It can be frustrating when there is a critter (or critters!) nibbling in your garden. If they only they chose to nibble the weeds instead of the fruit that is growing in the garden. But critters know what they like to eat as this entertaining story emailed in by Wendy Wallace from Kangaroo Island tells us. Thanks for sharing Wendy!
“My fruit trees are tri-planted – that is three trees 30 cm apart in the one hole. I thus have only one points per set of trees to water and fertilise. The trees are not supposed to grow large and I do get more fruit from them. I prune each lot of three trees as one tree.
This year for the first time, I have had something eating some of the blossom on my fruit trees and then my fruit.
As the garden is surrounded by a galvanized fence, it could not possibly have been a possum, wallaby or kangaroo. There were no droppings I could see. The teeth marks in the fruit were rather large. The fruit trees are covered by netting.
I asked the Natural Resources people whether it could possibly be a bandicoot as I suspected that there were some on Kangaroo Island. I was informed that the Kangaroo Island bandicoot are only the size of a mouse so it would not be that. However, it was possibly a bush rat. The Kangaroo Island bush rat are a very cunning creature. They leave no sign of their presence, except the eaten fruit. They eat fruit and blossom as well as insects.They are about the size of a house rat but have white on them. The European rat on Kangaroo Island (introduced species) is much larger than the bush rat.
So I set a rat cage. The cheeky animal/s took all the fruit from the cage without setting it off. Even when they did set it off, they had removed most of the fruit beforehand. They even took the fruit from behind the trigger plate and ate it outside of the cage, leaving the stone. I could just imagine – Maud & Claude ‘Hold the gate up Maud while I get the fruit.’
As they were only eating one to three fruit per night, I decided that I could spare that. So we coexisted together – at least for the moment. They ate apricots, peaches and nectarines. Now the apples are ripening, but they don’t seem interested and it looks like they might have left for the moment (to come back next year??)
What have I learnt from this?
I have learnt not to worry too much if one or three fruit are eaten per night. I did have plenty this year. I can live with that. Bush rats are natives so I guess I don’t really mind feeding them.”
If you are looking for fruit exclusion bags, check out the Green Harvest website. I will be trying some of these bags for my fig tree.
Interested in learning more about identifying a Bush Rat? Australian Museum have some useful tips.
Now over to you, What have your critter experiences in the garden been? We would love to hear them! Please share in the comments below.