At 6:36 PM +0000 12/22/05, John Grimshaw wrote: >bemoaning their presence and activities, so I said quietly 'I had an >elephant in my garden last week.' The happiest memory is of an elderly >gentleman enquiring "Did you say an elephant...?" **Elephants, of course, put things into perspective for many of us with beastie problems. >Incidentally, I had no difficulties with rodents in that garden, although >there was an infinite variety of them. This was probably because I had two >cats and an eagle owl. **We had major problems in our veggie garden which is fenced in to keep the dogs out. This year we got gophers, rats and who knows what. Leon is having to slowly make raised beds with hardware cloth in the bottoms. We are HavAHart trapping the rats and dumping them down at the river far away from us. Haven't caught any ground squirrels yet. >Here, also surrounded by woodland and fields, we are bothered by just about >every species of wildlife in the book, but there is little we can >realistically do about it, beyond protective cages for newly planted trees, >fencing to minimise badger incursions, and an occasional shot. **We have to wire cage all the trees in the front for deer and in the orchard we cage for deer but have had a problem with bears breaking off branches to get the fruit, and with porcupines climbing in the trees and destroying the branches. The porcupine munch on new fruit leaves like I imagine koala bears doing in Australia. Leon made wire rounds hanging suspended about 3 feet up on the trunks which helped with the porcupine infestation a bit. We have a terrible time with birds now, scratching up my bulbs and perennials, exposing roots and eating the tops off everything. My carrots and parsley planted in pots were decimated. We have cats in front. They haven't touched the bird population; we occasionally find a dead gopher or mole. I figure the few birds they do get are the weaker ones. > We do poison >squirrels in spring, but I heard a salutary tale today in which a much-loved >dog had got to some squirrel bait and had very nearly died, so one really >does have to be very careful about using such things. **We don't use any poison bait. I related the story earlier on this list of the dog who ate the gopher who was storing poison bait in his pouches. That's where the danger lies. A varmint who munches on bait and dies may not carry enough bait to kill a larger dog, but rodents who pack up bait into their pounces are deadly. The little rodents may get the bait from properties over and carry it onto ours (or yours). Dying from poison bait is not a pleasant way to die. I think we will have to co-exist with the beings who were here before we were. s. -- susan hayek, North Coast of CA, USA, zone 9b, Sunset zone 17. 15 miles south of Eureka, CA, overlooking the Eel River, with a peek of the ocean.