Garden Pests--Mammals

Started by ksayce, April 30, 2022, 10:00:51 AM

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I have posted more than once about the copious mammalian, bird and molluscan pests in my garden, which this year include elk, deer, European hares (a dark coated clan, mostly black haired, that has moved in this year from about a mile away), eastern gray squirrels, Douglas squirrels, chipmunks, the occasional bear, opossum, coyote, raccoon, rat, and last but not least, voles. 

Well, this month I have a new resident mammal, one I haven't seen for years, and am very pleased to say is back in residence:  weasels are denning under our house. Hurray! My first sighting was a foraging weasel returning to the den area with a very fat vole. I sincerely hope they hang around for a few years and seriously deplete the local rodent populations. 

As for pea fowl, the last male has not been seen or heard since last midsummer, so perhaps my flower beds are safe from their depredations for the year. 
South coast of Washington, zone 8, mild wet winters, cool dry summers, in sand


We have a groundhog living under our front porch -- which my wife insists on feeding.  That is actually better than having him/her living back among the flower beds.

Westfield, Indiana, USA
USDA Zone 5

Diane Whitehead

Good heavens, Kathleen.  You have so many more than I do.  It's good I'm living on an island.

Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil


Arnold T.
North East USA

Diane Whitehead

My deer fortunately won't eat squash plants, or onions, though they really like leeks.

One year they didn't touch a furry-leafed tomato plant.

Of course, YDMD.  (Your deer may differ)
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Martin Bohnet

oh De(a/e)r!

I'm happy to say that my mammal troubles are limited to mice, and those are well under control. Not that the slugs and Narcissus flies needed any assistance, though...
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)


I have deer, occasionally elk, a cougar comes through about once a week; but never bothers people or cats, grey squirrels gophers, moles, mice, raccoons, and opossum.
Also, while not a mammal. I'm very pleased to have a large green gopher snake.
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F  -9.4C.  Rainfall 50"+  but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight.  soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus.  Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix.


YDMD--that is a great term, Diane. As far as I can tell, deer are different everywhere. And from year to year. I grow camas bulbs, and this year for the first time, my deer decided the leaves are tasty enough to eat. Luckily, they did not eat them to the ground, and they left the flowering stems alone, so today I have flowering camas once again. 
South coast of Washington, zone 8, mild wet winters, cool dry summers, in sand


MarcR's green gopher snake reminds me that along the West Coast, keeping garter snakes in your garden is a great way to control slugs. 
South coast of Washington, zone 8, mild wet winters, cool dry summers, in sand


Nutria, an introduced mammal, damages crops in the Pacific Northwest, but so far I haven't heard of it invading home gardens.


One more addition. I had to look up the taxonomic name of this one, but I have seen it and have had it destroy garden plants at my former home in the Cascade foothills. Aplodontia rufa is known as the mountain beaver or boomer. It lives in burrows near moist places (my old place had several springs), it comes out at night, and we are told it eats mostly sword fern shoots, but I can attest it also eats recently planted shrubs. I never knew it existed until I found half of one in the morning, on the driveway, where one of my Malamutes had apparently enjoyed a snack. There was a local contractor working that day, and he identified it for me. Later I found the burrows. It looked like a giant gopher. It isn't a beaver, or even related to them; it's the only species in the only genus in the family Aplodontiidae. That forest-margin place can't match Kathleen's fauna inventory (no European hares), but it was pretty challenging.


All the urban mammals...

Gophers - currently at bay (between repellant, poison, and neighbors who don't fight them), oppossum and striped skunks - surface digging, rats and mine - surface digging, random stem biting, vandalism, bulb burying (decorative Oxalis coming up all over from caches), raccoons - general vandalism. Humans - stepping on things (one of the substitute mailpersons seems to delight in stepping on small plants)...not theft though, Dogs - random romping, and Cats with poop burying, although no ferals, and the local roamer got moved away.

I'd like to have resident garter snakes for the slugs. There is a healthy population of the local salamander...they seem to be quite happy with all the irrigated pots set in/on the ground or in wire baskets (with air gaps for salamander living).

Judy Glattstein

Deer, raccoons, woodchuck. I do not shoot them but have been gifted part of a deer, an entire raccoon or woodchuck which I dress out and then cook

Mice, voles, chipmunks, gray squirrels. Rabbits. Flying squirrels but I don't think they damage plants. Bats ditto.

Red fox, hardly a pest. Have not seen skunks but have smelled them. Good mousers, and they'll dig and devour yellow jacket wasp nests in the ground.

Neighbor down the street recently (like a week or so ago) had a black bear.

Jan Jeddeloh

I spotted wascally wabbit (bunny rabbit) tracks in the snow today.  In my yard.  I am not pleased.  Where is a coyote when you need them.


Judy Glattstein

Tastes change. At least that's what I suppose because this year Bambi (that's white tail deer for those of you not raise on Disney films) anyhow, Bambi is chowing down on cannas. Never in previous years. So I'm waltzing around like the queen of the May, flinging handfuls of Milorganite hither, thither, and yon.

Should I ever buy a lottery ticket and win some sizeable sum of money I will fund research not on deer repellents but on deer attractants. lLet them learn to dine on multiflora roses, Japanese honeysuckle. And poison ivy.