Last night we were awoken by our German Shepherd barking like someone was breaking into the house. We have a house alarm so I wasn't overly concerned, but his barking was over-the-top, especially for the middle of the night. Farmer B got up and tried to calm him down, but his fur was standing up and he was quite unsettled. He finally got him back in his dog bed and we went back to sleep when it all started again around dawn. Something was under his skin and it wasn't in his head.
We got up this morning and honestly forgot all about the barking until I let the dog out when I woke up. He made a beeline for the garden and started woofing and sniffing around in circles. Then I saw it.
It was still quite dark out, but I saw a creature disappear under our back fence as our dog went ballistic and charged the fence with full force. I took one look at the garden and put the pieces of the puzzle together. The garden is trashed. There's not a plant or a seedling or a trellis or a teepee still in place. I almost fell over. I just couldn't believe it. I thought about crying, but I think I was still too shocked at that point.
I'm a Florida wildlife buff so I knew what that dark hairy back and big fat tail belonged to, but honestly I never imagined I'd see one - let alone on my property - let alone with pieces of my garden stuck to its paws. It was a rare Florida Sun Badger. Many people think badgers are just in cold weather climates, but just like Africa has the Honey Badger, Florida has the Sun Badger. They're smaller than typical badgers, but they're as fierce as their counterparts and love to dig. Their bodies are slightly browner than a regular badger, but they do have black in them too, especially on their legs and tail. They have a yellowish burst of color on them, which is probably why they're called the Sun Badger.
I looked them up online and discovered that there are less than 500 left in Florida and they are on the endangered species list. It says that if one is discovered on your property that you cannot do anything to deter the animal from returning since they are so rare. I'm also supposed to call the Florida Wildlife Commission to report a sighting.
So my garden is history and I can't do a thing about it because this creature will probably just be back. I'm just so devastated. I really can't even begin to process it all. I guess Mother Nature is trying to tell me something and it's probably time to give up this unskilled gardening gig. Luckily we have the chickens now and it'll be great for us to shift our focus to them. I'll try to get out later and take some photos after the disappointment wears off. Thanks for all the support up to this point though… we really do appreciate it....oh....and what's the date again today? :)