Mystery Animal Eating my African Violet

lizzygracepond(7)February 8, 2012

Half of my indoor African Violet is missing! All leaves and stems are gone on only half of the plant and it was knocked over. This morning I had a flat of dirt with seeds started and there was a big dent in the dirt and one of the 2 inch pods was pulled up. VERY WEIRD. My question is WHAT kind of animal would eat african violets? A squirl? RAT? Opossum? EW! It had to be heavy enough to put a good dent in my dirt and pull one of the peat pots. I left my back door open the other night (forgot to close) and something snuck in. Any guesses would be appreciated!

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donna_c

All of the above! It could also have been a mouse - others have written about their African Violet-loving mice. I'd guess mouse or rat. I put some violets outside (in nice weather). A squirrel thought the plants were a delicacy and ate every bit of them. You still have half a plant so I'm thinking it is something smaller than a squirrel. But ewww is right - whatever it is is in your home!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 1:05PM
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donna_c

Oh, forgot to mention...some have reported that their CATS play with and eat the plants too!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 1:14PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Donna - if you take your violets outside - you cannot bring them back - they accumulate undesirable passengers and being exposed to the elements - develop spots. So - be sure they are your extras.

We relocated 23 squirrels last summer - caught them and moved them out of town. Now - we have more than ever.They ate all my grapes, blackberries and chewed on my zukes.

Irina

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 1:46PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

My male cat would eat the leaves off the backsides of violets facing away from the window on the window seat. I bought a folding firescreen to make a barricade. It didn't quite stretch far enough, so I blocked (I thought)the ends with a pair of old railroad lamps. He squeezed his head in somehow, and (drumroll) ate the backsides of the violets he could reach.
Have a female cat who will appear out of nowhere to disbud any violet I bring into the kitchen to water. She wakes up out of a dead sleep and sneaks in on velvet paws.
I do offer them grass(no interest), and have a bagful of harvested catnip which they love. I can only try my best, and have come to accept that they are more cunning than I am.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:53PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Bunnycat - they are NY cats, that's why.

I let my cats to the back yard with supervision and they immediately start chomping on grass - blue grama is the best - and my neighbor's yard has plenty of this weed to get through the fence. I am entertaing an idea of building the cat run, but so far it is just a thought.

Good Luck

irina

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 3:33PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Irina~
um.... my NY backyard has raccoons, opossums, deer, red foxes, snakes, deer herds, who knows what else. I can't let them out safely. (I have a 5' picket fence, but the deer jump over, and everything else goes under or through)
Not all of us live in NYC.
~Bunnycat (the only one who doesn't eat my violets)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 6:10PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Bunnycat -

this is great - I love upstate NY! Hopefully your not NYC cats will listen to you.

We have the same problem - my cat catches snakes - luckily didn't have any rattlers so far, the hawk went after him when darn cat was up in a tree - he got to slide down so fast - probably left all his belly fur on the bark, we have foxes, coyotes...probably no opossums...The cat tried to become very friendly with a fox cub... I let the dog to the yard last night - and it was so skunky, I was afraid to scare the critter, so we very quietly got back.

Anyway - what I am thinking is actually the dog run with a chicken wire on the top and access to the doggie door.

I want to see Finger Lakes again...

Irina

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 3:48PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

You can't fool me! You want to go to a particular Finger Lake....Canandaigua Lake...home of the Violet Barn.
Bunnycat (aka Nancy)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 8:48PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Been there done that want to go back and see more of them Fingers. Last day need to stop at the Barn - and buy the store.

Nancy - if I got lucky to go there again - I will call you - we will do it together - and you as well can start planning to put more shelves.

Irina

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 12:46PM
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carol222

Chipmunks and mice ate mine a few years ago. Signs- half or completely eaten plants, pots turned over, dirt dug and scattered. I got a have-a-heart trap and removed them.
Carol

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 1:41PM
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aviolet6(7)

Has the violet been sampled any more? I once had a mouse in an apartment for several weeks despite two cats being around. It ate violet leaves and cat food. I was amazed about both. It lived up inside the piano until I finally caught it in a live trap and released it in the woods.

Irina and Nancy, you are lucky to live in upstate New York with all the wildlife. And closer access to the Violet Barn. I would love to be a Violet Barn employee!

Tricia

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 3:13PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Tricia - I am in Denver CO - and I have an advantage regarding wild life - we have significantly less mosquitoes.

I.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 2:26PM
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lizzygracepond(7)

I know this is a LATE follow up, but it was a RAT! Message to self, don't fall asleep with the back door open! It ate half the African Violet. I caught it about 3 weeks after it ate my plant. Gone!!! NOW!!!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 10:09PM
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donna_c

Thanks for the follow-up! I was wondering what it was. At least it's no longer living inside with you.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:22PM
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southernbelle1118

The craziest thing happened for me. I had an African violet in my office. When I came into the office on Monday, the entire plant was gone!!! I was dumbounded and thought someone had played a mean prank. But today, the custodian and I did some investigating and found rat droppings around the office and have decided my poor plant was eaten by a rat that is someplace in office. Gross! That thing contaminated my office. I was sick thinking it all day.

I did a search online tonight and found this discussion. I had never heard of an African violet being devoured by a rat.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:43PM
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aviolet6(7)

It's pretty surprising isn't it?!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:29AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Yuck! You need to decontaminate your working space - and ask the custodian to put a rat trap!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:30AM
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