This was in my front yard when I pulled in this afternoon. I'm sure he's the father to the swarm of baby armadillos that live under my house. They must go. I hear they taste like chicken.
When Bill Murray becomes incensed with destroying the gopher in caddy shack I thought it was hysterical. We don't have gophers in south Florida, or at least I don't think we do, but we do have other critters. Heck, I didn't think we had coyotes down here until they started snacking on pocket pooches a couple of months back.
I live on the back of a preserve. Its a few acres of overgrown topical mess with a couple of oak and maple trees peppered though cypress head. One of our biggest concerns has been a family of bobcats eying up my little tasty dog. We've had a few minor brushes with nature being so close. Mice and rats attracted by bird seed started to be a little too plentiful. Alterations to the landscape, steel wool in the eve gaps and a tablespoon of peanut butter rat traps fixed that.
It wasn't too long ago that bigger creatures made their presence known. My house is built on little stilts so there is a crawl space under it. Things started going bump in the night. I never saw anything but heard plenty of ruckus. Being the resourceful Ohio farm girl that I am I decided to relocate the creature under the house to greener pastures or at least to the other side of town where they'd have room to roam. Don't get me wrong, I love animals. I just don't love them under my home and tearing down the insulation.
A trip was made to the Northern store in Fort Myers to order a Havaheart trap. I will share with you right now that I have absolutely no skill or expertise in animal trapping. I probably had no business doing this but I was worried if I called a trapper that they would kill it and I didn't want it dead, I just wanted it somewhere else. So a week later, the trap is delivered and out of the box it comes, fully assembled and ready for use. I whip an apple in it and set it by the bushes where I hear most of the noise.
The first day, we catch Lucrecia, who we guessed was a mother possum, and she is disgruntled to say the least. So now what do I do with her? I call my son and tell him I've trapped a possum and I ask him to take to the prairie he's always talking about east of Bonita Grande Road. I figured that was plenty of distance between me and the creature, right? Just for good measure I throw another apple in the trap and lo and behold, I catch what I have convinced myself was her husband. In all, we actually caught three possums and relocated them to east Bonita. A fourth was spotted in the area but packed up and left before it was captured. Finally, I've realized the benefit of having a redneck, country child; possum relocation without raising an eyebrow.
A new challenge has shown itself in the last few weeks. Armadillos. I've been consumed with trying to run them off. I really don't mind that they've dug up most of the back yard. The grass was dead from the winter draught anyway. It's just that when the dog tore after them they weaseled their way under the lattice and went under the house. It was clear by, by the gully they wore, that they've been there many times before. Under the house, there is more than one already and I'm not sure if they don't carry some sort of cooties and parasites. So Lumberjack, my darling son, is bringing the trap back today. The armadillos are as cute as all get out, but we're relocating a family of armadillos to the prairie, next.
There was a lot of carrying on that came with the coyotes that started cramping our style. Unfortunately, when man versus nature a wrestling match begins that nobody really ever wins. We built our homes in their back yards and then we get upset when they hang around. I don't really mind wild animals being around me, I just don't want to live under the same roof with them.
So, I'll try to share my little part of Southwest Florida with the varmints that also call it home. I'll walk my dog on a shorter leash, carry a nine iron and relocate an occasional possum or armadillo to the prairie when they get too close.