Ok, ok, ok. I'm really crummy at this. I should have tried to kill him when I had the chance. Oh, wait a minute. I'm crummy at that too. Well, here it is, several weeks later, and I've rocked up just about every possible access point along the ledge (amazing how many I found), from level three to level two and from level two to level one. I've crawled around under the deck to see if there are tunnels from level two to level one that open out into the yard somewhere that I can't easily see. I've inspected every inch of the greenhouse space under the deck, where the summer pots get stored until spring. No stopping the little devil. The only reason it has taken this long for me to come to my senses and reexamine all my assumptions is that most nights, he doesn't deign to visit my yard. Actually I'm quite grateful for this, but it does make the accumulation of evidence a rather slow process.
Yesterday, however, with all but certainty (3 standard deviations if this were amenable to a confidence interval), I concluded that he isn't actually coming up from the ledge. There's just no evidence to suggest that he is (no trails in any place that provides even a hint of reasonable access). So, what were all the assumptions?
- Armadillos don't climb rock walls
- Armadillos don't climb fences
- The perimeter fence is secure
- Where he went out of the yard indicates where he came into the yard
- It is in fact an armadillo that we're dealing with here
So, I'm sticking with one and two. I thoroughly examined five because if it were a raccoon, I wouldn't be pursuing any of this. They are impossible to keep out. But I actually have seen the armadillo in the yard at least 4 times. So at the moment, I think assumption five is ok. I decided this afternoon to reexamine assumptions three and four. So I really went after the perimeter fence to be sure that there are no burrows under it and no tunnels from one side to the other that might come up well inside the yard, maybe under a rock or a pot or something. And what do you think I found?
A hole. Another place where the underpinning of tighter wire (about 2"x 2") that goes from the bottom board of each fence panel, into the ground, had been pushed up and into the yard, and the ground had been dug out under the bent wire, just enough to squeeze something, maybe something the size of an armadillo, through. It was behind a nice big lemongrass clump, up by the corner of the yard, by the driveway, where lots of shrubs grow and it's moderately shady, under a crepe myrtle tree. I don't know though. It's not that big of a hole. I need to fix it, obviously, but I sort of worry that if an armadillo really can get through that hole, what's keeping them from just coming right through the fence? It's one of those wire fences made from the wire with 4" square openings. My 5 year old cat squeezes through the 4" square openings. Now, she's long and thin, and has to carefully maneuver to do it (head first, then right front paw, then left front paw, then body, then back legs). If she tries to go through with head and paw together, it doesn't work. I just don't think an armadillo has the flexibility or the agility (I hesitate to say, the brains) to do it.
So, I plug up this hole tonight and see what happens next.