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Whats eating my tomaotes?

Posted by dragon9206 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 21, 07 at 15:46

My aunt had a garden in her back yard, that has a 4ft chicken wire fence around it, and the garden is raised about a foot. Something has been going around to the tomatoes and taking one bite out of them, just one. She thought it might be a turtle, but her dog keeps going out after dark and tracking around the yard like he is trailing something. So now we are wondering if maybe its an opossum? We are in town, but we get racoons, opossums, and skunks around fairly often. Do any of these animals eat tomatoes, or rather - bite tomatoes? The plants themselves arent being harmed, and whatever it is doesnt finish eating the tomato it just takes one bite out of each one, and it isn't messing with any of the other plants. (squash, zucchini, peppers, brussels sprouts, lettuce, cucumber...)

Anyone have any idea? Or know what we can do to stop this?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Whats eating my tomaotes?

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 22, 07 at 21:51

Animals will take just one chunk out of tomatoes. I had a squirrel doing it one year. Drove me nuts. It is hard to stop a squirrel. Opossums eat fruits and veggies, so it is possible. I would carefully check the whole fence and ground perimeter looking for access points. If the whole area is impenetrable, something is climbing over the fence.
You could do two things, one get a motion detector sprinkler installed, or pick the tomatoes just before they get ripe.

RE: Whats eating my tomaotes?

I had to completely cage our tomato patch this year in 1/2" aviary wire tightly closed at night to keep out rats. They would damage ALL the fruit, ripe or not, just one bite, the bite wound is about the size of an average smallish grocery store strawberry, sometimes it looks a little gnawed at (ragged edges). Rats defensive strategy of small amount taken from each food source is one reason they are hard to poison, and a good way to identify them (tortoises don't do that!). Daytime watch for birds - crows/ravens if insufficiently molested will learn to land on food and peck it apart - backpacks, trashbags, tomato cages.

RE: Whats eating my tomaotes?

All of our nearly ripe tomatoes have been eaten. Thinking the problem was related to birds, we put up netting all around and above. However, something is getting in and when it eats the tomato it eats most of it - probably 3/4. It is climbing on the cage because the eaten tomatoes are found on the plant. I saw some small holes in the mulch - my original thought squirrels or chipmunks. Never have seen anything like this before. They'll eat 3 or 4 at a time. Any quess?

RE: Whats eating my tomaotes?

Bites/nibbles I blame on the squirrels.
Whole tomatoes I blame on the woodchuck. Believe it or not, they're good climbers! I had one devour a Mina lobata vine on a 5' obelisk!

RE: Whats eating my tomaotes?

  • Posted by jbclem z9b Topanga, Ca (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 4, 07 at 19:11

I think squirrels can easily climb over the chicken wire, especially near a post where it's supported. I had 1/4" plastic mesh cylinders(24" high) wrapped around my tomato cages and they went right up and over it. When I tried the plastic mesh without the tomato cages supporting it, the squirrels wouldn't climb over it because it would collapse under their weight.

The ultimate solution was my Hav-A-Hart trap. After catching 9 squirrels (and some rats) last year, I haven't had any squirrels since.


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