Monday, March 19, 2007

The Armadillo Wars: Part I

I would like to think this is the only Part, but I am not so naive. Twenty-eight years of living within sight of downtown has only assured me that creatures great and small don't care a thing about city limits. I've trapped possums, raccoons, and unruly cats. I am about to take on a new creature.

For those who don't know (or have never seen one upright and scurrying as opposed to dead and feet up on the highway), here is an article about the armadillo, the, to my horror, mascot of Texas I have learned. The people who named it so have obviously never had one in their back yard. Tearing up their flower beds.

Guess who does?

We have had passing acquaintance with armadillos before, and I've managed to beat them at their own game with the judicious use of blood meal. This trick I learned from back neighbor, Lucille, a farm woman transplanted to town by her children just before we moved here. It is her house we recently purchased and whose yard my husband is mowing. Again. But she had an armadillo under her house and used the blood meal trick at the entrance to its burrow (after making sure it wasn't in it) and that was that. Armadillo gone.

I did this last year for the invasion and one treatment was all it took. I have a different breed of armadillo on my hands this year.

I looked into my garden area yesterday morning and it was painfully obvious from the rooting and pillaging that had been going on on the south side, that an armadillo had visited. The good news was he had not disturbed any plants or bulbs (so far). The bad news was he was there at all. We think he's on a grub hunt, and I can certainly supply him with them. Part of me should be thanking him for ridding the area of them.

When I figure out which part, I'll let you know.

I hoed his holes into non-existence yesterday, sprinkled liberally with blood meal and dusted my hands. That was that!

Naive. Naive.

This morning, he'd been in all the familiar spots (blood meal? What blood meal?) plus doing rack and ruin to another area.

I have declared war.

If I could figure out how he is getting in, I could help myself in the strategy. He can't come under the fence because it is blocked by stones. He can climb I have learned, so blocking the gaps between the chain-link fence and the gate and house will just frustrate my back yard cat. I could blood meal his path down the driveway and may try that first.

But misery loves company and I've found a couple of online sites that deal with my problem. Texas A&M has a sense of humor with it (I do not) but thiscommercial site is more what I'm looking for.

It looks like Trapper Kay will have to come out of retirement. I can dig grubs as well as the armadillo and he'll have a fresh bowl of them waiting for him this evening.

Wish me well.

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