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Do Deer Eat Peppers? (All You Need To Know!)

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Deer eat pepper plants; however, they aren’t fond of them. In fact, deer will only eat peppers when no other option is available. Deer avoid peppers so much that some farmers grow them in their gardens to keep away the deer from the sweeter plants.

In this article, you will learn about the types of peppers deer eat and the nutritional benefits they provide. You will also get tips on protecting your pepper plants from deer.

Ready, let us begin

Do deer like to eat pepper plants?

Deer eating a part from the plant on a rainy day in green forest which looks stunning.

As stated earlier, deer don’t like feeding on pepper plants; however, they will munch on some when food is scarce.

During winter, this will occur when most plants have died out or shed all their leaves.

Bucks will stay away from pepper plants because of their strong smell and none appealing taste, instead, if they are not starving, will look out for more juicer plants like cabbages, bananas, green beans, carrots, and even the soft bamboo leaves will appeal them more than the peppers.

Like us, deer have taste buds, and they too like the sweet and pleasant-smelling plants.

To put it into clear perspective, a deer’s sense of taste is two times better than humans because they have more taste receptors in the upper linings of their tongues.

 So, yes, they feel the hotness in pepper plants, no wonder they rarely pay them any attention.

Are all pepper plants deer resistant?

Generally, many of the pepper plants are deer resistant. However, some aren’t. This is because peppers have varying degrees of spiciness or heat levels.

The difference in heat levels of peppers depends on the amount of capsaicin in the plant.

Capsaicin is a chemical compound naturally produced in pepper plants that stick on the mucus membrane of a deer’s mouth and causes a burning sensation.

Some pepper plants have high amounts of capsaicin, so they are too hot.

Whereas some don’t have any capsaicin, deer will eat more of them and steer clear of the hot peppers.

Below are different types of peppers. Let us find out whether deer may or may not eat them.

Hot peppers

This variety is the spiciest of all the pepper plants, and consequently, deer will avoid them.

Common types of bell peppers include

  • Carolina Reaper
  • Tombstone Ghost pepper
  • Bhut Jolokia Yellow
  • Bhut Jolokia Red Ghost pepper.

Jalapeno peppers

This variety of pepper usually has a strong scent; also, the plant has thorns on its stems. These two factors only serve to keep away the deer.

Common types of Jalapeno peppers include

  • Black Jalapenos
  • Jaloro Jalapenos
  • Mucho nacho Jalapeno
  • Purple Jalapeno

Green peppers

Deer occasionally eat the leaves of green peppers, but they won’t get anywhere close to its fruits.

Common types of green peppers include

  • Gypsy pepper
  • Jupiter pepper
  • Corno di Toro
  • California wonder


Likewise, deer won’t even forage near cayenne peppers like all other animals. These peppers have a lot of capsaicin; hence most people use them as bug repellants, and it is also effective on animals.

Types of cayenne papers include

  • Dagger pod peppers
  • Carolina Cayenne peppers
  • Golden cayenne peppers
  • Cayenne Buist’s yellow pepper


Even though red pepper fruits are visually appealing, deer don’t fancy them. For unlike us, deer aren’t attracted by sight. Instead, they prefer the good taste.

Common types of red pepper include

  • Cherry pepper
  • Fresno pepper
  • Serrano pepper
  • Thai pepper

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are ready to eat

Perhaps the only kind of peppers that don’t have any capsaicin, hence the name sweet peppers.

Bell peppers belong to the family Capsicum annuum, and even though they aren’t spicy, deer will only take a few bites and then move on.

Some of the common bell peppers include

  • Orange bell peppers
  • Red bell peppers
  • Yellow bell peppers
  • Purple bell peppers

Nutritional Benefits of peppers to deer

Despite their taste and scent, peppers offer deer plenty of nutrients. For instance, 30grams of bell pepper contain

Nutrients/ MineralsPercentage
Vitamin A21%
Vitamin B619%
Vitamin C20%
Vitamin K14%

These nutrients are essential; they help the deer maintain proper pH balance, improve their immunity and replenish energy lost.

Will pepper plants grow again after deer eat them?

When a herd of deer sneak and munch on your peppers, you may be afraid that they won’t grow back, but they will.

Usually, provided the plants are healthy and you provide the required amounts of water and fertilizer, they grow new fruits from the side shoots.

However, if you notice that they aren’t recuperating, experts advise you to remove them and get new ones.

How to protect your pepper plants from deer?

Yes, deer don’t like pepper plants, but as we have learned, they can and will eat them when they are too hungry.

Therefore, you need to employ measures to ensure your pepper plants don’t become the deer’s next meal.

You can do so by

  • Erecting a tall fence around your garden
  • Setting up motion-sensing sprinklers
  • Placing wind chimes at different corners of the garden.
  • Applying deer repellent sprays on the plants.

If you find the above-stated methods somewhat costly, there is a more affordable way to make your repellent spray.

Items you will need

  • Half a cup of water
  • Six Habanero peppers
  • Two tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
  • Four tablespoons of milk.


  • Place the Habanero peppers in water and blend them.
  • Filter the mixture through a cheesecloth to avoid clogs in the spray bottle.
  • Add the vegetable oil and milk. Doing so will enable the solution to stick to the plant when you spray.
  • Dilute the mixture in half a liter of water to be effective.

How to use your spray

Start spraying in the first days of March because, during such times, the deer are rebuilding their feeding patterns.

Hence, if they find your garden full of pepper plants covered with pepper spray, they will avoid it for the rest of the season.

Spray weekly and after rainfall since the rain washes away the mixture.

Your primary target area should be the leaves, for they are what the deer go for first.

What other plants can you use to keep away the deer?

Many garden owners regard peppers as their first choice when they want plants to keep away deer. However, many more options are available that will get the job done.

Here is a list of some of these plants


Vegetables such as onions, fennels, and garlic emit strong odors, which deer don’t like. They will therefore move on to seek other more palatable plants to eat. 

Prickly Vegetables

These vegetables are sweet but have thorns or prickly hairs on their leaves and stems. As a result, deer experience a lot of discomforts when they eat such plants and consequently avoid them.

Prickly vegetables such as squashes, kohlrabi, and cucumbers don’t get any attention from deer unless they are starving.

Root Vegetables

Deer don’t like root vegetables because they have to do plenty of digging to access them.

Yam tubers, ginger, taro corms, and turnips are some roots vegetables rarely eaten by deer. Even so, you will occasionally find deer eating the leaves of these plants.

Benefits of growing peppers in your backyard

Peppers offer humans plenty of advantages; for example, all pepper varieties provide

reasonable amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, and folic acid.

Research has also shown that regularly eating pepper plants:

  • Prevents Migraines
  • Lowers risk of cancer
  • Cures bad breath
  • Prevents allergies.

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