Tag Archives: woodchucks

Garden Armadillo Caught

Evidently I have been maligning my garden woodchuck. The livetrap caught a garden armadillo.

The garden woodchuck is not innocent. It ate my fall cabbages except for one now fenced in. It is eating the Jerusalem artichoke leaves. It eats my tomatoes.

It is not responsible for most of the digging.

Armadillos eat things like earthworms and grubs. They can smell them several inches under the dirt.

Mulch encourages these favorite armadillo foods. So the garden armadillo was busy rearranging and removing the mulch to enjoy dinner.

garden armadillo trapped
This was one very unhappy armadillo. It was blundering along digging up my garden pathway and walked into the livetrap. The door closed and it sat waiting for me to come by. As the trap was not baited, I took my time checking it.

I must take some of the blame for this. The woodchuck did dig a couple of holes under my garden fence. I ignored them.

The reasoning went along the lines that the garden woodchuck would just dig another hole or climb over the fence.

Woodchucks are good climbers. That’s how they harvest apples and Asian pears. This one even seems to ignore electric wire.

My back garden fence is covered with wild grape vines which the woodchuck is eating and morning glories which it seems to ignore. Climbing this is easy.

So I left the holes. And the garden armadillo found them.

Armadillos don’t seem to dig holes under garden fences. I could be wrong. They do dig efficiently as their burrow holes show.

armadillo free again
The armadillo was a bit dazed. It wandered out of the livetrap and walked away. This one lives in the nearby pasture but likes the garden. There are enough armadillos around that killing or relocating this one would make no difference. I will reinforce the garden fences.

For now I will fill in the woodchuck holes. And I will watch for new ones. This isn’t easy at this end of the season when vegetable plants and weeds have turned the garden into a jungle.

Over winter I will reinforce my fence. The grape vine will be trimmed back. The morning glory vines will be pulled off. The weeds will be pulled.

Both the garden woodchuck and the garden armadillo and any reinforcements they may invite to the garden will find it harder to dig into. I will at least try.

What I don’t really understand is how I trapped the armadillo. The woodchuck had eaten the bait and departed, as usual. Besides, the bait wasn’t something the armadillo would eat.

Armadillos have very poor eyesight. I suppose the garden armadillo blundered into the trap and triggered it. It was glad to have me open the door and send it on its way.

Fixing Garden Gates

No, the PVC garden gates are not broken already. They work very well. The fixing is due to another problem: the gap under the gates.

A gate must be hung clear of the ground or it will not swing open and closed. My garden ground is not level and the gates were hung to clear the highest point of ground under them.

gap under gate

That gap under my garden gate looks so very small yet the worn area in the dirt shows it is in use as do the clipped hollyhocks and bitten green tomatoes.

Gaps under gates are open invitations to my local garden raiders.

Skunks wander around digging small holes looking for grubs and other skunk delicacies. A four inch gap is plenty of room for them to slip through.

barrier set up

Although the barrier must block the gap, the wheelbarrow must still get into and out of the garden. The bricks form a ramp over the barrier from both inside and outside the garden.

Raccoons can ravage a garden in a single night especially almost ripe tomatoes and corn. They grab one fruit, bite it, toss it aside and grab the next one. They need a big gap under the gates and will gladly use it when available.

Armadillos need bigger gaps and can dig their way under. They leave big holes behind in their search for grubs and other delicacies.

closed garden gate

The final test is closing the gate. The barrier must fill the gap but be behind the gate .

Woodchucks need only two or three inches open under the gates. They can flatten themselves until they are like a moving carpet flowing over the ground. If their head fits, they do. They will also dig a bigger gap if they need to.

My gates all have two to 5ive inch gaps under them. The ground is hard but not that hard to dig up. The gaps have to go and dirt will not work.

gate gap barrier

The gap was larger under this gate so taller stones were needed. The ramp works for the wheelbarrow even though it is narrow as it must go straight into and out of this garden gate.

Another consideration is how I use the gates. I can open them and walk in and out even if there is a stone wall across the opening. Wheelbarrows don’t go in and out over a short stone wall.

The solution was to place taller stones on each side with a ramp in the middle. The wall fills the gap. Since it is stone, woodchucks can’t dig it up. The ramp lets the wheelbarrow go in and out.

closed gate

Mice and snakes can still squeeze under the gate but the woodchuck and the skunk aren’t that small.

My gates are now hung and the gaps are filled with stone. No skunk, raccoon, armadillo or woodchuck will get under my gates as long as I remember to fasten the latches.

Now the problem will be stopping those garden raiders who climb: raccoons, squirrels and woodchucks.