Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Raised Bed Chronicles - Part IV: Marauder

We have a mystery marauder. Something dug my garden out one night. And I mean dug it out.

We managed to trap a raccoon, but that's not the end of the story. Possibly, the garden was raided by a raccoon, but while raccoons will dig, they generally dig holes. This destruction indicated a bigger and a less precise animal, which threw out half the dirt, destroying most of the seedlings.

But another clue is that something bigger and tougher is preying on raccoons. Something big enough to make a thorough meal out of one -- Larry found the few scraps it left -- and to take off the lower leg of this little guy we caught in our trap (who now lives in Brookgreen Gardens).

There are stray dogs around, often abandoned in the state park across the creek. Coyotes have been spotted in the area, though a little further inland. So far. The species of the marauder is still unknown, but I'm in recovery mode with the garden.

I lost all but 2 little carrot seedlings, but they are hanging in there. And so are the peppers; doing well, in fact!

I'm restarting the carrots, this time in starter pots, and fencing the garden when I get them in. Raccoons climb fences, but we also employ cayenne pepper and Critter Ridder [TM]. This is a real learning experience!


ronnie said...

Oh dear! Gardening is an exercise in heartbreak, isn't it?

Raccoons pull my bedding plants out, too. Don't know if they expect to find some delicious root veg at the bottom of them. You think they'd be smarter, wouldn't you?

I'm at a loss as to what's eating both your nascent veggies AND attacking other animals. An omnivore - are coyotes omnivores? Dogs are...

It's funny, I grew up in rural Newfoundland, and know that wild (moose, caribou, black bears, foxes) like the back of my hand, but this mainland-urban wild (with species we didn't have, being an island, like coyotes [they've crossed on the ice in recent years and gotten a foothold there] and raccoons, is a complete mystery to me in so many ways...

Sherwood Harrington said...

Given the dismemberment raccoons have wreaked on some of my chickens, I never thought I'd say this: poor raccoon!

This certainly looks like the work of feral dogs to me, but that's a guess.

Good work catching the 'coon in the Havahart, by the way. The only thing we ever caught in ours was one of the neighbors' cats. Multiple times. I wouldn't want to put it out now, since the current bothersome critter around Ft. Harrington is a skunk.