What animal will chew on jalapeno peppers, large green tomatoes, green cherry...

Asked July 21, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

What animal will chew on jalapeno peppers, large green tomatoes, green cherry tomatoes, dill, onion tops, radishs (the whole thing!) We can actually see the teeth marks on them, long thin bite marks. We put up a plastic fence on Sunday, and whatever animal it is, chewed several holes through it the last 2 nights and we can see the bite marks from their teeth on the plastic. Whatever the critter is, it is light enough to not leave a track in the garden. The rabbit population in our neighborhood is huge this year, more than we have ever seen and we have not had to put fencing up in the past. What do you think it could be? We will be shopping for chicken wire fencing this weekend for sure but would like an idea what we could be dealing with.

Goodhue County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Long thin bite barks could be raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, or woodchucks. Rabbits typically bite plants off cleanly at a 45 degree angle close to the ground. It's possible you have more than one type of animal causing problems so look closely at the damage you see.

You can't control what you haven't identified, so the first thing to do is figure out animal is causing the problem. Once this is done, alter the habitat of your yard, if possible, to make the area less attractive to wildlife pests. Then use a control method appropriate for your location, time of year, and other environmental conditions, and continue to monitor your garden for damage that might indicate more control is needed.

Here are two publications to help you figure out what you have and how to control it:

http://www.uaex.edu/environment-nature/wildlife/dealing-with-wildlife/do-it-yourself.aspx

http://icwdm.org/handbook/index.asp

Thank you for contacting Extension and good luck.