Gardeners are fond of growing cucumbers. And they happen to have many varieties to spoil your choices. You’ll find cucumbers as fast growers, with their leaves providing a canopy over the flowers and fruits.
Apart from forming part of vegetable delicacies, cucumbers happen to attract a host of animals that eat the plant (including the fruit cucumber itself)
Here, we’ll cover a list of animals that fall to that tendency, costing gardeners the effort and demotivation. Also, sharing helpful tips to keep you alert while you watch over your cukes.
Table of Contents
1. Jackrabbits and Bunnies
Jackrabbits and Bunnies are mammalian rodents with gestations ranging between 27 to 42 days. Being herbivores, they destroy cucumber by nipping on the leaves of the cucumber plant.
Their destructive nature happens to be fatal, especially for young and recently germinated cucumber plants.
These rodents, using their sharp frontal upper and lower teeth, it’s a down-hill ride for them to chop and chew on the soft leaves.
If your garden is accessible to them, both wild (Hares) and domesticated (Rabbits) are part of the probable destroyers of your plants.
While some may entertain the view of the rabbits visiting around, you may not consider the destruction they leave behind.
Controls to Keep Hares And Rabbits away from cucumber:
Fencing your yard to keep them off is a good option. Chicken wire fences are adequate to bar them from entry into your cucumber garden’s location.
In case you leave them wandering freely in the compound- for domesticated ones, ensure to restrain them in hatches.
Dogs and hares have never been friends. Keeping one ensures your compound remains free from hares, and their potential harm on cucumber plants.
2. Squirrels and Chipmunks
Squirrels are wild rodents that form part of animals that feed on cucumber plants. They happen to be in many varieties: tree squirrels, flying squirrels, Chipmunks, and Prairie dogs.
Being rodents, they have sharp front teeth that give them an easy time with cucumber plants and the fruits.
You may wonder why squirrels being rodents go for cucumber fruits? They should go for nuts and seeds. But, in the wild, they get thirsty, and concurrently, cucumber has a 95% composition. A bite helps them keep away the third, just as a melon would help you. Right?
Squirrels, unfortunately, bite off just a piece, leaving the whole fruit to rot away. When it comes to mobility, squirrels can be a menace. They climb and jump over fences and trees and burrow tunnels around, meaning they can be a real menace to your cute cucumbers!
While they are a meat delicacy in some parts, squirrels are persistent and intelligent destroyers of obstacles.
Tips to Keep Away Squirrels and Chipmunks from Plant-Pots and Cucumber Plants:
- Sprinkle the soil on a plant-pot with substances that Squirrels dislike. Those include peppermint oil, cayenne or ground red pepper-dust, vinegar or garlic.
- Apply a layer of rocks on top of the soil in the pot containing the plants-it discourages burrowing.
- Hung things that scare away squirrels when blown by mild breezes: old CDs, aluminum foils or shiny pinwheels
- Cover the entire plant with plastic bird nettings to bar squirrels from feeding on them.
Deers are hoofed mammals that live on vegetation. They are wild, and if they have access to your garden in herds, it will cause damage by trampling and feeding on cucumber plants.
They are flexibly adaptive when it comes to both habitat and feeding. If you happen to the garden where they commonly roam around the countryside, you need to factor in the potential danger of feeding on cucumber foliage.
Quite unique, deers have only lower teeth, and the upper ones are substituted for by a hard palette that helps them grip foliage while feeding.
You may wonder how they digest foliage without the sets of upper teeth? They are ruminants, with a digestive system composing four chambers. After swallowing foliage, they regurgitate and chew it into finer digestible stuff.
Keeping Deers Away?
Fence your garden with barbed wire. Run the barbed wire to a distance of 1 foot to deter entry into your yards. An electric fence would also work well to keep them away from cucumber plants.
If you are pro-wildlife, other methods are available. Use chicken wire nettings to allow the wild deers to roam while the fencing bars them from accessing the plant area.
4. Moles and Voles
Moles burrow into tunnels and thrive in them by chewing on roots and stems of your garden crops. They can be cumbersome, especially when there are several of them.
Cunningly, you’ll notice mounds of soil and soil disturbance around corresponding to their tunnels. If you are keen enough, you may spot a missing plant, with some evidence of it pulled into the soil surface. And cucumber roots and stems are not spared.
Apart from trapping, you may also get rodent poison administered into their tunnels via favorite roos like carrots and sweet potatoes. You can also spot the entry of their burrow and flood it with water from a hosepipe. However, some are cunning enough to escape the flooding!
Voles are different from moles. They are smaller in size and dig shallow tunnels. They also pluck plants into the soil and chew them.
Keeping cats and dogs helps. Protect climbing plants with meshing – 6 inches into the soil and 12 inches above the crop.
Mice can be a menace. You may be amazed by the number of things mice can nimble on around. However, it can be related to rodent natures – where they bite hard things to wear away the frontal teeth. Domestic bucks are known to gnaw on wood for the same reason. Funny though.
When it comes to cucumber plants and the fruits, mice have every reason to bite on them. Whether for malice or whatever reason.
Cats are known to scare away mice apart from feeding on them. For cucumber plant protection, there’s an arsenal of ways to minimize them. Take on trapping and poisoning using baits like meat and bread crumbs.
On a light note, however, mice are jovially and sometimes cunningly noisy within calm environments. Should they spot a preying snake, they vacate your garden and premises!
Shrews are mammalian, and can almost be mistaken for a small hedgehog. But they are smaller in body size and have an elongated nose and mouth.
Most species live on small insects and crawlers, while some rely on vegetative materials, roots, and seeds. Apart from being a potential feeder on your cucumber plants, Shrews echolocate: making noises and listening to the echoes to distinguish the objects around them. A rare super-quality, but again they are weak in eye sights.
Living within the wild conditions does not bar them from accessing your yards and crop areas. Naturally, they are fast movers, and it’s relatively rare to spot a slow one. They may give you a hard time before you spot what harms your garden.
Cucumber plants and their fruit are a great delicacy. And that’s both for humans and the surprising intruders you get around.
Under some circumstances, it may amaze you how hard it is to find or even catch the destroyer of your plants. Within a small-size garden, it’s more comfortable, you can use a simple hidden camera to help you. A vast plantation can be challenging, but be open to seeking help from friends and vets around your locality.