30 Animals That Can Ruin Our Backyard

By Abigail 10 months ago

1. Raccoons

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You might have seen a raccoon pawing around your trash cans around your house, but they're also interested in your garden - and can cause havoc if left alone. Raccoons have a habit of stealing vegetables, including sweet corn and potatoes - so if you see some corn stalks lying all over your garden, you probably have raccoons!

2. Deer

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Deer are a common backyard animal in huge swathes of the US, including Maryland, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas. While they usually keep their distance (especially if you've got dogs), they can enter gardens and particularly love chewing on trees and flowers. If you want to keep them away, plant some produce with strong smells, including lavender or mint.

3. Gophers

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You'll know for sure that you've got gophers if your backyard lawn looks like the photo above! These little rodents can sometimes be confused for groundhogs, but the tunnels that gophers build under the ground can be quite distinctive. They can be a nightmare if you've got a lot of vegetables or plants growing, as they can destroy roots very easily.

4. Shrews

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Shrews will generally hide in long grass and bushes, so it might be awhile before you even spot one of these little rodents in your garden. However, if your bulbs keep moving around the garden, or you find shrews in your home, then you've got a problem. However, if your shrews keep to the garden and don't cause a nuisance, then they can be very helpful as they eat common critters like slugs.

5. Aphids

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Aphids are some of the worst things you can find on your garden plants. There are lots of different species of aphids, but you'll know if your plant has an infestation if its growth is clearly stunted and it has curly leaves. Sometimes, you can see the aphids, but they can often blend into the underside of a leaf, making them difficult to get rid of.

6. Groundhogs

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Similar to a gopher, groundhogs may make their home in the ground under your garden, although their burrows tend to be less complex and wide-ranging than a gopher's. Regardless, they can be a nightmare if they've got into your plants, and will gladly eat any roots and vegetables.

7. Voles

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Don't confuse these cuddly little creatures for rats - a vole is actually more closely related to a field mouse, and has a very short tail by comparison. However, like other rodents, they can cause problems in your garden, especially if you have a greenhouse. Voles will crawl in and help themselves to plants and seeds, so it's best to take action as soon as you see any tell-tale vole signs: an uneven lawn and lost bark on woody plants.

8. Grey squirrels

squirrel
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Grey squirrels are a common visitor to gardens across the country, and you may have seen them stealing food from bird feeders or enjoying themselves in the sun. However, squirrels also often help themselves to any plants you've got in your garden, so if you find some half-eaten sweetcorn, strawberries, or just flowers, then you might have a squirrel problem.

9. Cabbage Maggot

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As you can probably tell from the name, cabbage maggots are commonly found on cabbages and other big leafy vegetables. You'll know that you've got cabbage maggots if your veg just isn't growing as successfully as it usually does. Root veg, too, can be completely destroyed by cabbage maggots - so watch out for them.

10. Caterpillars

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A common garden visitor, you'll know you've got caterpillars if a lot of your plants have large holes in their leaves. Caterpillars can also eat leafy greens like kale and lettuce, where you'll also see the characteristic holes. You can just pluck caterpillars off leaves when you see them, but aluminum foil on the base of your plants will also stop them from climbing.

11. Cutworms

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Cutworms can be a nightmare for your vegetable patch, eating through the roots of any veg including lettuce, potato, and cauliflower. They generally come out at night, making it hard to capture them - and leaving you just looking at the effects of their nighttime eating. Like with caterpillars, aluminum foil at the base of your plants can stop them from climbing.

12. Foxes

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Foxes are a common garden visitor, and don't always cause widespread damage. In fact, they can be curious creatures, often just looking for a place to sleep or some food left on the floor. However, if they getting in through a broken fence or wall, they can trample over vegetables and flowers, causing your garden to look a mess.

13. Colorado Potato Beetle

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These little beetles are quite easy to spot with their distinctive brown stripes and little spots on their head. If you see them, then you've already got a pretty big problem, and chances are they're decimating your potato crops! They feed on the leaves of potato plants, which can cause widespread problems for the crop.

14. Mexican Bean Beetle

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These little critters can often be hard to spot, but it's worth being vigilant. They particularly love soybean plants, and a clear sign of Mexican bean beetle damage is leaves being translucent and skeletal, as the larvae strip away the leaf. Try removing the yellow egg clusters that can appear on the underside of plants early if you see them.

15. Bears

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Yes, that's right, your backyard might even get visited by a bear! City dwellers don't have to worry about this as much as those living in more rural areas, but if you see one, don't be alarmed. They might trample your plants and check out your trash can, but they're easy to keep out with good fencing and cleaning your grills regularly.

16. Cats

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Chances are, you've had neighbors' cats investigating your garden. Or, maybe a stray cat or two has wandered in? Cats aren't always a pest, especially as they can control mice and shrew populations in your backyard. However, if cats are appearing frequently and using your backyard as a restroom,

17. Flea Beetle

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This is another bug that you definitely don't want to see hanging around your garden or - god forbid - in your home. Flea beetles will eat holes into common crops like kale, broccoli, and swedes, and can sometimes wipe out seedling plants with their damage. Watch out - catching them can be a nightmare as they jump when disturbed!

18. Tarnished Plant Bug

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This is a bug you might see everywhere in your garden, as they're not picky about the plants that they feed on. Tell-tale signs of a tarnished plant bug infestation include flowers that haven't bloomed properly, deformed leaves, and discolored stems of plants. They can be tricky to get rid of, and you might have to resort to a standard insecticide to deal with them.

19. Blue Jays

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These sweet birds are a favorite of casual bird spotters everywhere thanks to their bright blue plumage and amusing personality. But while they might be a special visitor, they can also cause damage to your garden, eating fruits, pecking plants, and stealing flower buds. If you want to get rid of a particularly pesky blue jay, you have to be clever - a simple fence won't work, but hanging shiny objects like old CDs might deter them.

20. Japanese Beetles

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Japanese beetles are a brightly-colored garden visitor, but despite their attractive look, you really don't want this insect getting into your plants. They can eat away leaves at a rapid rate and even damage grass on your lawn by eating the roots. These beetles generally appear in June and July, so start looking for signs of damage early to improve your chances of getting rid of them.

21. Rats

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Nobody wants to find rats in their backyard. As well as the possibility of bringing disease into your garden and home, they will also feed on all your hard-won crops, including sweetcorn, apples, and pumpkins. You'll know that you've got rats if you start seeing signs of disturbance in your vegetable patch, and little tunnels running along your fencing.

22. Scales

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These bugs are so small that you might not even notice them until they've got ahold of your plants. They can prevent plants from growing properly and cause aesthetic damage to leaves, causing them to yellow and wilt. An easy way to get rid of them is to encourage natural predators into your garden, including ladybirds.

23. Grasshoppers

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Large grasshoppers can be an absolute menace to your beautiful garden. They have a big mouth, and will gladly chew on anything including leaves and flowers. They may even move onto the stems of plants, eating away at them and further stunting growth. If you've got a problem with grasshoppers, mowing a strip of clean, short lawn between your lawn bed and plants can stop them from migrating.

24. Grackles

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A grackle is another bird that can cause a nuisance in your backyard. They're actually considered a common pest, so you should take steps to deter them if you see one. Grackles will go straight for your crops and even pick at your lawn, and they can also scare off pets like small dogs and cats!

25. Crows

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While not as dangerous as grackles for the health of your garden, crows can still be a bit annoying. While some homeowners lovingly leave food out for these clever birds, they can cause significant damage to lawns, picking them apart to look for food. So, if you're really particular about your lawn, it's best to keep crows away by protecting bird feeders sufficiently.

26. Whiteflies

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Whiteflies are extremely difficult to spot, especially as they can often blend in with stems and leaves. But though they're small, they can do incredible damage to your plants. That includes sucking all the nutrients out of your plants through the leaves as well as leaving diseases on your plants that can cause widespread damage to growth.

27. Mice

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Mice may be the cute cousin of the rat, but you still probably don't want them in your garden. They're hard to spot as they often stay burrowed underground, but you can tell that you've got mice if your bulbs and roots are frequently chewed up or damaged. They will also eat recently sown seeds, making sure all your efforts are for nothing.

28. Sparrows

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Sparrows have a distinctive chirp that you'll recognise, and often make their home in bushes in gardens. However, although you might think they're a welcome visitor to your plants, they can cause their own damage. This includes chucking plants out of pots, destroying plant labels, and digging up grass.

29. Squash Bugs

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The clue's in the name, here: squash bugs generally feed on veg in the 'cucurbit' family, including squash, pumpkins, and melons. Unfortunately, they can really do damage to your crops by sucking the nutrients out of leaves and preventing growth. The easiest way to stop them from doing damage is early prevention, so check all your plant leaves in the spring for eggs.

30. Armyworms

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Armyworms love corn, and if you notice that your corn leaves are looking a little ragged or holey, then you might have an armyworm infestation. They'll also eat other grasses including wheat, sorghum, and rice, causing huge problems for farmers. If you plant any of these in your backyard or vegetable patch, make sure to look for armyworm larvae in the spring.

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