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Fat ball removal

I have a hanging fat ball container hanging under a Wisteria branch by the house. It is a standard wired container capable of holding 6 or 7 fat balls. These are standard fat balls and fit snugly into the container.

I have noticed on several mornings now that some fat balls have been removed and left on the floor. The removed fat balls are too large to fall through the wires in the container.
These removed fat balls still appear to be reasonably intact i.e. not eaten.

So what is capable of removing these fat balls ? It is not humans, it appears a mystery to me.



  • On reflection the only logical explanation is squirrels... But to be able to move the fat ball up several inches within the container so that it is capable of being released is a pretty tricky operation.
  • Squirrels are very capable of that sort of manouevre.   :/

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,916
    edited November 2021
    Squirrels are amazingly intelligent.

    We put some fat balls into a cylindrical wire holder which was in turn welded inside a spherical wire holder with a clip-on, hinged metal lid. It was sold as squirrel-proof.

    On Day one, the lid was prised off and the uppermost fat ball removed.

    On Day two we tied the lid down with a piece of string. Later that day, the string was chewed through, the lid lifted and another fat ball removed.

    On Day three, we used a piece of lightweight wire to hold the lid down. That was unwound and thrown away, the lid lifted and another fat ball removed.

    On Day four, we used a length of wire that was so strong we could barely twist it into shape to hold the lid down. It was chewed through and thrown away and..

    On Day five, the branch on which the fat ball holder was tied was chewed through and the whole kit and caboodle dragged away.

    We never found it.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Many thanks for that very interesting story, that is amazing !!!

    I have fed the birds for decades and it seems only this year that there is a new super breed of the squirrels in the garden ...

    I have never really had too much of a problem and I have been able to get rid of them.

    This last blighter(s) is elusive and it is a shame to stop feeding the birds because of him...

    I will persevere... 

    So, in conclusion, the culprit(s) are very early morning squirrels...

  • @Fairygirl has come up with some strategies to outwit 'her' squirrels ... I've given her a nudge ...

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 633
    It may not be "tree" rats  but their cousins. They are equally intelligent but much better at concealing themselves. 
  • Are you saying that normal rats can potentially remove fat balls like squirrels ?
  • I have recently got rid of a young rat under the fat balls...
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,214
    I'm back @Dovefromabove :)    
    Mine are mostly in cages which the tree rats can't get into, although I do have a 'sacrificial' fat feeder which is in a corner so that the starlings stay out the way a bit more, as they're so manky  ;)

    The cages are now a bit more robust and with their own green roof. 

    Sorry I don't have a better photo with one of the tree rats in it, but you get the idea
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,759
    Why does everyone want to feed the birds and not the squirrels? Squirrels get hungry too.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
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