Varmet? - Knowledgebase Question

Maricopa, Ar
Question by hosleyd8c
December 17, 2009
I had a prickly pear cactus several years old until yesterday, something took bites out of it the night before, late at night. By the next night, it was eaten clean to the ground. You could see the teeth marks, so it was not bugs. I have other large catus, barrel type, will it eat them and can I put something on them to protect them?

Answer from NGA
December 17, 2009


Prickly pear is a source of food for many desert animals, including the javelina, desert tortoise and coyote. If you saw bite marks, you can rule out the tortoise. I don't know if your barrel cactus is a favorite of these critters (probably not because of the way the needles grow) but you can temporarily protect them by making cylinders out of chicken wire or hardware cloth, setting them over the plants and anchoring them down with stakes. Whomever is roaming in your garden at night will eventually move on to other food sources. Good luck with your landscape!

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