I hate 'em. There were none of those furry tailed tree rats when we moved out here. There were a few of those black squirrels we call Rock Squirrels. I assume they came out here as we became less rural and more suburban. How? I don't know but they seem to follow the expansion of folks that have moved out here over the last 15 or so years.
My grandmother and grandfather loved those things. They would even feed them by hand. Their back yard was a sanctuary for squirrels and birds of every sort. They had at least 3 feeders they filled everyday. As a child I thought it was pretty cool to feed them by hand. Now, not so much. They are now a hated pest. I won't go into detail about all the problems that come with having squirrels around. But they have now crossed a line, my garden line. I have never had any issues with any pests the 3 years I have been growing this current garden. This year is different. I have lost as many tomatoes as I have picked. First it was the tomato blossom rot ( that has been corrected). There have been loss to bugs of some sort, which is to be expected. The loss to bugs has been more significant this year than the last two. Not sure why that is. I have taken a few steps to try to decrease that loss.
I had noticed several large tomatoes had unusual marks on them that didn't seem to be bugs. I think it looked like something tried to take a bite out of them and stopped about the time the teeth broke the skin. We have had rabbits in the past but I haven't seen any in about a year. It was a daily/nightly routine for me to let Buster out to chase one or two rabbits almost every day. I think the feral cats have wiped them out. Oh, Buster never caught any, they are just too fast. After a while he would just chase them half heartedly. They got to where they knew it and wouldn't even leave the yard. Worthless dog lol. Oh, and I have a 3 foot chicken wire fence that seems to have worked keeping them out of the garden.
I have found several big red tomatoes that have been eaten almost completely by something with teeth. I have reached in the pick a nice looking tomato only to find more than half of it gone and a mess in my hand. It has to be those squirrels. I guess it could be a possum or coons but I would think they would eat more.
So I am trying a new trick the wife found googling. Irish Spring soap. Grated up and spread around the garden. They say the squirrels hate the smell. It's cheap enough and allows me to remain organic.
We shall see.