WILLMAR -- The media, the airwaves and the Internet are buzzing with the story of a Willmar homeowner who, fed up with years of vandalism during high school homecoming week, blasted the teen-aged perpetrators with a SuperSoaker filled with a mixture of water and fox urine.
The homeowner, 50-year-old Scott Wagar, told the Associated Press that the fox urine "stinks but it doesn't hurt anything."
But is the stuff really not harmful?
Fox urine, it turns out, is readily available online and in stores that sell hunting supplies, pesticides and critter repellents. A visit to Google yielded 192,000 references to the stuff.
Its pungent odor simulates the presence of a fox and has been found to be effective at deterring rats, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, moles and other nuisances. Deer hunters also use fox urine to mask their own scent, and some dog trainers use it as well.
Some Christmas tree farms spray fox urine on their evergreens to discourage would-be thieves.
The stuff comes in various forms -- liquid, granules and powder. It's not particularly expensive. One online site, codebluescents.com, sells 2-ounce bottles for $5.40 apiece. A site called predatorpee.com offers three 12-ounce bottles of pure liquid fox urine for $59.99.
According to a database maintained by the Pesticide Action Network of North America, it's not listed anywhere as an acute hazard or a carcinogen. It doesn't appear to be toxic, nor is it known to disrupt the endocrine system or cause damage to the nervous system.
-- Anne Polta