Is there an animal that will selectively dig up baby hollyhocks?

My wife says the neighbor is stealing her hollyhocks. She is probably correct. The holes are clean, like from an English hand trowel, no foot prints around them. What is left of her seedlings in a hole 2"wide by 3" deep. They were randomly planted amidst scattered other species. My wife is not into symmetry. So... if they were stolen by a human, the thief had to know exactly what the baby plant looks like.
I read somewhere that baby plants are eaten down by rabbits but they do not dig holes. Red and gray squirrels eat bulbs .. not rooted planted as best I can tell.
So .. it seems there is an 80% chance she is correct and maybe there is a 20% chance squirrels are doing it, but do not leave digging mounds and not tracks?
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Strange thing to steal.

Were they planted long? Perhaps a deer took a bite and the whole plant came out? They wouldn't eat the root though.

Is this a crazy neighbor? I'd only come up with 80% for a crazy neighbor.
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On Thu, 10 Jun 2010 15:50:57 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

There are many small critters that dig up plants exactly as you described... anyone so paranoid to think a neighbor would go to such lengths when they could buy their own packet of seeds for a few bucks is in dire need of professional help.
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I'd not bother getting professional help as gardening wins and losses occur with everyone. Reseed and perhaps success. Consider some sort of protection but even that can fail. I plant most plants or important plants (Read costly) surrounded by gutter guard think 5 inch fence still critters can climb over it and have. Two legged critters for cheap plants I'd say na.
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On Thu, 10 Jun 2010 16:56:29 -0400, Bill who putters

You miss the point, has nought to do with gardening per se... has to do with someone so paranoid they'd think a neighbor would go crawling around on hands and knees in the middle of the night by the light of the moon to nab a few very ordinary seedlings. Moles will suck seedlings from underneath leaving a perfect round hole... this year they stole most of my mammoth sunflower seedlings.. bluejays will dig up freshly planted beans, peas, squash seeds. etc.
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Look at Mexican sunflowers real soon. You will enjoy.
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Bill who putters wrote:

voles will (they eat everything), moles will uproot and move things around but will not eat plants (they eat worms, grubs, beetle larvae).

they are very pretty in the late summer. :)
songbird
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TotallyHomey wrote:

i'm not sure if you are planting these in plain dirt or using a potting mix with any kind of additives/fertilizers (bone meal, fish emulsion, blood meal, etc).
but raccoons, skunks, oppossum, voles, etc. will think they are digging for a tasty treat and some will eat whatever they dig just because...
songbird
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Grey squirrels chewed the tops off of my African marigolds this year, and just left 3-4 in. stumps.
Something else, possibly a squirrel, or a jay, has been digging in my hanging planters, but there were only nasturtium seeds, which have subsequently sprouted. I covered the tops of the planters with chicken wire to prevent future predation.
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