Oh no! We had a similar (although not quite as vindictive) problems with rabbits in out front yard. They used the only patch of grass as a social club and started trying to build a warren. Luckily the California Sun had baked the ground solid and they only succeeded in creating a series of divots. Shame cute furry animals wreak so much havoc.
Good luck with the patching job
I had this exact problem. I would start each morning flipping over sod, every day! Then I put 850 yard staples in my yard, by hand…….they still found the unstapled parts and flipped them over. Then I sprinkled dried coyote urine over the whole area….. no effect. I even had my neighbor set out his humane trap……but they were more interested in the grubs under my sod than his trap bait. Final olution: we left a radio playing outside all night, tuned to a talk radio station. In this particular case it was a religious station (the best reception, of course). I was glad that the “cute little Rockies” never came back AND I was tickled that the content of the All God, All Night station had scared them away. Seriously, the sound of human voices seemed to do the trick (as it does for most things actually).
In my yard I have a chipmunk and rabbit living under my deck and a groundhog under the woodpile (hence the pseudonym “woodchuck”). My yard is regularly visited by deer and foxes, not to mention the ubiquitous squirrels. The other day, three large turkey vultures lounged on the deck for 30 minutes. Geez, they’re big. The rabbits eat my flox, the deer munch my hosta, and the squirrels dig holes either to cache acorns or to dig up ones they’ve cached previously. And I live smack dab in the middle of a housing development in suburban Washington, surrounded by other homes on all sides. Suburban sprawl has destroyed so much habitat that these creatures have nowhere to go so they just move in. Now if I can just get the foxes to catch the rabbit …
This is classic. We’re hot on protecting the environment until something in it does some property damage. Our property is the little guy’s environment. We have every kind of animal living in our backyard now. I don’t have the answer to these problems, and it does suck when a squirrel breaks into your kitchen and steals a loaf of bread, but being green is a lot more complicated than saving the whales. My best guess is that to avoid some undesirable property damage, you have to make it impossible. Easier said than done, but better than poisoning prairie dogs and then crying about black-footed ferrets.
One of our former neighbors in northern Michigan, who lived on a lake inlet, woke up one morning to find all his birch saplings chewed down and floated down the lake for a dam. And I can’t tell you what havoc raccoons can wreak on a garbage can . . . even here in NYC. My sympathies. Critters are pesky and we provide them with such lovely temptations.
You *really* don’t want to poison prairiedogs Skwish. They are one of the few keystone species of the great plains. Kill them, and the ecosystem around them crumbles. Plus, AFAIhavebeenabletodetermine, there are no known cases of cows breaking their legs in gopher holes, which is the main reason country-folk say they need to poison them.
Course, it is a little bit different in cities. They reek havoc on lawns:). And they cry havoc as well. Those little suckers can screech like you wouldn’t believe when they see something threatening:P.
Where I live in Southern New England we have all these varmint troubles in spades, and on top of that, a deer-tick problem like you wouldn’t believe. I have a beautiful stand of enormous trees behind my house that I simply dare not enter. The last time I tried I came out, after fifteen minutes, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 deer ticks clinging to my apparel, if I was lucky enough to find them all. My neighbor was already treated for Lyme disease, and his cousin thinks she has it. The deer herd here is growing exponentially, ironically enough, because the area is just congested enough to make it impossible to hunt. Coyotes are eating cats and small dogs left and right, the Canada geese routinely turn my deck into a dungheap, I’ve had some VERY close calls with the skunks, and should probably just throw bags of vegetables out the window to the gophers for all my attempts at gardening paid off this summer.
In spite of it all, I really don’t mind too much. So long as I don’t wind up with the blunt force trauma of a deer in my face trying to get home from work, I’ll put up with it. Just somebody find a way to get rid of the ticks. We hates them, we does, nassty tickses.
How does racoon taste?
Julianne- well, i have to mostly agree with Skwish above.. and it might be easier for me to say, not being a homeowner, but still, calling ‘coons “eeeeevil” when *we’re* the ones who’ve pushed them and all other critters to the margins seems to me a tad too strong of a reaction.. ;->
Any other way you could deal with this, fencing, other kinds of landscape they won’t dig up etc.?
How does raccoon taste? Just follow the recipe on P. 515 of Joy of Cooking, which I found in my newer edition (from 1981).
The trouble with having critters around is that they eat your shrubs, dig up your lawn, poop whereever they want, and carry disease (rabies) and vermin (ticks, fleas, lice, etc.). Plus there is the chance of a bad encounter – getting rammed, gored or bitten. And when the little critters return, so do the predators which can be a threat to your pets and children – which is one reason we drove them all off to begin with. Like someone once said about Indians, the closer you live to them, the less noble they seem.
I have two big dogs (one of whom is a coonhound) so raccoons keep a good distance from my house. I have other wildlife fun including a skunk that frequently walks through my backyard at night in the summer, does no damage but I have to scramble to close the windows to block the smell.
The craziest thing though was the big bull moose that jumped over my pasture fence one morning and was in there with my little dwarf goats, the goats were terrified and the moose was very confused because it couldn’t figure out how to get back out for nearly half an hour. The pasture is on a hill so to get in the moose jumped downhill but it’s a lot harder to jump over a 5 foot fence uphill than it is downhill, eventually he got out on his own right as I was deciding to call the game wardens for assistance.
I’m largely dealing with it by calling them names on the internet.
I believe that is a sufficiently ecological response as to meet your approval?
I don’t know, Julianne. I thought the “leave the radio playing outside all night” option sounded just plain awesome to me.
Yes, yes it does ‘meet with my approval’ indeed — if that’s as far as it goes and you don’t get pushed over the edge and start machine gunning them at some point. ;-> (he says as he gnaws on some Endangered Species Chocolate with 10% of profits going to saving wolves). But again, i can understand the annoyance, we all need to figure out ways to deal with our less than welcome non-human fellow planetary passengers in some way or another at various times, certainly. I did once live trap a bunch of mice from our house and let them free far away — yes, maybe they then died being separated from their family and all, but i had given them a chance at least. Good luck anyway, and i’ll be interested in following the saga if you post about it again!
Peace full kingdom
I have often walked into my barn where my 4 donkeys – and cat were relaxing while a big fat raccoon ate the cat food — and what ever else – I was the only bad note in as I disturbed them.
At least you don’t need to worry about grubs eating your lawn.
Are you certain it was raccoons? Skunks love to do this as well. They are looking for grubs to eat. You can solve this by putting a little GrubEx or similar product on your lawn. This time of year, critters are trying to fatten up and find any kind of food that they can. If you lay sod, it is always wise to put down the GrubEx before you lay the sod, but you can use it anytime.
this all belonged
Nick, glad to see you here. I really get a sobering tickle out of your works on quantum mysteries. Maybe knowing it is difficult (or even impossible?) for humans to truly understand the fundamental nature of reality makes one humble? Perhaps one feels less superior to other animals then …
One might try to look at this from the other side. It might be more accurate to say that these animals have a human problem, more than to say that “we” have a problem with pesky animals.
Lawrence B. Crowell
We had a problem with them when I was growing up at some point, so my dad got one of those humane traps. ‘Coons weren’t going for it, so every day my dad would add some other delicacy to make the trap more enticing…
And then the cat got into it. I really don’t remember how the rest of it ended, but that’s the important point.
And given that raccoons are probably smarter than any of us, all this will probably be theirs again.
In the case of my neighborhood, human encroachment is only part of the puzzle. At the turn of the 20th century, almost the entirety of my town was clear-cut farmland, some for growing vegetables, most for dairy grazing. As it became cheaper to ship everything from more arable land in the Midwest than grow it locally (who knows if energy shortages will reverse that trend?), the farms were abandoned, and the forests returned. Hunting and loss of habitat had pretty much wiped out the local wildlife, and with hunting able to continue well into the 20th century, numbers rebounded slowly. The latter quarter of the 20th century saw residential development cut into the re-grown forests, but the increase in animal and bird populations actually lagged behind that trend, and can probably be attributed largely to reduction in hunting, and, quite possibly, climate change. Warmer New England winters and no large natural predators have likely produced the explosion in the white tail deer population, and it’s not a good thing for them or for us. Eventually, we can expect a local epidemic, like what they saw in Wisconsin, where most of the herd had to be slaughtered to halt the spread of wasting disease.
I don’t doubt that in some parts of the country troublesome animal-human interaction is a direct function of new exurban sprawl. But in my neck of the woods, the ecosystem was irrevocably altered literally centuries ago, and what we’re dealing with now is not what ought to be called “natural”, or some return to a more pristine state. I think it makes little sense to point fingers at those making complaints about unfortunate encounters with animals and claim they’re being ecologically insensitive without more information. The ecosystem was devastated long before we were born, in all likelihood, and the animal populations causing some of the trouble may not even be native to our region (possum were once a rarity up here, for instance, and we never saw tick infestations this great before). We’ve inherited an unstable system we don’t really understand, and things are going to swing about wildly before some equilibrium can be found.
The little sods! (by which of course I mean the small lumps of turf those critters have pulled up)
I was driving past the REME barracks in Longmoor a year or two ago, and their front lawn literally looked like a lunar landscape of mole hills, and fact there were more hills than grass. Either they are field testing some new kind of landmine or they have the worst mole infestation ever.
Badgers are even worse though. My brother had a family of them tunneling away near his house, and his garage literally started tipping over and sinking into the ground so extensive were their underground galleries. Eventually he had to pay to have them humanely captured and “rehoused” in a nearby park where, touch wood, they seem content to remain (so far).
The problem with raccoons (which is a *real* problem here on the Eastside, across the lake from Seattle) is that some folks have gotten into the habit of feeding them (or leaving catfood dishes out for them). This is like feeding the bears at Yellowstone … it already distorts the natural order of things. These critters might look cute, but they are nasty gangsters, especially when they set up shop in the neighborhood because of a human-tended gravy train. They’ve killed pets in our neighborhood, and even though they’re generally nocturnal, they almost killed our dog on a spring afternoon. Here’s the local TV story about it (some scenes may be upsetting):
All-night talk radio might do the trick, but first make sure the neighbors aren’t putting food out for the little monsters. Once we were able to convince our neighbors that feeding the raccoons was uncool, the raccoon problem improved dramatically.
Just so y’all know, there is a fairly simple 2nd amendment solution to this kind of problem…
This thread cracks me up! We have become so divorced from the natural world that any manifestation of if ‘intrudes’ on what we are smug enough to call a Life Style but would be better called an Anti-Life style. Personally, I am delighted and thankful every time the animal kingdom reminds me how fragile and arbitrary a world we have created for ourselves. The little creatures and their big brothers bring a much-needed sense of perspective into our lives – if we let them.
Considering that worms are an introduced species in North America, yours is probably the most pragmatic viewpoint. “,)
That was aimed at Low Math, by the way; my (in)coherence really is a wonder.
Lab Lemming Says:
“Just so y’all know, there is a fairly simple 2nd amendment solution to this kind of problem…”
Are you suggesting a well-regulated militia of raccoons?
It would make more sense to teach them how to lay sod correctly instead of calling them evil for bungling the job.
Ha, outside is nuth’n. In the walls of the bathroom is really weird, scary and annoying. The landlord had some work done on the roof and the carpenter left it OPEN overnight. Sealed it up the next day and that evening the small beast tried to dig down to the ground floor apartment. Ok, what the friggn dickens are the neighbors doing? No, that’s not people, OMFG, that’s one beeeg rat. Finally in the middle of the night he managed to claw through the upstairs folks kitchen roof, then found a corner in their living room. Took a few hours to get an animal control to come with a neck capture stick. Ruined their sofa, kinda like that picture of a lawn.
Now if we dumped the idiot leash laws and let big dogs run around the critters would head for the woods.
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