Varment Guard Wildlife Services, a division of Plunkett’s Pest Control, received a video from one of its clients featuring a porch pirate of a different kind.

Kelly Svoboda of Cleveland, Ohio, hired Varment Guard to provide live trapping services and provided a video of the crime scene to help wildlife technicians.

This groundhog in the Cleveland area has no shame in its game as it clutches the delivered package, goes head-over-tail down the porch stairs, then heads out across the lawn with the unsuspecting homeowner’s goods in its mouth.

The homeowner never did get her package of Lululemon products. “They’re gone,” said Svoboda with a chuckle. “I looked around the neighborhood a little but found no trace of my package.” Plus, this crafty thief has eluded capture, day after groundhog day, without tripping the lever on a humane trap set by Varment Guard — yet.

Watch the video of the porch pirate groundhog.

© Susanne Kosig | iStock

New Rodent Eyesight Insights

A new study published in eLife by Nader Nikbakht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Mathew Diamond of SISSA (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati) challenges the commonly held belief that rodents are functionally blind when their surroundings are illuminated with light of longer wavelengths, which humans perceive as red. To the contrary, Nikbakht and Diamond found that rats can accurately discriminate objects that are illuminated only by red light.

As reported by, Nikbakht and Diamond required rats to recognize the orientation of a solid disk-like object with parallel bars, alternately colored white and black, thus forming a square wave grating. Each trial was run with light sources of various wavelengths and the animals were found to perform well even under wavelengths perceived as far-red by humans.

“There are immediate applications,” Diamond said. “A complete understanding of the visual processing of these animals is important in the design and control of the behavioral and physiological experiments. For instance, when a rat navigates through an apparatus using olfaction, under red light, it may be able to use visual cues as well as olfactory cues. Another application is to ensure optimal environmental lighting conditions for animals’ well-being in laboratory settings. It is common to keep the animals under dark red light at night, assumed to be perceived as total darkness. Now we know it’s not dark for them.” Source:

© Visionkick | iStock

Add Teslas to List of Rodent-Vulnerable Vehicles

In July, Sarah Williams, a 41-year-old physician who lives in Manhattan and uses her Tesla to commute to work in the Bronx, told the New York Post of an alarming incident when she took her 2018 Model 3 into Tesla’s Paramus, N.J., dealership in mid-May after her air conditioner had stopped working.

“They opened the glove compartment and a rodent fell out,” she said. “It’s crazy.”

The pest apparently found its way into Williams’ Tesla and gobbled through several internal wires that were insulated with soy rather than oil, which many believe make them more appealing to rodents. PCT has reported on several similar rodent-gnawing incidents from other auto manufacturers during the past 10 years.

Williams told The Post the repair has taken more than a month, and estimated costs have soared to more $5,000.

Tesla is owned by Elon Musk who, ironically enough, went by the nickname “Muskrat” as a child, according to a 2009 New Yorker profile. Source: New York Post