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Those of us who are dedicated to maintaining golf courses are used to dealing with pests that damage the lawn and, normally, are more or less visible insects. But from time to time, we come across less common pests, vertebrate pests.

A vertebrate pest is contrasted with the concept of pest condition, by assuming that no vertebrate species is a permanent pest, but rather that a certain population can acquire that condition at a specific time and place.

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A useful definition to understand what a vertebrate pest is is the following: “A species of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish that directly or indirectly affects the human species, either because it causes damage to production areas, consumes or contaminates stored food, causes damage to infrastructure, transmits disease, or causes death to people or pets.”

It depends a lot on where the golf course is located to know the type of pests that one can find, dogs, groundhogs, moles, alligators, rats, cattle, alligators, birds, and others.

In this case, the pest affects the production areas and causes damage to the infrastructure.

These events are not new, wild boars are usually one of the most common pests and cause the most damage on golf courses, because they are capable of raising large areas of grass in one night's work, although luckily, never within a putting green

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Dogs and ducks love the course greens; these animals are fond of urinating and defecating on greens. Rats usually like to gnaw  on wires which causes damaged on the irrigation systems. Sometimes we see alligators, which apart from a few scares to some clueless golfers, these creatures do not create major problems.

On the picture above, we see the damage caused to the green's surface by the hooves of a group of cows, which have taken a liking to ride over a green on their way to graze on the almost unlimited food they have found on the roughs at this time of year.

It will take hours to manually repair the damage to leave a decent playing surface and a week or more for it to go unnoticed.

And finally, in case anyone was wondering, two-legged vertebrates (humans) tend to cause the most damage, but we'll leave that for another time...

Author: Antonio Márquez, Panama Director of Green Garden Corp. 

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