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King's Ransom
May. 22, 2007, 07:49 PM
There is the weirdest thing going on in my barn and paddock, and I can't figure it out. Hoping wise CoTHers might have some ideas.

I have one empty stall in my barn. It is the last stall in the barn, right next to a big workshop that has a concrete floor. The barn floor is dirt. The stall floor is dirt. BUT there is a gravel base under the concrete for the workshop. Some critter has dug and dug and dug the gravel out from under the workshop and into the stall. Certainly not a horse as the horses are never in there. Seems like way too much gravel for the cat to have done it. It's a pile about a foot high and about 6-ft. long, and about 1 ft. wide. That's a lot of gravel!

THEN ... I have gravel under the run-in shed attached to the barn. About 15 ft. from the end of the gravel, there is a small concrete "landing" in front of a mandoor that leads out to the paddock. I drove a T-post into the ground there last summer to prevent the mandoor from swinging too far open (when the wind catches it). Suddenly, it looks like someone came in with a dumpster and dumped a pile of gravel all around that T-post! Very neat, piled up about a foot high, about 3-ft around. Now I KNOW I did not do that. I KNOW that gravel wasn't there last summer or I would not have been able to drive the T-post in.

What critter on the face of the prairie is moving my gravel around???!!!

I did see a skunk lurking around. Would a skunk do this? Why on earth would anything be sooo interested in redistributing my gravel???

Beezer
May. 22, 2007, 07:55 PM
A skunk might but what about squirrels? They would redistribute the gravel as they dig their tunnels ... so says a woman who has piles and piles and PILES of dirt from the excavations in her yard. :rolleyes:

RainyDayRide
May. 22, 2007, 07:59 PM
sounds like somebody is busy digging nurseries for their young ..... possums maybe?

saje
May. 22, 2007, 08:00 PM
Muy guess is a woodchuck. They can move an amazing amount of material in a very short time!

SLW
May. 22, 2007, 08:28 PM
Possibly a skunk making a nest for her babies.

One used the wooden floor under my barn tackroom for her nursery- dug through the limestone screenings and into the dirt. We tried flooding them out, blasting them out w/ a shotgun and allowed the terriers to dig in as far and deep as they could. Bottom line, she birthed her babies there and moved away under the cover of darkness one night a few weeks later.

Beezer
May. 22, 2007, 08:33 PM
Muy guess is a woodchuck. They can move an amazing amount of material in a very short time!

So how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? <grin>

Sorry, couldn't resist!!

TheOrangeOne
May. 22, 2007, 08:44 PM
Rats? The ones at my barn have a tunnel network that rivals the viet cong.

King's Ransom
May. 22, 2007, 08:52 PM
SLW- I bet it's the skunk. The part I don't understand is moving the gravel around outside. It's downright eerie.

Now, what to do about the skunk? Is it dangerous? I mean, besides possibly getting sprayed? It must have come close to the house tonight because I heard my cocker spaniel growling and the next thing I knew, my whole house smelled like skunk!

Any danger to my horses? What's the best thing to do to get rid of it? All my feed is in rodent-proof containers, so ... what next? I do own a rifle and a shotgun and I even know how to use them. Should I shoot the thing?

Ahhhh -- the challenges of farm life!

Isn't this the point where you're supposed to turn to a husband and say, get rid of that thing!? I mean, isn't that what they do? Of course, I don't have one of those handy ...

Beezer
May. 22, 2007, 09:00 PM
Isn't this the point where you're supposed to turn to a husband and say, get rid of that thing!? I mean, isn't that what they do? Of course, I don't have one of those handy ...

No worries! I'll send you mine!! :yes: What's your address? You want him FedExed or overnighted?? I can attest to his rattlesnake-killing abilities and he's picked up the remains of critters caught by the Jack Russells ...

And, really! Keep him as loooooooooooooooooooooong as you want! :winkgrin:

bird4416
May. 22, 2007, 09:30 PM
Any danger to my horses?


My very curious paint horse came in one morning from night turn out reeking of skunk. It seems he stuck his face down to get a good look of Mr Skunk and got a face full of stink right between the eyes. EWW, for this stunt he earned a tomato juice bath which stained his face pink and some time off because I couldn't stand to be near him for long.:lol:

JSwan
May. 22, 2007, 09:34 PM
Oh - it's just a skunk or groundhog or something.

If you want them to move, take a rag and soak it in ammonia. Place it at the entrance. The smell will force them out.

But... this time of year there are probably babies. You may want to wait until late summer.

I don't know about the gravel pile - I'll have to think on it. I have seen groundhog (woodchucks) mound up a right big pile of dirt outside their den.

I don't worry too much about critters - just keep your barn clean - secure your grain - clean up spills. It's just part of country life.

Personally - I'd rather have a skunk that a raccoon. Raccoons get into everything and they make me crazy.

Don't worry about the horses - they have more sense than your dog does....

Catersun
May. 22, 2007, 09:39 PM
thank you all.. Good Laugh.. about the hubby borrowing and the stinky horse.

I'd sugest investing in a hav-a-heart trap. You'll use it many times in the future with other nuisense(sp) animals that will try to make your farm their home.

Trap and release MANY MANY miles away. use a tarp over the trap once the skunk is it in... or just call your local wildlife officer once it's in the trap to relocate if you have one in the area... other farmers will probably say shoot it cause moving them takes a good size risk of smelling like one.

Good Luck!

Quin
May. 22, 2007, 10:56 PM
KR - I think you have a marmot. We've had a few (the proximity to the creek attracts them) and they seemed particularly attracted to the gravel by our barn.

Our short-term solution was the large stupid dog. He can't catch much, but he's taken care of several marmots here in the past few years. I don't know about your other options; you may have to contact a professional trapper.

Bluey
May. 22, 2007, 10:59 PM
Rats? The ones at my barn have a tunnel network that rivals the viet cong.

Barn rats do that. Over the years, many concrete barn floors start to break up and collapse from those tunnels.:(

Rodent control will keep them at bay, but if you have dogs and cats, you don't want to use poisons, try traps.

If it is rats, it is a losing battle, really, but you can make the battle longer, before losing it.

King's Ransom
May. 22, 2007, 11:26 PM
Well this is a puzzlement. Skunk? Ground hog? Marmot? Rats? Opossum?

None of it sounds good.

I will say that I have not SEEN a single mouse, vole, or rat since the barn cat arrived. Maybe they went underground (under the concrete floor?).

I had marmots at my house in the city ... but I have not seen any out here. They are very cute to watch, but destructive.

When I first moved in, the moles were thick. But they seem to have abated.

I have seen opossums running around. I even saw one dead baby -- assumed the cat got it.

I figured something was digging under the concrete when all the gravel showed up in the empty stall. Kept thinking I would "get around to" to filling the gravel back in and figuring out what was going on ... didn't seem like that big of a deal. But I have to say that the neat pile of gravel around that T-post totally freaked me out. SOMETHING has moved gravel ... very cleanly ... about 15 feet, across a concrete slab, and piled it up in the corner behind the door. It is freaky. What would DO that?

HOWEVER, maybe maybe ... if I look closer ... maybe that gravel was dug out from under the concrete of the workshop? I will take a closer look tomorrow during the daylight. Think I will take Elijah along with me, though, as I am halfway scared of a critter that shows that much determination. What will Elijah do? I don't have a clue. On second thought, better take King. He's the one who saved me from the coyote last year. Bet he would stomp on something that was after us.

(By the way, you guys should have seen the old man run off the coyote! We startled him coming in one night from the field and I guess it's "flight or fight" reaction went haywire as it considered "fight" momentarily. As soon as that coyote snarled at us, King stepped right up between him and me and, head down, ran him off. I just looked at the old boy and said out loud, "I am KEEPING this horse!")

county
May. 23, 2007, 01:16 AM
My guess would be a Woodchuck they can move an amazing amount of dirt.

SLW
May. 23, 2007, 07:35 AM
Okay, what the heck is a Marmot and what does it look like?? Never heard of such a critter.

Your horses had a rabies shot, yes??? Other than getting sprayed, rabies is the bigger concern.

Need an outside dog?? Doc had a cute yellow lab cross- looks like a 100% lab- 4 month old pup dumped at his house. He spayed her and she is at the clinic needing a home ASAP. Free to a good home and I bet she would be an awesome threat to skunks. ;)

ReeseTheBeast
May. 23, 2007, 07:52 AM
The Blair Witch?

sorry, I couldn't help it :winkgrin:

MistyBlue
May. 23, 2007, 07:54 AM
Most likely not a skunk, possum or coon...while those three may move into an abandoned den once in a while...none of them are overly fond of living underground. All three dig, but mostly while grocery shopping for grubs, mice, ground rats, roots, etc.
Woodchuck, (also called groundhog or marmot) gopher, prairie dogs, etc all tunnel. Badgers are especially talented diggers of dens and they do mound dirt/gravel because they aren't trying to hide a den entrance. Not much wildlife out there is stupid enough to mess with a badger, LOL! A badger can dig out a den hole and tunnel entrance in less than a day, and the den will be large enough for a small human to curl up in. They're funny to watch dig a den because you can see dirt flying pretty high in the air and at a very fast rate as they dig out a new home.
If it is a badger...better to convince it to relocate itself instead of trying to trap and move it...badgers are not friendly critters. Usually leaving people scented items near the den entrance will make them move soon. Maybe not immediately...the badger may just move it or bury it at first. There aren't many things they're afraid of, but they do get annoyed easily and will move out in a huff if you keep leaving pestering things laying around.
I tried once leaving a small battery powered radio near a badger den I didn't want in the field where I boarded my first horse. Came back the next day and that radio was in about 20 pieces with teeth marks everywhere...some parts were buried and other parts were musked. Peew!
Moles and voles dig very well, even small ones can excavate a large hole and leave a decent sized pile in a short time.

LoriO
May. 23, 2007, 08:01 AM
I'm leaning towards woodchuck/groundhog. We had one move in at my old barn and what we saw sounds exactly like what you are describing. Ours was permantly removed by the barn owners dog when she managed to surprise it and corner it in the barn :dead: :dead:

Either spray the entrance area with amonia or place some amonia soaked rags near the entrance. The don't like the smell and they will usually move and find somewhere more appealing.

county
May. 23, 2007, 09:31 AM
Pour a few boxes of moth balls down the hole they hate that and usually they move.

Sannois
May. 23, 2007, 09:44 AM
But more likely rats. I have seen the same thing, Get some big ass rat traps. And the Ammonia soaked rags work for some critters. It is not regular squirrels but could also be ground squirrels. Got cats??? :D

King's Ransom
May. 23, 2007, 09:46 AM
County -- about the moth balls -- 1. will that work if it's rats? (eeek!) and 2. do i need to worry about the cat getting into the moth balls?

King's Ransom
May. 23, 2007, 09:47 AM
I only have the one (male) cat. Should I get about six more? Though, I am really not a cat person and have reservations about whether a bunch of rats is really worse than a bunch of cats...:eek:

King's Ransom
May. 23, 2007, 09:29 PM
Hey guys! I looked closer at that gravel out by the door, around the T-post, and no, it was not "carried" over there. It was dug out from under the concrete floor of the workshop!

So now I am almost afraid to be out there. Whatever it is -- it's either BIG, or there there are a LOT of them ... or both! And I don't see any other evidence of them. No "droppings." There is no food to get into. I don't see anything chewed up. And I don't seem THEM -- whoever THEY are!!!:eek:

Ack! I LOVE my barn and workshop. That is where my ponies live! What is invading our sanctuary? And how do I get rid of it???

Stupid cat! Wasn't it HIS job to keep these varmints out of there? (Of course, the varmints in question may be twice his size?)

I think I need County or Tom King or Trakehner to Lost Farmer to fly in and take care of these beasts for me!

I feel like I'm in a horror show, something like "The Others," or "Deep Rising." :eek:

Bluey
May. 23, 2007, 09:38 PM
If you have the same pretty brown field rats we have here, they are tennis ball sized in the middle, with a small front and larger tail.
Their brown hide is shiny and beautiful and they are shy, rarely show up, unless you catch them by surprise.

You need rat bait, sold at farm stores, even at Wal-Mart, but only if you don't have dogs that may get into it, if a rat drags some pellets out where he can get into them.
Poison and little kids or small animals is dangerous, but it is the most effective.
Cats are way outnumbered to make much of a dent with rodents in barns.

The trouble with them here is that they attract snakes and some are rattlers.
All we can do is watch our steps around here.:(

county
May. 23, 2007, 10:32 PM
If you can keep the cats and dogs out of there for awhile put a pan with anti freeze in along the wall behind a mall piece of ply wood. If its rats they love the stuff and it kills them fast. But it does the same to cats and dogs.

chemteach
May. 23, 2007, 10:37 PM
thank you all.. Good Laugh.. about the hubby borrowing and the stinky horse.

I'd sugest investing in a hav-a-heart trap. You'll use it many times in the future with other nuisense(sp) animals that will try to make your farm their home.

Trap and release MANY MANY miles away. use a tarp over the trap once the skunk is it in... or just call your local wildlife officer once it's in the trap to relocate if you have one in the area... other farmers will probably say shoot it cause moving them takes a good size risk of smelling like one.

Good Luck!

Cost me $75.00 to get a skunk out of a Hav-a-Heart trap! And it was the local wildlife officer who removed it.

Quin
May. 23, 2007, 10:48 PM
KR, your barn cat is lovely, but I'm afraid he'd have trouble even with a big rat. And a marmot is at least 5 times his size.

Critters - unless rabid, smelly, or terminally aggressive like badgers, are unlikely to bother you. Unpleasant human things like ammonia rags may cause them to move on, especially if it is just one or two.

A colony of rats would be a different problem, but I think you'd see more signs. King does NOT always finish his breakfast or dinner - any droppings in his bucket? County's anti-freeze suggestion is effective, but I'm not sure you want to take the chance of the dog or the cat getting away from you and drinking the stuff.

King's Ransom
May. 23, 2007, 11:36 PM
If I put out anti-freeze, and the rats die, will they stink to high heaven?

I could bring the cat into the basement for a few days. Would that be long enough? Red (the dog) does not go out to the barn. The horses don't particularly like him.

King is gobbling his dinner down now that he only gets one feeding a day. BUT -- he does spill a lot. And yes, there is spillage on the floor of his stall. I usually get most of it up, but ... it could be an attractant.

Honestly, other than the digging, I have not seen any signs of rodents. I thought the barn cat was doing a great job. When I bought this place last year, it was INFESTED with mice. After Barney arrived, the only mice I saw were the ones he caught and killed. Pretty quick, they were all gone. Unless. they. moved. under. ground ... it's all so sinister!

Something is digging. Maybe it is a "colony of rats." OMG! You know, I thought I was up for just about anything out here, but my city-girl ways are showing. I am terrified of the idea of a "colony of rats" living under my workshop floor, tunneling through the gravel, destroying my concrete, scampering through the stalls, terrorizing my barn cat ... spreading disease and bubonic plague and God knows what.

I mean, honestly, a "colony" of rats?!?!

The only thing worse would be roaches!

King's Ransom
May. 23, 2007, 11:38 PM
I would LOVE it if it turned out to be marmots! Even possums. Anything but rats!!!!

I know they are all vermin, but ... RATS!!! :eek:

citydog
May. 24, 2007, 12:04 AM
You know, I thought I was up for just about anything out here, but my city-girl ways are showing. I am terrified of the idea of a "colony of rats" living under my workshop floor, tunneling through the gravel, destroying my concrete, scampering through the stalls, terrorizing my barn cat ... spreading disease and bubonic plague and God knows what.

Aw c'mon. You're a city girl. ;) City people live *way* closer to far *more* rats than any country folk do. This (http://www.amazon.com/Rats-Observations-History-Unwanted-Inhabitants/dp/1582343853) was one of the most fascinating books I've ever read.

ThreeHorseNight
May. 24, 2007, 01:15 AM
Hey guys! I looked closer at that gravel out by the door, around the T-post, and no, it was not "carried" over there. It was dug out from under the concrete floor of the workshop!

So now I am almost afraid to be out there. Whatever it is -- it's either BIG, or there there are a LOT of them ... or both! And I don't see any other evidence of them. No "droppings." There is no food to get into. I don't see anything chewed up. And I don't seem THEM -- whoever THEY are!!!:eek:

I feel like I'm in a horror show, something like "The Others," or "Deep Rising." :eek:

Ooohh, I think it's an alien invasion. Clearly the aliens want your gravel for something, and they are piling it up before they beam it up to the mothership. Get out there with your nightvision camera and take pictures for us....

Sannois
May. 24, 2007, 06:18 AM
be moles as well. The barn where I am at is loaded they can push up huge mounds of dirt and they have done it in the stalls coming out by the doorway into the stalls, so yes comng from under the cement. Its not skunks. Can you see a hole or is it just piles of dirt?

MistyBlue
May. 24, 2007, 08:39 AM
Could definitely be moles...they are fabulous at exacavating.
And I hate to tell you...but male cats aren't usually the best at mousing or ratting. (not all male cats, but generally female cats seem to be better ratters/mousers) And not to scare you, but if you have BIG rats...most cats won't muck with them.
Rats don't usually colonize..but a female will use a den hole to raise young in.
Can you get a truck or car near your barn? If so, look in hardware stores for a muffler converter for pests. They store them where they keep mole bait and mole traps. It's a short piece of rubber tubing, one end is large and fits over your muffler, clamps on with a twist clamp. The other end is the size of a garden hose and also clamps on. You attach it to your vehicle's exhaust, attach it to the house and then drop the other end of the hose into the hole. Stuff some old towels around the end of the hose in the hole so that's it's as airtight as you can get it. Then go start your car and run it for 30-40 minutes. Whatever the heck is in that hole will go to sleep and never wake up again.
Afterwards, shut car off, remove devices and allow barn to air out...keeping all doors and windows open and run a fan if you have one. Should be fine within an hour or two.
So that whatever dead thing it now is doesn't smell...scoop some lime pellets into the opening of the hole and stuff them down it a bit...then use a leafblower to puff them as far into the hole as possible...then backfill hole opening closed with dirt and pack the entrance shut.
No need to see whatever it is. ;)
(however, if it's a badger it may come shrieking out and towels won't hold it in. Then my advice is run like hell :lol: )

Bluey
May. 24, 2007, 08:50 AM
Badgers are really dangerous, don't mess with them, call in the troops to get rid of them.
I was grading a road with the bulldozer and the blade scooped a badger out of it's hole, that was asleep and ended sitting on top of the sand pile the dozer was moving.
Still half asleep, that silly thing grabbed the end of that blade and tried to chomp down on it, as it was clawing it and left claw marks on the steel bulldozer blade.:eek: :eek: :eek:

Good that they are very short sighted and could not see me up there. I would have to run for it if he came after me.

I don't think you have a badger, because you would only have a bigger mound and hole or two, not several smaller ones.

JSwan
May. 24, 2007, 08:59 AM
Let's try an experiment.

Wet the areas around the openings to the dens. Wet enough to leave a pawprint.

Leave the area alone for 24 hours - no dogs cats people, etc.

Then go back and look for paw prints. Take a photo and post it so we can see it.

I have books on tracking wildlife - complete with pawprint diagrams to help a tracker identify species. (Yes, I have no life but that's the subject of a different thread).

I bet we could figure it out that way. And also look for scat - cuz - yes - I have pictures of scat.

Interested in experimenting?

MistyBlue
May. 24, 2007, 10:17 AM
JSwan...dry flour works better to catch prints. :yes: Excellent idea on getting the prints though...but wet ground wil only leave clear prints when it's soft and stays wet and if the animal is heavy enough to make an impression. But sprinkling plain kitchen flour around catches really nice clear prints. (and you can also get an idea of where they're wandering after stepping in it, LOL)
And Bluey is right...don't mess with badgers. They prefer to be left alone, but piss them off and you need to beat a hasty retreat. :eek: :yes: :eek: Same with wolverines and otters (yes, otters are adorable but not always friendly)...most of the large weasels can be...well, weasels. :D And if a badger bites you...yeesh. Much like pit bulls are said to have...but actually don't...badgers actually do have. Locking jaws. :o It doesn't actually lock unless the thing has Lock Jaw...but the way their jaws are set in their heads and with their skulls, dislocating the jaw is usually the only way to get a biting badger off of you. They're stubborn as hell and can be quite vicious...but they don't normally chase for any distance. Only thing tougher to deal with is a wolverine...badgers are more comparable to a fisher, but tough and none are anything you want to muck with up close. All make gosh-awful noises most of the time before backing it up with action...so if any of those start sounding creepy as hell...run.

JSwan
May. 24, 2007, 10:20 AM
Ooo - yes - flour. Perfect! That will get excellent results unless it rains. I have lots of clay where I live - so prints tend to turn into fossils. I'll have to try the flour thing though - because sometimes something just ain't right and I don't know who or what is getting into the mudroom at night. (probably raccoon but I'm not staying up all night to find out)

For the OP - how 'bout it? Sounds like fun!


JSwan...dry flour works better to catch prints. :yes: Excellent idea on getting the prints though...but wet ground wil only leave clear prints when it's soft and stays wet and if the animal is heavy enough to make an impression. But sprinkling plain kitchen flour around catches really nice clear prints. (and you can also get an idea of where they're wandering after stepping in it, LOL)
And Bluey is right...don't mess with badgers. They prefer to be left alone, but piss them off and you need to beat a hasty retreat. :eek: :yes: :eek: Same with wolverines and otters (yes, otters are adorable but not always friendly)...most of the large weasels can be...well, weasels. :D And if a badger bites you...yeesh. Much like pit bulls are said to have...but actually don't...badgers actually do have. Locking jaws. :o It doesn't actually lock unless the thing has Lock Jaw...but the way their jaws are set in their heads and with their skulls, dislocating the jaw is usually the only way to get a biting badger off of you. They're stubborn as hell and can be quite vicious...but they don't normally chase for any distance. Only thing tougher to deal with is a wolverine...badgers are more comparable to a fisher, but tough and none are anything you want to muck with up close. All make gosh-awful noises most of the time before backing it up with action...so if any of those start sounding creepy as hell...run.

King's Ransom
May. 24, 2007, 11:05 AM
You guys are GREAT!!!

I will try the flour thing and see what we see. If I get a good "print" I will post it here.

This is quite an adventure for a city girl and two show barn babies! Though I suspect that King has it all figured out already. Waiting for Elijah and me to catch up!

Shall we start a pool of bets on what it is I finally find?
On general principles, I am not going to bet rats. Just because I don't want it to be rats!

Moles? Marmot? Ground hog? Badger? :eek: Rats?

I am not sure about the car-exhaust thing. Yes, I can get a car in there. But, the "openings" are fairly large, especially in the empty stall that backs up to the workshop. They (whoever they are) have dug out quite a bit of gravel and there is a big gap now under the floor of the workshop (concrete), and a big pile of gravel in the empty stall.

The size of this gravel pile makes me think it is really something bigger than a rat. Definitely not a mouse. The gravel is not like screenings, either, it's good-size gravel. I tend to think this is a fairly large critter.

Another thought -- a few days ago, before I started investigating the gravel, I THOUGHT I saw a marmot in the field to the west of the barn. When I lived in the city, we had marmots in our back yard, so I sort of recognized that slinky-dinky thing they do. But I shrugged it off and assumed it was just my cat on the hunt. But maybe it was not the cat? Maybe it was a marmot, as Quin first suggested?

Are they dangerous? I mean, like badgers? We had one in the city that was bigger than my cocker spaniel! Very cute, really ... but they are destructive.

JSwan
May. 24, 2007, 11:12 AM
You're so funny. I think it's a hoot when "city people" move to the country. (no insult intended at all). The stories - the descriptions of incidents - hilarious!

Mr. JSwan is a city boy - when we finally moved to a rural area I was thrilled. One nice autumn day, as he's eating breakfast - he pauses; spoon in mid-air. He said, "Hey, check out the bear in the front yard.". (I thought he was joking)

Yup - a bear in the front yard - eating apples. No biggie.

Then Mr. JSwan says, "You know, I wanted to go outside and pet it. But then I thought that would be a really bad idea." You think? He's actually really smart - but petting a bear?

The livestock just kept the bear in their sights - never moving a muscle.


You guys are GREAT!!!

This is quite an adventure for a city girl and two show barn babies! Though I suspect that King has it all figured out already. Waiting for Elijah and me to catch up!

Shall we start a pool of bets on what it is I finally find?
On general principles, I am not going to bet rats. Just because I don't want it to be rats!.

SGray
May. 24, 2007, 11:46 AM
......I am not sure about the car-exhaust thing. Yes, I can get a car in there. But, the "openings" are fairly large, especially in the empty stall that backs up to the workshop. They (whoever they are) have dug out quite a bit of gravel and there is a big gap now under the floor of the workshop (concrete), and a big pile of gravel in the empty stall.

The size of this gravel pile makes me think it is really something bigger than a rat. Definitely not a mouse. The gravel is not like screenings, either, it's good-size gravel. I tend to think this is a fairly large critter........

do you live near J Swan? maybe it's a bear :winkgrin:

RainDancer
May. 24, 2007, 12:02 PM
Moles can cause some pretty good damage. My shed at work (I keep chemicals in it) has a concrete porch/patio around it. The concrete is cracked and giving where the darn things have dug their extensive holes.

Lovin the flour idea. That is great.

King's Ransom
May. 24, 2007, 12:19 PM
Ha ha! MAYBE I would notice a bear?!

I am going to go out this evening with my digital camera and take some photos to post so you guys can help me out. Then, I am going to spread the flour and see what kind of paw prints we get.

JSwan
May. 24, 2007, 12:23 PM
Oh goody - I can't wait!

Reminds me of a story I heard. This guy walks out of his house with a bag of trash. Walks up to his pickup and throws the bag in so he can take it to the landfill.

Bag lands on a sleeping BEAR. Yup - the bear had climbed into the bed of the truck and gone to sleep.

Yes, it's possible to not notice a bear. But not advisable!



Ha ha! MAYBE I would notice a bear?!

I am going to go out this evening with my digital camera and take some photos to post so you guys can help me out. Then, I am going to spread the flour and see what kind of paw prints we get.

Quin
May. 24, 2007, 11:01 PM
Bumping - any luck with the camera or the 'dusting for fingerprints'?

I'm voting against rats simply because if they were eating the spilled grain/checking out the buckets you would have noticed the droppings.

King's Ransom
May. 24, 2007, 11:10 PM
Not yet. This evening got away from me. I had to work late, then I got my run in over at the state park, and then my mom showed up. You know how that goes! I'll have to start my sleuthing tomorrow. :(

Sannois
May. 25, 2007, 07:19 AM
Interesting idea about the flower. Cant wait to see what fun critters you have. But if you get no results its a mole, cause they push the dirt up but very rarely come all the way out. :no:

county
May. 25, 2007, 07:24 AM
A mole is the size of a mouse just how big a hole does one think they can make? And they burrow underground not make big holes you can see.

Bluey
May. 25, 2007, 08:00 AM
Around here, I think that moles mostly eat grubs and such bugs that live in lawns and dirt, more than plants.
They would eat spilled grain, I think.
Our moles are a little bigger than rats, much bigger than mice.
Our cat used to wait by a hole and when the mole came out, she would catch them and play with them.
I am surprised they are digging IN barns and shops.
Ours at least are polite and keep their digging to the open spaces.

Sannois
May. 25, 2007, 08:14 AM
A mole is the size of a mouse just how big a hole does one think they can make? And they burrow underground not make big holes you can see.

The european mole that is the most common mole is 5 inches in length and has feet like small shovels, its not a vole which are destructive as well or a star nose which is small. I have a pic of one that made the mistake last year of popping out of his mountain. He was HUGE.
I do not think she is talking hole I think people are thinking theres a big hole, I got the impression that it was piles of dirt being pushed up. Moles will move an incredible amount of dirt, I agree they dont leave big hoels at all cause they do not like light and smells getting in their tunnels. ;)

MistyBlue
May. 25, 2007, 08:23 AM
I use flour to check for barn critters...and to see if I have mouse or rat activity in there. So far all I have is the chipmunk who lives in the slope behind my barn coming in...ducking into my mare's stall and grabbing all her dropped grain. Then it stashes some under the corner of one mat and brings the rest to it's hole outside.
If you want to track a barn critter to whatever in your barn is attracting it...spray the barn doorway and a few small areas of the floor with water, enough to leave a film of water. Then use a screen to sift flour on the rest of the floor. The critter's feet get wet and leave dark footprints in the flour...then leave white footprints where ever it's climbing.
And then if a predator catches your critter...you've been kind enough to already have it breaded for frying. :winkgrin: :lol: :winkgrin:
If you ever wonder if you have mice in your house, flour the countertop along the back edge where counter and wall meet. Check it in the morning...that's a mouse's preferred "highway."

DancingPretense
May. 25, 2007, 08:24 AM
I want an update!

Sannois
May. 25, 2007, 07:18 PM
I want an update!

Any developments KR??:D

King's Ransom
May. 25, 2007, 10:05 PM
I got photos of the gravel piles and the holes. Now I just have to figure out how to get them out of my camera, into my computer and posted someplace where you guys can see them, since I can't post photos.

Also -- my cat killed a mole today. I found it's dead carcass out in the yard. That must be why the mole-runs have diminished. I suspect that as soon as they pop their little heads up, he is on them. I think he is doing a pretty good job, really, with the mice and moles and voles. Whatever is digging in the gravel is way too much for him, though.

I'll post the photos as soon as I can.

MistyBlue
May. 25, 2007, 10:07 PM
Hmmm...ever see the movie Tremors? :winkgrin: :lol: :winkgrin:

King's Ransom
May. 25, 2007, 11:14 PM
I posted the photos in an album on Shutterfly. I hope this works. Here is the link to the album:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AbtGTls2ctHvA

I think you will have to scroll through my other photos to see the ones I added. If this doesn't work, I will try something else. Also, there are the photos there of King when he could not get up in the muddy paddock, and Elijah worrying over him ... and King after he figured out to use a little "hill" to help him get up. :lol:

Sannois
May. 25, 2007, 11:47 PM
I posted the photos in an album on Shutterfly. I hope this works. Here is the link to the album:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AbtGTls2ctHvA

I think you will have to scroll through my other photos to see the ones I added. If this doesn't work, I will try something else. Also, there are the photos there of King when he could not get up in the muddy paddock, and Elijah worrying over him ... and King after he figured out to use a little "hill" to help him get up. :lol:

Yikes what the neck is doing that>> Thats a pretty big hole. Time for the flour!
Oh you have some beautiful country out there. :yes:

Sannois
May. 25, 2007, 11:51 PM
And that hole is big. Not like a rat hole. Fox?? Get the flour out lady! :eek:

HobbyHorseLabradors
May. 25, 2007, 11:52 PM
Oh now this is funny!
Maybe I secretly sent you the ground hog babies I've been complaining about in the other thread!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

BuddyRoo
May. 25, 2007, 11:56 PM
groundhog is my bet.

not sure if this has been mentioned or not....but be careful w/ poison. if you are able to poison the critter and it dies, whatever animal then tries to eat it (say your family dog) will also get poisoned.

i mention this due to years of veterinary work and poisoned dogs/cats--with owners insisting "but he couldn't reach the d-con!"

King's Ransom
May. 25, 2007, 11:58 PM
See? It's something BIG! I'm actually a little bit scared of getting too close. Well, maybe more than a little bit. And WHERE do you put the flour when there is all this gravel everywhere?

When JSwan takes a look, maybe she can tell me if it's a bear! :eek:

summerhorse
May. 26, 2007, 12:06 AM
My rats dig holes much bigger than that (and they are regular old rat size). In fact they dig whole networks which are prone to collapse under you without notice.

=8-O

BUT they leave signs... and smells...

Put some grain in a big dish or pan they will have to get in (chicken feed if you have it) and put it by the hole and if it is rats or mice you will see rat feces in there. Could also be your cat digging after the rats! But usually they just sit there and wait for a rat to pop out and nab it. Otherwise it could be any number of creatures. Did you try the flour trick?

MistyBlue
May. 26, 2007, 08:32 AM
First: Holy cow is that pond photo gorgeous!
Second: If those are 2x4 boards in the stall I wouldn't guess anything overly large like a badger or groundhog. But it's not a rat hole...do you have ground squirrels in your area?
Since that entrance is where there is bedding...try slapping a piece of plywood down and flour that for overnight. You may have to wait two nights since the plywood will be new and whatever it is may avoid it until it gets used to it. Also, check around for "back doors." Almost everything that burrows makes emergency exits...could be up to 50-75 feet away in another direction and will be somewhat hidden. Back doors don't always have mounded dirt near them. Burrowing animals can tunnel fast...even a small star nosed mole (about the size of a shrew or small rat) can tunnel up to 75 feet in one day. A hairy tail mole (not sure it's actual name, but gew moles have fur on their stubby tails) is about the size of a large rat and can reach up to 8 inches long. Those things are like having an underground drill...very destructive.
If you're feeling brave...listen at the hole entrance. You can even drop a piece of hose or tubing into the hole and listen through that. If it's a nursery den, you'll hear squeaking and movement.
Cute things also tunnel, so don't be too scared. It could be a bunny. :D (probably not, but could be and those are cute)

AnotherRound
May. 26, 2007, 08:37 AM
The smaller things like moles live on grubs. If they are in your lawn, de-grub your lawn.

The hole to a groundhog or woodchuck will be about the size which would make you think you could get both arms down it together past your elbows. Not a small hole.

AnotherRound
May. 26, 2007, 08:40 AM
Well I just looked at the pics and those look pretty big to me. Also, the gravel pile is wild. My bet is groundhog or woodchuck (are they the same thing?)

county
May. 26, 2007, 08:50 AM
Woodchucks and Ground Hogs are the same thing and thats definatly what the hole and gravel mess look like. We have lots of them here and they love to dig under building, grain bins, etc. Come borrow my dogs they'll kill it for you. But they will drag it up to the house to show it off.

Bluey
May. 26, 2007, 08:55 AM
The pictures look like our barn rats in action, except that we have sand, not gravel.:(

Catersun
May. 26, 2007, 09:16 AM
The Barn Ransom.... Who will keep the barn?? the critters?... or the HUMAN... *cheesy movie music in the background*

[the sky clouds over with birds and what ever the critter is pops his head up out of the hole camera pans in on just it's face. Critter grins]

Cue music..
"SO, tune in next week to find out Just What.. Ran through the flour.

JSwan
May. 26, 2007, 09:54 AM
OH MY GOD

It's Hogzilla. Shoot it!




Looks like groundhog. What state are you in? I can't remember. Get the flour - I can't stand the suspense.

CA ASB
May. 26, 2007, 01:10 PM
Since we don't get groundhogs out here, I've seen ground squirrels that can do that. Hole actually doesn't look that big compared to some of the ground squirrel holes I see out on trail regularly.

But, I think she's in Kansas, so don't know the varmint population there (maybe it's prairie dogs movin in :winkgrin: )

bird4416
May. 26, 2007, 02:39 PM
Here is your critter popping up out of its hole.:)



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vineyridge
May. 26, 2007, 02:51 PM
Do armadillos live in Kansas? I've never heard of one trying to live inside, but you never know. They are digging machines.

Bluey
May. 26, 2007, 02:58 PM
Here is your critter popping up out of its hole.:)



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Thanks for that! I can say now it definitely looks like you have those pesky, fat cheek parie dogs there.:winkgrin:

jazzrider
May. 26, 2007, 04:49 PM
This thread is so funny -- but very unsatisfying. What the heck is it?!?? :eek:

For fear that we see the pictures of flour prints and still can't figure out what it is -- how about setting up a video camera one night?

Sannois
May. 26, 2007, 04:55 PM
Well I just looked at the pics and those look pretty big to me. Also, the gravel pile is wild. My bet is groundhog or woodchuck (are they the same thing?)

You need a russell! :D

King's Ransom
May. 26, 2007, 04:56 PM
Bird -- that is GREAT!

Yes, it is funny ... would be even funnier if were someone ELSE'S barn! :lol:

I don't have a video camera, but I have to admit it is tempting. Will do the flour tonight and see what we get. I am leaning toward agreeing with Quin's first suggestion about the marmot, which is kind of like a ground hog.

County -- I think you are too far away from me, otherwise I'd be right over to get your dogs! I keep thinking that I need a bigger, more ferocious dog around here than my little cocker spaniel ... but then I keep thinking that there are enough animals around here for one single lady. I mean, two horses, a dog and a cat -- they have me outnumbered already!

The flour goes out tonight and if I "catch" anything, I will post the photos. Sorry to keep everyone in suspense.

Sannois
May. 26, 2007, 04:57 PM
all around the hole where they would come out.
Are there Prairie dogs where you are??

King's Ransom
May. 26, 2007, 04:59 PM
Oh, and MistyBlue -- those are 2x10s in the stalls if that give you a bit more perspective on size!

goeslikestink
May. 26, 2007, 05:22 PM
king matey you got rats -- rats can grow as big as cats --
when i took over my field yonks ago i had huge big rats fat and happy rats
so when one day i resuced a mother cat and kittens was gonna give them to the cattery but decided to keep them all-- ( since daughter of said cat died at aged 28 this year old tootsie still have her daughter at 20 yrs) well old pelham cuaght a rat -- as in rat-- and gave it to her kittens to play with
the rat was bigger than them--- and the kittens were about 4mths old since then she proceeded to catch the whole family the mother being the biggiest

my stables were mud floors wel was one huge stable then i added and built others stables onto it --- but the stables al have mud floors

since then i now get the odd rat -- as have more cats dencendants from tootsie and they all call my working cats ( as border collies working dogs)
people are always wanting my cats kittens becuase they have seen big rats that they catch -- so theres always wanted in stable yards since parents have been working farm cats -- have bred them for farmers /yards but only if they want them-- as my cats are huge -- to match the rat--

you have rats and not one but a family of them -- get a cat-- or cats
as the feral strays ones are best and get a cage keep iweeks then open the door and let cat inn cgae for about 4 and out as reguired feed them in there and they will always return to be shut in if they need to be shut in at night

and in meantime -- shove a hose pipe full blast down hole -- they will pop out other end - then you can if you can do it hit them on the head with back of shovel -- dead in to mins flat---if you have the stomach to--- if not blast the water hose pipe full on and dnot look -

King's Ransom
May. 26, 2007, 06:12 PM
Well, Stinky, this is one time I sure hope you are wrong! :no: And no, I cannot stand there and bonk the rats on the head. I MIGHT be able to stand at a great distance and shoot them with a .22 (yes I am a good shot) ... but I am afraid that my whole "city girl" will be coming out if there is a bunch of rats out there! Might call it a day and move back to town! (Not really!)

Sannois -- yes, we have prairie dogs and ground hogs and marmots. Other vermin? skunks. raccoons. coyotes. fox. snakes. wasps. fleas. ticks. the occasional bobcat.

No lions or tigers or bears oh my -- not here in my neck of the Kansas prairie!

I will put the flour out, but I'm telling everybody right now that I am not shoving a garden hose down that hole and hoping to send rats flying out the other side! Nor am I wiggling down in there myself to take a look, okay?

At the end of the day, maybe it's best to live and let live? Maybe I'll join one of those religions that thinks the June bug on the driveway might be old Uncle Jim in a new life form ...

I am actually starting to think this might be one of those times where you call a professional and pay cash money for someone else to do the dirty work. :yes:

Lieslot
May. 26, 2007, 07:34 PM
Me too thinks it's rats.

Let me tell you a scary story that happened to me a few months ago.

I was mucking out one of the stalls & the cat was sitting with me as usual.
Suddenly she jumped into the corner of the stall, very agitated, leaping in hunting position & desperately trying to lift the rubber mat.
I laughed at her and said : "Oh Kitty, do you really think there's a mousy underneath that rubber mat. Let mummy help & lift the mat so you can get to mousy."
Well I lift the mat, and there's a beast, size of a small cat jumping up at me. In my shock I drop the heavy rubber mat & accidentally (luckily I mean to say) hit the creature on the head. And in an instinct reaction I put my foot on it and at the same time, Kitty attacks it's head. IT WAS A RAT :eek: ! I was shaking & petrofied, but knew I couldn't get my foot off the thing untill the cat at least savaged it's head. It died & I left it as proof in the barn til my husband got home that night. (Kitty of course wanted to take off with her catch, so I had to lock her in the house for the remaining of the day ;) )

Anyway, we lifted the mats in all stalls and there were HUGE tunnels all around. They are great diggers those rats.

I hope for you that's not the case, but I fear so..........

I have no advice on how to catch them really. I just had a bout of scary luck getting a hold of that bugger :yes: .

Good luck. L.

JanM
May. 26, 2007, 07:44 PM
I just read a hint in a magazine that to get rid of vermin you should put chili powder in each hole and the vermin will leave. With the amount you're going to need you might check out the huge containers at the grocery store.

Calamber
May. 26, 2007, 07:51 PM
I would lend you my super duper rat dog Clancy, JRT extraordinaire. Last year we moved into a rat infested barn. After a month there were 18!! less rats and one happy, albeit obsessed dog. Find someone with a good ratter and get the hoses out and let him/her at it. They were moving some serious gravel around too, every night some monster hole would open up in the stalls. For some reason they liked climbing up the stone walls behind the sliding end doors so it was a mere matter of closing the doors and either knocking the rats off or they would fall off and Clancy would dispatch them quickly. Obviously you never see these creatures or you would not have started this thread and they have some subterraneum city below you, so, on to the hoses!

King's Ransom
May. 26, 2007, 07:56 PM
Lieslot, you just described one of my worst nightmares.

Now I am almost afraid to go put out the flour!

Jiminy Christmas ... in 25 years of marriage, I never once needed a husband to kill rats. Give me four years of single-hood and ... where are the dang men when you NEED them???!!!!

And I suppose it is completely out of the question for me to call ... nope, don't EVEN finish that sentence!:no:

King's Ransom
May. 26, 2007, 08:04 PM
Okay, I am decided. If it turns out these are rats, the cat is coming into the house and I am putting out three tons of rat poison. I can live with the cat in the house. He is a nice cat. I have a big basement. He'll enjoy it.

Flour tonight. Rat poison tomorrow?

I absolutely cannot stuff a garden hose down there and start flushing out rats. Not only am I totally incapable of doing that, but even if I could ... I would then not be able to sleep for ... ever.

What are they eating? A whole colony of rats could not survive on the meager amounts of grain that King drops from his bucket. My leathers have not been chewed. Do they eat dirt? And WHY have I NEVER seen them? NEVER! No droppings either. I will admit I am not the most observant person in the world, but heavens! You'd think I'd see a COLONY OF RATS in my barn!

Yikes. This whole thing is making my skin crawl.

MistyBlue
May. 26, 2007, 08:16 PM
KR...rats eat...everything. Even each other. :yes: Rats don't need a buffet, but they will enjoy one if there's one around.
If I lived closer I'd come help you figure out what was moving into your place...very few things give me the willies. Except for sharks...I have an unreasonable fear of sharks or anything that is bigger than me, swims faster tham me, has big teeth and that I can't see coming. But I'm pretty d*mn sure it's not a shark in your barn. :winkgrin:
But since I'm way up here in Connecticut...I'll send Bad Jou-Jou to whatever is squatting on your property. :D

Lieslot
May. 26, 2007, 08:22 PM
It might just only be 1! rat.

You see we had just the one, but tunnels in all 3 stalls, at the back of barn and in the hay barn.
And there were like 3 large den holes, right underneath each stall manger.

I don't know how long that rat had been living there before I caught it. The funny thing is, the cat had been sitting with me whilst mucking out stalls daily for more then 3 months!!! and since we caught the rat, she never really sits with me anymore whilst mucking out, she'll swing by cuddle & wonder off again, so I guess this creature had probably been living with us for a good few months and I so much was not aware of it at all. And it apparently hadn't even bothered the horses.

So don't panic yet, it might only just be one beast!
Seeing the amount of tunnels we had to cover, you would have thought there was a colonly out there, but no, not at all.
I know check under the mats at least once a week, but no more tunnels!

I feel for you! Good luck, keep us posted. L.

vineyridge
May. 26, 2007, 11:35 PM
We had rats, zillions of rats, before I took over managing our barn. You'd go in the tack room, turn on the light, and there would be rats scampering around on the ceiling joists. Gave me the willies.

I got the big blocks of Just One Bite that break into sticks, and placed them up high, on top of the joists and wherever there was a place that nothing but rats could get into.

Within two months, the suckers were all gone. I have the occasional possum now, and only have to put the Just one Bite out in very small quantities about once a year.

My terrier mix got a rat at the barn fairly recently and wouldn't quit playing with it, so I bapped it in the head with a hammer. That was the end of that rat. The next day I put out some more of the Just One Bite.

If you're worried about your other critters, you can buy special rat bait stations and put the poison inside them.

Are you positive it isn't an armadillo, though. That huge pile of gravel doesn't look very rattish to me.

King's Ransom
May. 26, 2007, 11:42 PM
Vineyridge -- Thanks! If it turns out to be rats, I will get the Just One Bite stuff.

The horses have been fed and turned back out for the night. The lights are out and the flour has been spread. Will there be an answer in the morning?

All of this just goes to prove that you can take the girl out of the city, but I don't think you can ever REALLY take the city out of the girl! :no:

goeslikestink
May. 27, 2007, 05:08 AM
king ransome ------------ Rats are scary creatures same as mice
isnt it funny how we all dont like them i know they are a desease carrying creature but isnt that funny thing - like i said i used to have rats and didnt have lights then so used to go into the stable with a shovel and shaout and bang and things --

years later a matey used to laon raspberry for his daughter -- well was on my property so i took care of raspberry he used to pay for me to teach his daugghter and pay towards raspbrrys keep as his daughter was with me most of the time then -- anyways he had chickens and asked if he could build a run for them here - not aproblem or so i thought as his run was always clean and birds well kept ---

and the rat population increased somewhat but not excessive
wasnt till he left and go his own place and brought his own horses etc
that when he dismentled the chicken shed and run how the blooming thing had rats underneath it -- luckly that day had the dogs with me one jack russell and one gsd x bearded collie--- wehn as if that wasnt enough day was hot and humid dave the bloke was there with his daughter now 14 debs was there i was there
we decided to also clean where i had the straw and had laid out the tarp for folding away for next year--
the blooming rats came out everywhere -- dave says quick grab a shovel
and hit on the head - the dogs were off -- one rat ran up hawthorne
trree with foxy the cross bred underneath -- then acouple went under the pallets where the straw used to be with patch hot on thre tails- the cats at that time had 7 - it was chase the rat day --
dave shouting over to debs turn your shovel round and whack it one as shes trying to kil the rat-- tehn matey comes into yar as we all chasing the rats everywhere and his dog english mastiff he lets off and finds a rats and treat it like a ball not sure of what to do--
foxy has found another rat -- she was fine with it till it bit her so she bit it back and killed it -- as before it was just a game of chase
tht was it got the message then proceed to kill more -
it was a rats worse nightmare all in about 30 rats died that day and since havent had that many have odd one but thats it

looking back its quite funny but at the time it wasnt i have never seen so many rats -- at any one time - they acorss the tarp from the chicken shed
and to this day i wont have abig chicken shed like daves- my chickens were banthams that i ahd and were keep in large rabbit run as only had 2 but they used to go out everyday for awonfer around the yard so were only in the rabbit run at night
daves were in a huge shed he built with a huge run----
never agian will i say yes if someone want chickens by that many
since they gone have gone back to odd one now and agian rat that is
rats breeding can breed heaps ina couple of months anit something like 2months or so then give birth and can breedas soon as they weened
cant remeber there gestation period --

egontoast
May. 27, 2007, 05:45 AM
I don't understand this approach . People can guess but that's all it is. If you just call the gov't department in charge of wildlife in your area and describe the situation ,they could likely tell you exactly what it is and your options for dealing with it. They might even send someone out
if necessary. There are also exterminators you can hire for this.

I'd want to know what it was before putting out poison and so on.
Remember too that poisoned carcasses can kill your cat and other animals too.



I just read a hint in a magazine that to get rid of vermin you should put chili powder in each hole

but who shall hold their little legs apart?

JSwan
May. 27, 2007, 06:39 AM
If it is rats - one side effect of poison to think about.

It's getting warm out - and those critters like to die in place you can't reach them. Which makes for a very long stinky summer.

Ask me how I know this.

I finally went with the .22 and got in some target practice.

I don't have to worry about such things anymore though.

I have Peanut - my beagle. She's not supposed to chase or kill anything but rabbits - but she's gotten rid of a young beaver, muskrat, rats, and the other day I woke to possum hair all over the house. She ate the possum inside the house! I never walk around barefoot.

King's Ransom
May. 27, 2007, 10:58 AM
Okay, there are NO prints in any of the flour that I put out last night.

Here are a couple of other interesting facts:

1. Kitty did not eat all of his food (I only put about 1 cup of kibble out), and his "leftovers" are still in his bowl, untouched. Thoughts -- he is eating something else, and nothing else is eating his food ... ???

2. Earlier this spring, I had about six bags of Senior Feed on pallets in the workshop. They were there for about two weeks as I used them up. Just in bags. Never touched. No chewings on the edges, nothing. I kept telling myself I should get them dumped into the rodent-proof feed bins, but nothing ever bothered them. I did get them dumped into the bins, and now I only have about six bags of Woody Pet bedding on the pallets. Also untouched.

3. I have about 35 bales of hay on pallets in the barn. The only thing I have ever seen in the hay is my own cat and sometimes a couple of feral ones that visit.

Obviously, there is SOMETHING DIGGING holes. But whatever it is, it's not leaving much evidence otherwise. I SEARCHED for droppings. The only thing I have noticed is that about a week ago I had closed up the barn and the shop because of rain (horses were out, but I didn't want the rain and wind blowing through the shop). When I opened it back up, it smelled a lot like urine. Just that one day.

So, at the end of the day, you all have convinced me. Tuesday morning I am going to get on the phone and call somebody -- exterminator, county agent, somebody to come out here and take a look and see what I should do. Ignoring it sure isn't going to help.

goeslikestink
May. 27, 2007, 11:03 AM
king -- dont forget to tell us what it is--- i want to know xx

JSwan
May. 27, 2007, 11:04 AM
This time of year there is so much food around (naturally) the animal may just not be as interested in getting into the feed.

Just a guess.

I was hoping for paw prints - dagnabbit. Well - do tell us what the exterminator says.

And if he/she traps it - please do not release it on my farm...... I have enough holes and unusual sounds in the night already!

Good luck!

MistyBlue
May. 27, 2007, 11:20 AM
Not touching the grain and when barn was closed up without horses in damp weather...interior smelled like urine?
My guess wold be you have a carnivore and not an herbivore...and probably one from the weasel family. Weasels have a string natural musk smell...and not perfumey musk...stinky musk.
Not that this narrows it down a whole lot for you but these are animals that fit the urine smell left behind:
Ferrets, otters (probably not), badgers, wolverines (probably not those two either...too big and very protective of their dens, they'd let you know they're there) stoats/ermines, plain north american weasel, minks and skunks. These are all mustelids...weasels. ;) We also call them Slinky Stinkies. :lol: They tend to smell like old cat urine. It's not going to be a wolverine in KY, those are cold weather weasels. They're also called Skunk Bears since they look like bear cubs and stink like a skunk. They're in northern states, they don't like warm weather. All otters prefer water living. Badgers will scent mark den openings...but they're also not overly shy and pretty active. If you have a badger around, you usually know it pretty quickly since they tend to move in and try to chase people out. Stubborn and very nasty tempered animals, but funny as hell if watched from a safe distance. (they're like grumpy old men, they walk around grumbling and complaining all the time) Most of the smallest weasels(ermine, ferrets, plain weasels) prefer moving into other animals' dens...but can dig out a hole for themselves.
Possums (not in the weasel family)also smell...but they usually don't dig their own dens. They are meat eaters, but not hole diggers. Same with raccoons...they'll live in a den or similar type home, but they also move frequently like possums and also don't dig dens themselves. They only use dens to raise young/winter.

King's Ransom
May. 27, 2007, 11:54 AM
To be clear, I am in Kansas, not Kentucky. ;)

So, it can get plenty cold. This is just perplexing.

CYF
May. 27, 2007, 12:01 PM
Other than not touching cat food (HUGE food fav. there!) and no paw prints, I'd have gone with a possum. They are actually kinda cute.. but with horses, that cute just doesn't matter. They're toast if I see them.
I'll agree, you won't get much satisfaction until you call some professional in.

Sannois
May. 27, 2007, 12:57 PM
Other than not touching cat food (HUGE food fav. there!) and no paw prints, I'd have gone with a possum. They are actually kinda cute.. but with horses, that cute just doesn't matter. They're toast if I see them.
I'll agree, you won't get much satisfaction until you call some professional in.

Call the exterminator or a Ag co op branch and see if they can help you. All this guessing is not getting rid of your critter! :eek:

Guin
May. 27, 2007, 02:12 PM
If nothing seems to be eating grain or catfood, then it can't possibly be rats, and probably not a weasel. A weasel would eat the cat food. I'm sticking with woodchuck, which is a harmless beast aside from the tunnel. Do you have a video camera? Can you hook it up so it will video the hole overnight? Then you'd actually see what it is.

TB or not TB?
May. 27, 2007, 03:49 PM
As a city gal myself, I have nothing to add, exept that MistyBlue's comments about badgers made me look up pictures of them. This page about Badgers (http://people.wcslc.edu/faculty/tharrison/gslplaya99/badgers.htm) was informative and talks about how they are made for DIGGING! Plus, look at this picture (http://people.wcslc.edu/faculty/tharrison/gslplaya99/gallery_entering_hole.jpg) - look at that digging machine!

Looks suspicious to me!

BuddyRoo
May. 27, 2007, 03:58 PM
my boss had a groundhog doing much the same as yours. he didn't come out the hole by the deck--he was just pushing up dirt/rocks there. same at my barn--bo had one going down by her foundation. main hole was about 50 feet away...but there were piles along the way--just dumping spots....


one option is to just call dnr and have them send someone out when in the area to confirm.


or, get a jackassle! :D my friend's had a cute little one that kept their yard mole and critter free....

King's Ransom
May. 28, 2007, 01:48 AM
We think it's a skunk.

I had a big BBQ here on the farm today and a bunch of people looked at my critter problem. The consensus of the uninformed is that it is a skunk. I am still going to call the county on Tuesday, but right now I am in agreement.

There is a strong odor of skunk, I have seen a skunk. And I did some research about the varmints on the internet. Classic skunk behavior to dig a den under a concrete floor of a building. They are, apparently, incredibly strong diggers. They breed in the early spring (which is when this all started) and have their babies in early May -- now.

The biggest problem is that they harbor rabies.

Like I said, I'm going to call the county on Tuesday and see what if they can send someone to help me with this. But EVERYONE who was actually here today dismissed the idea of rats. It does not look like there are rats out there. I should have gotten on this earlier. If I'd have put moth balls or ammonia rags out before the babies came, I might have encouraged the mom to leave. But it may be too late now.

No definitive answer, but that is the popular opinon from a multitude of eyewitnesses today. Of course, none of my visitors was an expert by any stretch. :no:

SLW
May. 28, 2007, 09:17 AM
KR- I don't mean to dampen your Memorial Day but the county won't assist you in catching skunks. They have one live trap used for catching stray dogs. When Barney (yes, that is the animal control officers name) brought it to my house in March and set it up he told me "I only take dogs out of the trap. Opossums, skunks & raccons are yours to remove."

If it is a momma skunk who has made her nursery in your barn you have a couple choices- coexist w/ her as best you can until she is ready to leave or phone Bob Harrington at the newspaper, he is the outdoor sports/hunting writer, and he may be able to hook you up w/ a hunter who take it out that way.

Good luck! I tried every method I knew to get my unwanted skunk to leave- water, chemicals, shotgun blast into the den, terriers- with no luck. As is, she left when she was ready and I sealed the hole to prevent a repeat visit.

It stinks eh?? ;)

Bluey
May. 28, 2007, 09:37 AM
Here, skunks are our main rabies reservoir and we already have many tested positive for rabies this year.
You don't want them around and be sure your barn cats, dogs and horses are vaccinated, as having domestic animals vaccinated is a safety barrier to rabies between wildlife and people.

Skunks don't generally make a series of tunnels, only disturb a small area.
Here, they tend to use rabbit's warrens and rabbits dig below the concrete pads under windmills.

Guin
May. 28, 2007, 10:25 AM
In Massachusetts skunks are generally NOT rabid (they leave that particular nasty to the raccoons.) They are beneficial animals that eat grubs, bugs, and occasionally a snake or frog. If your skunk has babies, please please leave it alone for another month or so until they have grown up and moved away. :no: The skunk won't eat your grain or chew on your tack or bite your cat...just let it be until the skunklings are moved out, and then you can "ammonia" the hole. (Do this at NIGHT when the skunks are out, not while they are inside! )

King's Ransom
May. 28, 2007, 10:42 AM
Guin, I tend to agree with you. All of my animals are vaccinated. The skunk is not really doing any harm. I was just freaked out about whether it might be rats. But the general consensus -- again of the uninformed -- is that it's not rats. I think it's the skunk. We can learn to peacefully co-exist, which truly is my preference for most critters (whether two-legged or more).

vineyridge
May. 28, 2007, 10:58 AM
There is a recipe for a skunk repellant that works very well. About twenty-five years ago, we had a huge skunk population and had to fight them out from under houses and barns every spring and fall. We were able to find skunk repellants that worked. The skunk families all used to move outside for the summer, so maybe you should just wait until the family is raised and gone to take action.

Ain't nothing worse than a trapped Momma skunk being carried away from her litter.

Now the skunks seem to be gone. I have no idea what got them, unless cotton poisons and herbicides finally did them in.

JSwan
May. 28, 2007, 11:33 AM
I'd rather have skunks than rats!

If it is skunk - any you can just live and let live - I bet you'll be fine. About the rabies thing....

Don't take this as gospel - but I seem to remember some jurisdictions "seeding" or baiting rabies hot spots with bait with vaccine in it. I'm in Virginia - rabies is on the increase here - I think it's at an all time high or something.

I have no details or more specific information. But if you plan on calling the game warden, or someone like that - you might want to ask if there is anything you can put out for them to eat - and if you can vaccinate that way.

I do this with wormer for foxes around here... but of course wormer isn't a rabies vaccine.

It's worth looking into though - who knows - I have found the neatest programs, grants, free publications - all kinds of things just by calling the game warden, or extension folks - you wouldn't believe the free/ low-cost help there is for landowners. I got this fabulous publications on snakes in Virginia - it was free from the state. Never knew it existed - just ran across it.

So anyway - think about asking about baiting or something - I know they'll be happy to provide any advice or assistance they can.

Bluey
May. 28, 2007, 11:45 AM
We had rabies vaccine "cakes" spread by airplane around here several years ago, as a test.
Never got any results of that study.
I think they still do some of that in S TX.

findeight
May. 28, 2007, 11:51 AM
Somebody back on page 1 suggested using a have-a-heart trap and humanely trapping it then taking it out to the country to dump??

DO NOT go there. In the first place, it is illegal to transport trapped varmints out and dump them in many states. Here in Ohio populations of common pest critters are mushrooming in areas like state parks where they are skewing the local ecological systems as well as farmland near big cities and suburban areas where they chew and dig on somebody else's property. Until the dogs kill them or they get poisoned or shot. That is no solution.

I see this from both sides. My barn where we get all manner of dumped suburban refugees from cats and dogs to EPM hosting possums, nasty coons and messy squirrels all transported out to dump and as an animal lover.

But I just watched the Critter Gitters transport a nest of 6 coon kits and their mother out of my neighbor's attic where they did over $800 in damage. Previous neighbor used to just trap them and run them over to nearby farmland to dump...just never really got rid of them as he caused trouble for somebody else. Unfortunately they are put down but it is done humanely..and no I did not like seeing those cute little masked faces anymore then anybody else would but...only way.

For the OP...are you sure this is not coons? They do a number on my garden landscaping, including rearranging the river rock.

Sannois
May. 28, 2007, 01:15 PM
In Massachusetts skunks are generally NOT rabid (they leave that particular nasty to the raccoons.) They are beneficial animals that eat grubs, bugs, and occasionally a snake or frog. If your skunk has babies, please please leave it alone for another month or so until they have grown up and moved away. :no: The skunk won't eat your grain or chew on your tack or bite your cat...just let it be until the skunklings are moved out, and then you can "ammonia" the hole. (Do this at NIGHT when the skunks are out, not while they are inside! )

They wont harm anyone, Very few horses get skunked. and cats seem to ignore them. Have you ever seen a baby skunk?? OMT too cute to believe! ;)

Sannois
May. 28, 2007, 01:18 PM
I have never seen coons burrow. OR really dig, They love cat food however and seed.

MistyBlue
May. 28, 2007, 01:25 PM
Findeight is correct...in most states it's illegal to relocate carnivores and in many states it's also illegal to relocate anything.
For anyone considering trapping and relocating things like possums, coons, skunks, etc...please realize it is not humane for the animal at all. These are territorial animals that slowly migrate territories so they can slowly learn the lay of the new land. Moving them abruptly makes them scared, defensive and disoriented. You'll most likely be moving them into a competition animal's territory, which will be a death sentence most likely for one or the other. And if one doesn't harm the other, the other will be pushed continuously into territories and eventually either starve or die of exposure due to not having the time or know the places to hunt/forage and where there is shelter/dens. *Most* relocated animals die or are killed in a rather short time...it's a cruel thing to relocate.
Not to mention moving possible vector animals around and infecting other areas.
As hard as it seems to be...it's much more humane to end their lives quickly than to relocate them. :no: Unless it's an animal you can learnt to coexist with...it's better to either end their lives humanely or slowly "force" them to move on so they can choose their own next area safely.

Catersun
May. 28, 2007, 02:04 PM
let me clarify my original post...

We don't "catch release" anything here... if it's here and it's not suppose to be here. Animal control either comes and gets it or it gets shot. We use our HAH trap to catch cats adn dogs that are harrasing the barn cat or if we see dogs in any of the horse's fields. Occaisally we have caught an opposum or two when it was set for stray dogs. We frequently have fighting dogs dropped off near us. Not Ok.

I suggested the hav-a-heart trap, because once you catch it, you can dispose of it humanely with out it dieing somewhere and getting REALLLLLL stinky. Unless you like sitting in your barn at night with a .22 waiting for skunky to come out?

The reason I said if you Do Catch and release, (which was very big back in the late 80ies and earily 90ies, this shows how outdated my information may be) was to do it far away otherwise the animal will frequently be right back where he started in a few days. MB's point are very valid. I hadn't thought about that aspect of it.

If I recall correctly.. KingsRandsom is already out in the country.... it's not like she's in suburbia.

Having had a dog that got sprayed.... I would NOT be ok will sharing my barn with a skunk.... esp not a MAMA skunk. They may be cute... but I don't want a wild animal getting anymore habituated then they already are. I feel the same way about- Don't feed wild animals.... I don't house them either.

SLW
May. 28, 2007, 03:43 PM
KR- this will help http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/other_services/nuisance_wildlife_damage_control/the_importance_of_wildlife_control

Also you could talk to the wildlife officers up at Hillsdale.

Good luck.

Sannois
May. 29, 2007, 01:43 PM
happenings KR? Did you get a specialist out??;)

Sannois
May. 30, 2007, 02:33 PM
PAging Kings Ransom.;)

eclipse
May. 30, 2007, 02:40 PM
Could be a mole. We've got one of the danged things in our garden & we keep finding new little piles of dirt every single morning! We seal up the new holes & push down the mounds, only to have new ones appear within hours! Darn things are driving us crazy. It's like a scene out of Caddyshack, hubby is waiting by a hole with a shovel over his head, waiting for Mr. Mole to appear but it's all to no avail......well, until he looks behind him to see another mound get pushed up! Angrily he dives over, shovel crashing down, but no be-headed mole doth appear! I, of course, am all :lol::lol: by this time, & hubby is all :mad::mad::mad:!!

vineyridge
May. 30, 2007, 02:56 PM
Could be a mole. We've got one of the danged things in our garden & we keep finding new little piles of dirt every single morning! We seal up the new holes & push down the mounds, only to have new ones appear within hours! Darn things are driving us crazy. It's like a scene out of Caddyshack, hubby is waiting by a hole with a shovel over his head, waiting for Mr. Mole to appear but it's all to no avail......well, until he looks behind him to see another mound get pushed up! Angrily he dives over, shovel crashing down, but no be-headed mole doth appear! I, of course, am all :lol::lol: by this time, & hubby is all :mad::mad::mad:!!

This is why we should all have mighty hunters around our places. I recommend terriers, dachshunds, dalmatians, and weimaraners, myself, having had all and finding all to do the job nicely. :D

King's Ransom
May. 30, 2007, 05:11 PM
Sorry guys! I actually left the farm for a few hours and had a life! :lol: (Actually, I went out and bought a new / used car! But that is a whole other story!)

I did not call a specialist. I am currently of the opinion that we have a (relatively harmless) skunk in a den under the concrete floor. I am (fairly) certain it is NOT rats. I have not seen the skunk in several days, nor seen any foot prints in the flour. Either mama skunk is hunkered down with babies, or I "accidentally" ran the critter off when I spent three solid days working in the barn, mowing, sowing grass seed in the paddock, spraying weeds around the barn, etc. I tried to buy some moth balls, but Home Depot didn't have them. Thinking I will throw some moth balls down the hole and see what happens.

The gravel piles are not growing. Animals are vaccinated. Rain continues to soak the newly-sown grass & gardens. I pick up my new car tomorrow. Life is good. Into every life a little skunk must wander!

CA ASB
May. 30, 2007, 05:22 PM
This reminds me of a story my b/f has related to me. At one point in time, he lived in Texas and had a custom-built home.

Moved in, and all was fine. Lived alone (well, except for the wild hot-tub parties, but that's another story). Started hearing noises in the wall. This went on for months with him trying to track it down. Finally saw an exterior vent with some fur hanging from it. So, he removes the vent screen and put up a little ramp leading to the edge. Went inside and pounded on some walls and went back outside.

Stakes out the vent for the weekend (I can imagine there was a cooler of beer present) and repeats the sequence. Finally, out pops a little head ... soon to be followed by a black and white striped body. Unfortunately (I'm a live and let live person and the skunk didn't do anything wrong), he then took aim and blasted the skunk with his magnum.

Then, he called the contractor. Turns out that contractor had disturbed a nest of them while building and thought they were all gone. BUT, they'd actually trapped one inside the walls. He was living on the critters that would come in and then getting his water from condensation on the plumbing. Lived in there for months.

I still vote that for having done that he deserved to live ... but I can't rewrite the ending now!

JSwan
May. 30, 2007, 05:23 PM
Alls well that ends well!

I like skunks.

And I'm jealous of the rain you're getting........ congrats on the nused car!


Sorry guys! I actually left the farm for a few hours and had a life! :lol: (Actually, I went out and bought a new / used car! But that is a whole other story!)

I did not call a specialist. I am currently of the opinion that we have a (relatively harmless) skunk in a den under the concrete floor. I am (fairly) certain it is NOT rats. I have not seen the skunk in several days, nor seen any foot prints in the flour. Either mama skunk is hunkered down with babies, or I "accidentally" ran the critter off when I spent three solid days working in the barn, mowing, sowing grass seed in the paddock, spraying weeds around the barn, etc. I tried to buy some moth balls, but Home Depot didn't have them. Thinking I will throw some moth balls down the hole and see what happens.

The gravel piles are not growing. Animals are vaccinated. Rain continues to soak the newly-sown grass & gardens. I pick up my new car tomorrow. Life is good. Into every life a little skunk must wander!

Calvincrowe
May. 30, 2007, 06:18 PM
I think you've got a skunk in residence. Rats are pretty obvious--not terribly sneaky creatures, and they will eat grain and cat food. Ick.

Possums don't burrow. We had one who lived quietly under our wood shed for years, raising successive litters of babies. Peaceful neighbor. Shared the water bowl with the laying hens, and never bothered a soul.

Coons don't burrow underground, and believe me, you'd have seen a coon by now. Nasty critters.

Skunks are not a threat to you and yours unless cornered or threatened. Live and let live until momma has raised her babies. If she's a problem, please don't use poison. I can't believe someone mentioned antifreeze. Terrible way to die. I guess I believe every creature deserves a swift and painless end, not a painful agonizing death. But, I'm "soft" that way, or so says Mr. Calvincrowe, when I told him not to knock down the starling's nest full of eggs. Sigh. I have sucker tattooed on my forehead...

Sannois
May. 30, 2007, 06:49 PM
I think you've got a skunk in residence. Rats are pretty obvious--not terribly sneaky creatures, and they will eat grain and cat food. Ick.

Possums don't burrow. We had one who lived quietly under our wood shed for years, raising successive litters of babies. Peaceful neighbor. Shared the water bowl with the laying hens, and never bothered a soul.

Coons don't burrow underground, and believe me, you'd have seen a coon by now. Nasty critters.

Skunks are not a threat to you and yours unless cornered or threatened. Live and let live until momma has raised her babies. If she's a problem, please don't use poison. I can't believe someone mentioned antifreeze. Terrible way to die. I guess I believe every creature deserves a swift and painless end, not a painful agonizing death. But, I'm "soft" that way, or so says Mr. Calvincrowe, when I told him not to knock down the starling's nest full of eggs. Sigh. I have sucker tattooed on my forehead...

to the anti freeze thing, made me sick. Could never do that. Shoot yes, Well hubby has.
My farrier told me over the weekend that he has successfully killed coons with an equally Ghastly method. No other critter will touch it, and he has cats and 2 dogs. Apache fly bait in a dish and a half a can of coke. He said they barely make it 25 feet from the dish. :eek: Now that just seems wrong. :no:

goeslikestink
May. 30, 2007, 08:33 PM
enjoy your new car --- k a r

eclipse
May. 31, 2007, 12:02 PM
This is why we should all have mighty hunters around our places. I recommend terriers, dachshunds, dalmatians, and weimaraners, myself, having had all and finding all to do the job nicely. :D

They say labradors are good hunters, but I beg to differ! Mine, just lays there & watches said hubby playing "caddyshack" (complete with wellies & hat) & when the mole does dare to make an appearance she runs over, barks at it, & then runs away! .........nope, definatly didn't get the hunting genes promised! :lol::lol:

Guin
Jun. 14, 2007, 06:09 PM
How is the skunk critter doing? Did it get shooed away or is it still there?

King's Ransom
Jun. 14, 2007, 06:17 PM
Totally disappeared. We refilled the holes and have not seen hide nor hair of the mysterious critter(s) again!

I honestly do not know what to make of it. But whatever it was, it's gone now. I did not shoot it, poison it, or otherwise encounter it.

Perhaps it phoned home?

millwrightmomma
Jun. 14, 2007, 06:57 PM
Skunks usually like quiet, so you likely acared it off.
Should peppy-la- phew come back, get a trouble light, they are the ones with a covering aound the light bulb and push it down the hole.
Skunks do not like the light and will move.

Or if you like them,and can stand the residual smell, leave them alone, you are getting mousers, better than cats sometimes.
Babies can be trapped and have the glands removed for pets. I had on a long time ago, better than signs for tresspassers......a skunk wandering along the driveway.......hahaha see the people run :D

Sannois
Jun. 14, 2007, 07:01 PM
Skunks usually like quiet, so you likely acared it off.
Should peppy-la- phew come back, get a trouble light, they are the ones with a covering aound the light bulb and push it down the hole.
Skunks do not like the light and will move.

Or if you like them,and can stand the residual smell, leave them alone, you are getting mousers, better than cats sometimes.
Babies can be trapped and have the glands removed for pets. I had on a long time ago, better than signs for tresspassers......a skunk wandering along the driveway.......hahaha see the people run :D

to keep skunkies from digging up the lawn? Scratching for grubs?? Rrrrr:no:
KR Glad your mystery resident has vacated! LOL