A number of animals eat tomatoes, including squirrels, rabbits, deer and raccoons. Some animals, like woodchucks, destroy tomato plants in the process of taking the fruit.
Keeping animals out of tomato plants can be difficult, and methods vary depending on the animal. Keeping deer out with a fence can be tricky because they can jump a fence shorter than about 9 feet. A barking dog is often the best deterrent for deer, and cats can be effective protectors against squirrels and other small animals.
For some burrowing animals like woodchucks, a fence must be buried several feet deep to keep them from digging under it. For highly intelligent and adaptable raccoons, only a full cage may keep them out of tomato plants. Fake owls or snakes can help keep rabbits at bay.
Spreading natural substances such as urine of predator animals or hot pepper can be non-toxic, effective ways to keep animals out of tomato plants. Some gardeners plant more tomatoes than they need, knowing that animals will scavenge some. It is illegal in some areas for homeowners to trap wild animals. Even if the animal is not harmed, relocating it away from its usual area can cause injury or death to the animal.