Animals Emeryville Gardening Ink and watercolor wash Painting Sketchbook Pages

Ground Squirrel and Mysterious Hole

Emeryville Marina Ground Squirrel, ink & watercolor
Emeryville Marina Ground Squirrel, ink & watercolor

After a delicious breakfast on the patio at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Diner in Emeryville last Sunday, my friend Michael and I walked around the Emeryville Marine. He’s very patient with my need to stop and pet dogs and to take photos of things when I can’t sketch (can’t because he doesn’t have that much patience). I loved this cute little guy’s Joe Casual pose. When I got home I sketched him and his portrait now has the place of honor as the first page in my new journal.

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, Emeryville, color photo
Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, Emeryville, color photo (I so wanted to sketch the scene when I was there, but also wanted to socialize so I took a photo and made a note to come sketch at Rudy's on a Tuesday night with my sketch buddies.)

Mysterious Hole

Meanwhile something dug a 6″ wide hole and tunnel under the grass in my backyard. I searched online, trying to find out what kind of animal dug the hole. I found this website that tells you, based on the diameter of the hole and the mounding of the dirt around it. According to that site and this one, the most likely options were armadillo, fox or badger.

Except I live in urban northern California where we definitely don’t have armadillos, badgers or foxes. We do have opossums and raccoons, but possums live in trees, not burrows, and both raccoons and possums have soft hands so their only digging is for grubs just under the sod.

Worried that it could be some huge kind of rat, I called the county’s Vector Control Department (love the euphemism “vector” for nasty critters that spread disease). A very nice gentleman came out this morning but he couldn’t figure it out either, although he mumbled something about skunks but then said not.

I followed his instructions to dig up and fill in the hole, lay a board next to it, sprinkle the board with baby powder and check it mornings looking for footprints in the powder. If the critter comes back he’ll leave his footprint and then we’ll know what it was. Maybe it’s a very small heffalump.