Celery might not be delicious to the human palate, but there are plenty of herbivorous animals that find it delectable. If you’re a backyard gardener, you’ll be familiar with the growing habit of celery. The celery we eat is in fact the stalk of the plant.
Selective breeding over thousands of years influenced the leaves to be smaller and the stalk to be thicker. That way, there was more vegetable to harvest.
Read on to learn about 14 animals that will eat celery. They may be domesticated animals that will consume the vegetable when it’s offered, or they might be wild creatures that will eat the plant if they come across it in a garden or growing in the wild.
14 Animals that Eat Celery
1. Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Scientific Name: Sylvilagus floridanus
Rabbits are the most likely culprit if your garden’s celery has disappeared overnight. The rabbits that live in suburbs and rural areas love to sneak into gardens at night. Here, they can feast on well-tended and tender varieties of domesticated veggies.
Celery doesn’t grow in the wild, so it’s unlikely the veggie makes it onto the menu if a rabbit lives far off from agriculture. If you have a backyard garden you want to keep safe from rabbits, we recommend using netting and stakes to create a barrier between the celery and the hungry herbivores.
2. House Mouse
Scientific Name: Mus musculus
Mice are opportunistic rodents that won’t say no to almost any food source, even things people wouldn’t consider edible. Celery is just one of the thousands of things mice will eat. They’re less likely to pilfer the vegetable from your garden because they prefer to feast on seeds and more nutritious vegetables.
House mice are more reliant on human settlements than other species of mice. They’re probably the ones pilfering your garden if you do have an issue with vegetable predation.
3. Black Rat
Scientific Name: Rattus rattus
Rats are more common in urban settings, away from vegetable fields, but they still have an appetite for the fibrous vegetable. They eat anything they can get their paws on. That includes celery.
You’d be more likely to see rats eating celery if it was discarded in a dumpster, than if you looked out over a field. Rats, like mice, look for the most nutritious food in an area. Celery has water, but not as many vitamins as seeds or other vegetables.
Scientific Name: Marmota monax
Groundhogs are the largest of the earth-dwelling rodents, at least in the United States. They live in small burrows they dig in fertile and well-structured soil. While they’re not so much a problem in urban areas, they abound in suburbs and rural towns.
Depending on where you live, you may know them as “woodchucks.” If you have a groundhog in your backyard, you can placate it so it doesn’t raid your garden. Regularly offer it some fruit or vegetables by the burrow entrance.
These roly-poly rodents will usually be satisfied. Just remember to continue the peace offering next year!
5. California Ground Squirrel
Scientific Name: Otospermophilus beecheyi
The bane of the farmer’s existence in the western United States is the ground squirrel. Unlike the east coast’s tree squirrels, which are limited to forests and open woodlands, the ground squirrel can thrive in open fields and agricultural areas. They dig up seedlings, excavate tunnels underneath ploughed fields, and munch on fresh veggies.
Ground squirrels, along with rabbits, are skilled at evading capture and getting past nets, fences, and barriers to gardens. Most of the fresh celery grown in the United States hails from California, the state where this ground squirrel species is most abundant. Here, fertile soils hold tunnels well and the squirrels can hide from predators and frustrated farmers.
6. Pocket Gophers
Scientific Name: Geomys spp.
Gophers are ground-dwelling rodents native to only the Western Hemisphere. While there are over 40 species of gophers, the most common type in North America is the pocket gopher. It was so named because it carries foods in its cheek pockets, much like a hamster.
Almost all of the gopher’s life is spent underground. Like moles, they dig complex tunnels through topsoil. However, they are herbivores, so they concentrate their digging efforts around croplands and gardens.
They’re difficult to remove once they’ve discovered your garden. Celery is no match for these rodents!
7. Guinea Pigs
Scientific Name: Cavia porcellus
Guinea pigs are small rodents native to South America. They’ve been introduced to the rest of the world as pets, but they’re raised for meat in Latin America. Celery is a regular supplement to this animal’s diet.
Since guinea pigs are rodents, their teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. Celery is a highly fibrous vegetable that helps them grind down their molars. It’s also a good source of water.
Guinea pigs are more often kept as pets in the United States. As such, you should be familiar with the routine of regularly supplementing fresh veggies. Healthy pet guinea pigs may or may not like celery; it tends to be about a 50/50 split.
Scientific Name: Equus ferus caballus
The trusty horse is a well-known and well-loved domesticated herbivore. Their domestication shaped the trajectory of human cities, urbanization, and agriculture. Most of the vegetables and grains humans grow and eat today can also be fed to horses.
One such vegetable is celery. Celery is a great option to feed to a horse as a treat. Horses’ stomachs are sensitive to high-starch foods, but celery is high in fiber and low in starch, not to mention high in vitamins.
If you do feed a horse celery, make sure they also get the leaves. Humans might rarely eat the leaves, but to a horse, it’s one of the best parts of the plant.
Scientific Name: Bos taurus
The cow is one of the largest ruminants humans have ever domesticated. The average cow weighs over 1000 pounds and can eat over 20 pounds of food in a day. That food is all entirely plant matter.
Cows are ruminant herbivores that graze for hours each day to meet their energy needs. Most of their diet stems from grasses or feed supplements, but they can also eat vegetables. Try feeding your cow celery once in a while if you want to increase the animal’s nutrition and antioxidants.
It’s a treat because celery is high in oxalates and too much can prevent the animal from absorbing minerals. However, the veggie does have antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Just make sure to strike a middle ground with your celery supplementation.
Scientific Name: Ovis aries
Sheep and people have lived alongside each other for centuries. These small ruminants are nimble-footed, easy to herd, and provide meat for farmers. They can also eat a variety of grasses.
Because they’re ruminants they can digest types of plants with a high cellulose content. Celery is an easily digestible vegetable that sheep will enjoy eating. They can eat the entire plant – root, stalk, and leaf.
However, you should only offer celery occasionally. Oxalate buildup might pose a risk, and sheep can have delicate digestive systems.
Scientific Name: Capra hircus
Goats are great small livestock species. They’ve been used for meat, milk, and land management purposes for thousands of years. They can climb steep hills and live in rocky, unfertile areas.
They eat almost anything – including celery. Celery is a great option to feed your goats. If you have it on hand, you can give it to them without any reservations.
Do be careful not to give it too often. Celery contains oxalic acid, which can impair the goat’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. If you offer celery too regularly, it can build up in the goat’s system.
12. White-tailed Deer
Scientific Name: Odocoileus virginianus
White-tailed deer are the most abundant large wild herbivore in most of the United States. These medium-sized mammals spend most of their lives in open woodlands, forests, and occasionally, grasslands in the eastern and midwestern regions of the country. Many a farmer or gardener has gone out to tend their crops and discovered that white-tailed deer have made a visit overnight.
Deer love to forage in gardens because there’s a concentrated plot of all kinds of edible veggies right in front of them. Prevent deer from eating the celery in your garden by installing fencing or netting.
Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
Elephants are one of the largest land animals on Earth, with unique physical characteristics that include an elongated trunk, large ears, and long, curved tusks. They are known for their intelligent behavior and complex social structures, often grouping themselves into matriarchal families.
Despite their size, elephants are herbivores, with a diet that includes grasses, fruits, and vegetables. One interesting food item in their diet is celery, which provides a great source of water and nutrients for these gentle giants. Along with celery, elephants also enjoy other vegetables like carrots and lettuce.
Scientific Name: Gallus gallus domesticus
Chickens are unique birds that are often raised on farms for their eggs and meat. They have a distinctive physical appearance that includes a beak, comb, wattles, and feathers. Chickens are also known for their intelligent behavior and complex social structures, often grouping themselves into hierarchical flocks.
Despite their reputation for being picky eaters, chickens have a varied diet that includes grains, insects, and vegetables like celery. Celery is a great source of fiber and nutrients for chickens, and they enjoy pecking at the crunchy stalks. Along with celery, chickens also enjoy other vegetables like lettuce and spinach.
- “Can Chickens Eat Celery? (Nutrition & Feeding Tips)”, Joseph Hudson, March 7, 2023, Chicken Scratch, cs-tf.com