Found a burrow under Grandma's driveway: possum? coon?

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Old 09-11-15, 06:58 AM
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Found a burrow under Grandma's driveway: possum? coon?

My wife and I are taking care of Grandma's house- from a distance, so there's some travel time, traffic, and a fair amount of inconvenience to get there (not complaining, just pointing out details). On a recent visit my wife noticed a burrow under the driveway, with a lot of dirt kicked up.

I searched this site and found we might get rid of possums with moth balls, and coons with ammonia on rags. The house is in suburban Washington DC so I'm guessing about possums and coons, but I think they're most likely.

Because of time and distance, we'd like to remove animals and fill in the burrow on the same trip.
~ Can we use both naphtha and ammonia at the same time, to cover whatever animal is in the hole? Is there a single chemical that would work?
~ How long does it take for the animal(s) to leave?
~ Since possums and coons are nocturnal, is daylight the best time to remove them, since that's when they'll be in the burrow?
~ And last, what's the best way to fill in the hole?

Thanks for any help- and BTW I like the .22 solutions mentioned in other threads, but ammunition is hard to find and in this neighborhood that would summon the SWAT team. (Hey, maybe they could help with the shooting!)
 
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Old 09-11-15, 09:33 AM
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If you want to solve this in one day trip I don't think that's possible without killing and entombing the critter under the driveway. The animal will likely be in the burrow and not come out while you are there. You can buy smoke bombs that sometimes work at suffocating/killing them in the den or it flushes them out. I'd smoke them and fill the hole with crushed stone packed in tight or mortar or cement.
 
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Old 09-11-15, 09:42 AM
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Smoke bombs had been my thought as well - either bring them out or kill them. Keep in mind these burrows often go a long way and it takes a lot of smoke to fill them up.
 
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Old 09-11-15, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for responses, Pilot Dane and Stickshift. I looked up the smoke bombs you mention, and I think I saw some youtube videos about how they work. I'm curious to see how long they burn, how much smoke is created, etc.

The other reading I've done talks about ways to remove them: put a light and or a radio into the den to make them want to move out. I'd prefer not to seal them in underneath the driveway but we'll see how it plays out.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-12-15, 05:26 AM
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There are many more options if you have time.

If the den opening is large enough for a light or radio then you may have a groundhog. You may find that they just push the radio or light out of the den. I've tried shoving sticks and rocks in to block an opening and the next morning it's clear. Also, inspect the area carefully for other den entrances. They rarely have just one. Look under shrubbery and landscaping, under any sheds decks and patios. I've found entrances 50' apart so be thorough in your search.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 05:36 AM
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We're likely to need a number of visits, over a period of weeks. Some of the other items I've read say things like 'seal the entrances when the animal leaves' but we likely won't be able to react that fast. I guess I was hoping for a "one visit" solution so we could get SOMETHING crossed off the to-do list, which seems to only get longer and more complicated.

I haven't seen the burrow personally, I'm going on my wife's description. I'll read up on how to evict a groundhog, and hunt around for the additional entrances. My biggest concern about using smoke and sealing the animal in is the decaying smell that follows... we need to sell or rent in the near future.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 06:03 AM
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How long it takes a critter to decay depends a lot on the temperature but I'd think if the critter was closed off under ground the smell would be minimal.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 07:04 AM
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You need to set a trap next to the entrance, first. You don't know if they are leaving in the morning or at night. Secondly, you are assuming that there is only one of whatever is living there. There could be a family.

I worked with a trapper for a day. His helper didn't make it, to work. I never laughed so hard, on a job, all my life.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 11:37 AM
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Was out of town for weekend.

I too believe it is most likely a ground hog. Opossums, raccoons, skunks are opportunists and will use abandoned burrows.

If itís a groundhog there is no point in sealing the opening until you know he wonít come back. Heíll dig it out so fast your head will spin. Iíve seen people put broken bottle glass in the hole and entry only to have the hog run thru it anyway leaving bloody foot prints. I was called to trap him after a while of this. Repellents in general donít work for larger animals.

First, are you sure the hole is still active? Sometimes holes are abandoned or the hog may have gotten trapped somewhere else or hopefully run over by a car.
Stuff balled up newspaper in the hole tight enough that the wind wonít suck it out but an animal can get by it. This will be the proof that you either need to remove an animal or you can safely fill the hole. They exit in the morning and return in the evening for the most part. A threat would chase them in anytime.

Smoke bombs sometimes work sometimes not. Use two at the same time. The animal has to be in the hole at the time for it to maybe work. If heís not in the hole then you are simply fumigating his ecto-parasites and he will thank you for that.

An option is to set a couple of traditional leg-hold traps in the opening but stake them down well. You will catch him and you will have an angry hog on your hands so be ready with a means to dispatch him. If small caliber firearms are not an option then this option is even more difficult and dangerous. They are powerful and unpredictable.

This is a difficult problem to solve when you are not on site for several days at a time. First determine for sure whether or not the hole is active with the newspaper trick.

Keep us posted.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 04:26 PM
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Gotcha, we'll start with balled up paper and go from there.
 
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