A midnight critter is nibbling on my fruit! Help me ID/handle it
September 15, 2016 9:51 AM   Subscribe

On my counter I keep a bowl of fruit and vegetables. Each morning I wake up to find little nibbles in the fruit, which I then discard. This has happened for about a week. What could it be?

I'm sure I've heard noises at night before, but never caught the critter. I never hear anything during the day.

My first thought is to set out a live trap. Rat? Mouse?
posted by 4midori to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you see droppings? Usually when I see hesitant nibbles I presume mice, rats will usually try to drag things off.
posted by jessamyn at 9:57 AM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Your location could help a lot here. Different parts of the world, different critters.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:57 AM on September 15, 2016

Do you have a neighbour with a cat? Borrow the cat for 6 hours or so.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:58 AM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you have an iPhone, you can download this time-lapse app and set it up to record overnight. I did this to find out which of my cats was peeing on the kitchen counter.
posted by something something at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

I would presume a mouse. Have you looked for droppings? They look like little chunks of dirt a few millimeters long, and can be found along the back edges of counters, under the toe-kicks of cabinets, and in other such places where mice tend to scurry. (They don't like to be out in the open and generally try to run along a wall if they have to leave cover.)

Can you set up a camera?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:02 AM on September 15, 2016

Well when my parents were thinking we had rats, the exterminator put a rat trap right in the middle of the dining room table and in the morning there was a GIANT RAT IN IT ZOMG WE HAD RATS RUNNING ACROSS OUR DINING TABLE FOR GOD KNOWS HOW LONG!!!! Best of luck to you.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:03 AM on September 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

This summer, I've woken up most mornings to find bites in the peaches I leave out on the counter. Usually just one bite on top of one peach, while the others are left alone. It's a round, deep bite.

I think it's cockroaches.

I'm too afraid to set up a camera.
posted by liet at 11:06 AM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

You say midnight nibbler, I think mouse or mice.

I'd put the fruit and all other food away and bait a trap with peanut butter. Live if you think there is only one and you can drive it far away from you; the killing kind if you might have an infestation.
posted by kapers at 11:15 AM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Here in NYC I've had squirrels break into my apartment and eat my fruit. I'm not kidding. I have photographic evidence. It happens when I develop a hole in my window screen and don't fix it quickly enough. The cats are useless. They just watch the squirrel - look at me - look back at the squirrel. They do nothing. They don't even get up off the bed. And when I yell - No Squirrel - Get Out Squirrel - the squirrel ignores me too. Don't mess with Brooklyn squirrels I've learned.

So - it could be a squirrel. Check your window screens.
posted by rdnnyc at 11:53 AM on September 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

We had cockroaches nibble holes in a bag of bread in a previous house. (In the current house, the bread bag culprit turned out to be a cat, but she left much bigger holes!)
posted by telophase at 2:16 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

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