Well what I thought would be a nice series of posts didn’t turn out so well. Two straight days of rain, an unbelievable work schedule and a neighbor with a shotgun.
Yea that about sums it up
Our poor critter, which turned out to be an Armadillo wasn’t happy enough with my yard; apparently he had been tearing things up where he shouldn’t have and it cost him. That is one way of getting rid of unwanted wildlife but not exactly what I wanted to show you.
Since I started this series I’ll finish it, just not with my personal steps, pics and all. My apologies to anyone who was hoping for a more animal friendly post.
As stated on day one, the key is to identify the critter. Most people don’t and that can lead to trapping frustration. Armadillo tracks are not always visible because they drag their tails and may obscure the prints. Usually you can get one or two however or you can see their tell tale evidence of rooting up dozens of small holes in your yard as they are looking for food just below your sod. The den is also a giveaway because of its size and location. Armadillos almost always burrow into or under something. Slabs, landscaping, (as in my case) under homes etc. They are powerful diggers and the holes can be quite deep and they have a lot of dirt ‘thrown’ at the entry. Other critters burrow as well but tend to hide their burrows a bit better. Skunks, rabbits and Fox dens can be very hard to find so you may not be able to trap them at the entry.
With the Armadillos diet of grubs, insects and some vertebrae’s you might find it hard to try and bait them into your trap. A nice slice of apple can work but most likely just positioning the trap at the mouth of the hole set up in a gauntlet style will lead them right in. Live traps such as ‘Hav a hearts’ are perfect for this. They come in 2 or 3 sizes and just make sure you don’t get one to small. To lead the little guy into your trap simply place some bricks or boards along the sides of the burrow so that he has to go straight into the trap. (Gauntlet) You can usually do this safely in the day as our little critter comes out at night to feed.
The Armadillo is not the brightest bulb in the box but sometimes it may take days of repositioning the trap until you finally get him. I guess that means we’re not the brightest either. It’s rare that you spook him to much that he leaves the den altogether for another location so keep trying. When you’ve got him it’s a simple ‘drive out to the country’ and lift the trap door and he’ll scoot out. They have teeth but are pretty harmless.
If trapping is not for you and you want the damage to your yard to STOP then the quickest solution is ‘castor oil.’ This really does a number on their digestive track and they won’t stay around very long once applied. Castor oil is available at almost any do it yourself pest control store under the name ‘Whole Control”. One quart can treat about 4000 square feet and you simply attach your hose to the jug and turn on the water. Whole control will deter any digging, rooting animal for about 3 months without any permanent harm to him or your grass.
If you’ve determined that you have say a raccoon or an opossum it may be a bit trickier to trap them but you can do it. Simply place the trap near where they are causing the ruckus and bait with apples, sardines or any kind of fruit. Once trapped, the scary part can be picking up the cage to load them up and take them away. Thick leather gloves are a must, don’t try and lift the cage with a stick or pole as that may be unstable and you may drop the cage. It could open or become damaged so that it is difficult to lift the door and either scenario could be trouble. Placing a dark cover over the trap will calm the animal down but leave a hole so you can easily grab the handle. When releasing the animal do it smoothly and quickly, back away and get into your car until he’s gone.
As with any pest control, if you feel you can’t do it or unsafe trying; call a pro. It may be a cost more than you think its worth but your safety is priceless I’m sure. These people are very good at what they do and it still may take them several visits to catch your critter.
I’d say call my neighbor, but I’m kind of mad at him right now.