What animal is eating my perennials?


I have a pest(s) that not only eating my tulips bulbs but other perennials. They even have eaten one of my tomato plants recently. I also noticed that whatever is in my back yard its “stripping” the bark from my cedar trees and has made a giant nest on the top of one of my trees. Please help me identify this animal and how to get rid of it.


Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

Any number of things might be eating the tulip bulbs and tomatoes (though I agree it would be surprising to find a mammal eating the foliage, rather than the fruit and the other tasty plants in the yard). Your comment on the cedar stripping suggests you might have a porcupine–we’ve already received multiple reports of them shredding cedars this year, and 2024 has apparently been a busy year for porcupines in Maine. They are nocturnal, so it might be worth sneaking outside after dark to see if you can spot what’s going on. That said, I don’t think tulip bulbs are on their preferred diet list… but squirrels do indeed love them. And while squirrels are more likely to make visible nests in your tree, porcupines have been known to do that, as well, though they typically seek shelter in natural safe spaces like caves, hollow logs, etc.

Working on the assumption it’s one of the two, I can offer the following resources for help:

State of Maine’s “Got Pests?” series page on Squirrels

State of Maine’s “Got Pests?” series page on Porcupines

Good luck, and happy gardening.