Unsolved Mysteries

Below is from a thread title “lost peach” that blew up in my Nextdoor app with over a hundred replies.

“Today I discovered that my peach tree with about a hundred peaches, reddish but still unripe, was completely stripped of fruit overnight. The exact same thing happened last year. I had netting over the tree, but there were gaps near the bottom. No discarded peach stones nearby. No debris. All taken away. Any explanations?”

Some people think the culprit are rats/racoon (which I agree). Some people think it’s squirrels which I don’t think so, because squirrels are not active at night and will leave a big mess. But quite a few post think it’s a human thief who did this. I don’t thinks so either because picking fruit in the middle of the night with a tree wrapped in a net is no easy task and will leave a few broken branches. And who steals unriped fruits? The neighborhood is dense suburb with single family homes. There is a lot of squirrels and rats around. At night, I frequently see skunk and family of raccoons on the security camera. Some times there is also a opossum running around on the fence.

The mystery is who is capable of striping all the fruit and not leaving traces? Apparently this has happened to quit a few people around here. I have not experienced this exact thing, just the normal battle with birds, squirrels and rats with my fruit trees.


That happened,for the first time,with a small Nectarine tree.All the fruits are gone.They weren’t much bigger than a quarter.There wasn’t a net covering.
No answer yet,though.


I had this happen to a sweet cherry tree. All of the fruit disappeared over night. Hopefully it won’t repeat this year.

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It happened to my Asian pears. One night, no fruits left, only one broken branch. It must be the result of miracle workers!

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That has happened to my almost ripe pears. I’m blaming the deer but it was amazing that there was no damage. No partially eaten fruit. No sign of any disturbance except the fruit was gone. Well most of the fruit was gone and they came back the next night for the rest of it. :flushed::grimacing:


I would put a game camera on that tree and find out who’s to blame…

One of the possible suspects…

Guilty - several nice early big beef tomatoes just as they were turning red.

I am not sure that Raccoons would actually just take all the fruit off… when they do get my tomatoes they just eat them in place so you have a half eaten tomato still on the vine.

Peaches, cherries, pears… might be a little easier to pull off though, especially if near ripe.



I suspect that many peaches would not be taken by any animal other than the two legged type. A net over the tree would make it quite easy to shake the majority off onto the ground thru the gaps mentioned. Peaches near ripening are easily shaken off. May try to put a camera up for this years crop.


You would think that if the two legged types were to blame, that they would just start to grow their own if they wanted fruit that badly…


Wow, I don’t know the answer to this mystery, but from the time that I clicked on this thread and started reading until I got to the bottom of the thread I could hear that Unsolved Mysteries theme song playing in my mind. :grin:

I hope you decide to get a camera… I’m really curious to know what’s going on.


I’ve would bet against racoons in this case. I’ve never known a racoon to raid a tree and leave it undamaged, or to completely strip one, and they would have eaten the fruit then and there, not carted it away. To have taken that much fruit, and not done any tree damage, you almost have to be looking at a small, “pack” rodent. Depending on the location, hard to say what species to suspect, but here, my first suspicion would be chipmunks or grey squirrels. It’s true that neither is truly nocturnal, they are both often very active in the evening and through dusk, and at first light of day. So a lot depends on when the growers last visit “yesterday” and first visit “today” occurred. It’s high summer, astronomically, and there is a lot of daylight between, say 5:00 in the afternoon and 9:00 the next morning.

Common rats are another possibility, and there are other species of “pack” rodents around here, but all of these are insufficiently arboreal to be the first suspect for stripping a fruit tree.

All in, if it happened here, and the fruits were walnut-sized or smaller, I’d place big money on chipmunks or equivalent ground/semi-arboreal squirrels.