If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

myrtle_59May 20, 2008

I just ran across this about rhododendrons


Poisonous parts - all parts

"Salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, coma."

at this site


so if this is true why/how do the deer eat every single one I plant in my yard?

Does any one know more about this?

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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

Just because a plant is poisonous to humans doesn't mean it is poisonous to deer, apparently. Deer eat a lot of plants that would be considered at least inedible, if not outright toxic to humans. For an example, deer can eat poison ivy, which would probably kill most humans. On the other hand, I think a few things humans eat are supposed to be toxic to a lot of other mammals - chocolate is supposed to be toxic to dogs and rats.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 2:52PM
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Of course you are right. Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs.

And ruminants do have a very different digestive system. My brain must have been asleep.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 3:49PM
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Sometimes I see rhodos being marketed as deer proof or deer resistant. Apparently, the deer around here did not get the memo.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 9:18PM
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Guess it depends on the food available. They chew on my azaleas each winter, but leave the rhodo's alone.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 9:55PM
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The deer eat all my 'regular' rhododendrons but do not eat the PJM variety. These are a hybrid that is evergreen in the winter, has a small leaf and has a particular odor to the leaf when you crush it. They are dwarfish. Better than no rhododendrons at all but not the same.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 7:50AM
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Years ago my two dogs ate a three-foot rhododendron to the ground and survived. They were not even sick! They also consumed a fairly large c. myrtle,many other plants, and even munched on black walnuts! However, one dog, at the ripe age of 12, apparently ate something that did her in. The other dog continued eating plants and lived to the ripe age of 16+.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 6:15PM
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I guess your dogs didn't get the memo about poisonous plants!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 6:48PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Mountain laurel is poisonous also and they eat that as well although many sources list is as hardly eaten..

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 10:44PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Deer also love (LOVE!!) yews, which are highly poisonous to cattle.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 6:05AM
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