Sunday, April 6, 2008

It's Official

It is officially spring in Michigan. Today. Forget the calendar or the weather man. I know it is spring when the woodchucks that live under my deck come out. I don't know if they hibernate or go to Florida for the winter, but they make an appearance at spring, and there was a sighting of the newest Woodchuck baby this afternoon. I am on the sixth generation of woodchucks in my yard. They have been joined by several thousand raccoons (OK, not several thousand, maybe one thousand) and a cute skunk family. Oh, and the newest resident of wild kingdom is a huge yellow cat. You must understand that I live in the city....sidewalks and all....and somehow, my yard has been selected as a wildlife preserve. By the wildlife. They all live together under my backyard deck.

The first year, I had Mr. and Mrs. Woody. They ate everything in the yard. Well, they don't like geraniums, but everything else. They would even reach up, grab branches, pull them down and eat the leaves. They ate two lilac bushes to the gound. Everything at the three foot level and below was stripped of greenery. And even though the critter control guy said it is not possible, they climbed my apple trees and ate every apple. I saw it. They dug holes in the yard. HUGE holes, big enough to break a leg in. They chewed through a 4x4 of the garage and went inside. They climbed up on the shelves and pushed everything off onto the floor. I had to keep all the windows on my car up at all times for fear they would get inside and pop up as I was driving down the street. My favorite Woody trick was the way they took everything they could get their claws on into the burrow.....which by the end of the summer ran under the deck out into the yard, around the side of the house and under the front porch. If I left anything outside for even a few minutes, it was gone. Into the burrow. They made quite a nest with flower pots, papers, a towel, and a welcome mat. They even have an American flag that fell down in a storm inside the burrow.

I read everything about how to get them out of the yard. One online article said to soak rags in ammonia and stuff them in their holes. Easy. I did that. Mrs. Woody came up to a rag in a hole in the middle of the yard. Sniffed it. Rotated her head around looking for......I don't know....me? Then she grabbed that rag and took it down the hole with her.

I bought a trap and started trapping and hauling them off to the woods. The second year I trapped 4 woodchucks and 6 raccoons. I trapped for 5 years until I had skunks move in last year. I got one in the trap and I was not getting close enough to it to let it out and I was sure not putting it in my car! Critter Control took it away for $100. I could not risk it or afford it and so I gave up trapping. Now the animals live wild and free in the city. They win.
Normal (Please don't tell the DNR) Girl

4 comments:

votemom said...

wow - this is fun - i am learning a lot about you.

Sean Carruth said...

Woodchucks are actually members of the squirrel family and they can (AND DO) climb trees for food.

I don't know which one of our offices told you that they can't climb trees, but the service technician was sadly mistaken.

Imaginina said...

I know! Wish I had gotten a pic of that woody sitting in my tree eating my apples!

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