Marmot causes ruckus at restaurant

June 24, 2009 4:11:26 PM PDT
Diners in a central Washington state wine town got a visit from a furry and unwelcome dinner guest. A big rodent called a marmot wandered in the front door of a restaurant in Prosser on Monday and settled into a corner.

Marmots, closely related to ground squirrels, are a longtime problem in Prosser. They dig through gardens, chew electrical wires and foul front porches with droppings.

The city paid a trapper $5,700 over two years to reduce the population but ran short of money last year.

City Administrator Charlie Bush says several people in the restaurant helped make a makeshift tunnel out of advertising signs. With some gentle prodding, the marmot ran to freedom.

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