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27 Examples of Animals that Eat Wood (A to Z List & Photos)

dog eating wood

Examples of animals that eat wood include beetles, beavers, camels, bees, and months.

There are a variety of animals that eat wood, including termites, woodpeckers, and beavers.

Termites are particularly interesting, as they consume large quantities of wood and are able to break down the cellulose in the wood to extract the nutrients.

Woodpeckers also consume large quantities of wood, but they use their powerful beaks to peck through the wood to find insects to eat.

Examples of Animals that Eat Wood

1. Bark Beetles

Bark Beetle
Scientific NameScolytinae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeUnited States
DietOmnivore

Bark beetles are small, cylindrical insects that can be found throughout the world. These pests feed on the inner bark of trees, which can damage or kill the tree.

Bark beetles often become a problem during times of drought, when there is less sap to consume.

Forestry officials use a variety of methods to control these pests, including spraying trees with insecticides and removing infested trees.

2. Beavers

beaver
Scientific NameCastor
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America
DietHerbivore

Beavers are well-known for their dam-building skills, but did you know that they also eat wood?

That’s right – these industrious animals will gnaw on tree trunks and branches to get at the sap and nutrients inside. While this can cause some damage to forests, it’s also said that beavers can help promote new growth by creating open spaces in the forest canopy.

3. Camels

Dromedary Camel
Scientific NameCamelus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeGobi Desert in China
DietHerbivore

Camels are mammals that eat wood. In fact, they’re the only herbivores in the camel family. Their diet consists mainly of desert vegetation, but they’ll also eat any other plant matter they can find.

Surprisingly, camels have a four-chamber stomach that helps them digest food properly even when there’s little to eat.

And because they store water in their humps, they can go for long periods of time without drinking.

4. Carpenter Bees

 Carpenter Bee
Scientific NameXylocopa
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeThe United States from Arizona to Florida
DietOmnivore

Carpenter bees aren’t like the other bees you see buzzing around. In fact, they’re more closely related to wasps than other bees.

Carpenter bees are solitary creatures, and they don’t make honey or pollinate plants. Instead, they eat wood.

Yep, that’s right! These bees drill into wooden surfaces to get to the sap inside. While carpenter bee damage can be a nuisance, it’s not typically serious.

5. Carpenter Moths

moth
Scientific NameCossidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

The most common type of wood-eating insect is the carpenter moth which is usually brown in color with a wingspan of about 3cm.

They are known as carpenters because they chew on wood and make their nests inside unfinished buildings.

These insects are dangerous for human health as they can spread diseases such as typhoid fever, hepatitis A and dysentery.

6. Deer

deer
Scientific NameCervidae
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangeall continents except Australia and Antarctica
DietHerbivore

Deer often get called “wood-eaters” because they sometimes eat the wood in addition to other food sources.

Deer can be found in many climates all over the world, which means that they have a variety of foods available to them in their habitats.

7. Giraffe

Angolan Giraffe
Scientific NameGiraffa
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesavannah woodlands in Africa
DietHerbivore

While giraffes are not known to eat the wood in the wild, they may do so in captivity. This is because they do not get to feed on a balanced diet in zoos and animal sanctuaries.

Many animals feed on a wide range of food sources when they are free-ranging but the variety is often limited for animals living in captivity.

8. Gribbles

Scientific NameLimnoriidae
Type of AnimalMalacostracans
Range North Atlantic and North Pacific Ocean
DietHerbivore

Gribbles are tiny wood-eating insects that live in trees. They feed on the insides of branches, leaving them bare and weak to fungi infections which can cause diseases like rot or decay if left unchecked.

9. Horntails

Scientific NameSiricidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Range the Pacific coastal states
DietHerbivore

Horntails are known for eating wood. They have a specialized mouth equipped with chisel-like incisors that can chew through even softwood with relative ease, though they usually only use their teeth to tear apart rather than bite down hard on any given object.

10. Katydid

Katydid
Scientific NameTettigoniidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeevery continent except for Antarctica
DietHerbivore

In the wild, katydids love eating wood. They have been seen chewing on trees and plants in their natural habitats with a perceived preference for rosewood over any other type of tree or plant matter.

11. Leafhoppers

Leafhopper
Scientific NameCicadellidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

With their long legs, the leafhoppers can reach deep into a tree’s heart and feed on its innermost parts.

These jumpers are found all over North America where they eat anything from leaves to flowers

12. Moose

moose
Scientific NameAlces alces
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeUnited States
DietHerbivore

Moose are known for their love of wood. In fact, they will eat anything made out of wood, including tree bark, branches, and leaves.

While this may seem like a strange habit, it actually helps them stay healthy. Moose need plenty of fiber in their diet to keep their digestive system working well, and the wood they eat helps them get that fiber.

Plus, eating wood helps them grind down their teeth, which keeps them healthy too.

13. Nutria

Scientific NameMyocastor coypus
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethe Gulf Coast States
DietHerbivore

Invasive nutria is causing serious damage to Louisiana’s wetland forests by eating the woody plants that make up these ecosystems.

A recent study found that nutria consumed approximately 5 percent of the total forest biomass in a given year, which is equivalent to about $1.2 million in lost timber value.

14. Okapi

Okapi
Scientific NameOkapia johnstoni
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethe Democratic Republic of Congo
DietHerbivore

The Okapi is a strange and lesser-known creature found in the jungles of Africa. Surprisingly, this animal is more closely related to the giraffe than any other species on Earth.

While they may resemble a zebra from a distance, Okapis are actually quite unique in both their appearance and diet. Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not eat meat but rather sustain themselves by consuming large quantities of wood.

While the reason for this strange behavior is still unknown, scientists believe that it’s because the Okapi’s gut contains certain bacteria that break down the cellulose in plants.

15. Panaque (Catfish)

catfish
Scientific NamePanaque
Type of AnimalFish
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Although it may be hard to believe, catfish are known to eat wood. In fact, this is one of the main reasons they are often used to clean up aquatic environments.

While it is not exactly clear why they eat wood, it is believed that the plant matter helps them digest their food better.

16. Paper Wasps

Paper Wasp
Scientific NameVespidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeTexas to Florida, north to New York, and west to Nebraska.
DietOmnivore

If you have ever seen a paper wasp nest, you know that they can be quite large. What you may not know is that these nests are made entirely of wood.

Paper wasps feed on the sap from trees, which allows them to create their nests. In fact, a single paper wasp can eat up to two grams of wood per day.

This means that their nests can really add up over time. While these pests may not cause too much damage on their own, they can be a nuisance if they build their nest near your home.

17. Porcupines

Porcupine
Scientific NameErethizon dorsatum
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America
DietHerbivore

Porcupines are well known for their quills, but what many people don’t know is that they are also wood eaters. Porcupines prefer to eat the inner bark of trees, and while they typically avoid mature trees, they will eat small saplings if necessary.

Related Article: What Eats Porcupines?

18. Rabbits

European Rabbit
Scientific NameOryctolagus cuniculus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

Rabbits are known for their love of vegetables, but did you know that they also eat wood? In fact, rabbits will chew on anything wooden, including fences, decks, and sheds. While this may seem like a nuisance, there’s actually a good reason why rabbits do this.

Wood is high in fiber, which helps keep its digestive system healthy.

19. Sesiidae Moths

clearwing moth
Scientific NameLepidoptera
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethe tundra to the tropics
DietHerbivore

The sesiidae moth is a species of moth that eats wood. This type of moth is usually found near pine trees, and they use their strong mandibles to eat the sapwood of the tree. While these moths are not harmful to the trees, they can cause damage if there are large populations of them.

20. Shipworms

Scientific NameTeredinidae
Type of AnimalPelecypoda
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

Shipworms are small marine animals that chew their way through the wood. They live in saltwater, occupying long, narrow holes they bore into submerged timber and driftwood.

The hard-shelled marine creatures look like clams with two rounded ends, but they’re actually crustaceans related to crabs and lobsters.

21. Spotted Lanternfly

Scientific NameLycorma delicatula
Type of AnimalInsect
RangePennsylvania
DietHerbivore

70-The spotted lanternfly, a native of China and Vietnam, was first detected in the United States near Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2014.

The insect has since been found in a few counties nearby, as well as Delaware and New York. The spotted lanternfly feeds on sap from trees such as maples, fruit trees, and willows, but will also feed on the wood of these trees if their sap source is removed.

22. Squirrels

Red Squirrel
Scientific NameSciuridae
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangeon every continent except in Australia and Antarctica
DietOmnivore

Eastern Gray Squirrels eat anything, which makes them technically omnivores. They regularly dine on seeds, nuts, fruits, and flowers in addition to fungi, shoots, acorns, and bark. More specifically squirrels eat the inner bark of trees more than any other part of a tree.

23. Tapinocephalus

Girdled Lizard
Scientific NameTapinocephalia
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeSouth Africa
DietHerbivore

Tapinocephalus atherstonei, more commonly known as the Thick-headed Girdled Lizard, is an African lizard belonging to the family Cordylidae.

This particular species of lizard gets its name from a natural behavior it exhibits of eating dry wood and charcoal.

24. Termites

termites
Scientific NameIsoptera
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

Termites eat wood to acquire nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, that are scarce in their diet.

In a series of experiments using different nitrogen sources combined with varying concentrations of cellulose, scientists from the University of Helsinki showed that termites can compensate when there is a lack or when there is an excess of nitrogen in the wood that they eat

25. Voles

vole
Scientific NameMicrotus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAlaska and Mexico
DietHerbivore

Voles are herbivores, which means they eat plants. Voles mostly eat roots of grasses and different kinds of wild weeds (weeds that grow wild in places where they’re not wanted).

They also eat bulbs, seeds, bark, stems, and leaves. Sometimes they will even eat insects or small animals like earthworms.

26. Wood-Boring Beetles

wood
Scientific NameHeterobostrychus aequalis
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

The majority of wood-boring beetles only eat the sapwood in trees that is close to the bark, but there are some exceptions.

The female mountain pine beetle uses her serrated abdomen and teeth to carve out a cavity in the tree before laying her eggs.

In order for this entire process to occur, she needs a mountain pine tree that is at least five years old.

27. Woodlice

Scientific NameOniscidea
Type of AnimalMalacostracans
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

Woodlice are a type of crustaceans that feed primarily on decomposing plant matter. Despite their name, they are not closely related to either lice or slugs. These organisms have been observed to eat the wood in the wild.

FAQ: Do Woodpeckers Eat Wood?

No, woodpeckers do not eat wood. They peck at the wood to access beetles who have burrowed into the tree. So, their diet is in fact beetles not wood. The wood that they peck at falls to the ground all around the tree and doesn’t go in their beaks!

Conclusion

While wood isn’t the most nutritious or tasty food, some animals have evolved to eat wood. These include beetles, termites, and beavers.

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