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I have a young nectarine tree. Some months ago, it started to give fruit, but while the fruit were still small, they were eaten by hyraxes (I saw them coming at night). Some time ago, the hyraxes ate even the leaves. Now the tree is almost naked. The garden is surrounded by a fence, but apparently it does not help - they easily climb over it. What else can I do to protect my tree?

I thought of several solutions, not sure which if any is good:

  1. Wrap the entire tree with a mesh. Is a simple mesh strong enough to stand the hyraxes' teeth?

  2. Install an electronic device that makes a strong tone that only hyraxes can hear, hoping it will scare them away. Is there such a tone?

  3. Put a scarecrow - since hyraxes are apparently afraid of humans. Will a simple scarecrow scare them away?

  4. Plant a thorny bush around the tree, so that the hyraxes won't be able to access it. Will this help?

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    Living in the Pacific North West, I was surprised and delighted by your question. If you want to get rid of the hyraxes I have a suggestion, although it won't work if you want to keep them and just save the tree. My property had a problem with deer before I owned it but when I moved in with a dog the deer began to avoid it. I know hyraxes are terrified of leopards and I'm not suggesting getting a leopard 8-), but a cat might scare them off. – Al Maki Jun 15 '18 at 16:25
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Maybe a plastic cone at the base of the trunk would make it too slippery for them to climb, and make it so they couldn't get down from the trunk, either (since they'd go down into the cone). I mean a cone similar to what they put around animals' heads to prevent them from scratching their heads/ears, except maybe bigger (to prevent jumping from providing access). Maybe putting something extra slippery on it, additionally, would help.

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First I had to look up 'hyrax'... interesting creatures. A scarecrow might work - but not for long, it doesn't take birds long to realise its not a human being. Meshing the tree is unlikely to work, since these creatures have quite powerful teeth and jaws. Planting something thorny to keep them out would mean you'd have to plant whatever it is some good feet away so as not to compromise the tree's roots, in a circle. Whatever you decide to plant will take a fair while to become a useful thorny barrier, and once it does, you won't be able to access your tree either.

If these creatures are a problem with fruit trees where you live, surely professional growers have some means of keeping them out? The only thing I can think of is a high, electrified fence which they won't be able to climb.

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