Tuesday, May 06, 2008


A year long battle with my furry, four footed foe has come to a glorious end!

I have met the enemy on the field of battle and victory is mine. After careful skirmishing by both sides I succeeded in out flanking him and have banished him from the field of honor.

Yes, it's true.

I outsmarted a groundhog.

Yes, there he is - Marmota Monax of the family Sciuridae. Known to friend and foe as ground hog, woodchuck, whistle pig, land beaver or bunnydog (I swear to you). This one had taken up residence under my house. His travels took him under my bedroom, dining room and kitchen and his primary entrance ran directly under the bath tub. He has destroyed the insulation under the floor in the crawl space, dug holes under the foundation to the front porch and it sounded like was gnawing on the floor joists.

I tried discouraging him by blocking his holes as fast as he dug them but since digging was his full time job and filling was only part time for me he took round one.

As woodchucks are rather lacking in imagination (put your own comic simile here) he refused to take a hint. Making loud noises did nothing. He was also rather particular in his eating habits. I obtained a live trap from a fellow parishioner who is a local animal control officer and used several foods recommended to me - carrots, celery and apples. My cunning foe passed them by with out a sideward glance. I watched him do it!

But in the end it was the higher functions of manly memory that did him in. I remembered that last summer he had shown special affection for my tomato plants. So last night I baited the trap with a large juicy tomato. From my long observation of the enemy I knew he was a mid-day forager so I went off to work.

When I returned I saw his utter defeat. Safely locked in the confines of the cage trap he submitted with rather good grace to his fate. I transported him some 7 miles away to a wooded area that I know is frequented by others of his clan. Upon release he gave me one swift, malice-free glance and raced off into the woods.

The taste of victory is sweet.


PseudoPiskie said...

I hope 7 miles is far enough. Perhaps you might have done what I do with the racccoons - paint the tail white. That way I know if one returns. Unfortunately I've learned recently that relocated coons usually die. So far this year nobody has gotten destructive enough for me to consider trapping. But I will if they mess things up.

StLouisJohn said...

The poor thing is homeless now...no roof over his head...doesn't know anybody in the woods..all lonely.

Or, he's made friends and it's telling them about a great piece of real estate 7 miles out.



Jay said...

I've been told five miles should be fine. Apparently woodchucks are not big travellers.

And yes there is a chance he won't do well as a transplant. That's why I chose a place I knew other groundhogs had been seen. There's lots of room and a good environment.

The alternative was rapidly moving towards shooting him. Just too much damage being done.

FROG58 said...

What a great story. You are such a great writer.

We had a family of groundhogs living under a deck on the church's playground. We finally called an animal control guy, "The Critter Gitter". (I swear) He said they love cantelope. Hope you won't have to try that. Glad the tomato worked.

Love the comment from John, that your exhousemate is telling his new friends about a nice piece of real estate. Too funny. Let's hope not!!!