The Dirt

The Hairy Monster Under the Step

Photo by Gilles Gonthier under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

I have been invaded by a hairy monster under my front step.

It wasn’t from outer space, but from inner space where he had burrowed under my step causing the step to tilt slightly to one side. Unfortunately we have some rather rotund family and friends so this wasn’t boding well for us. I had visions of them sliding into the hole and with their last gasping breath using their cell phone to call their aggressive personal injury lawyer.

I had to tell my children about the groundhog so they wouldn’t be scared. My son is a typical teenage boy and he likes adventure. He thought about the movie “Caddy Shack” and asked if we could blow him up? I didn’t hesitate to tell him this was dangerous and the house might go up along with him. I could tell by his snide look he still liked his idea.

My daughter who is several years younger started to cry, “Are you going to kill Chuckie?”

I didn’t know I was on a first name basis with the fearless rodent. I am not killing the woodchuck. I don’t know him personally and he has no name. She stopped crying and looked at me with trust in her eyes.

What was I going to do?

I read the literature about using moth balls. Two bags later with stones added the culprit throw them back at us. He dug around the stones and went underneath them. This remedy was a failure. Rodents are smarter than people.

We had one at our other house and we filled the hole with cement. We found his secondary exit and put a smoke bomb down there. He left. I don’t want to put anything like that under my step. It’s hard to believe, so far, he has defeated 2 human beings with 5 college degrees between them.

I have a humane trap which is starting to look appealing…

I really don’t have a grudge against Chuckie, I just want him to  leave my step alone. I know he also hangs out by my garden shed. If he just would stay there, I’d let him be.

It’s interesting to note they are called ground hogs, woodchucks, and pig whistles. They are not endangered. They eat vegetation, but also eat grubs, snails, and other bugs so they are not all bad. I keep thinking of the old rhyme:

  “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood! “

Eventually we play Daniel Boone and lure him into our trap.

I keep thinking of Punxutawney Phil, the little varmint, who usually sees his shadow which means six more weeks of winter. I have come to dispise Phil because his prediction usually is the same each year. He is famous, but not always accurate. By the way there is a southern version called General Beauregard Lee. I don’t know if his predictions are any better.  If you saw the movie “Groundhog Day”, groundhogs are quite resourceful. Chevy Chase couldn’t even beat him. So what are my odds?

I wish I could talk to him. I’d tell him to go out to the back of my property and leave me alone. I’m trying not to to upset him, but he needs to know he is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. I have been told to use wolf urine, ammonia, and other foul smelling alternatives. The only problem is the odor drifts back into the house and you cannot stand outside my front door.

We take him to a nearby woods and pray he doesn’t return.

And yet, almost every spring, Chuckie comes back to visit.

The saga continues…

My husband found his back door in our compost pile over 15 feet away from the house. These are supposed to be very dumb animals, so far still no luck. Out came the trap with the apple and peanut butter. A few hours later I went to look and discovered he had a lovely snack courtesy of the Cohens. I think he was so big he ate the snack and the door couldn’t close because his big fat butt was sticking out. Off to find a giant sized trap!

War has now been officially declared. No holds barred! It’s woman vs. nature. So I set a very large trap set with even more goodies and I hope he likes his last meal at my house. I stealthily watch for him. Yes, I did catch him! He looked at me with baleful, soulful eyes. This woodchuck was moving immediately. Two blocks away in our state park resides a very fat woodchuck who answers to the name of Chuckie. Be careful; do not call him. Chuckie might follow you home and take up residence under your front step!

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