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What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets?
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Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/12/2009 22:42:17 MDT Print View

I thought I was going crazy. When I broke down my TT Rainbow, my new GG polycryo groundsheet was nowhere to be seen. It's really light and thin, so I checked the bottom of the tent to see if it was stuck to it, and it wasn't. I kicked around in the dirt to see if it was there. It wasn't. I walked around to see if it had somehow blown out from under the tent (even though I weighed it down with rocks). Did see it anywhere.

I thought maybe somebody stole it? But that didn't make sense, because there was a WM Summerlite and NeoAir inside the tent, and surely they would have stolen those too?

So was I crazy? Had I not put the sheet down but thought I had? I had no explanation.

Until just now I looked at the pictures from my trip, and I have definitive proof something ate/stole it.

See this picture, where you can see the sheet sticking out from underneath the right side of the tent:1

Now see this picture, from the next day, before I realized the sheet was missing:2

Notice all the little silver spots? That's duct tape, patching holes in the netting 10-11, if I remember correctly. I noticed the holes when I laid down for a rest, after my day hike. I had no idea how they got there. I blamed my cat, who likes to attack things. I'd had the tent set-up for seam sealing the week before, and she'd gone at it, but I'd shoo'd her away. I assumed she came back, even though that was a lot of damage for her to do.

Now I had my answer. Some animal made the holes as it was pulling/nibbling the sheet out from under my tent.

There were ALOT of deer wandering throught the camp (Little Yosemite Valley). Do deer eat plastic? Also, I saw some crows, and I know some birds like shiny things. But this is a 46"x96" ground sheet. That's a big piece of plastic.

Has anyone ever had this happen to before?

Edited by jrmacd on 05/12/2009 22:43:20 MDT.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/12/2009 22:53:37 MDT Print View

> Also, I saw some crows

Oh dear. It appears that you have been the victim of a polycrow.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Porcupines? on 05/13/2009 00:06:19 MDT Print View

Maybe porcupines? I've seen them tear into rubber tires and (empty) plastic containers before and swallow it. Can't be good for the stomach...

James Byrnes
(backfeets1) - M

Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
Gee.... on 05/13/2009 01:57:36 MDT Print View

I have to comment. It has to be irritating to experience something like that happening to equipment. I mean how can you prepare/combat against this in the future. My condolences. But... Ashley.... your comment was hilarious!!! I had to laugh!!! I love these people here.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Gee.... on 05/13/2009 02:22:33 MDT Print View

Yes, I agree, finding holes in my tent would p*ss me off no end. Apologies for not having anything constructive to offer, but I couldn't resist! Glad it gave you a laugh James (B).

Rainbow, NeoAir, summerlite... very nice setup! Am hoping to get together something like that for solo trips myself.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/13/2009 07:40:00 MDT Print View

I'd think alot of animals might eat those things esp if they contained salt. Marmots and mountain gooats if high in the mountains. Chipmunks and the like will too I think.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Raccoon? on 05/13/2009 07:49:27 MDT Print View

Possibly a raccoon. Those thieving rascals will take anything, even if they can't eat it. Plus they are smart, strong and have nimble hands that can get into almost anything.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Raccoon? on 05/13/2009 10:22:55 MDT Print View

I thought maybe raccoons too, but this happened between 9am and 7pm, and I believe raccoons are nocturnal.

I'm not horribly devastated by the damage to the tent. I'm sure I can buy some noseeum and patch it up myself(read: my sewing capable girlfriend can do it) or send it back to TT in the long run and have them replace the netting. I'll probably send it back before Fall, as this is a pre-2008 model and for Fall in the Sierra, I wouldn't mind have the extra tie-outs and grommets that are on the current model added on.

I'm just glad to figure out that I wasn't crazy or careless in this case. I thought maybe I meant to put the sheet down, but got distracted, laid it on a stump, and it blew away. I'm pretty absent-minded.

For now, I'll just tell people that the damage was done by a giant black bear, which I fought off while guarding the tiny orphan baby who I rescued from it's clutches.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/13/2009 10:57:37 MDT Print View

I recently had a bout of house mice. One (or more) of them gnawed a hole in a plastic container (#2 plastic, similar to plastic milk bottles) of liquid house plant fertilizer, of all things. I doubt, however, that there were enough mice around to eat a whole polycro ground sheet, without leaving bits behind! Your situation does sound like a larger animal with a perverted appetite. I suspect it got pretty sick afterwards, or maybe even died of intestinal blockage.

Ashley, I love the "polycrow"!!!

Just for fun, you might want to ask Gossamer Gear (assuming the groundsheet was from them) what in their groundsheets is so attractive to wildlife!

I don't use a groundsheet--just carefully go over the tent site before pitching--and have never had problems with the silnylon floor. Maybe you've just discovered a way to save a little weight!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/13/2009 13:35:25 MDT Print View

Unlikely that it was entirely eaten. More likely carried off as a souvenir bright shiny object!

I would also question whether you really need a separate groundsheet. That silnylon is pretty tough stuff.

PolyCrow LOL. That's a "hall of fame" one!

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/13/2009 14:06:05 MDT Print View

Yeah, it was my first time out with the new tent and bivy, so I was being a little over protective. If the ground sheet didn't suffer any damage the first night, certainly the silnylon would be fine. And it can always be patched. Pristine gear looks like unused gear anyways. I'll save the ground sheet for wet conditions when I want the extra protection.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/13/2009 15:06:22 MDT Print View

Do you find the duct tape sticks OK to the netting? I'm struggling to find a tape that can do this in the field.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/13/2009 16:03:18 MDT Print View

It seemed to stay okay. but this was at the bottom of the tent, on the side that is not being zipped and unzipped, so there wasn't a lot of stress on the patches to make them fall off. It was also very dry.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets? on 05/14/2009 01:06:15 MDT Print View

I would say a two-legged animal worried about his own groundsheet.


Andy Bailey
(AndyBailey) - F

Locale: The Great Plains
"What kind of animal eats Polycryo Groundsheets?" on 05/15/2009 11:30:50 MDT Print View

Had to be a goat! I've seen them eat the siding off my parent's house!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
plastic munching critters on 05/17/2009 08:33:21 MDT Print View

One morning, at home of course, I put some melon that was creating a life of it's own into the garden composter. By evening, when I was adding more to the heap, a squirrel had chewed a hole the size of a large dinner plate through the side of the unit made by (you can see a photo of how thick/thin the plastic is on the website).

So, in hindsight, what has happened with your groundsheet does not surprise me.

James Dubendorf
(dubendorf) - M

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: plastic munching critters on 05/17/2009 09:38:43 MDT Print View

I also vote for some four legged critter- I recall a friend's picture, can't remember where in the American West it was (maybe Idaho or Montana?), where they had to surround the car at the TH with wire netting weighed down by rocks to protect the tires from being eaten.