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Old June 29, 2012   #1
richardlu
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Default Holes in Watermelons

For the last two years something has been making holes in my watermelons usually about the size of a silver dollar. Just enough to ruin the melons. Does anyone have any ideas what it could be and how to stop it. I have a neighbor who has the same problem and he is thinking about just disking his out of frustration.
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Old June 29, 2012   #2
meadowyck
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Up north it was always raccoons that got ours. Nice little holes and lots of seeds left from what they ate. I was lucky as my neighbor worked with wildlife and was the only one authorized to capture and release, which really helped the problem. He would use watermelons to lure them into the cage...LOL
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Old June 29, 2012   #3
JohnWayne
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I can almost bet you that your problem is a rat (or lots of rats most likely). Rat traps in many forms do work.

If you want to put a hurting on the population in a hurry, Set up a hunting blind, Get and zero a good pellet rifle, Place almost burned bacon 10 or 20 feet out under a light. ( While its hot ) Be ready and when you shoot one, let it lay. Reload and be ready for the next one.

You can build a trap that resets itself with a 35 gallon (or larger) drum that is open at the top but you have to set it near something the same height. You bolt a strap hinge such as -
http://www.hardwaresource.com/hinges...y+Strap+Hinges

So that the center is a little above the lip of the barrel. Now take a piece of 2 and a half inch PVC pipe and attach it to the hinge with ratcheting wire straps. The pipe has to be long enough that it reaches whatever is sitting next to the barrel and it needs to be balanced so that if you push the one side down into the barrel it returns. But you want it to take only a few ounces to make it fall.

If you can picture this thing, You put a piece of over cooked bacon on the barrel end of the pipe. When the rat walks through or on top of the pipe to get the bacon, Once he is so far the thing tips and dumps him into the barrel. But the best thing is that it resets for the next rat.
Good luck and good hunting !
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Old June 29, 2012   #4
meadowyck
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rats, gosh I have never heard of rats, but until I moved back home, the only time I saw rats (not including lab rats when I worked at the Univ of KY) was in the IRS building in downtown Washington DC, where my mom worked. I can remember going in with her some days and as we came in the dead rats would be laying all over the place from eating poision that had been laid out for them. The cleaning crew (special crew) would come by every morning to remove them.
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Old June 30, 2012   #5
BarbJ
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In my area it would indeed be rats. But not Rattus norvegicus , the Norway rat or your average big ol' rat. The kind that are pets or lab rats or roam the streets of big cities.

The critters that eat the garden produce here is the Roof Rat, Rattus rattus, a.k.a. citrus rat, fruit rat, black rat, or gray rat.
Good news is they rarely go inside the home, at least not around here, bad news; they eat lots of garden produce. Good news, they also eat tons of the hated garden snails, bad news; they carry disease infested fleas.

Nice little ag article on them from Florida here; http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw120

Get some traps, that should work. There usually aren't a whole lot of them at once.
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Old June 30, 2012   #6
Got Worms?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWayne View Post
You can build a trap that resets itself with a 35 gallon (or larger) drum that is open at the top but you have to set it near something the same height. You bolt a strap hinge such as -
http://www.hardwaresource.com/hinges...y+Strap+Hinges

So that the center is a little above the lip of the barrel. Now take a piece of 2 and a half inch PVC pipe and attach it to the hinge with ratcheting wire straps. The pipe has to be long enough that it reaches whatever is sitting next to the barrel and it needs to be balanced so that if you push the one side down into the barrel it returns. But you want it to take only a few ounces to make it fall.

If you can picture this thing, You put a piece of over cooked bacon on the barrel end of the pipe. When the rat walks through or on top of the pipe to get the bacon, Once he is so far the thing tips and dumps him into the barrel. But the best thing is that it resets for the next rat.
Good luck and good hunting !
The barrel trap you describe is a good one, but I would put about 12" of water in the bottom of the barrel. Once the rat is in the barrel he must swim for he can't touch bottom. He will quickly become exhausted and drown.

Another good set for rats is the standard Victor Rat Trap. Make a stake out of a 16"-18" piece of 3" firring strip (1"x3"). "V" one end so it can be driven into the ground. Nail the trap, with brads to the other end of the stake (trap pan facing down) and drive into the ground 'till the pan is 5"-6" above ground; you want to make the rat stretch it's neck out. Bait the pan, set the trigger.

You know what they say: "Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to stick your neck out"
Charlie
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Old June 30, 2012   #7
Got Worms?
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Sorry, double post.

Okay, why waste the space.

With all trapping other than live trapping, there is always the chance that you may injure or kill an animal that is not the target. So, be aware of all other animals in your area that may fall pray to your traps. In the case of the barrel trap, it may not be a good idea to use the water feature, but keep in mind, if it's alive in the barrel; you then have to dispatch or otherwise deal with it.

Also, even though the victor rat trap says "Rat Trap" on it, you have to remember that chipmunks don't read. Try selective baiting or other ways to exclude non-target animals in the area.

Now go get those little thieving little bas#*rds.

Last edited by Got Worms?; June 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Tried to delete double post.
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