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Do squirrels eat greens???

Posted by daisies4ever none (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 19:16

I posted an earlier message about not knowing what's eating my chard. I can't see any insects, there are no rabbits here, and it's not mice. I thought it was something that attacked only at night since I never see anything. But now that "something" has moved on to my lettuce!

The only critter that's around is a big gray squirrel. Do they eat greens? I thought they only ate nuts. I've never seen it in my raised bed and I'm home a lot and look out at my yard a lot. But it is around and lives in trees next to my house.

So, does anyone know? I can't catch it in the act, but it's the only thing that makes sense. But I didn't think they would eat out of gardens!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 21:00

It is not normal. I have caught a chipmunk eating cabbage, although a) chipmunks are more green-oriented than squirrels b) cabbage has a lot more calories than chard or lettuce. Please give details about the type of eating. Rabbits and groundhogs have vastly different patterns, but only rabbits are nocturnal.


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Here is the original post on the subject. It's a mystery critter as my chard, and now my lettuce, is getting eaten by something I cannot see, EVER. One leaf at a time, every single day, til everything is GONE! There is no evidence of anything, no bugs, no footprints, no scat or droppings, nothing :-(

Here is a link that might be useful: Original Post Here


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

As far as I know squirrels are NOT vegetarians. They eat grains, nuts and dry food. The often make a mess but do not eat anything.


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 16, 13 at 14:09

As I was traveling for work there was a deep freeze. I called home and had the radicchio tarped, and it was tarped for four days. Today I go in the garden to get me a bucket of radicchio and found that every plant's heart had been eaten. a chipmunk ran off under the celery tarp nearby. 90% of a bed gone, amazing destruction in just a few days. Now I will be the destructor I am afraid.


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

I find those "Live Traps" useful.
I am going to make a couple of them next season. We have rats and rabbits. Maybe chipmunk too, I don't know.

Here is a picture.


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Well, I've never seen a chipmunk in this area and the jury is still out as to whether it's my local gray squirrel or not. I did find some small paw prints in the dirt today. I'm just going to have to be more vigilant in watching the yard to catch it in the act. If it's a rodent, I'll probably have to screen it out of the raised bed :-( If I caught and relocated a critter, it would either just come back or others would move in.


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Rabbits are number one vegetarians and they just LOVE garden veggies, because they are tender and tastier.

They also come out after dark when you are asleep. They ate a whole bed of beans I had and I never saw them either.
They also munched on the onions two.


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

I will have to reconsider this possibility. But I had a big chard leaf the other day in the morning, and when I came back from an outing that afternoon, it was gone. That would be some wily wabbit to know when I'm out for the day!!!


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

I tend to think rabbit is your most likely culprit, and it really is not unusual to never lay eyes on the little guys. It would be a very normal rabbit to know when you are out during the day. As prey animals they are very sensitive to changes in the environment around them and you make plenty of noises inside the house that they can hear... And they can tell when the house is silent. They are experts at freezing and blending into the background if humans suddenly appear.

They also get quite well acquainted with our schedules and will grab a bite to eat when they know we are not usually outside. I once spent an extra half hour outside on a nice June evening at dusk and startled the heck out of two rabbits who frolicked their way up from the bottom of our property to end right by my feet at the clover patch right there. I was also surprised because I assumed they would have come from the much closer tree-farm off to the side. I could tell by their shocked expressions when they realized I was there that they were thinking "you're never out here at this time of day!"

Anyway. I had one remaining chard plant in my garden that very slowly got grazed down to a nub, and then they gnawed on the stump of it. So I can attest that my rabbits like chard. A simple solution would be to get some bird netting and wrap it around a tomato cage and place that over the chard plant. Cheers!


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Thank you for the input everyone. Short of putting out a 24-hour video camera with nighttime infrared capabilities, I am determined to get to the bottom of this! Like I said, this is a brand new garden in a brand new house and location for me so it's not like I have experience to go by here. I am taking in a sample eaten-lettuce to my extension office to see if I can rule out a difficult-to-see insect. And with my next planting, I will probably just have to live with cages over my raised beds. :-(


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

"I did find some small paw prints in the dirt today"

You should have taken a picture of them! It could have told you what type of critter it was. This has actually given me an idea. Try spreading a layer of wet sand around your plants. You should be able to get some footprints which you can then compare to the various critters mentioned here.

Rodney


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Oh, great idea about the sand :-) Thank you. I didn't put too much credence in the paw prints (which were hard to i.d. because of the fluffy, dry soil they're in) because there are neighborhood cats that hang around my yard a lot and could easily be one of them passing through.

The biggest mystery is the pattern things got eaten in: Part of a leaf one day, the rest of it the next, then another leaf on the SAME plant the next day. When that one plant was down to the ground, the plant right next to it was started on until after a day or two or three, it was down to the ground, then the plant next to that one got it, etc., until all nine chards and seven lettuces were decimated over a week or so. This happened in a very orderly fashion!

Granted, they were small plants as I'd just planted them a month ago, but here in sunny California, they were growing and providing nice additions to meals. There is nothing left except one larger lettuce bunch that I'm trying to eat before it's gone, and so far, it's still intact. (Different kind of lettuce than the ones eaten up).

I'm tempted to plant more chard starts if I can get them, to keep up hunt for the perp!


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

After my wife accused me of being a giant slug, I became interested in posts such as yours. As a slug, I recognize damage done by my brethren. My guess is that the damage is not done by a critter, but by slugs. They are probably upset that you have not provided adequate beer, so that is your solution. Let them drown themselves in beer and they will leave your greens alone. As lead slug, I give you a communal guarantee.


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Thanks, Charlie. I do have snail bait out and haven't seen one in a long long time. But I'm thinking I have a triple whammy on my hands: a greens-loving insect, a rabbit, and a deer, all at the same time but never when I'm looking. I'm still investigating, but seriously, evidence is pointing to all three. Now if I could catch just *one* of them in the act, I'd be a lot happier! (Relatively speaking).


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Well, whoever said the rabbit wins. That's what's been decimating my garden as this photo proves. I never saw it before because apparently I wasn't looking out the window at the right times. And he didn't stick around long. Timing is everything in this world!

Guess I better get me some rabbit fencing....


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

Once again the reputation and good name of slugs around the world has been saved by photographic evidence. Rabbits are famous for damaging our greens and blaming it on defensless slugs. Unlike snails we have not protective shell and are thin skinned. But I still recommend beer be left out for the slugs. If the rabbit does take a drink of it, he/she might forget about the greens. Don't believe what you have heard, that slugs are drunks. We are working on a 12 step program for slugs with no feet. It is tough!


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RE: Do squirrels eat greens???

The last thing I need around here, Charlie, is a bunch of noisy, drunken, carousing slugs in my yard! It's tough enough getting a decent night's sleep without listening to Slug Tavern racket. The neon lights alone would drive me batty. 12-step programs don't work around these parts. No, no beer for the slugs, I can't risk it. They get served Sluggo. Shuts them up real good....


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