Naturally Speaking: Local wildlife, chipmunks, woodchucks

Editor’s note: WELCOME TO NATURALLY SPEAKING WITH JOE DEREK. Got a question for Joe? Please submit through the form below. 


Dear Readers:

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Jon Aldred for Farmington Hills City Council

Before I answer some questions, I would like to thank Joni Hubred for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts of nature with all of you.

Also, many thanks to my wife Judy (a.k.a. Executive Assistant) for doing all the technical work at our end that gets my articles into the Farmington Voice. Now for the answers to questions.

Wildlife Populations: In regard to a variety of wildlife populations in Oakland County cities, we are fortunate in Farmington & Farmington Hills to have tributaries of the Rouge River flowing through many yards. Many residents have large lots who seem to enjoy sharing their land with nature. I would say that our wildlife population is typical of most of our county, at least in the southern region.

Varieties of wildlife will depend on the type of natural area left such as ponds, creeks, wetlands, meadow areas, and wooded acreage. I have been pleasantly surprised by the plants, insects and animals seen in our backyard habitat. In addition to many of the more common urban/suburban wildlife around, we also have red fox, grey fox (I saw one a few years ago), and mink.

Chipmunk
(Joe Derek)

Chipmunks: Chipmunks have dug a few burrows next to the foundation of my house. You also mention a large nest. Generally, chipmunks live alone, except when raising young. A chipmunk burrow entrance is about the size of a golf ball or a little larger. It will probably never enter your home. However, their tunnel may allow water to enter a basement. You could try placing some rags soaked with ammonia around the burrow entrance (Please don’t sniff the ammonia!) and see if that gets them to move. It may work, it may not. We have had chipmunks around for over thirty years. They have mildly ticked me off from time to time, but never caused any real damage. Hawks, snakes, blue herons, house cats that should not be roaming, coyotes, fox, all take a toll on them, so many do not survive very long.

Red Fox
(Joe Derek)

Woodchucks: To remove a woodchuck from under your deck. I would recommend calling a company that deals with those situations. Any deck, especially one built close to the ground, becomes a condominium for wildlife. A deck needs to be enclosed or fenced in some way to deter wildlife, especially woodchucks.

They love them.

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