Many people with gardens are annoyed by animals that eat their produce before the humans even have a chance at it. When I was growing up, the problem was rabbits. Everyone had to protect their garden from those cute little bunnies with their voracious appetites; not to mention that once rabbits get enough to eat they, well, make more hungry rabbits.
Around here we also have a problem with deer. If Thumper isn’t eating the plants, Bambi and friends are. For the most part, those sweet little deer are like Godzilla sized locusts with voracious appetites. They eat the vegetables, flowers and just about anything else that grows from the soil.
I’ve had my problems with rabbits and deer, but this year I had the hardest time figuring out what was stealing my tomatoes – or at least roughly half of my tomatoes. I don’t mean half the number of tomatoes; I mean literally half of each tomato.
The other day I was picking tomatoes and as I looked into the plant I realized that something was looking back.
I am, apparently, suffering a plague of turtles. These are properly known as Terrapene carolina carolina and are indigenous to the east coast. Box turtles are known for their ability to not only retract into their shell but to close it up for further protection. That being said, they’re eating my tomatoes just as efficiently as the cute little bunnies and doe-eyed, er, does.
While they normally have splashes of orange coloration I have to believe that it is being helped by the bright red tomatoes they are devouring. The good news is that they can’t outrun me. The bad news is that having a turtle infestation is so totally un-cool.