What Animals Eat Corn?

Which animals consume corn in their natural habitat and in pet food? It may come as a surprise that corn is a fundamental part of the diet for many creatures, including mammals, birds, insects, and even reptiles. This enormous wild grass plant is rich in starch, carbohydrates, and fiber. However, just because certain animals such as dogs and cats eat corn does not necessarily mean it is healthy or the best option for them, even when included in pre-packaged pet food. Today we will discuss which wild and domesticated animals consume corn and whether or not it is an appropriate meal for them.

It is true that a vast number of animals relish consuming corn, which is why farmers use scarecrows in their cornfields. Wildlife finds corn to be an irresistible delicacy, and it is also a crucial element in the diet of farm animals. Additionally, numerous household pets consume corn either as an ingredient in commercial food or directly from the cob.

What is Corn?

Corn is a type of grass that has evolved from its ancestor, teosinte, which was a wild grass found in the Americas. Over time, selective breeding has resulted in modern corn being significantly larger than its ancient counterpart.

Corn is a favorite food among many animals, including cats and humans, as they find the kernels to be the most delicious part of the plant. These kernels are considered as the fruit of the corn plant and contain high amounts of carbohydrates in the form of starch and fiber.

What Animals Eat Corn In The Wild?

Cats are not mentioned in this article, but it states that numerous wild birds and mammals have a diet that includes corn, such as various common wild animals.

  • raccoons
  • deer
  • squirrels
  • chipmunks
  • foxes
  • bears
  • woodchucks
  • mice
  • rats
  • opossum
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Animals that consume corn also include various types of wild birds, such as:

  • turkeys
  • quail
  • geese
  • ducks
  • crows
  • ravens
  • pigeons
  • starlings
  • sparrows
  • jays
  • cardinals
  • doves

Corn is susceptible to various insect pests, including those with names that include the word corn, such as the corn leaf aphid, corn earworm, and European corn borer.

What Animals Eat Corn On The Ranch?

Corn is a popular choice for feeding various types of domesticated animals. While horses can consume corn, its elevated starch levels may lead to digestive issues, so it should only make up a small portion of their overall diet. Livestock, on the other hand, can graze on the leaves and stems of corn plants since they are classified as grass.

  • sheep
  • goats
  • cows
  • pigs

Although animals such as cows, sheep, and goats are not typically advised to consume corn kernels as their primary food source due to the potential disruption it may cause to their specialized digestive systems.

It is a common practice to feed corn to cattle in farms and feedlots to enhance their calorie consumption and promote faster growth, even though cows are naturally inclined towards consuming grass rather than grains. However, other farm animals such as pigs, chickens, and fowl can consume corn kernels as a part of their regular diet.

Can Small Pets Eat Corn?

Cats are not mentioned in this article, but many small mammals commonly kept as pets, such as guinea pigs, chinchillas, gerbils, hamsters, mice, and rats are rodents that enjoy eating corn in the wild. Although it is generally safe to give pet rodents some corn, veterinarians suggest limiting their intake to occasional treats due to its high carbohydrate content which can lead to obesity.

For most pet rodents, a commercial pellet diet with additional fresh fruits and vegetables is suitable, but it’s important to consult with your veterinarian regarding safe and healthy food options.

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Cats should not be given corn as it can cause digestive issues, but rabbits, who are not rodents, also should avoid corn as it can upset their digestive systems; instead, they should be fed commercial pellets, hay, and fresh leafy green vegetables. On the other hand, animals such as wild birds and pet birds enjoy eating corn, with larger birds like parrots benefiting from the mental stimulation of manipulating corn on the cob with their feet and beaks.

What Animals Eat Corn In The Reptile Kingdom

There are pet reptiles that eat only animal protein, such as insects, while others consume only plants, and some can eat both.

Categorically, some herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles such as lizards, turtles, and tortoises can consume corn, but it is advisable that they primarily consume leafy greens. Nonetheless, a small amount of corn is not harmful to them. Nevertheless, popular pet reptiles like bearded dragons, ball pythons, and geckos should avoid consuming corn.

Can Dogs Eat Corn?

Corn is present in several commercial pet foods for cats and dogs, although it may be considered an unwanted additive. Despite not being essential to their diets, corn does provide certain vital nutrients.

Cats are carnivores, but they can still eat corn and other plant-based foods in addition to meat. According to experts in veterinary nutrition, corn is usually well-received by cats and provides them with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fatty acids.

Including corn in commercial dog food is acceptable, and cooked kernels can be given to dogs as a treat from time to time. However, it’s best to refrain from feeding dogs corn on the cob since they may ingest cob fragments that could cause blockages in their digestive system.

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Can Cats Eat Corn?

Cats typically do not consume corn as they are meat-eaters, but some commercial cat food may include ground corn for its carbohydrate content.

While some felines may not enjoy the flavor of cooked corn, those that do can consume a few kernels as an occasional indulgence. Popcorn is also a potential snack option for cats. However, it’s preferable to offer cats a superior treat consisting of animal protein, such as small portions of unseasoned cooked chicken or fish.

What Animals Eat Corn?

Many animals have a taste for corn, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the most suitable option for them, even if it’s included in pre-made pet food.

Similar to humans, many animals enjoy the flavor of sweet corn kernels. Although it is not suitable for all animals, those that can consume it may consider it a delicacy and feed on it occasionally as part of a complete and balanced diet.

Learn More About What Animals Eat

References

  • Corn has been a significant crop throughout history, as evidenced by its presence in Living History Farms.
  • Ohio State University Extension suggests the utilization of corn for grazing livestock.
  • The fundamentals of the biology of reptiles and amphibians are covered by Cornell University’s Naturalist Outreach.
  • Healthline provides information on the nutritional value and other aspects of corn to help determine if it is beneficial for human consumption.
  • Does Corn Have Negative Effects on Livestock in Family Farms?

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

[Wikipedia] [Encyclopedia Britannica] [National Geographic] [cdc.gov] [Purina]

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