The Zoo Beneath My Barn

In my suburban neighborhood, by my old 1835 farm house, I have a barn that is over 100 years old.  Underneath my barn, there is a zoo of wild animals.  The creatures have dug many holes along the foundation and made tunnels in the soil next to stones. When an animal is frightened, it races into one of the holes.  Over the years, I have seen groundhogs, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, and feral cats go into the holes.  What do I do about the animals?

Usually, I let them be, but when they eat from my fenced-in vegetable garden or grab most of the peaches off of a tree in my yard, I get them off my property. In the latter case, I bait a Havahart trap with ripe fruit, catch the animals in the cage, transport them in my car, and release them in the forest of an extensive park.  The most critters I’ve trapped in one season are a raccoon and eight groundhogs. (Groundhogs usually live alone, but a mother had its babies under the barn).  My cats have caught some of the smaller rabbits, but the rest of the animals have come and gone on their own, and that is fine with me.

In general, I like seeing animals in my yard – squirrels, birds, deer, and the aforementioned wildlife.  However, they become pests when they devour my plants, and so some of them need to go.  In that case, carrying them away is the best I can do.  I love nature, but I am not a zookeeper.


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