Deciduous forests are found throughout the world in such places as eastern United States, Europe and Japan. The leaves of these forests change with four seasons, and their fruits, nuts and berries are food for an array of mammals, reptiles and insects. On the forest floor grows another nutritious food, but its not considered a plant; it's a fungus.
Squirrels and Other Rodents
Squirrels are one of the most easily recognized wildlife figures. They’re found in abundance not only in forests, but also in urban areas. Squirrels are typically divided into two groups, tree squirrels and ground squirrels, and when they’re not being fed peanuts in the park, they enjoy oak acorns and hickory nuts. They also eat the flowers from these trees, as well as dogwood fruit, mulberries, various grasses and fungi. Chipmunks have a similar diet as their rodent cousins, and like squirrels help spread the seeds from fruits and spores from mushrooms. (cite references- Georgia DNR and Fairfax PS)
Deer and Bears
For every 100 lbs of body weight, deer need to eat approximately 8 lbs of food in order to maintain a healthy girth. They eat nuts and fruits, such as persimmons and sumac heads. They also eat plants and flowers, and they can safely consume species of mushrooms that are toxic to humans. Since bears are omnivores, they not only consume meat and fish, but also live off various fruits, insects and plants. Summer months seem to be their favorite time of year for eating roots, tubers and mushrooms. (cite references - NY Antler and FWS Colorado)
Wild boars have a large distribution and live on almost every continent. They prefer moist forests and shrublands, especially oak forest. In deciduous forests where summer temperatures are high, they wallow in mud or water in order to stay cool. It’s believed they don’t do well in forests where winters bring deep snow. It limits their ability to travel for food. Due do their indiscriminate diet which includes fungi, grains, fruits, eggs, small vertebrates, invertebrates and manure, they can adapt to environments ranging from deserts to mountainous. (cite reference - Animal Diversity)
Slugs, Insects and Fun Mushroom Facts
Not only do slugs feed on mushrooms, but certain types of flies live on - or in - mushrooms. However, mushrooms do more than provide nutrition to various animals, including humans; they’re an important part of our ecosystem. Certain mushrooms help decay wood as well as dead plant and animal matter. Without decay, a forest would choke from accumulated waste, and soil would lack the nutrients from decomposed debris. Certain mushrooms also have a symbiotic relationship with roots of trees, each providing nutrients and benefits to the other. (cite reference - BC Gov)
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources: Squirrel Fact Sheet
- Fairfax County Public Schools: Eastern Chipmunk
- New York Antler Outdoors: What Do Deer Eat?
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services - Colorado: What Do Grizzly Bears Eat?
- Animal Diversity: Wild Boar
- British Columbia - Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations: Forest Mushrooms
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images