11 Animals That Eat Wood

Animals That Eat Wood
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Have you ever considered the possibility that some animals eat wood as food? You might be surprised to learn that certain species enjoy the taste of wood to satisfy their appetite.

These animals that eat wood gain essential minerals, and then disperse those nutrients to the ground so trees can absorb them. 

The sustainability of an ecosystem depends on this. However, there is a caveat.

If unmanaged, these animals that eat wood are destructive and can wreak havoc on your landscape.

Our post will help with obstinate animals that eat wood to satisfy your curiosity. 

1. Moose

Moose is starting our list of animals that eat wood. During the winter, moose eat tree bark as well.

However, they are more browsers than grazers and often eat several different plants‘ leaves, buds, twigs, and bark.

Boreal forests in Northern Europe, North America, and Northern Asia are moose’s natural habitats. 

2. Beaver

Beavers - Animals that Mate for Life
by BillDamon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Although “beaver” may sound strange for animals that eat wood, it describes a group of semi-aquatic rodents.

They are also the second-largest rodents in the world. They stock up for the winter and consume wood, particularly in the summer.

The fact that beavers use wood to construct canals and dams as homes is another intriguing aspect.

Sapwood and young twigs from tree branches are two common plant components they employ for construction.

3. Porcupines

The New World and Old World porcupines of the Erethizontidae family, despite both belonging to the same infraorder, Hystricognathi, are members of the family Hystricidae.

The spiky quills or spines on their coats shield these huge animals that eat wood.

No other rodent in the world, excluding beavers and capybaras, is bigger than the largest member of its species.

While the New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America, the Old World porcupines are found in southern and western Asia, most of Africa, and Europe.

In the summer and spring, they mostly consume stems, seeds, roots, and grasses. In the winter, they feed on inner tree bark and evergreen needles.

4. Termites

by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Termites are members of the Blattodea order’s epifamily Termitidae, together with cockroaches. There was a clear hierarchy among these eusocial insects. 

However, given their similar resemblance to wood-eating cockroaches and their extensive nesting in the group, contemporary evolutionary analyses imply that cockroaches are their forebears. 3,106 of their species have been described, but still, hundreds haven’t.

Despite sometimes being called “white ants,” ants are not their close relatives. 

While these animals that eat wood-fertile men and females are referred to as “king” and “queen,” respectively, the sterile sexes are classified as “soldiers” and “workers.”

They are detritivores, and their major food consists of cellulose and dead plant material, typically found in soil, wood, dried animal dung, and other similar materials.

By recycling these items, they are contributing to the environment.

5. Camel Crickets

Camel Crickets
by treegrow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There are camel crickets worldwide, and those found in Tasmania, Australia, and New Zealand are typically called jumping or cave crickets.

These animals that eat wood can be found in similar settings, such as caves, forests, cellars, animal burrows, woods, and beneath stones.

They are all nocturnal, incapable of flight, and frequently have lengthy legs and antennae.

Since they are omnivorous, they consume feces, dead animals, plants, and timber. The ones that live in caves mainly eat fungi and tiny insects.

6. Wood Boring Beetle

Metallic Wood-boring Beetle
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wood Boring Beetle is also on our list of animals that eat wood.

Numerous beetle groups and species fall under “wood-boring beetles,” which consume or damage wood in their larval or adult forms.

In the woodworking industry, several of the beetle larval stages are referred to as woodworms.

They commonly harm dead or dying trees, remove the weak ones to make room for the regrowth of stronger ones, and therefore fulfill an ecological role.

The main decomposers of trees in forests are wood-boring beetles, and to develop and mature, they need the nutrients found in fungi and wood.

The majority of them benefit the environment without endangering the forest.

However, some animals that eat wood are considered pests because they infest downed trees in timber yards or target remarkably healthy trees.

Additionally, some attack wood but are restrained by the woods or roots of living trees, while others invade wood used for construction.

7. Squirrel

Fox Squirrel - Types of Squirrels in the US
by Benimoto is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Sciuridae family, which squirrels are a part of, also includes prairie dogs, marmots, chipmunks, flying squirrels, tree squirrels, and ground squirrels.

Squash, broccoli, corn, and mushrooms are a few of their favorite foods. They have slim bodies, big eyes, and long, bushy tails.

Although these animals that eat wood are primarily vegetarians, they occasionally consume small mammals, amphibians, insects, and bird eggs.

They also enjoy biting on wood to keep their teeth from growing too much.

They are native to Africa, America, and Eurasia, and humans brought them to Australia.

Their nearest relatives are the dormice and mountain beaver.

From the smallest pygmy squirrel and African pygmy squirrel to the 1.27 m long Bhutan gigantic flying squirrel and other 8 kg heavy species, the size of these tiny animals that eat wood ranges from 10-14 cm long and are 12-26 grams heavy.

8. Woodlouse

by Martin Cooper Ipswich is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Oniscidea, a monophyletic suborder of the Isopoda order, includes woodlice. Because they are usually found in old wood, they are known as woodlice.

As they mature or develop, they must progressively lose their exoskeleton, which resembles a shell.

Unlike most arthropods that lose their complete cuticle at once, woodlice molt in two stages; first, they lose their rear half, and then, after a couple of days, they lose their front.

Like crabs or lobsters, woodlice are crustaceans. However, some people claim that they taste like “strong urine.”

They also consume mushrooms, dead animals, feces, fallen fruit, leaf litter, and their own excrement, a practice known as coprophagy, in addition to decaying and wet wood.

9. Wasps

Different Types of Wasps in Florida
Photo by David Hablützel

Paper wasps are members of the Vespid subfamily Polistinae. Their saliva is combined with plant stems and fibers from rotting wood to create brown or gray papery nests.

These vespid wasps are sometimes called umbrella wasps because of their distinctive nest patterns.

There are 22 species of Polistes paper wasps in North America and about 300 species globally. Polistes dominula is the most prevalent wasp in Europe.

The primary characteristics of the nests of true paper wasps are a “petiole” to tie the nest to something like a branch and open combs and cells for the rearing of broods.

A full-grown paper wasp’s main sources of nutrition are sugary foods like ripe fruits, honeydew, and nectar; occasionally, these animals that eat wood may also consume caterpillars and chew wood pulp.

10. Cockroaches

Different Types of Cockroaches in Florida
Photo by PublicDomainPictures

Cockroaches are members of the Blattodea order, which also includes termites.

There are 4,600 species of these insects, of which 30 are associated with human settlement, and some are considered pests.

Although several are larger, most of their species are around the size of a thumbnail.

The giant burrowing cockroach of Australia may grow to a length of 8 cm and weigh 35 grams, making it the heaviest cockroach in the world.

Their long, flexible antennae are attached to big compound eyes with two ocelli. 

They have a hard exoskeleton made of calcium carbonate on their outside surface.

These omnivorous animals that eat wood prefer meats, sweets, grains, and butter.

Additionally, they might eat feces, decaying plant materials, and rotten wood.

11. Elephants

Elephants - Animals With Tusks 
by jdnx is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Elephants are ending our list of animals that eat wood, the largest terrestrial animal currently living.

The African bush elephant, Asian elephant, and African forest elephant are currently recognized as three of their living species.

They are collectively called the Elephantidae, the only remaining family of proboscideans.

The extinct family Elephantidae also includes several species of straight-tusked elephants and mammoths.

Asian elephants generally have smaller ears with level or convex backs, unlike African elephants, whose ears are larger and whose backs are concave.

Their distinguishing features are their trunk, enormous ear flaps, tusks, and large legs.

They use their trunk for breathing, helping them pick up things, and transporting food or water to their mouths.

These animals that eat wood consume various plant materials, including fruits, tree bark, herbs, bushes, grasses, short branches, and leaves.


The next time you notice wood goods in your house or garden that are damaged, we hope this information will be useful to you.

Termites are typically the usual suspects. However, you should be prepared if more animals that eat wood, such as those described above on our list, may also be involved.

Porcupines, termites, camel crickets, wood-boring beetles, squirrels, woodlice, paper wasps, cockroaches, and elephants are among the creatures that consume wood.

In addition to eating wood, some of these animals also dwell in it, making it very simple to consume and exposing buildings and homes to damage.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like