Fun With Wildlife, Again

A couple weeks ago, we discovered several holes dug into the ground around our garden shed. It looked like something had decided that under the shed was a good place to make a den. The family grapevine said that GoddessJ’s uncle G had a neighbor with a live-capture trap he could borrow, so we gave him a call.

He came over and took a look, and said authoritatively that it was a groundhog (a.k.a. a woodchuck — GoddessJ and I started calling him Charlton, after the minor character from Animaniacs). I thought the holes looked pretty small for a groundhog to get through, but I’d never seen one up close and he had, so I assumed I was wrong. We set up the trap over the largest hole and blocked all the others. And we waited. Every morning I checked the trap only to find it untouched. Several times we went out and discovered that more exit holes had been dug in different places, so we blocked them too, but to no avail. It was too canny to be tricked that way.

I checked around town, trying to find some smoke bombs left over from the recent holiday, on the theory that I could smoke it out, but no one had any. Nor did they have any other commercial method of creating smoke, or driving or luring a groundhog out. Several stores had something that would kill groundhogs, but I didn’t want to kill it, I just didn’t want it burrowing under our shed.

On Friday, GoddessJ’s father and I tried smoking it out with a fire with wet leaves on it, but we couldn’t convince enough of the smoke to go under the shed instead of out into the air to make a difference. Finally we tried flooding the den, on the theory that if we made the creature uncomfortable enough, it would leave. No dice.

Yesterday evening, I went out into the yard for an unrelated reason, and out of habit I glanced at the trap. The door was shut.

I looked closer. There was something in the trap!

I started walking toward it, and a small head raised up to look at me through the bars of the trap-slash-cage. A small, triangular, black head, with two white stripes.

It seems Uncle G wasn’t quite the expert he thought he was. The creature in the trap was no Charlton Woodchuck: we’d caught a relative of Pepé Le Pew!

For reasons that aren’t mine to discuss, GoddessJ dislikes skunks even more than most people. I don’t particularly dislike them (I’ve heard they can be adorable pets, if de-scented), but I do dislike the smell and have no experience with them, so I wasn’t about to get near it either. So we called Uncle G. He apparently suspected that his diagnosis might not be right, because when he heard my voice he immediately asked what we’d caught. 🙂

To make a short story even shorter, he knew some tricks, and managed to get cage and creature into his truck without getting sprayed. He said he’d release Pepé on the farm of a friend who lives outside of town, with a few acres of wooded land that he’d likely find very comfortable.

You know, I was born in the country, and I spent many of my younger years there as well, but I’ve had more run-ins with wildlife since moving to this city than I ever did living out in the boonies.