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Termite48

Predation

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I had a small colony of Madagascar Hissers, G. oblogonata, I believe co-existing with a few dozen Discoids in a Sterlite container. Since it has been so warm here in the Los Angeles area, I have kept them outside most of the Summer. Two nights ago, the container was visited by a mother Racoon and her brood of two and she showed them how to convert my roaches to a quick meal. The smallest of the Discoid nymphs scampered away in time to survive under a floor mat. Today I am borrowing a Have-a-hart trap from a friend and setting it with bait so that I can catch this marauder and place here somewhere where she is not quite the menace to my neighborhood. She has been seen also at the home of my neighbor feasting on his persimmons yet unripe.

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I have a friend who recently had the same thing happen to his colony. It's devastating. The raccoons broke into his greenhouse and got into his aquariums.

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Raccoons are an incredibly adaptive species and can be either a nuisance and a destructive force. The greenhouse I worked in gets raccoons that force their way in and destroy all the pitcher plants to feed on the contents of the pitchers as well as root around in pots of delicate plants to look for edible grubs. They also frequently snack on rare bulbs in the greenhouse after digging them out of their pots.

Raccoons can quickly learn to solve problems and I've both seen and heard of older individuals that have learned to stand in the doorway of the traps to keep the door from closing while another individual goes in to grab the food.

You'll most likely catch the younger individuals, but the smartest ones will survive and teach the next generations. We are inadvertently selecting for the smartest individuals with great problem-solving skills with our traps.

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When I was a kid, our neighbor had a "catch and release" program for the raccoons. He would release them like 10-15 miles away. When he bragged to my dad that he had "removed" over 50 coons from his property that year, my dad laughed at him and told him that he was moving the same half a dozen over and over. He didn't believe my dad, but my dad convinced him to start spraying their tails with paint before releasing them so he would recognize them if he caught them again.

Sure enough, they were walking home and eating the sweet corn 2-3 days after being "relocated"

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