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  • Writer's pictureJoe Taylor

Is there a critter in there?

You see the hole in the ground. Surely the culprit is nearby. Or is it? Here is a quick tip to find out.

The hole is there, but is something inside?

Walking your yard and coming across lawn or property damage can be a nerve-racking experience. A number of questions should be raised to help assess the problem and move toward a solution:

1. Was this damage caused by an animal or is there another explanation?

2. Is this damage recent or from a previous season?

3. Does this damage need to be addressed immediately, or is there time to develop a wider ranging plan?

Assuming the damage was caused by wildlife, an additional question needs to be raised:

4. Is the animal still active in this area, or has it moved on?

This is an important question because the answer directly impacts your next move. For example, if you mistakenly assume the animal is gone and you repair the damage, you may inadvertantly compel the animal to undo your repair or initiate new damage nearby. So before taking any next steps, you need additional information.

In the picture above we have a hole created by a groundhog. Before repairing the hole, we need to know if the groundhog is still present. We need to monitor the hole for entry and exiting. Do do this, place material over the opening that does not lock the animal inside, but is easily moved by the animal.

Sticks or debris from nearby work well to monitor an opening.

Use debris such as sticks, leaves, or grass to clog up the opening. You want to use enough material so that it is obvious that the animal has pushed it aside. There are some common mistakes to avoid.

For example, if the material is too loose, then wind may dislodge it and you've gained no useful information. If too little material is used, then you open up the possibility that a resident animal will climb around the material without cueing you to its presence. It is usually not the case that you could use too much material, but still, don't overdo it. The point is to gain information, not invest a lot of your valuable time blocking up the opening. Additionally, it may be possible to trap an animal if they cannot bypass your plug.

There are so many different situations, scenarios, and layouts of damage. You are welcome to call us or send pictures to get help with determining how to best monitor your particular area of damage. And if an animal is determined to be present, we are glad to offer our trapping services.

If you are facing yard or ground damage caused by wildlife, know that you don't have to go at it alone. Whether we are simply advising your for free by phone, or you would prefer to hand things off to us, we are glad to be along side you as you work toward resolution.

Joe Taylor, M.S. Science Education, B.S. Biology, is a full time nuisance wildlife control operator in Eastern Iowa, and owner of Paw Control, LLC. Follow him on Twitter: @pawcontroller at LinkedIn, or the Paw Control blog:



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