I think I have a "Tremor" critter

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I feel like I am in the movie "Tremor". We have these huge (like 1 1/2 feet across) tunnels running through the yard and one in the barn. The openings are in a hole and are about 2 1/2 feet across (like craters in the ground) and then turn into these tunnels that extend dirt above the ground (but the tunnel is still underground). Some of the tunnels are pretty long. I don't think it is your average run of the mill mole! If so, we have the biggest mole on record. I think if I ever go back to Florida I won't complain about the palmetto bugs....well, okay, maybe I'll keep the tremors instead, but they are pretty creepy..LOL! What do I have, is it dangerous, and how do I get rid of whoever he is?

-- Karen (mountains_mama2@hotmail.com), March 20, 2002


Sounds like a groundhog. Kinda like a big guinea pig that burrows. Not dangerous unless cornered, and even then has to be severely provoked. The main danger is if it's undermining the foundation of the barn. Even more dangerous to your vegetable garden, can munch its way through seedling plants like Taz on the Bugs Bunny show.

Live traps if you want to relocate it, and your trusty ol' .22 if you want to do away with it.

-- Chelsea (rmbehr@istar.ca), March 20, 2002.

Where in the heck are you at? Groundhog holes are at max 8 to ten inches arcoss down in the ground- used to see them often in PA when they were digging foundations. Sounds more like badger, if you are in their range. Or maybe groundhog if the soil was very loose. Once, while digging for clams in Maine, my father and I ran across tremor creatures... 5+ foot long thousand leggers that were like worms with legs that lived in the clam mud. Now that was trippy. We quit digging clams after that, and stuck to muscles (they grow on rocks). If you do have tremor creatures, I know this guy with a double barreled elephant gun for sale for cheap...=)

-- Kevin in NC (Vantravlrs@aol.com), March 20, 2002.

Karen, if it is a prairie dog, which it certainly sounds like; we have lots of them here in arizona. the most dangerous thing about them is falling into their holes! Plus, they carry some sort of vermin. The folks here put wrigleys (green) gum in the tunnel entrances (take the wrapper off). Seems they eat the gum and block themselves up. good luck! In His Grace, Sissy

-- Sissy Barth (iblong2Him@ilovejesus.net), March 20, 2002.

My vote goes to the badger. Can be nasty. Can dig a burrow at the rate of 1 foot per second. Don't know anything about controls, they're endangered around here (southern Ontario), so have never seen one and they don't come up in conversation much.


-- (imashortguy@hotmail.com), March 21, 2002.

Speaking of Tremors I seem to recall Tremors III is supposed to come out this year. Looking forward to seeing it. There's a website that discusses the movie but now that I want it I can't find what I did with the URL - naturally.

Tunnels a foot and a half across would certainly alarm me but I'd be thinking ground hogs or badgers. I am in Florida and I'll take palmetto bugs to that anyday. You might watch Caddyshack again for some pointers. Tremors II had some pretty neat tricks as well.


-- Alan (athagan@atlantic.net), March 21, 2002.

My vote would be a badger too. The prairie dogs we have don't have holes nearly that big around. What-ever it is, I hope you can get rid of it before it multiplies! LOL! Best wishes.

-- cowgirlone in OK (cowgirlone47@hotmail.com), March 21, 2002.

The armadillo from Hell. Art Bell would probably like to book you for an upcoming show. Chupacabres have been staying low lately.

-- paul (wprimeroselane@msn.com), March 21, 2002.

I'm thinking armadillo; badgers make a tunnel that wide, but I don't think they travel that way, only dig to find / catch food.

Look for a tail drag at mouth(s) of tunnel. Armadillo does tunnel as described, but from tunnel description of that size, that is one big a** armadillo. If it is armadillo, take care as although harmless to people, they are known to carry leprosy.

I think those mole contraptions that spear the critter through the ground surface might work, no experience here. I hope this helps.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), March 21, 2002.

Should have proof read before sending . . .

Badgers also tunnel for their dens, but these den tunnels bend at least once, and are a couple of feet underground. Oldtimers (crazy) would make a steel "ferret", by using a length of barbed wire, make a loop at the end of it, and then flatten. They would then push the end with the loop into the den until they felt a resistence. They would then twist a couple of times, allowing barbs to twist into fur, and pull the animal out. Armadillos have no fur coat, just a hard rounded "shell" so this technique would not work for them.

For the record, I would sooner ride a pogo stick naked through a N.O.W. convention then tangle hand to hand with a badger at that range.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), March 21, 2002.

Your best bet is that you will have to try to get a glimpse of them. I know that woodchucks (same thing as groundhogs) are more active as it gets later in the afternoon. Try to hang around out in that area at the end of the day to see if you get a glimpse of them. The sounds of the size of the tunnels does seem bigger than what a woodchuck would produce. If it turns out that it is a woodchuck, don't bother to try to use a haveaheart trap to get them. Their front feet are so powerful that they just spring the trap door open again. I know this for a fact because I have trapped several and as I walked up to pick up the cage, they pushed open the trap door again and took off running. I think a 22 is going to be your only answer. Good luck. You will definitely have to get rid of whatever it is because they will just become a major headache as the year goes on. A woodchuck and quickly wipe out a garden.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), March 21, 2002.

I thought about a badger as well. We had a female around here dig a den to have her babies and it was worth your leg to get too close to the den until the babies were big enough for them to all move on. They eat a lot of rodents, and the babies were a lot of fun to watch.

The ground hog that I relocated I used a Havahart trap on. Absolutely no problem with it springing the door, except that he/she sprang the trap before going inside and was outside it, shaking the trap, trying to get in for the zucchini I put inside. I reset the door, and within 20 minutes, was chauffering the Chuck off to a wilderness area meadow a few miles away. End of problem.

You indicated you aren't in Florida or I'd suggest that you might have a giant Anteater. Saw footage of one digging a burrow that size out at a Florida airport. No one knew how he had gotten there from his native country, since none were missing from any zoos, so they figured that it was an illegally smuggled one that had escaped. They dig some enormous holes to get at insects.

In any event, it sounds like that tunnel is a little small for a Graboid. By the way, Tremors 3 is now available on video tape. I got it about a month ago for under $10. Try Amazon. Probably a little early to find a used copy on Half.com.

-- julie f. (rumplefrogskin@excite.com), March 21, 2002.

Not knowing where you are, it's hard to tell. If you are in a region with lots of rocks, "IT" could possibly be yellow bellied marmots, AKA rockchucks. They are cute, cuddly looking critters and are harmless except the will undermine a foundation. They do relocate easily. Do you hear chirping, whistling sounds?

Here in the low, wet hills, we have mountain beavers that cause extensive damage.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@somewhere.com), March 21, 2002.

I vote for a groundhog. We have holes here big enough for my leg to go into up to my upper thigh (and I don't have little thighs). I've seen the groundhogs, too. Big, fat things. The local wisdom here is to stuff a dead chicken in their hole and they'll leave for good. Never tried it myself. Or you could shoot them. I've heard they're delicious.

-- Gayle in KY (gayleannesmith@yahoo.com), March 23, 2002.

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