Joan: I want to know if you can tell me what kind of
animal would be eating the rosebush leaves and its
bush is in a pot in the backyard. I thought the thorns
would keep anything from eating the roses. I had no
problem in the past, but this summer something has eaten
a rabbit have fur thick enough to not be hurt by the
Wild rabbits have a very tough hide beneath that
oh-so-soft coat, which allows them to get in and out of
prickly places without harm. Some of them even live in
thickets that would rip us to pieces trying to get
is home to eight types of rabbits, but only three of
them ó the jackrabbit, the desert cottontail, and the
brush rabbit ó are responsible for the most damage.
The jackrabbit is the largest of the three, growing to
about the size of a large house cat.
it is a rabbit, damage to your rose bush would most
likely be limited on the lower parts, depending on how
high the rabbit can reach. You also likely would see
chewing on the stems and branches, and rabbit pellets,
or droppings, around the plant or in the yard.
suspect is the squirrel, which is lighter and more
nimble than the rabbit, so therefore could reach the
higher branches. Thorns are not a deterrent.
youíre seeing damage overnight, then a rabbit is the
stronger suspect. If it occurs throughout the day, then
the squirrel is your guy.
pepper sauce on and around the bush should discourage
either rose nibbler.
Joan: Can you settle a friendly debate Iím having with
my neighbor? Are squirrels vermin? I think only rats are
called vermin, but I donít know what squirrels are
It depends on whom you ask. When most people speak of
vermin, they typically mean rodents. However, by
definition, vermin are "pests or nuisance animals
that spread diseases or destroy crops or
livestock." Because almost any creature can fit
that definition, including humans, the term is applied
to different animals in different situations.
someone who battles squirrels over the tomato crop,
squirrels would most definitely be considered vermin.
For someone who enjoys watching the squirrels scamper
along fences and making flying leaps from tree to tree,
squirrels are wildlife.
are part of the rodent family, but as what to call them,
I might suggest "trouble."