Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Creature from under the House

Sunrise June 2012
Sometime ago I found a large hole under our stem wall at the base of our pier and beam house. The large tunnel that led to our crawl space beneath the house troubled not only me but got the full attention of our two dogs. Their midnight barking raids got me up in the middle of the night to let them outside on the pretense of doing their business.

One morning at around five, I was out in the backyard in my evening clothes and a duster and house slippers when I opened the door and oh boy! The mystery was solved. Now I knew what was under there scratching and clawing at the baseboards in the wee hours of the night.


They've since moved their entrance to here.
A couple of years ago I hired our contractor's son to bring out a big bag of river rocks to put in the entrance of the underground lair. He jammed the entire plastic bag firmly into the hole and braced it with a 4 x 4. The animal had dug a tunnel below the window of the guest bedroom wall by the air conditioning units. That barrier seemed to work keeping out whatever creature had dug it and for a time there were no signs of the animal's return.

Until a few nights ago when the dogs went crazy sniffing at the baseboard in the den. I've heard but tried to ignore the scratching thing that has returned; the creature from below the house.

And a new location under the back porch


 
Suspecting this before I opened the door this morning to let the dogs out for their morning business, I loudly clicked and reclicked the deadbolt to scare away the latest visitor which turned out to be a young stray cat. For the past few days this youngster has been snooping around the dog's water dish and hanging out in their fenced yard. And I had begun setting out food for the poor hungry creature. But I should know, in the country you can't set out food unless you want to attract a lot of animals that enjoy it, like the 3 armadillos I saw behind my Mom's fence just a couple of days ago.

Stray visiting kitty hiding in the grass


So at first when the dogs shot off the porch heading for the detached garage, I thought that the kitty had decided to hold its ground and stay in the fenced yard rather than run out as usual. There I am screaming "No! No! Come here!" to the dogs who are ignoring me and the neighbors who probably aren't. Unfortunately, once the dogs were in alert mode they were working together to flank the enemy in a deft maneuver. They closed in on the intruder just as I came running out toward the commotion wearing one shoe, the other lost in flight down the steps.

But I was in for the surprise of the week when I saw four giant furry caterpillars tails wagging in unison along the garage wall. I grabbed our Labrador's collar and pulled his nose away from the creatures dragging him backwards toward the door. Cookie, the ever obedient elder dog gave a few interested sniffs then ran back inside with us. I grabbed my camera and went back out after my lost shoe and to snap a few pictures.



Three of the four baby skunks trying to find their way back under the garage


I don't know, what do you think?


And awaaaay they go!



4 comments:

  1. Hello Peg. A piece of chain link fence may cut off their escape if you catch them above ground again. Good luck with this one.

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  2. Hi Mike, You may think I'm nuts but I actually took a small shovel, gently picked up each baby skunk and moved it head first to the underground tunnel. They crawled back under on their own accord. I couldn't see gathering them up without their mother. They were just tiny babes unable to stand or walk but a few steps. We may have to get a humane live animal trap and relocate them if I see them again. I'm hoping they are gone for good.

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  3. Why you little stinker...you have a heart of gold for all of God's creatures!

    I think you are TOPS, my dear Sista in every way!

    Love you, Maria

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  4. Hello Maria my dear sista
    There were four of these little guys that morning but none since. I think the little "Dusty" cat is taking care of keeping the stray skunks out of the yard. He sure loves that milk at dinnertime!
    Love you.
    Peg

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