From Bears to Boars: Animals That Love Mushrooms Like We Do

03 Jul 2018, by Susan Alexander Truffles in Food Musings

As the seasons change, so do the food sources within a forest ecosystem. Many animals enjoy the nuts, saplings, fruits, and berries that are found on the forest floor. However, they also find another highly nutritious food source: fungi. Find out about which animals love fungi and truffles just like we do!

Deer and Bears

Deer have the advantage of safely being able to consume many fungi and mushrooms which would normally be poisonous to humans.

Although bears are known for eating fish, rodents and other meat, they are actually omnivores which means they also like to eat plants, tree roots, and you guessed it – fungi. During summer they especially enjoy uncovering tree roots, tubers and mushrooms.

Rabbits and Squirrels

A squirrel’s diet is mainly made up of nuts and acorns, flowers, fruits, berries, and grass. However, squirrels also love truffle-like fungi, digging them up from the ground and leaving them to dry on tree limbs before eating them.

Rabbits also love to dig up fungi, providing them with rich nutrients which they could otherwise miss through mainly consuming grass. Squirrels, rabbits, and other small mammals and rodents which eat these fungi contribute to the ecosystem by helping to spread the spores and seeds from fungi and plants.

Slugs and Insects

Close-up of slug and insect

Slugs and insects are attracted to the most nourishing foods such as greens and forest fruits, and therefore to mushrooms also. This relationship also enables the forest to continue its lifecycle of new growth and decay.

Some types of insects such as flies and snails help to decay wood, leaves, and waste materials so that the forest can continue to grow through the decomposing debris which falls from the trees. This allows more shoots to sprout through the forest floor and they cycle to continue.

Pigs and Wild Boars

Close-up of pig and wild boar

Pigs and wild boars love the moist environment of the forest floor; however, they find it hard to travel for food in the colder months. This is why they choose to dig down for their food instead of move around, especially in winter. Fungi are the perfect solution!

Pigs and boars have the best noses when it comes to finding delicious truffles below the surface of the ground. For this reason, pigs have been used to locate truffles by humans throughout history. However, pigs find it hard to control their appetite for truffles and therefore humans have turned to specially trained dogs to hunt down truffles instead. Dogs are easier to train when it comes to not eating the truffles once found!

Truffles are of high value for many species

There is a tremendous diversity of animals known to instinctively consume fungi in order to gain valuable energy. And while some exclusively eat fungi and truffle-like fungi (mainly insects), there are others that eat it as part of their wider diet just like humans do.

Browse through our blog today to learn more about truffles or shop our online store for an ultimate truffle experience.

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