The Q&A Archives: What Eats Cantaloupes

Question: We planted cantaloupes this year and they did beautifully on black plastic. However, when the fruit was nearly ready to pick, something ate into them. Could a porcupine have been the culprit? There were definite teeth marks on the melons but we saw nothing. Any suggestions both for what critter might be responsible and what to do about this another year as prevention?

Answer: How frustrating! Unfortunately, a number of animals including skunks, rats, woodchucks and some dogs love melon so I suppose a porcupine might, too. The thiefs also seem to know just when it is ready! Short of elaborately fencing the entire garden, the best solution I know of is to cage each individual melon with wire mesh such as hardware cloth or chicken wire. Some gardeners also report success using commercial repellent sprays and homemade rellent sprays of soap plus hot pepper and garlic. The sprays must be applied and reapplied according to the label instructions and, especially if a pepper spray is used, use extra care in handling the melons.

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