summer squash because of its distinct smell and prickly foliage. Whitetail deer will settle for other palatable food.

Since deer are herbivores, and during winter, food is scarce, you may see whitetail deer near zucchini plants, feeding on the plant or flowers, or sometimes the zucchini. Deer have to eat to survive. Their pickiness goes away in times of dire need.

Deer do not necessarily dislike zucchini, but they dislike zucchini for its revolting characteristics. Deer have got a strong sense of smell. This does not help with the strong, distinct smell of zucchinis.

So, for this, zucchinis are successful as deer-resistant plants. Deer do not like the prickly hair on zucchini foliage. So, it is hard for them to eat what they do not like. However, during scarcity, deer may try to eat zucchini.

Is zucchini safe for deer’s diet?

Zucchini is entirely safe for deer’s diet. Zucchini is full of nutrition and is safe for most animals and humans. Despite being a deer-resistant plant, it is relatively harmless to deer.

Zucchini is available in summer and can be eaten all year round. Zucchini contains vital nutrients. It is rich in vitamin A and C, magnesium, and potassium. It is well known for its fiber and antioxidant properties.

Zucchinis are non-toxic and harmless to deer. But you will see your deer staying away from it because of its repulsive smell. Zucchini is safe for deer’s diet, but your deer will have a hard time adapting to it.

Zucchini is safe for various other animals, but it is recommended by experts that you feed zucchini in limited amounts for its selenium content.

And deer can do without zucchini as other foods can provide similar benefits.

3 reasons why deer do not like zucchini

Garden owners’ number one problem is deer browsing on their plants. Deer will eat a lot of stuff such as twigs, branches, leaves, and buds. They are herbivores and always absorb energy through these low-calorie foods.

Zucchini is not as appealing to them, and rather it acts as a deer repellent. Let’s see why deer do not like zucchini.

Repulsive smell:

Vegetables or fruits that have a strong smell repel deer. Deer have highly sensitive receptors that they use to smell, just like dogs do. They can even smell up to six things at once.

So, an animal with such a sensitive nose will naturally be aware of the strong smell. The strong repulsive smell of zucchinis is the number one reason for deer to stay clear of zucchini plants.

However, this dislike depends on food scarcity and weather. Even though deer do not like zucchinis, they seem to like zucchini flowers.

Prickly hairy foliage:

Zucchini plants work excellent as deer-resistant plants. They have prickly hair over the branches, leaves, and stems. Deer do not like the sensation of this type of foliage.

So, a deer will be discouraged while browsing on zucchini plants, even before approaching a zucchini.


Cucurbitacin, a biochemical compound, is bitter tasting and is found in several plants, including zucchinis. This is what gives zucchinis their distinct taste that deer seem to not like.

Also, cucurbitacin in high amounts is not suitable for a deer’s stomach. Even if your deer is okay with zucchinis, you should feed them in low quantities.

What vegetables do deer eat?

Adult deer consume about six to ten pounds of food daily. Many garden owners get enraged just at the sight of deer because only they can feel what destruction a deer can do to a garden.

It is essential to know which vegetables attract deer as they are herbivorous by nature. So, here are some of the common vegetables that deer like.


Deer will never miss a chance to eat carrots. Carrot hydrate deer and provide them with rich nutrition. If you have plenty of carrots in your backyard, you should stay cautious.


Deer can eat a variety of mushrooms that humans cannot eat. Mushrooms are a healthy source of nutrients. Deer browse from in the wild and eat the mushroom.


Deer love to eat tomatoes. A flock of deer will eat all the tomatoes from any vine they see. They will eat both red and green tomatoes.

Tomatoes attract deer. So, if you do not want deer entering your garden, you have to make plans to deter the deer.


Deer are fond of cabbage. Cabbage, along with its foliage, attracts deer. Cabbage provides great value to deer with its nutrition content.


Potatoes are not their favorite, but they will eat potatoes if no other better food source is available.

What is eating my zucchini?

Zucchini is a kind of plant that is more damaged by pests than animals. Let’s see what damages zucchinis the most.


Zucchini pests are of various sizes ranging from half inches to three inches. The first and foremost reason your zucchini and zucchini plants are getting damaged is pests.

There are a number of zucchini pests that are hard to list down.

Of the pests, Aphids are the most common ones. They are sap-sucking pests that zucchini has no resistance against. Zucchini will fall vulnerable under Aphid strikes.

Cucumber beetles are another major threat to zucchinis. They damage the whole plant, including zucchinis, leaves, and stems.

Cutworms are hard to see as they live most of the part in the zucchini stems. They ravage the whole plant from inside until they become adults.

Leafminers cause a significant amount of damage to zucchini and zucchini leaves. They leave their eggs on leaves. The offspring hatches cut way through leaves.


Animals belong to the few 1-2% that damage your zucchini. Goats, raccoons, and skunks are the common ones. However, this is really rare.

Final Thoughts 

Deer can cause nightmares to garden owners, but the eating tendency of deer can be easily stopped with proper steps. Deer need about eight pounds of food on average, so they are always looking for food. Deer mostly ignore zucchinis, but you can also find them eating zucchini flowers.

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