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Do any animals eat pistachios in the wild?
March 8, 2007 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Do any animals eat pistachios in the wild?

google and wikipedia no help! this question has been bugging me and my wife for a while.
posted by BigBrownBear to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
what an annoyingly good question.

i found this google hit to a page that needs subscription:

The Birds of North America Online: Common Raven
Ravens knock pistachios out of trees, remove the hulls and shells, then eat the remaining endocarp (Salmon et al. 1986). Single or paired birds at a carcass ...
bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA/ account/Common_Raven/FOOD_HABITS.html - Similar pages
posted by phaedon at 11:45 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's always a pest.
posted by jamaro at 11:48 AM on March 8, 2007


Does it stain their beaks (fingers) red?
posted by Egg Go Boom at 12:08 PM on March 8, 2007


pistachios are dusted with a pink dye while being packaged because in the wild naturally ripened pistachios have a pink blush to them.

anyways, i don't know for certain which animals, if any, do eat pistachios however your biggest bet would be birds - just like any other nut. iran and afghanistan are two big exporters or pistachios but i believe most of them are harvested from orchards. there are small mammals in both countries but i'm not sure that you could say any of them eat them as a source of nutrients but rather as a supplement to their diet via foraging.
posted by sporky at 12:18 PM on March 8, 2007


Though googling turns up no direct evidence, it seems impossible that the persian squirrel would not eat pistachios, which are native to Iran.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2007


The page that Phaedon found doesn't have much more info than he posted. It does, however, refer to a 1986 article in the journal California Agriculture, titled "Bird damage to pistachios". Unfortunately, their online archives don't go back that far. If you're really curious and there's an academic library near you, it's in volume 40, pages 5–8; the authors are T.P. Salmon, A.C. Crabb, and R.E. Marsh.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:36 PM on March 8, 2007


Upon further googling, I found a PDF (written by two of the three above authors) titled Evaluation of field sampling techniques for estimation of bird damage to pistachios. Their research focused on damage caused by crows and scrub jays.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:41 PM on March 8, 2007


T.P. Salmon, A.C. Crabb, and R.E. Marsh.

What great names for biologists!
posted by matildaben at 1:48 PM on March 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pistachios are dusted with a pink dye while being packaged because in the wild naturally ripened pistachios have a pink blush to them.

Not really. From the wikipedia:
The shell of the pistachio is naturally a beige colour, but it is sometimes dyed red in commercial pistachios. Originally the red dye was applied by importers to hide stains on the shells caused when the nuts were picked by hand. However most pistachios are now picked by machine and the shells remain unstained, making dyeing unnecessary (except that some consumers have been led to expect red pistachios).
more info
posted by Rash at 2:24 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Great question, thank you!

I'm so glad it's hard to find the red pistachios - why would you want to stain your fingers when the red is unnecessary to their tastiness!
posted by agregoli at 2:28 PM on March 8, 2007


I'm so glad it's now easy to find shelled pistachios (from your local 'Mediterranean ' market, or at Trader Joes) -- shelling the damn things is such a pain in the -- well, to be precise, the pain's in the fingernails.
posted by Rash at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2007


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