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What Animals Eat Mushrooms? (7 Mushroom-Eating Species)

Examples of animals that eat mushrooms include phoridae, wild turkeys, termites, slugs, hedgehogs, and deer.

Mushrooms are strange, unique fungi that grow in the dark and damp environments of forests all over the world. 

Most people know that edible mushrooms can be found in grocery stores, but mushrooms are also a food source for many animals.

In this article, we will take a look at seven different animals that eat mushrooms. 

List of Animals That Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a key part of the diet of many animals. This is because mushrooms are a rich source of nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

The fungi also contain compounds that boosts the immune system and helps fight off infections. 

Here are a few animals that eat mushrooms.

  • Phoridae
  • Wild Turkey
  • Termite
  • Slug
  • Hedgehog
  • Deer
  • Human

1. Phoridae

Image Source
Scientific NamePhoridae
Common NameScuttle flies, humpback flies
Animal ClassInsecta
DietNectar, honey dew, juices secreted from carrion and dung
HabitatDecaying or near decaying vegetation

Phoridaes are a family of small to medium-sized insects that are commonly known as scuttle flies or coffin flies[1]. The family Phoridae includes more than 4,000 species of fly found in every continent except Antarctica. 

Many phorid species are associated with decomposing organic matter, and some are considered nuisance pests in homes and commercial buildings. 

Phorid flies are often attracted to carrion, dung, and decaying plant matter.

Some phorid fly species are known to feed on mushrooms. The Phoridae family includes several species of fungus-feeding scuttle flies:

  • The European scuttle fly (Megaselia halterata)
  • The American scuttle fly (Megaselia americana)
  • The Australian scuttle fly (Megaselia australis). 

These flies are often found near areas where mushrooms are growing, such as in forests or gardens.

2. Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey
Scientific NameMeleagris gallopavo
Common NameWild Turkey
Animal ClassAves
DietCracked corn, oats, millet, insects
Habitatconifer-hardwood forests, seasonal marshes, orchards

The wild turkey is a bird that is closely related to the domesticated turkey[2]. The wild turkey is the largest member of the genus Meleagris, which contains two species: the ocellated wild turkey and the North American wild turkey. 

The North American wild turkey is the heaviest member of the family Phasianidae and is considered to be the second heaviest living bird in North America, after the California condor.

Mushrooms are a favorite food item of the wild turkey and they often eat them whole. The wild turkey has a long, sharp beak that is well-suited for picking up small mushrooms. 

The bird also has a gland near its eye that produces an oil that helps to dissolve the mushrooms so that they can be eaten more easily.

3. Termite

Scientific NameIsoptera
Common NameTermite
Animal ClassInsecta
DietHumus, wood, leaves, grass
HabitatDark, damp areas

The termite is a general name given to more than 2,000 species of insects in the order Isoptera. Termites are ecologically important as they help to break down dead wood and other plant material. 

Some termites live in symbiotic relationships with fungi, which help them to digest their food.

A few species of termite are known to eat mushrooms. The most well-known of these is the Wild Termite (Trichonympha species).

Termites have a symbiotic relationship with a type of fungus called Termitomyces. The termites cultivate the fungi on their bodies, and in return, the fungi help the termites to digest their food. 

The Termitomyces fungus also produces a fruit body that the termites eat. This fruit body is a type of mushroom.

4. Slug

Banana Slugs
Scientific NameGastropoda
Common NameSlug
Animal ClassGastropoda
DietStems, leaves, roots, fungi, decaying matter
HabitatMoist leaves, soil, mulch

The slug is a very common type of land mollusk found in gardens, fields and woodlands all over the world. These creatures are known for their love of eating plants, including mushrooms. 

Slugs are one of the main reasons why mushroom growers have to be careful with their crops.

While most slugs are content to eat dead and decaying vegetation, the occasional slug will eat live plants too. This can cause problems for gardeners and farmers who are trying to grow mushrooms for food or medicine. 

If there are too many slugs in an area, they can quickly devour a crop of mushrooms.

5. Hedgehog

Hedgehogs Eating
Scientific NameErinacaenae
Common NameHedgehog
Animal ClassMammalia
DietInsects,cat food, hedgehog kibbles
HabitatAreas with well-drained soil

The hedgehog is one of the animals that eat mushrooms. Hedgehogs’ diet consists mostly of insects, but they will also eat snails, frogs, lizards, bird eggs, and carrion.[3]

Hedgehogs will also eat mushrooms, which are a source of food that is high in moisture content and helps the hedgehog stay hydrated.

Hedgehogs are solitary animals and only come together to mate. Females will give birth to litters of up to eight babies, which are called hoglets

6. Deer

White-Tailed Deer
Scientific NameCervidae
Common NameDeer
Animal ClassMammalia
DietGrass, vegetations, nuts, acorn
HabitatVarious biomes such as tundras and rainforests

Deers are one of the most popular animals in North America. They are also one of the biggest consumers of mushrooms. 

According to a study by the University of Georgia, deer eat approximately 25% of all mushrooms in the United States.

There are many different types of deer, but the most common in North America are white-tailed deer and mule deer. Both species are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. 

In addition to mushrooms, deer also eat acorns, nuts, berries, leaves, and grasses.

Deer are very important to the ecosystem. They help spread seeds and fertilize the soil with their droppings. They also provide food for many other animals, including humans.

7. Human

Scientific NameHomo sapien
Common NameHuman
Animal ClassMammalia
DietVegetation, protein sources such as animal products
HabitatVarious shelters

Humans are the only animals that routinely eat mushrooms. Many people consider mushrooms to be a delicacy. While some mushrooms are poisonous, many varieties are safe to eat.

Mushrooms contain several nutrients that are beneficial to human health, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and are often used as an ingredient in recipes.

Some people are allergic to mushrooms, so it is important to know if you are before consuming them. 

If you experience any adverse effects after eating mushrooms, it is best to consult a doctor or medical professional.

What Animals Eat Morel Mushrooms?

The most common animal that eats morel mushrooms is the deer. Deer often browse on morels in the wild, and they seem to be able to digest them without any problems.

There have been cases of deer becoming sick after eating morels sprayed with pesticides.

Other animals that have been known to eat morel mushrooms include rabbits, squirrels, and mice. These small mammals seem to be able to digest morels without any problems, but they may not be as fond of the taste as deer are.

Morel mushrooms are a type of edible fungi that grow in the wild. They have a spongy, meaty texture and a nutty flavor that makes them a popular ingredient in many dishes. 

While morels are safe for humans to eat, not all animals can digest them properly. Some animals become sick or even die from this fungus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Rabbits Eat Mushrooms?

No, rabbits cannot eat mushrooms. Ingesting even a small amount can cause serious health problems. Some types of mushrooms are particularly dangerous to rabbits and are even deadly.

Do Squirrels Eat Mushrooms?

Yes, squirrels are known to eat mushrooms. Some types of mushrooms are a staple of the squirrel diet. While there are no reports of squirrels becoming ill from eating mushrooms, there’s a possibility of it happening.

Do Bears Eat Mushrooms?

Yes, bears can eat mushrooms and they often do. Bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, insects, small mammals, and even fish.

Do Pigs Eat Mushrooms?

Yes, pigs can eat mushrooms. They’re quite partial to them. Mushrooms are a great source of nutrition for pigs, and they enjoy the taste. 

Do Mice Eat Mushrooms?

Mice are small rodents that are found in homes and buildings. They are known to eat a variety of food, including grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Some people believe that mice also eat mushrooms.

Do Birds Eat Mushrooms?

Yes, birds can eat mushrooms. While some mushrooms are poisonous to humans, they are not poisonous to birds. Birds have a different digestive system than humans, which allows them to digest and safely eat certain types of mushrooms that would be poisonous to humans.

Do Foxes Eat Mushrooms?

The short answer is yes, foxes can eat mushrooms. Mushrooms are a type of fungi that foxes can encounter in the wild. While there’s no guarantee that every mushroom they come across is safe to eat, they likely know which ones to avoid.

About Misfit Animals Staff

The Misfit Animals staff consists of animal lovers, pet enthusiasts, veterinarians, zoologists, and other animal experts. Our goal is to provide people with information on proper animal care.

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