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Beetroot and Water Voles--Keeping them away!

As a rule I grow beetroot and have  no problems, its usualy left in the ground until the frosts . This year I did like wise   I went to harvest some real beauty's.

Beauty's until I lifted them out . Every single one had been eaten away. It is thought by water voles which have been released into the countryside in some parts . We are in the country and I'm  asking " can I protect my veg against these unwelcome rodants at all ?.

 And has anyone else had the same problem ? and in what area please in this green and pleasent land ?



  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Sounds like rats to me!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,412

    Hi lucky.

    lucky3 wrote (see

     It is thought by water voles which have been released into the countryside in some parts . 

    Who is it that thinks this? water voles would be way down my list of suspects. Were the tops still there? Was there evidence of digging? Are there tooth marks on the remains? Have you got any pics of the damage?


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Water voles are very much associated with water and don't move far from their homes. Are you near waterways?

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    Hi , I dont think it is rats, but how deep do rats go ?

    All the  tops  were still there,  by the tops I mean at least half an inch being still in the ground  sometimes more  .and then the usual leaves .

    leaves were still intact as normal.

    No definate sign of digging .

    yes There is evidence of bite marks .   I will clean some up and take photographs - but could you tell me please  what to do  to get them downloaded to this forum once they are in documents  ?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,412

    click on that little tree along the top of the box you type in, select from your collection then upload and save

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    Hi Joe-the-Gardener ,- Yes we are near waterways very much so . We are in the countryside, behind us  is a 4 acre field  it runs parralel with a wide waterway which runs into the river  . like all the others  around here the fields need the ditches for drainage . Also  we have a nature reserve / ten acre lake  within walking distance . One of our 3 neighbors  who the year before had the same problem and took some  turnips to his gardening club  . was told it looked very much like watervole damage.  by the guest speaker . He too said it looked the same damage  . 

  • I suggest approaching your local Wildlife Trust. They will know if there are water voles locally and they will either have, or have access to, someone who knows all about water voles. They will be only too happy to look at the damage and tell you who the culprit is.

  • Water voles are very shy and small rare mammals (at Cheddar you can see them if your patient) and I doubt very much that they would of munched through your Beetroot,a much larger animal is likely ,one is my favorite culprit ,Rat,yes he loves veg and fruit and he is a lot bigger than a water vole,2nd culprit if its just tops is deer if your near open land,it could be anything from rabbit to fox,have a look at the signs about ,claw marks,foot prints etc and if there is evidence of stool markings or entry to garden,it is easy to blame the wrong culprit.image

  • Water voles will feed on root crops and, should anyone think they're not capable of that, that they will also gnaw tree bark. I think you need to be fairly expert to read the signs that animals leave behind and give a definitive answer.

  • I live in Cheddar too, and I also grow beetroot on my allotment.  Mine have also been eaten, but I am pretty sure it is mice, or maybe rats.  Really don't think it is water voles, they are not that common, and live and feed right beside water, as they do in the bays in Cheddar Gorge

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