HELP! What would do this????

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

For the past week, some creature(s) has systematically traveled all over my backyard and literally chewed all my MG vines at the stalk separating the vine from the roots. Whatever it is, does not appear to be eating the plant, or the leaves, or the roots ..... but just chewing or rather shredding the base of the vine stalk until it is severed from the rest of the vine! I come out to see dying vines on my fence! This has pretty much happened to all the MG vines along my fence and the back of my house in less than a week. I am sick about it!!

Here is a photo of the mess left behind. I apologize that the photo is horrible, but I think you can see the little pieces of MG vine that were literally shredded up and dropped on the ground until the vine (that was growing up my trellis) was literally severed from the roots. About 4" of stalk was shredded all over the ground. I could see the vine still wrapped on the trellis .... wilting. This has happened to pretty much ALL my MG vines in my backyard. My MGs were planted around the yard in places that would require whatever creature it is to travel at least 25-45' from one plant to the next from night to night. Yes, it seems to be happening at night! I check them during the day and see nothing. It does not appear to be happening to any other plants or vines in my yard. I have Passion vines, Coral Honeysuckle, Mexican Flame vine, etc. They are all fine so far.

What kind of insect, reptile, or mammal would do this? I am going to grow some more MGs from seeds in pots (instead of in the ground) in the hopes that whatever creature it is... does NOT get the new sprouts/vines. I have some MG seeds that are not anything special that I will try growing first. I don't want to waste my good MG cultivars trying this.... in case whatever it is can get into the pots as well as the traveling it is doing around my yard.

I also have a bird and squirrel feeder in my yard that all kinds of birds, squirrels, and mice come to. The seed is in the feeders hanging on a post as well as in a dish on the ground and is usually filled. All these creatures know where it is and don't seem to be interested in any other areas of my yard. Behind my fence, it has flooded from all the rain. The mice were getting in at the only spot along my entire fence that had an opening. But I have NOT seen any mice since that area flooded. I used to watch a couple mice feed right along with the birds and squirrels. I haven't seen any since their only entrance/exit area flooded. So they either drowned or can't get into my backyard at this time.

Would carpenter ants do this? What???? I am at a total loss as to why this is happening now after months of growing my prized MG vines and WHAT could be doing this???? I am known for going out in my yard at night with a flashlight, but the mesquitos have been horrendous with all the standing water and rain. Any suggestions???? Any ideas what might do something so destructive?

Thumbnail by beckygardener
(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

Becky, that close to the ground and with the mulch I would guess slugs. Check at night for them.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

luvs - I don't know much about slugs. Would they just chew up a few inches of vine like that without eating it?

I see where they like moist ground. Perfect conditions in my yard at this time! :-( So what do you suggest I do to rid my yard of these beasts?

Someone said beer in a dish?

This message was edited Jul 29, 2007 8:40 AM

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)



This message was edited Mar 26, 2017 7:07 PM

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

I see no slimey trail at all. Which is why I don't know if it is slugs. I do know that I have seen huge slugs in my yard from time to time. But you are right, they usually leave a trail of slime. There is nothing like that around my destroyed vines. Would they chew up the base of the vine like that and not eat the plant? What would be their purpose in doing that if not as a food source?

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

Mice...? I guess you would see turds though... I had a rabbit that was eating mine but the whole plant was gone. I do think slugs would chew and move on getting enough out of just a part of the plant. But yeah, you would see the slime... now I am real curious!! LOL

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

I thought mice immediately .... but why would they do that? They eat from the feeder plates, but rarely venture out into the rest of my yard. They are too scared of me. I am in and out all the time, even at night. Plus, I haven't seen a mouse in my yard since the rains flooded their nesting area behind my fence. If I had seen them, I might suspect them. But I've not seen a single one in over 2 weeks since we got all the rain! But still .... why would they do that? The vines aren't hard. It would be better for them to chew on seeds which I have plenty of in the feeder plate. Rabbits can't get into my yard. And if they did, there are plants they would love to eat and haven't touched.

I am going to grow some "less desirable" MG seeds in some pots and see if whatever creature it is doing all this damage can get to them. If not, that may solve my problem. But if those plants also are destroyed, then I am at a total loss of how I am going to be able to grow MGs in my yard without determining what creature is killing my vines.

Could I rub something along the base of the vine that might discourage the chewing? I have 3 MG vines left. I was seriously thinking of digging them up and potting them today. Should I try some vaseline or something else along the base of the stalk to see if that would work?

I am going to get some slug bait .... something with Iron Phosphate in it. Will try that to see if that doesn't stop the damage to my vines.

This message was edited Jul 29, 2007 9:43 AM

North Augusta, ON

Sorry to barge in here, but maybe cutworms? I have seen damage like that from them....

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Threegardeners - I had thought of that, too! But haven't seen any at all. Though that is not to say they aren't the culprit!

I am considering treating my garden beds with one or more of the following:

Iron Phosphate (Sluggo)
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Copper Tape

Any suggestions on which product or products I should use? I happen to garden for hummers and butterflies/caterpillars. What would be safe to use knowing that?

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

You could try a pepper spray if it's a critter. http://www.ipmofalaska.com/files/homemadepestcontrol.html

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8a)

Becky,
I don't think slugs would do this kind of damage. Especially over night.
Cut-worms - maybe, depending on how large your vines were when they got to them.
Sounds like your vines were not seedlings so maybe not Cut-worms. ???

Do you have moles in FL?

If you were in Texas I would say moles OR Armadillos. Thank goodness I don't have either, but when I ever get to move on larger property in the country, I'm sure I'll have fun with these guys.

You may consider setting out some traps if it is a critter.
Or, get some good mosquito spray and camp out with your shot gun *ha*.

Seriously, I have a local friend that DID stay out one night to get the Armadillos.

Emma

PS: what about mothballs around the base of your plants to see what that will do to keep whatever it is from coming near the vines. It works with snakes and lots of other critters?

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Emma - I agree with everything you said! Mothballs are next on my list to try if the slug killer and pepper doesn't work.

I'm putting out some stuff to kill slugs. And I may be taking a moonlight stroll through my yard to see if I can catch whatever it is chewing up my vines. I did notice some other young plants that had been either chewed down or somehow trampled and snapped off their stalks. Unless there is a critter hiding in my yard somewhere, there is no place for them to get in at! Seriously! Only the field mice can squeeze through a small opening at the very back east corner of my fence. (Which is currently surrounded by water.) My fence is too tight to get through unless it was some kind of worm or snail or slug. I am still thinking a mouse, but don't know why they would chew up my vines. There is plenty of seeds here day and night in the feeders. I do sprinkle my beds with ground pepper to keep the squirrels from digging in them to bury their nuts. Works great! I am going to re-apply the pepper today too.

I bought some long plastic rectangular planters that are about 6" high to start some new MG seeds. I will place some against the fence and some I may put elsewhere in the yard with some bamboo stakes. It's a matter now of figuring out what creature is doing the damage and stopping it! Sometimes I feel like for every step forward in my gardening, I take two steps back battling the pests! The only pests that I encourage are butterfly larval, but they don't eat MGs! (sigh)

I'll be staking out the yard tonight with flashlight in hand! Wish me luck finding the culprit!

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8a)

Hey Becky,
You get 'um girl!

Don't forget your critter blaster [you DO have a shotgun - right?]
Never can tell what it may be.

Do you have raccoons?

Emma

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Emma - LOL! I did have a raccoon problem but they can no longer get easily over my fence. And they were making a mess of my yard!!! Nah if they were in my yard again I would definitely know it as they don't just chew through small vines! They would over turn pots, dig holes, mess up my water containers, etc. So .... if it is any warm-blooded critter, it might be a mouse. (Though I rather doubt it!)

I was looking at the seeds you sent me and I see you sent me 3 Brazilian MG seeds. Maybe I should grow those! They have thorns on them and might stand up better to any creature that would want to bite through the stalks/vines! LOL! And those pink blooms are pretty, too! I am seriously thinking of growing them along my fence next! :-) Those thorns would rip up slugs/worms/snails and put a hurtin' on the mouth of any mammals! LOL!

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8a)

HI Becky,

The 'thorns', are not very sharp if at all from what I recall. They are definitely not like a Rose Thorn. I just started my Brazilian MG seeds last week and they are already almost 12" tall.

Emma

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Emma - WHAT??? 12" tall in one week! Oh my goodness gracious! I planted 2 in the ground and am saving one seed to grow in a pot! Just for good measure! Maybe the thorns will be enough to discourage slugs or snails from chewing on them? If it's something else, then probably not. :-/

I really need to ID what the creature of destruction IS, so that I will know for sure how to rid myself of the problem. I hope I catch sight of something tonight!

12" in a week! Wow! That's amazing! I'm starting a bunch of MG seeds in pots tonight. I feel this overwhelming urge to get more vines going. Luckily the 5 seeds Gardener2005 shared with me are in a pot in the front yard. Or they probably would've been history, too! I wished I'd done that with ALL of them. I wouldn't be ready to scream at this point!

(Zone 7a)

Becky, after a few year's of standing along the property line and taunting us with "boo" through the fence, deer finally busted through and ravaged some of our MGs a couple of days ago. They seemed to like the Brazilian MG as well as the others, so not sure those soft spines would make a difference to a determined critter. (The good news is that the leaves higher up look fine and the vines seem to be taking it in stride; we fixed the fence; and bought Liquid Fence that once sprayed on your plants is said to make them taste bad to deer.)

Anyhoo, fer 4-legged critters, Xeramtheum started a great thread on how to prepare pots that protect vines against critters:

http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/714435/

Putting a chicken wire cylinder at the base inside the outer wire cylinder (I think) is mentioned for squirrels and may work for other critters.

Putting slug bait around after rain or watering has stopped seedlings from getting chewed and separated from their roots here - we use the kind that breaks down into fertilize and is non-toxic to pets and wildlife - it works fine.

I know just how you feel - your brain WILL triumph - just not as quickly as a magic wand might - what Emma said: keep at 'em!

Lakeland, FL(Zone 9b)

Armidilos

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks y'all for pulling for me and all the encouraging advice! And a nice big thank you to Ronnie for sending me some seeds to replace all the vines I lost. I genuinely appreciate it everyone!

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8a)

Ok,
Becky - I'll put another care package together for you too *-*
At least you can grow out some of the seeds that I won't get to this year. One that I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing that I sent you is a new MG from last year 'Plum Splash'.

Karen, Love that link with the wire cylinder. Thanks.
Strange thing is that you are a mindreader.
Hmmmm
Jerry and I were JUST talking about this today. Don't think I can buy any more large Tomato Cages without tracking them down and I don't have the time. So we were going to use a light weight wire to make cylinders.

Emma

Becky, here is 'Plum Splash' from last year

Thumbnail by EmmaGrace
Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8a)

Different Bloom same vine 'Plum Splash'

Thumbnail by EmmaGrace
Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8a)

One more

Thumbnail by EmmaGrace
(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Emma - My oh my! does your Plum Splash grow some interesting variations of the blooms! Nice! Very nice! Thanks for sending me a few more seeds. You don't have to do that Emma. You have been more than generous already. I did save a seed or two of most of the ones I had lost to the mystery pest to grow out in the Fall. But you know ...... anything you send, I will grow! So I thank you!

I've been outside with my flashlight on and off tonight. Nothing. Nothing at all. No slugs, mice, or anything else! I checked my entire garden beds around the backyard. Nadda one critter. I did dump lots of slug bait all around all the garden beds. And I added (rather dumped) pepper everywhere, too. Perhaps between these two treatments, maybe that's keeping it away from my plants? I hope it's that simple. The mesquitos are HORRIBLE out there! I mean with all the standing water behind my fence ...... Arghhhhhhhhh! Talk about blood-suckers! Ouchie! Don't think I'll be going outside anymore tonight. Zzzzzzz ....

Clatskanie, OR(Zone 9b)

Becky, woe is me. I truely can sympathize. I think the real problem is the bird feeders. They invite rodents.

Rodents have teeth that grow every day, day after day. They gnaw on anything to keep their teeth adequately short. To them it is like trimming their fingernails. They gnaw on anything hard because their teeth are growing and growing and growing. They have to keep their teeth short.

I think you need to put out some of that hershey bar styled rat poison for them, that is yellow, in places where pets cannot get it. Also leave out a pann of deep water, for them to go to after they eat the poison.
They will always drown themselves in a tub of water after eating the poison. Gross, but it works.

My wife the other day said,"look , look, there is a baby possum at the bird feeder"!............. It was not a possum! It was an enormus RAT.
We love feeding the birds and squirrels, but that really draws the vermine. I stood up in the window, and looked, and I had to tell here that it was no possum. We are cutting back on the bird feeding etc, because it is just an invitation to cut our own throats.

We put out peanuts in the squirrel feeder this spring. What happened was that the squirrels and chipmonks dug up all the mgs in pots to burry peanuts in the bottom of the pots. We now have peanuts every where and many mg pots with nothing growing in them, except peanuts.

Many were th time when I went fishing and I could hear the medow mice, we call voles. They look just like lemmings but are a gray brown.
I could hear them They would chew off a tall stalk of Canary grass, with the feather on the top, and you could hear them like a little chipper in there, chewing so fast you could see the feather on the top of the canary grass, going down and lower and lower like it was going underground before you very eyes. And that tiny little micro chipper sound going and going and going. They are there at night.

You also might get some control of the skeeters by pouring some oil into the pond to cover it Most of them bite within 100 yards of where they took flight, did you know that? Fran k

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Emma - DO NOT send me any seeds!! I went through what you sent me and I have at least 1-2 seeds for each of them left! The only one I don't have any seeds for is Violet Plum or Violet Falls (you weren't sure which was in the bag so you marked it with both names). I am going to try to grow the rest out. If so, I should hopefully get plenty of seeds from those. So ..... please, please don't send me any at this time. You have been far too generous already! And I am so grateful for your kindness! (I still owe you seeds of them in return, so let me see what I can do with this last batch of seeds!)

Latest report ...... no damage last night to any of my remaining vines. I am thinking more and more that it might be a rodent. All the vines were planted along my fence. If a rodent was trapped in my yard after the flooding, it might be clearing a path through the back of the beds trying to get out. I don't see any damage to other plants in all those beds. Just the plants bordering the fence. So I bet the pepper did the trick for now. (Knock on wood!) I have had the field mice in my yard for months. I even grew out one batch of MG seeds from Spring to early Summer. I was growing out the second batch when the rains came and then something attacked the vines.

Frank - Thanks for your hunch and suggestions. I'm afraid to poison a mouse because we are on well water, have hawks and owls that eat them, and have a pet dog who also eats whatever he finds in the yard. I'm relunctant to use the oil idea either for similar reasons. :-( But I do pour clorox bleach into the swamp area to kill the mosquitos! It worked before, so I will probably do that again. The standing water is in a vacant lot behind me. That is also where the mouse family lived. But I suspect they either drowned or moved somewhere else. I have seen them every day at the feeders. (During the day.) But have not seen a single one since the flooding. Which has me wondering if one got caught in my yard somewhere. Though don't know where it would hide. My fence is nearly impossible to get through from the outside, except one small area in the east back corner. (Which was where the mice were able to squeeze in at.) But that area is flooded now and no way for them to get to my yard from that location. I have a vinyl stockade fence that goes to the ground to keep my little dog from digging out of the backyard. I've had raccoons, too, but blocked them out where they were getting in under the gate. So it's pretty barracaded from critters now except the flying ones and the squirrels who have a unique path from the trees in the vacant lot. If it is a mouse, it is only one. I can usually spot them when they are hiding in my yard, but I haven't seen any at this point. So I really don't know. And I've seen no other creatures except my birds, squirrels, and butterflies. :-) There were no slugs or snails to be seen anywhere in my yard. I figured I'd see a few ..... NONE! So ...... they mystery is still unsolved. :-(

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Well ..... wouldn't ya know it! I looked out of my window just now and guess what I saw ..... a MOUSE at the feeders. Yep! I now feel pretty certain that it IS a rodent that was chewing my vines!! Just one. Didn't see any other mice as I usually do. When there is one there is 3! I bet it got trapped in my backyard and is clearing an escape path along the back fence and that is why all the plants were chewed down. It did a pretty good job of clearing a straight path through those beds! I think the pepper has discouraged it for now. It's hiding out on the other side of the yard now. I don't care. That's what brings the owls and the hawks to my yard. Which I love to see! See link: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/730430/

Mystery solved! Yay! Now I am in the process of devising another way to grow my MGs. Gonna raise them in rectangular planters elevated slightly off the ground so the mouse can't reach them. And use lots of pepper! LOL! Wish me luck! :-)

Thanks to everyone for you ideas, suggestions, and support & encouragement! And your kindness! I really appreciate it! :-)

(Zone 7a)

Becky, for mosquitoes, have you tried environmentally friendly "Mosquito Dunks"? They look like 3" diameter donuts, and you put them in anything that has standing water. Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. Israelensis is the active ingredient that does in mosquito larvae.

It should be kept out of reach of children, but (according to directions) can be used in fish habitats, animal watering troughs, bird baths, wherever there's standing water after a flood, or near households in flower pots, tree holes, roof gutters, rain barrels, old tires, unused swimming pools.

The source is Summit Chemical Co., 235 South Kresson St., Baltimore, MD 21224. We buy ours at local hardware stores.

I hate to say this, but earlier this spring, I saw a mouse scamper up the side of a 3' tall pot, so I don't think vertical heights set them back any. The pot sounds like a good idea at this point so you can bring in the pot this fall, but how about making a narrow chicken wire cylinder around the young seedling? I haven't heard of mice or rats or voles chewing on the woodier parts of mature vines - has anyone else?

By the way, earlier this summer, 2 of my vines were broken but not disconnected (I suspect neighbors' felines Rufus & Kiki chasing each other around did it), so I heaped up some dirt under the break, sprinkled some more on top, and then laid a stone on top to prevent any further activity upon the recuperating patients. It worked! Took a while, but the vine tips on the other side of the stones have grown a couple of feet and look raring to go.

Another thing to try - for future reference - would be to root the healthy tips above the break in water. I tried putting them in the ground like a cutting with a jar on top, but the MG in question did not appreciate the effort.

Frank, you put Stephen King in the shade :)

Clatskanie, OR(Zone 9b)

Thank you Blue. You should have seen my cylindrica beets last time I Iried to grow some. The voles got to them and they all looked like a tree the beavers were cutting down. Frank

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Blue - I use Mosquito dunks in my water garden containers, but they are very expensive to purchase here. Don't know if I care to spend that much to toss them over my back fence. Good idea though! Decisions, decisions ....

You know, I never even thought of trying to root the severed vine in water. That would have certainly been worth a try to possibly save my beautiful vines. (Smacking my forehead) Duh!

LOL about Frank putting SK in the shade! LOL! The dark side of darker! LOL!

So far the pepper is working. No more chewed vines. (Knock on wood!) I may very well try the chicken wire around the base of my MGs too. And grow them in the long rectangular planters (along my back fence again). The fence has trellises and seemed to work beautifully for that purpose. Just wasn't expecting a rodent to chew them all up! Oh well..... nature happens. :-)

Thanks for all the awesome suggestions everyone. Perhaps someone else will stumble onto this thread with the same problem. I'm off to shop and buy more ground pepper along with some chicken wire and wire cutters!

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

I spoke too soon. Found a few more vines chewed down. Grrrrr....

So ..... now I am on a mission to devise some way to grow MGs without them being used to sharpen rodent's teeth. Here's my latest concoction. It's 13" high from the bottom of planter to the top of the chicken wire. Do you think this might work?

I decided not to wrap individual plants as there are just too many of them and this wire is a pain to work with. I figured something like this might be easier to make and might just work. Do you think 13" is high enough. One of the mice is FAT. I can't picture it lugging it's big ole' butt up the side of the plastic planter much less the chicken wire.

Need some opinions on this. Any ideas to make it better before I actually plant seeds in it?

This message was edited Aug 2, 2007 12:29 PM

Thumbnail by beckygardener
(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

This is what it looks like inside the planter. I molded the wire into a retangular shape to fit inside of the planter. Once the dirt is added, the chicken wire should lay against the sides of the planter better.

This message was edited Aug 2, 2007 12:30 PM

Thumbnail by beckygardener
(Zone 7a)

Becky, I could be wrong, but I don't see how this will keep them out of the pot. How 'bout a baited mouse trap? The deer busted through our latest barrier last night, so must get back out there right now to do battle, but maybe there's something on this google search that might help with your wee mousies: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=mice+%2B+control

You certainly are inspiring me to keep at this latest intrusion of deer here. No more Mrs. Nice Gal here.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

blue - I do not want to kill the mice. They are in my yard because I feed the birds, squirrels, and the mice. My fault for doing that. I guess I could trap them and relocate them into the woods somewhere. And usually they don't hang out in my yard. But the rain has flooded their territory behind my backyard fence, so that is why they are in my yard more or all the time now. (Though I don't know if they are actually living in my yard.) I don't even mind if they are living in my yard as long as there aren't too many of them and they are not destroying my plants. (Of course we all know that mice and rabbit produce lots and lots of babies!) But so far over the past 6 months I've only had a few 2-3 mice at any given time. I do have owls and hawks that live near by and they do eat the mice. I've seen both birds in my yard and know they were hunting the mice. Which may be why my population is low. All the better. I love seeing the birds of prey come that close!

I guess my main problem is that I am into gardening as well as wildlife. Sometimes the two don't mix. I'm trying to find a happy median. Several folks have suggested the wire around the base of the MGs so the mice can't get to them to chew them. That is what I was trying to create with these planters.

Thumbnail by beckygardener
scio, oregon, OR(Zone 8a)

Are those mice?, WOW they look like rats! Maybe it's a trick of the camera but they look BIG.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

ROFL! Nope, I've been told they are field mice. Rats are much, much bigger! And uglier. These guys are cute. LOL! I just don't intend to kill them. The owls and hawks do enough of that.

I am wondering if the cage being 13" tall is going to be tall enough. Anyone know? I can't imagine the mice going to the trouble of climbing up and into the planters just to chew. They are very skittish as it is. I think they would feel they were climbing into a trap. But I could be wrong. What do I know? I'm not a rodent.

Sugar Valley, GA(Zone 7b)

Suggestion from a former Floridian...Chicken wire will not work.. but hardware cloth cylinders will...the holes are only 1/2 inch or less depending on what you get...Those are not mice...Those are Florida Fruit Rats, and you best get rid of them before they invade your house...

Dusty

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8a)

Becky,
I STILL think you need to bring out your shotgun . . . lol
Seriously, you need to get rid of those nasty things.

I agree that your chicken wire will not work as well. They CAN squeeze through those holes.

I DO agree with DustyDS. I was going to suggest the EXACT same thing that Dusty suggested. Any hardware store will know what you are talking about.

GOOD LUCK! and let us know.
STILL think you need the Shotgun *ha*

Emma

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Dusty - You may be correct. My next door neighbor has fruit trees in her yard and lets the fruit drop all over the ground. She doesn't eat the fruit. And other neighbors have fruit trees in their yards, too. I don't have any fruit or veggies growing in my yard. Just flowering plants and shrubs/trees. And .... the bird feeder. But the feed post has a squirrel guard around it.

Maybe what I need to do is put the feeder bowls of seed up at night. I could set them on top of something to feed the squirrels and doves during the day. The mice might leave if there is no food available. I have noticed that they have a hard time climbing over the wooden edging around the bird feeder to get to the plates of seeds. I can't imagine them climbing up anything. I've watched them and they really struggle to climb anything higher than 6". They do jump short little jumps. LOL!

(Zone 7a)

Hmmm - didn't know mice could have such long tails. You could probably saddle up the rats at the downtown Baltimore court house and ride shotgun on the local deer marauders.

Becky, you remind me very much of DH; until we had cats, he was very fond of our mice

After I finish giving the garden a drink and it dries off, am going to spray my purties with something that includes rotten eggs among its ingredients later this afternoon. I wonder if this Liquid Fence (or something like it), which is supposed to repel deer and rabbits, might put off the mice for a few weeks?

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Here's some photos of the native predators of these rats.

The local owl(s):
http://davesgarden.com/forums/fp.php?pid=3571251

This owl and 2 others showed up in my backyard. I am sure they spotted the rats. Population control of the rats I am sure! The owl has been in my backyard several times since I put the bird feeder up. He doesn't eat from the bird feeder, just waits for the rats to show up! :-)

And this is the neighborhood Hawk who also can be seen watching my yard and the neighbor's yard:

http://davesgarden.com/forums/fp.php?pid=3737324

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