Can a prickly pear cactus just disappear?

I drove to a place i grew up as a kid that i remembered had a eastern prickly pear cactus growing there about 14 years ago but it was gone....i mean completely gone. You cant even tell it grew there. The house is empty now. Noone lives there so I had noone to ask. The cactus use to just engulf the area it grew in... show more I drove to a place i grew up as a kid that i remembered had a eastern prickly pear cactus growing there about 14 years ago but it was gone....i mean completely gone. You cant even tell it grew there. The house is empty now. Noone lives there so I had noone to ask. The cactus use to just engulf the area it grew in but now it looks as if it never existed. Its quite startling honestly. Any ideas as what happened?
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