squirrels stealing tomatoes

Anything I can do to deter squirrels from stealing my tomatoes? They don't even wait for them to ripen - they snitch 'em green!
Alan
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snipped-for-privacy@junk.comcast.net wrote:

Are they cherry tomatoes? If so you may not be able to do a thing about it, except build big cages around the tomato plants. It's not usually one of their favorite foods, but once a squirrel takes a liking to something a bit odd & easy to carry, it'll stick to its guns checking out the source pretty regularly, & an adolescent squirrel could be responding to the nut-sized appearance of tiny tomatos, green or ripe.
But if they're wrecking large tomatos, it's probably because they're thirsty rather than hungry. During hot days of summer, if there's no stream or pond in the vicnity, squirrels will peal tree bark to get sap, or open melons & tomatos to get liquid, endeavors that don't interest them if there are good water sources. If you were to put some sort of shallow water feature nearby, such as a ground-level birdbath, the squirrels would probably be less inclined to open tomatoes. There's no guarantee you can change their behavior, as they're intelligent & willful little rascals, but acid foods are not their favorite, & with better sources of water & food about, they'll probably but not certainly leave tomatos alone.
Setting up bird feeders elsewhere around the house is also a good way to control squirrel behavior -- you can't defeat them without killing them, but you can shift their interests & concerns in directions you can enjoy watching rather than feel bedeviled by. "Squirrel proofing" the bird feeders slows them down only slightly, & the more difficult a feeder is to "solve," the happier & more entertained will be the squirrels. You could hang a rope near a hanging feeder & from a window watch the squirrels play Tarzan to get to the feeder. Scoring sunflower seeds or peanuts & walnut bits means the bird feeders will become their entire focus of interest for quite some while.
-paghat the ratgirl
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at 05:53 PM, snipped-for-privacy@netscapeSPAM-ME-NOT.net (paghat) said:

Cherries and regular sized.

We have a nearby stream, so it isn't thirst that's got the squirrels in the tomatoes.
Thanks for the reply.
Alan
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The same thing was occurring in my garden to the regular sized tomatoes. Just as they were ripening to the point where it was logical to pick them, the squirrels bit holes in them. I wouldn't have minded if they had taken one tomato and eaten it completely, but they sampled one after another, making all unusable. I was threatening mayhem when the neighbor's dog caught one and my live trap caught another. Since these two individuals have been removed from the scene, I haven't had any problems even though there are numerous squirrels around still. I appears as if individual animals develop a taste for certain food, and these two had developed a fondness for tomatoes.
John
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