Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nature Notes: Trouble With Triples



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Three woodchuck babies emerged this week from the den under the front porch. Like the Star Trek tribbles, they're furry, cute, extremely destructive, and multiplying exponentially.

Longtime visitors may remember our adventures with the patriarch of what has become the groundhog clan: "What About Chuck?" By sinking metal barriers into the ground  around the pole barn and constant harassment, we eventually persuaded Chuck to move on.

Since then, we have waged ongoing battles with chucks under the potting shed, the back deck, and the front porch. We have tried cat litter, coyote urine, hair, mothballs, blocking den entrances and even electric fencing. Having utterly failed to drive them off,  we eventually just got used to the idea of  living with them. But it's getting ridiculous. Counting babies, there are now seven. That I know of.

There is so much contradictory information online about these guys: They're peaceful/they can be suddenly aggressive; they carry rabies/rabies in marmots is rare; they damage foundations/no they don't; trapping and relocation is an option/they rarely survive that, so shooting them is more humane. Wildlife rehabers won't even return my phone messages about them.

One thing is certain, and that is that they are a royal pain. I gave up on flower beds and having container plants on the deck years ago, because the chucks eat them on sight. Last year, they were apparently curious about what was inside the gazebo, so they completely shredded the netting that served as its walls to get inside. They chew the wood at the edges of the deck. I've had to relocate the bird feeders, because otherwise chucks sit on the deck railing and munch away at them. They cause marital discord between myself and the hubby, who has wanted to shoot them from day one.

But c'mon. Could you shoot these guys?

If any of you have suggestions, I 'm all ears. Because this is way to much "nature" for me.



Click here to visit Michelle's site, Rambling Woods, and see more Nature Notes

19 comments:

Laura said...

no matter what they sure are cute!

Karen said...

Awww, they are so cute. I guess when you live out in the country you get pesky little critters.

eileeninmd said...

Oh wow, they are so cute. But, you are in for trouble with the triplets. They will eat everything in sight. I have the same critters in my yard under my shed.

Betty Luckhurst said...

They are so adorable and remind me of wild ducklings overrunning a fish pond we had. After a while, I was glad they moved on.

Rambling Woods said...

Do they stay as a family group or move on for their own territory? I don't know anything about them.. I guess your new neighbor fouls use them as target practice...I feel awful when this stuff happens....I wish my rehabber friend was still alive to ask... Tribes...I remember that we'll... Michelle

Daryl said...

i cant imagine ... tho i am sure Toonman if he had a gun would join your man and help him get rid of them ... men ... GAH .. on the other hand i wish i had some advice other than to say the make excellent blog fodder and adorable photo ops

MyMaracas said...

Michelle - they move on to their own territories, but not far. The babies already seem to have staked out the back deck area, and are digging out sealed up holes back there. I'm dropping mothballs down the holes, which I hate to do, but they're not leaving me much choice.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Oh my goodness...my goodness!!! I don't know what I would do...at least after enjoying their 'cuteness'...I'd probably call the city's/county's animal control.

No telling what destruction they can do in such a little time period.

Carver said...

They are adorable. I'm sorry about the destruction though.

MyMaracas said...

Anni, our animal control says they don't do wildlife. They suggested a pest control company - which would either poison them or trap and kill them.

Leora said...

We have a Have a Heart trap, and we bring them to a park a few miles away. We've been doing this for several years, as have my neighbors who are gardeners. One neighbor said he caught 11 one summer.

MyMaracas said...

Leora, we bought a trap but don't know where we can release them - at least, not legally. We may have to sneak them into a new home, at least the babies. Mamma looks like she could be scary if cornered.

Rambling Woods said...

I see my late friend left suggestions on the other earlier post for you.. I wonder how good their sense of smell is to be disturbed by the moth balls so that they leave and don't get hurt by them.. I was wondering.. I feel badly for you and the critters..Michelle

fredamans said...

Yeah a little too close for comfort for me too! Cute lil creatures from afar though. I also posted a pic of one eating a bun in a friends' backyard.

simply bev said...

The babies certainly are adorable! I'm sorry they've turned your property into their home base though. Hopefully a peaceful solution can be found. So glad you got this photo though!

EG CameraGirl said...

How frustrating! Is there some way you can convince them to move to somewhere else?

MyMaracas said...

EG, we're trying everything we can think of, but no luck so far.

Gary said...

Great captures!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

What Karen Sees said...

I don't have any suggestions, but they sure make for great photography opportunities. They're so cute!