Groundhog

Groundhogs are cute. They’re furry little things that waddle around burrowing to live and to eat. They mostly eat wild grasses and other vegetation. They predict the length of winter every year and sometimes even make time stand still (remember Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day?). But when they start invading your back yard, burrowing huge holes in your garden, and eating your lettuce, they’re not so cute any longer.

After weeks of seeing these huge holes appearing in our yard (front and back), and thinking it was the local neighbor’s cats (they’ve been known to dig in our gardens and leave presents for us), we finally realized these holes were too large to be done by any cat we were thinking we’d run into. Lord knows we’ve trapped a lot of feral ones in our neighborhood (5 years ago, there were 18 feral cats living on our neighbor’s porch, 13 of which we trapped and gave to the SPCA over 13 weeks). But we weren’t expecting something like this.

Last night we set the trap we’ve had and used for the past 5 years (and works so well!), not thinking we’d really catch anything. But this morning we woke up to a noise, looked out the back window and lo and behold, we trapped a groundhog!!

My partner was the brave one. He dressed and braved his way out to the cage to see just how this wild groundhog was going to be. After trapping those 13 cats, we were expecting something incredibly wild, teeth bared, bloodied because it was trying to get out of the cage, possibly even missing fur on the top of its head because of it trying to push its way out of the trap. He was quite surprised at how sedate this creature was! The thing was incredibly docile! It watched him come up to the cage, and merely backed away. When he reached for the handles at the top of the trap, the groundhog (let’s call him Gus) simply ducked down and kept his eyes up at the hands coming to the cage. No sound, no shrieking, growls, or bared teeth.

We’ve known others who’ve trapped groundhogs and then drowned them in a trash can full of rainwater, but we didn’t have the heart to do something like that. And knowing the SPCA doesn’t take animals like that, we only had one other option. Release.

So my partner took Gus for a little drive to some fields a few miles away, took the cage to the field, and opened the cage, not knowing what to expect. Was Gus going to come out of the cage and attack? Would he stay in the cage?

It took two seconds after the cage was opened. He looked at my partner, then looked at the opening, then took off running into the wild.

Good bye, Gus! Fare thee well!

Finally we were done with the groundhogs, and we rejoiced. No more holes in our gardens. No more eaten lettuce and vegetation. We ran out to do some errands, and came home a few hours later. We parked the car in the garage, grabbed our bags, and headed to the house through the yard. But when we opened the garage door, we were struck dumb by the sight of the ass of yet another groundhog waddling away!

Dang! Another one!

So now we have to set the trap again. A good $35 investment, if you ask me. We caught 13 feral cats and 1 groundhog. I’m just hoping we don’t have to trap (and release) 12 more groundhogs!

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