Do Raccoons Eat Pepper Plants?

Raccoons can chew on pepper plant leaves causing holes and tearing. While this is not their favorite plant, when food is scarce they will chew on leaves and stems. They often avoid the plant due to the solanine in the plant and the spicy capsaicin in the fruit.

This article will explore all you need to know about raccoons and pepper plants as well as 6 other animals that could be eating your plants.

Do Raccoons Like Peppers?

Raccoons do not particularly enjoy eating peppers. There are a few reasons for this. First, raccoons can likely taste and smell the solanine in the pepper plants, which is why they avoid them.

Raccoons hate spicy or hot foods, so if you have hot peppers growing in your garden, they will go to great lengths to avoid them. And third, they always prefer sweet foods over foods that are neutral in flavor.

Will Raccoons Eat Green Peppers?

Raccoons will eat green peppers but not hot peppers. They also much prefer other veggies and fruits in your garden over nightshade veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

If you have a good selection of veggies and fruits in your garden, raccoons will automatically go towards the foods that are a little sweeter. If there is enough food in your garden to satisfy their hunger without eating the peppers, that’s what will happen.

Raccoons only eat green peppers when there is no other food available, and they are very hungry.

Do Raccoons Eat Tomatoes and Peppers?

While raccoons do eat tomatoes, they usually do so only when other types of veggies and fruits aren’t available. Keep in mind that raccoons have a bit of a sweet tooth, so they’d much prefer to munch on foods such as fruit, sweet corn, melons, berries, apples, peas, and potatoes.

While racoons do eat tomatoes, they have to be extremely hungry to choose tomatoes over these other veggies and fruits, or the tomatoes have to be readily available with no other veggies and fruits around.

This means that if other, sweeter fruits and veggies are in the garden, raccoons will avoid tomatoes altogether. In addition to tomatoes, raccoons tend to avoid other nightshade vegetables as well, which include peppers and eggplant.

While experts aren’t sure why this is so, it is thought that the presence of solanine, a neurotoxin, in these types of vegetables causes the raccoons to avoid them whenever possible.

How to Use Cayenne Pepper to Keep Raccoons Away

Raccoons hate hot and spicy peppers, so using cayenne pepper to keep them away from your plants always works. All you do is mix one gallon of water, one bottle of hot sauce, and one small canister of cayenne pepper in a large spray bottle.

Then, mix well and spray your pepper plants with the mixture. You may have to spray your plants regularly because it is not a weather-proof solution, so when it gets damp or rainy, the mixture will disappear.

When you’re done spraying, store the bottle in a safe place away from people. This is because the ingredients in the mixture can actually burn the skin of humans and especially children.

Only take the bottle out when you need to use it, and always spray all around the plant to hit all areas where the raccoons are attracted.

Animals that Eat Pepper Plants at Night

Numerous animals could be eating your pepper plants at night. Many animals are nocturnal and will eat peppers and other plants when it’s nighttime. This means you’ll wake up with half-eaten plants and leaves on a lot of your veggies and fruits.

Here are 5 animals that could be eating your pepper plants at night.

1. Birds

Birds usually come out first thing in the morning to eat pepper plants, but they can be found doing this right before daybreak as well. Birds are automatically attracted to the bright colors of the peppers because they are usually yellow, green, and red in color.

You can usually get rid of birds in your garden by putting up bird safe netting or using wire cages over your pepper plants.

2. Deer

If the leaves of your pepper plants are eaten and nothing else, it might be the deer in the area that are eating them. They will rarely eat the fruit so it the leaves are gone, look out for deer.

3. Rabbits

Rabbits can feed on pepper leaves if they are very hungry. Rabbits will only eat the spicy peppers if they are extremely hungry and there is nothing left for them to eat. Look out for small holes and rabbit manure to tell if they have been around.

4. Rodents

Rodents include not only rats but also groundhogs and gophers. All three of these animals will eat most or all of the pepper plants in your garden.

Gophers love the roots of the plant, and groundhogs love the veggies themselves. And all rodents tunnel through the soil and therefore tend to pull down the peppers as they go along, which destroys the entire plant in the end.

5. Squirrels

Squirrels will dig down into the soil and start eating the roots of the plant, which, of course, destroys them.

While squirrels usually leave the pepper plants themselves alone, they love eating the roots of the plants, and once they start doing that, it essentially kills the rest of the plant.


Raccoons will eat the pepper plants in your garden, but they usually do this only when they are hungry and cannot find other veggies and fruits to eat. They will not eat hot peppers even if they are hungry, so if all you’ve planted are hot peppers, raccoons will usually not bother your garden.