I have had something eating the Splash pluots and now Burgundy plums. They come from the hills. I finally sealed the way out yesterday, I think. This morning there are a lot of droppings under a section of the passion fruit and grape trellis around a tree that I usually see the half eaten plums. They are about 1/4 inch in length. They are not dried fruits nor tree rat droppings. Would you please help me identify them.

Edit: they are dry and not smelly.


They look like some kind of caterpillar droppings. Our Chinese Elm tree gets morning cloak butterfly larvae every spring and we can usually tell when they are almost big enough to pupate when we start to see droppings on our patio, similar to the ones in your picture.


Thank you for your reply. That may explain why they are not smelly. Now I am really freaked out. I don’t like caterpillars hanging on the vines. That was the reason I stopped planting tomatoes


We finally have the night camera around the Burgundy plum tonight and it shows a rat. What is the best thing to lure it into a trap, because there are still plums on the tree? Last year I had to remove all oranges from the tree to finally get it. There are many fruit trees around so there is no way I can remove all the fruits. Is there any poison that kill the rat, I read that they carry many disease, but won’t hurt the walking birds? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


I stayed up all night watching. The rat came straight to the Burgundy tree but went into hiding when I turned on the light and made noise. The come back frequency was getting shorter as time went on, I guess it got hungrier. Near sunrise it went straight for the tree with all the lights still on, and I had to use the hose to get it to leave the tree. The good new is there only one rat and I know now where it comes in and hides. The bad new is from the beginning it never went into the traps, I even put some ripe mango in them. I modified the fence where it got in, and we got the Tomcat trap that is enclosed so the birds can’t get in. It is interesting that the rat bypassed all the grapes on it’s way on the trellis, and actually chomping on a new plum when I noticed a whole one on the screen and came out to check.


Would you sacrifice a ripe plum or two in the trap as baits? It appears the plums are now its targeted food.

Going after your plums is its learned behavior.


We put new plum and pluot in the traps every evening for nearly a week already, and even peanut butter twice. Like last year with the oranges, as long as there are fruits on the tree they preferred the “pick your own” way.


Now you know the path it uses to go up your tree, do you put the trap right on the path next to your tree? That’s how I caught an opossum.


How about a glue trap in the pathway?


We have two around the trunk. I will put the Tomcat in it’s hiding place. I don’t think it will come during the day because it uses the trellis to go around before getting down and there are some big birds around. I have the tulle on so it goes down to the ground and up the trunk. Whenever I saw some leaves moved lightly on the screen it was up there. I don’t want to block the tree altogether because it will move to another plum tree. At least for now it stays here after finishing most of the leftover Splash and I can see it. And the Burgundy plum is fine but not as good as the others that it hasn’t tasted yet, so we are willing to sacrifice some.


My husband doesn’t want glue traps. The two traps that we are having are Havahart and he was going to release them in the far open space. It was hard enough to ask him to use the Tomcat, but it was nearly impossible for me to stop it from coming since there are other ways to get in the yard from the hills.


I can’t have cat because my daughter gets asthma from allergy to the fur. One of the next door neighbors has three dogs but they won’t let them out at night after the coyotes left a dead dog across the street, and she saw one went through her yard. The dogs are no help because, as she told me, one time she was looking for them and then saw them having a “conversation” with the gopher in one corner. The gopher kept going on the block wall after that, Last year I hung pieces of the Irish Spring Original bar soap where the squirrels used to go and they stopped coming into the yard. On the fig free in the front yard, they ate the fruits but left the branches with the soap bar alone. I got the soap down before the rain season came, they got smaller and cracked with time. I will try putting them up later. The funny fact is I haven’t seen the squirrels in my yard this season even though they go around the street. Maybe my yard has become the rat’s territory. Nature is so weird.


The idea it has become the rat’s territory reminded me of this video.


Thank you for posting. It was a nice break after the weary night.


If your husband’s aversion to the glue trap is that they are inhumane and kill the animal- they don’t have to be/do either. Once a mouse or rat gets stuck in the glue, you can take a stick or broom and push the stuck animal and the whole trap into a box or bucket, then take it somewhere far away (hopefully not to someone else’s house to be someone elses problem but maybe a park,etc). gently push the rat and trap out, and just pour plain vegitable oil over the trap’s sticky surface. Doesn’t matter if you get it all over the rat-won’t hurt him a bit. Then stand back! Like magic, the oil somehow completely neutralizes the glue and the rat is free! It’s a neat trick and you don’t have to touch the trap or rat if done as suggested, and the rat will be happy as a …well, rat!

I’m sure lots of people will say its crazy to save a rat and I must admit I probably wouldn’t. But glue traps are one of the most effective ways to catch a rat and it sounded like the cruelty or lethality is why (maybe) your husband doesn’t want to use a glue trap. Anyway, crazy or not just wanted you to know its an option. Good luck!


Thank you for your suggestion. I will tell my husband about it. Actually the idea of seeing a rat on the glue trap freaks me out too. I will put the soap slices up today when it gets a little cooler later. I don’t remember seeing the rats last year until the oranges were ripening in December, so the soap would have been down already because squirrels don’t eat citrus fruits. Hopefully the rat won’t like it and stay away.
It was funny on what you say. A long time ago, I was working in the front yard on the gopher mound when my neighbor across the street came over and angrily said, supposedly to the gopher, “Stay there”. From the way he said it, I never know if he dumped any on my yard. He became our friend and always watch out for us.


This is what .22s were made for.


Seem like a good idea when you have to clean up everyday, but I don’t think it is allowed in my area. :wink:


Air rifle then, pretty quiet, doesn’t sound like a gun. No firearms permit/rules either.


Knowing how stiff my hands are from working the last few days on the fences, I may end up shooting my foot instead. :wink: