What Animals Can Eat Figs?

Figs have been a beloved food for centuries, cherished by humans and animals alike. These sweet and nutritious fruits are a great source of energy and have become a staple in many animal’s diets. But which creatures can eat figs? You might be surprised to learn that there are more than just bears and monkeys who enjoy this delicacy.

From the nectar-feeding bats to the pollinating wasps, figs have evolved to attract a wide range of animals. They offer a symbiotic relationship with their animal counterparts, providing nourishment for some while relying on others for pollination. It’s a fascinating world where the fruit plays an essential role in the ecosystem.

In this post, we’ll take you on an adventure through the world of fig-eating animals. We’ll explore some of the most interesting creatures that enjoy figs and discuss the nutritional benefits of this fruit. Whether you’re an avid gardener or simply love all things related to figs, this post is for you. So grab your favorite fig-filled snack and let’s dive into the magical world of these delectable fruits.

What is a Fig?

“, look no further than the sweet and nutritious fruit that grows on the fig tree. Native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, fig trees can reach up to 50 feet tall with broad, spreading canopies and large leaves.

The fig fruit itself is pear-shaped with a tough outer skin that can be purple or green in color. But don’t let the exterior fool you – inside lies a soft, juicy treat filled with tiny seeds. Figs are packed with fiber, potassium, and other essential nutrients, making them a healthy choice for both humans and animals.

Speaking of animals, birds are some of the biggest fans of figs. Sparrows, doves, and pigeons are just a few examples of birds known for their love of figs. In fact, some bird species rely on figs as their primary source of food. Primates like chimpanzees and gorillas also have a special relationship with fig trees, as they help spread the fruit’s seeds through their droppings while consuming large quantities themselves.

But it’s not just birds and primates that can safely eat figs. Bats, squirrels, deer, and even certain types of insects can consume figs too. However, it’s important to note that not all animals can tolerate this fruit. Some may be allergic or experience digestive issues when consuming it. Certain species may also only be able to eat certain parts of the fig plant, such as leaves or bark.

Why Do Animals Eat Figs?

For centuries, animals have been drawn to the sweet, juicy flesh of figs. It’s no wonder that many species have evolved to rely on them as an essential part of their diet. But what is it about figs that make them so irresistible? Let’s explore the reasons why animals eat figs.

Firstly, figs are a nutritional powerhouse. They are packed with carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, and calcium, making them a rich source of nutrients. For animals, consuming figs means getting a healthy boost to their diet, especially during times when food sources may be scarce.

Secondly, figs provide a reliable and consistent food source. Depending on the species of fig tree, they can be available during different seasons. This consistency means that animals can rely on them as a food source, even when other options may not be available. Certain animals like primates and birds have even been known to subsist almost entirely on figs.

But the relationship between animals and fig trees is not one-sided. When an animal eats a fig fruit, it helps to disperse the plant’s seeds. As the seeds pass through the animal’s digestive tract and are deposited in feces, they serve as natural fertilizer for the plant. This mutualistic relationship ensures the survival and reproduction of the fig tree species.

Furthermore, different animal species have unique relationships with fig trees. For example, certain primates have co-evolved with specific species of fig trees and play a crucial role in pollinating them. Meanwhile, birds and bats play a crucial role in dispersing the seeds of certain fig tree species.

Birds That Eat Figs

Figs are a nutritional powerhouse that offer a sweet and tasty treat to a variety of animals, but birds seem particularly drawn to them. So what exactly makes figs so irresistible to our avian friends?

Firstly, figs are an excellent source of nutrition for birds. They contain high levels of sugar, fiber, and other essential nutrients that provide the energy needed to support their daily activities. Moreover, figs are abundant and reliable food sources for birds, which is essential for their survival and reproduction.

However, it’s not just the nutritional value that attracts birds to figs. Different bird species have unique adaptations that allow them to access the sweet flesh inside the fig. Hornbills are one such species that loves figs. These large, colorful birds found in Africa and Asia have a curved beak that’s perfect for picking figs. They use their beaks to reach inside the fruit and scoop out the juicy flesh.

Another bird that enjoys figs is the barbet. These small and brightly colored birds are found in tropical regions around the world. They have a special adaptation in their digestive system that allows them to break down the tough skin of the fig and extract its nutrients.

Pigeons and doves also have a particular fondness for ripe figs. These birds have diverse diets that include fruits, seeds, and insects, but they seem to relish in figs’ sweetness. They often perch on branches near ripe fig trees and feast on the fruit’s sugary flesh.

Primates that Eat Figs

Figs have played a significant role in the evolution of primates, and they are a vital food source for many primate species, including monkeys, apes, and lemurs.

What makes primates so important in the fig-plant relationship is their unique digestive system. They have a specialized gut that allows them to digest the tough outer layer of the fig, which other animals cannot do. This means that they can access the nutrients inside the figs that other animals cannot.

Chimpanzees are one of the most well-known primate species that eat figs. As omnivores, they enjoy a variety of foods, but figs are an essential part of their diet. They will travel long distances to find both ripe and unripe figs, which provide them with valuable nutrition.

Colobus monkeys, on the other hand, are primarily herbivores that eat leaves, but they also enjoy fruits such as figs when they are available. They too will travel long distances to find these delicious treats.

Lemurs are another type of primate that relies heavily on figs as a significant part of their diet. With over 100 different species of lemurs, many of them eat figs, including the ring-tailed lemur. These adorable creatures enjoy both ripe and unripe figs and will go to great lengths to find them.

Other Animals That Eat Figs

Figs are not only a sugary indulgence for humans but also a coveted food source for a vast array of wildlife. From bears to birds, many fascinating creatures relish the taste of these succulent fruits and have developed their own unique ways of enjoying them.

Bears, for instance, have a particular fondness for figs. They love to climb up trees and pluck the ripest fruit to eat. In regions where fig trees are plentiful, bears have been known to consume copious amounts of figs, causing damage to crops.

Monkeys are another animal that appreciates the sweet and juicy taste of figs. These intelligent and resourceful creatures know how to find the most delicious fruits. In areas where monkeys and humans live close together, it’s not uncommon for them to steal figs from people’s gardens.

Birds are also drawn to figs, particularly the soft and luscious ones. Their role in pollinating fig trees is vital as they feed on the fruit and disperse seeds through their droppings. Certain bird species, such as the hornbill, swallow whole figs and transport seeds over large distances.

Bats are another creature that delights in feasting on figs, particularly smaller wild varieties found in tropical regions. Some bat species rely almost exclusively on figs as their main source of sustenance.

Lastly, squirrels are opportunistic feeders who enjoy consuming whatever food is available to them. They climb up trees to pick the ripest fruits or scavenge on fallen figs on the ground.

Risks of Eating Figs for Certain Animals

While figs are a nutritious food for many animals, some may experience adverse effects if they consume them. So, what are the risks of eating figs for certain animals? Let’s explore.

Firstly, let’s talk about our feline friends. Cats are sensitive to figs and can experience digestive distress if they eat too much. The high fiber content in figs can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, or bloating. Additionally, ficin, an enzyme found in figs, can be toxic to cats in large amounts, leading to severe irritation and inflammation in their digestive tract.

While dogs and horses are not as sensitive to figs as cats, they may still experience digestive upset or other adverse effects if they overindulge. Therefore, pet owners must monitor their animal’s intake of figs and other fruits.

It’s understandable to want to treat our beloved pets with a varied diet. Still, we must be mindful of what foods could potentially harm them. Feeding your furry friend figs or any new food without consulting your veterinarian first could be detrimental to their health.

Tips for Feeding Your Pet Figs Safely

It’s important to know how to feed figs to your pet safely to avoid any potential health risks. Here are five sub-sections that detail tips for feeding your pet figs safely.

Introduce figs gradually

It’s best to introduce figs slowly and in small quantities if your pet has never had them before. This will allow their digestive system to adjust and prevent any digestive issues. Giving them too much too soon can cause stomach upset or diarrhea.

Remove the skin

The skin of the fig can be tough and difficult for some animals to digest, which can lead to choking or intestinal blockages. Therefore, it’s best to remove the skin before feeding your pet figs.

Cut into small pieces

Figs can be quite sweet and sticky, which can make them difficult for some animals to eat. Cutting them into small pieces can make it easier for your pet to eat and digest them. This is especially important for animals with smaller mouths or teeth issues.

Feed in moderation

Figs are high in natural sugars, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues if overfed. It’s important to feed figs in moderation as a treat rather than a regular part of your pet’s diet. This is especially true for pets with diabetes or other health conditions.

Avoid dried figs

Dried figs are more concentrated in sugar than fresh figs, making them less healthy for pets. It’s best to stick with fresh figs as a treat for your pet. Dried figs also have a higher risk of causing digestive problems due to their high fiber content.

By following these tips, you can safely feed your pet figs as an occasional treat. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new food into your pet’s diet, especially if they have any existing health conditions or dietary restrictions. Remember that not all animals can safely consume figs, so it’s important to research whether or not it is safe for their species before feeding them any figs.


In conclusion, figs are a delectable treat for both animals and humans. These succulent fruits have become a dietary staple for many creatures, offering a mutually beneficial relationship by providing sustenance for some while relying on others for pollination. Figs have evolved to attract a diverse range of animals, from nectar-feeding bats to pollinating wasps. Birds, primates, bears, squirrels, deer, and even certain insects can safely indulge in the sweet flesh of figs.

Not only do figs taste great, but they also pack a nutritious punch. Loaded with fiber, potassium, and other essential nutrients, figs are an excellent addition to any animal’s diet. Consuming figs means getting a healthy boost to their diet especially during times when food sources may be scarce. Moreover, different animal species have unique relationships with fig trees. Certain primates have co-evolved with specific species of fig trees and play a crucial role in pollinating them while birds and bats play an essential role in dispersing the seeds of certain fig tree species.

While feeding your pets figs is possible, it’s important to introduce them gradually in small quantities to avoid any digestive issues. Removing the skin before feeding your pet figs is also recommended as it can be tough and difficult for some animals to digest. By following these tips and consulting with your veterinarian before introducing any new food into your pet’s diet – especially if they have existing health conditions or dietary restrictions – you can ensure safe consumption of this tasty fruit by our furry friends.