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someting has just made a home under my steps.. HELP

Posted by roorezzi Poconos (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 7, 06 at 17:57

We are new to the pocono areaand this is our fist summer. i think possiblty a gropundhog just made a home under our front cement stairs. The hole wasn't there the other day. We came home yesterday and we saw something scurry over there and all my petunias in my pots were eaten. I've had the pots out for Weeks, so thats why I think this is a new home.

How do I get rid of it? Someone told me its possibly a skunk, by the quick glance I saw, I don;t think it was.

Thanks In Advance1

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: someting has just made a home under my steps.. HELP

You have to positively identify it before you can attempt to responsibly control it. Yes, losing a bunch of plants sucks.

You choices are to firebomb the hole and hope you kill whatever ate your plants or take the time to figure out:

a. What ate your plants and how to deter it. Is it the same thing that made the hole?

b. Use a toxin that will kill everything with the possible exception of what ate your plants.

Since you are posting to the IPM forum I assume you are down with option b.

Get a havahart trap and bait it with what the culprit likes to eat. Use the remains of your terminally damaged plants.

RE: someting has just made a home under my steps.. HELP

Giving either Havahart or utter sterilization of the immediate area by means of "firebomb" as the only two choices is hardly IPM. I do agree that positively identifying the problem is essential. From that point a good control strategy can be devised ie. exclusion, alternate food source, varying degrees of toxicity, trap crops, timed plantings, etc.
Don't go too overboard. That's how people get labeled "Eco-nuts". That sort of thing makes it tough for the rest of us.
Figuring out exactly who the culprit is would help. In the mean time, if the petunias are the only thing in jeopardy, I would suggest you put them somewhere less accessable. Otherwise, a small chickenwire cage weighted down over the pots might be enough to take care of the problem. Of course, if that doesn't work, firebomb the little bastard.

RE: someting has just made a home under my steps.. HELP

Oh, by the way, I'm not a big fan of Havahart traps. Once you catch something, all you can do is either kill it or let it go somewhere else. Funny thing about nature is that all ecological niches are filled, from urban to rural. If food is there and habitat is there, it's going to be populated. That's how it works. Living things move in to take over resources. There is no waste. That is why you will never find a place to "drop off" an animal and all will be well. If you introduce a single animal into any environment, you create a situation in which one of two things happens. First, the animal will push out another animal or group of animals that share the same habitat and/or food source. In this case the animals displaced by your introduction will die. Or second, your animal is out-competed and can not secure food and/or shelter in which case it dies. Either way, you aren't doing anyone any favors.

RE: someting has just made a home under my steps.. HELP

If it is a ground hog the chicken wire will not keep it out. Don't know what a skunk does with chicken wire...
The favorite food of my neighborhood ground hogs so far this summer has been coleus.

RE: someting has just made a home under my steps.. HELP

Cramapple is right. Don't resort to any kind of smoke bombs or poisons. Traps are a bit iffy, because yes, the animal must either be euthanized or just brought to a new area. The best bet is screen off the area around the steps with a heavy gauge steel screen, like 1/2 inch hardware cloth. If you want to hire a trapper, some are listed here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Directory of Professional Wildlife Trappers

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