Armadillos and Possums

Okiedawn OK Zone 7May 23, 2005

Usually, my DH is the one who is at work and I am the one at home having the unusual animal adventures. Last week, though, he was at home on vacation (simultaneously trying to build a larger coop for the chickens and guineas, and also trying to spend time with his best friend who was dying). He had a couple of his own animal adventures while home. One was hysterically funny.

One evening he heard our dog, Sam, barking and went outside to see what was happening. Apparently Sam had encountered a possum in the front yard. The possum was lying on the ground "playing possum" as they do, and Sam was frantically running in circles around the possum, barking at it and sort of leaping forward and nipping at it, trying to get that possum to get up and move. It was pretty funny. What happened next was even funnier.

My DH was standing there talking to (OK, maybe "yelling at" would be a better description) Sam, telling him to come inside and leave the possum alone. Sam, being a dog, was ignoring him. Then, here comes a sweet and innocent little armadillo plowing his way across our lawn, apparently oblivious to the fact that the possum, the dog and my DH were all right there in front of him.

Suddenly the armadillo stopped plowing up the lawn long enough to lift his head up and see a man, a dog and a possum. The armadillo went into instant panic mode and ran straight into an oak tree!

Then, still in panic mode and probably dazed by the hit his head took from the tree trunk, he turned and ran straight for my husband and almost ran into him! My DH managed to get out of the way of the armadillo. The dog and the DH came inside, the armadillo ran back in the direction he'd come from (AWAY from our yard and the oak tree) and the possum lay there "dead" in our yard for another 30 minutes or so before it got up and went about its' business.

As my DH was telling me about the armadillo, I laughed till I cried. Wish I'd caught this "moment" on videotape.

Dawn

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Now this one thread just move on down & go away.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 7:09AM
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enchantedplace

That's really fun to read. EP

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 7:39AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

EP: I just hate that I didn't see it with my own two eyes. His discription of it was hilarious. At least with all our wildlife, there's never a dull moment.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 7:46AM
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okprairie(z7OK)

Really funny story, Dawn. Armadilloes are such bizarre creatures. When my kids were little, we lived for awhile in Medicine Park, on a hill at the edge of a bunch of red oak trees. At the time my ornery sister in law was living with us. One day I was trying to get the kids to take their nap and heard a scratch on the window. Looked up and saw my s-i-l holding up an armadillo - letting it scratch on the window. They were so funny, because they made so much noise and were so unaware of anything else that you could walk right up on them - which is how Suzi managed to grab that one. Good thing they have armor. Otherwise I don't know how they would survive. Sort of like some clueless people I know. (Did I say that?) Anyway - thanks for the story, Dawn. I like the part where he's telling the story and you're laughing so hard you cry.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 9:28AM
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ChlorophyllJill(z6 OK)

I haven't been on in a couple of days - I read your story and thought it was hilarious! It's always at those times that you don't have your camera, otherwise you could get it on tape and send it in to America's Funniest Home Videos and win a load of money. My husband and I have been trying to catch squirrels in our yard and relocate them somewhere else using a cage/trap. Recently we caught a possum and I had never seen one up close! It was so funny to see him with his mouth as wide as he could get it hissing at all of us. We moved him to a pond in our area. Haven't seen an Armadillo up close yet!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:44AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Sometimes if it wasn't for all the animal adventures, life in the country would be dull!!!! Maybe it is the same for those of you in town also.

Did y'all know that possums are "immune" to venomous snakebites and kill and eat venomous snakes? For that reason, we don't run them off. Of course, we don't feed them or anything either. Armadilloes can be quite amusing. If you ever get to see one cross a creek, you'll be amazed--they just walk right across the creek bottom, underwater, and come up on the other side. They don't swim, they don't float, they walk underwater. (This year, with the lack of rainfall, they can't walk under the water 'cause it's not deep enough, though!)

Jill, where in the world do you take the squirrels to turn them loose? We have tons of them here, but they aren't a problem in the "civilized" areas of our landscape because we have about 10 acres of mixed forest which includes billions of oak trees and native pecans. They do chatter and make a fuss, and the dogs will run tree to tree throughout the woods trying to get them. It amuses the dogs for hours on end!

The strangest armadillo sighting I can report is this one: one day last summer I was walking my dog and came across a dead armadillo in the road, which is pretty much a daily occurrence. However, this one had apparently been pregnant OR had just given birth. Lying in the road a few feet from her smashed body was a completely unsmashed baby dillo about 4" long. It was almost transluscent which is why I think it was probably still a fetus. (?)

My dogs will chase armadillos but don't know what to do with one when they catch up to it, so they just follow it around, with their noses about touching the dillo's tail. Its hysterical.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:59AM
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enchantedplace

We put a screen over a compost barrel because a possum had decided to use it as it's bedroom. Love your stories.EP

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 9:16PM
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heidibird(z7/OK)

*nodding* Thanks for sharing. I like the wildlife stories. :-)

OKprairie....you lived in the MP by Lawton?
~Heidi (who doesnt know if there is more than one in Oklahoma)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 9:19PM
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okprairie(z7OK)

Heidi - Yes, the Medicine Park by Lawton - just for a few months - probably about 1981-82. It was one of those cute little stone resort cabins up in the hills above Medicine Creek, above the old Plantation Restaurant. Someone told me they're all shops now. Haven't been there in awhile. It was fun living there. We had a humongous fireplace - could have fit the whole family in there, I think. I gardened with a pickaxe but grew great potatoes - and there were gorgeous iris all over the hill.

Did you ever get your lawn mower?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 9:56AM
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ChlorophyllJill(z6 OK)

OkieDawn - I live in town and there are several mature Pecan trees on our property - which, of course, the squirrels love! I won't go into details, because most of you know the havoc squirrels can wreak on our gardens, but their numbers have gotten ridiculous lately. WHEN we catch them, we take them to a woodsy area with a pond several miles away. Operative word here - WHEN. We haven't caught hardly any! Only a couple - and of course, our lovely possum!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 12:28PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jill,

When I lived in the Fort Worth area, I lived in an older suburb built after WWII and it was named "River Oaks" so, obviously, we had billions of oak trees and many pecan trees too. I had a neighbor who waged a long and exhaustive war with the squirrels from the day he moved into our neighborhood, 2 doors down from us, until the day he died several years later.

I'd like to tell you that he won the war, and was able to keep the squirrels away, but he really didn't. Since you have squirrels, I am sure you know just what he went through with his huge (probably 50 years old or older) pecan trees and those squirrels.

His best success came when he used some kind of metal flashing wrapped around the trunk of the trees. It was about 3' wide (maybe "tall" would be a better description) and he put it about 3' off the ground. For a short while it deterred the squirrels. After a little while, though, the beasts figured out they could climb the tree up to the bottom of the flashing and "leap" over that 3 foot expanse and continue upward into the tree. So, he added another layer which gave him 6', but the squirrels soon learned to breach that too.

I felt sorry for him--he tried every deterrent known to mankind, and I don't know if he ever got one single pecan from those trees.

At our house, the dogs seem to keep the squirrels away from the one pecan tree near the house. Of course, there are so many more native pecan trees everywhere that the squirrels don't "have to" come to our tree for food. My cats also like to chase squirrels.

Once, our big old white Tom Cat, named "Moose" because he was huge and broad-shouldered, brought us a tiny squirrel.
that he found on the ground under a tree after a really violent thunderstorm. We went to the feed store and bought one of those teeny, tiny bottles and some milk replacer and bottle raised that squirrel. It was adorable and would ride around in my son's shirt pockets. Eventually we quit bottle feeding it and got it to eat a purchased squirrel chow that had muts and seeds and stuff in it. We released it back into the wild and for the first few weeks it would run back over to see us when we came outside. That's the only wild thing we have ever raised and released. Now, if I find squirels biting into tomatoes in the summer (mostly because they are thirsty--so I built them a little drinking pond and they mostly go to that nowadays), I always wonder if they are the descendants of that little squirrel.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 7:55AM
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ChlorophyllJill(z6 OK)

Oh Dawn - yes, they are cute - but we've had endless problems with them. I don't care about the pecans - it's the endless holes they dig all over the place, the plants they yank out (mostly transplants) and they chew on everything - even the gas can. They've gotten in our chimney and died - which was horrid. We had to have a chimney guy come out and drag a huge nest and the dead carcasses out of our chimney. Actually, I think he had to burn out some of the nest, it was that big. They've gotten in our basement and we had to trap them there! I could scream - actually, I have screamed many times LOL! We used to have an elderly neighbor that lived right next to us - and while he didn't go the the measures that your neighbor did, he did trap them and we didn't have near the problem that we have now. He moved away and the numbers have gotten astronomical. Or, at least it seems that way. I would love to decrease their numbers in a nice way, like trapping, but I'm afraid I'm not having much success with it. I'm sure you're right - it is an endless battle and we'll probably never win. Then I go out and see dozens and dozens of holes - sometimes dug at the base of some of my favorite plants, and I just want to throw a tantrum like a two year old. Sigh. Oh well! My hubby and I went to a park here in town on his lunch hour to eat lunch and there were some cute ones just sitting there begging for food. Then I remember the ones at home...aaaargh!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 11:37AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jill,

I really do sympathize with you. Squirrels can be as destructive as armadillos when they get in a digging mood.

I asked myself what I would do if squirrels would driving me crazy. After thinking about it, I decided I would try to repel them with something....you can't really fence them out, and shooting them or trapping/releasing them just opens up the area for more squirrels to move in, so...I settled on the idea of predator urine.

I wonder if one of the predator urine products would work? Maybe something like Critter Ridder or Shake Away? I googled and found a website. Maybe it has some useful product or some suggestions you haven't tried?

I don't know if a predator urine product would work. But, in areas where my dogs "mark" their territory, the squirrels stay away.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: A squirrel control website

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 9:30PM
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ChlorophyllJill(z6 OK)

Thanks Okiedawn - I'm seriously thinking about getting some of that. They absolutely drive me insane! And I love animals - but not squirrels! I've come to think of them as rats with furry tails! I really appreciate the help.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 5:56PM
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okgarlic(Zone 7 OK)

I live in town and my neighbor shoots the squirrels with a pellet gun. Quite illegal, I'm sure, they climb the brick of his house and have eaten through the wood and gotten in the attic. I've heard of them eating through wiring. There are lots of pecan trees in our area, so lots of squirrels. My younger cat loves to chase them, she's gone up the trees after them, it really freaks them out.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 11:56PM
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leaper(US zone 7)

Wow, after reading of your issues with squirrels I guess I really don't want to attract them to my yard do I. We have one that comes across the neighbors roof and raids the homemade bird suet. It might make a great bait for your trap Jill. It's made with peanut butter, my lonely squirrel can't resist it..
Leaper

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 11:31PM
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