Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Add to the long list of unpleasant but necessary things I have done in my life, somewhere between "Cleaned up my husband's bourbon-and-green-bean-containing vomit from a friend's bathroom floor while 6 months pregnant" and "Gave myself 4 injections into my upper thigh to raise my white-cell count during chemo", the fact that I am now a willing killer of chipmunks.

I did not want it to come to this. At first I thought the chipmunks we saw frolicking in our front yard and scurrying onto our back deck were cute. Outdoor pets that require no vet visits and feeding! Hurrah! But then they started to dig under our front porch and under the front walk, in large enough numbers to dislocate much of the topsoil that supports these structures and keeps them from cracking and breaking. No longer cute.

So I tried sprinkling various types of deterrents into the holes and around our landscaping. But the large ringleader of this particular chipmunk band, not as talented as Alvin but twice as annoying, was undeterred. He barely ran away when I appeared on the front porch, and I am fairly certain I heard him laughing at me once. Though that could have just been the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka beverage I was consuming. Either way, it was unsettling.

I had all but given up and adopted "live and let live" as my official chipmunk motto until the little frickers chewed through the wires that power our landscape lights.

Nope. Sorry, Chip and Dale. That was the wrong damn answer.

Clearly, the peace treaty we had enjoyed, after many generous concessions on my part, was broken. After talking with a local farmer about my problem, I came to a grim conclusion:

The chippies must die.

If it were a mouse or rat inside my home, I would not have hesitated to set a trap to kill the invading rodent. But chipmunks have less of a pest stigma and have starred in movies and television cartoons, and the girl ones also sing a delightful cover of "Single Ladies."

Something in me grew cold, though, as I watched my husband spend an entire day fixing the damage they had done to the lights, a project he had already spent considerable energy on when we moved into the house 2 years ago. I no longer saw the creatures who had burrowed under my porch as anything other than the vermin they are. And vermin must be destroyed. Preferably, humanely. But as a friend of mine with mouse issues assured me, "humane" takes on a broader definition when dealing with rodents that carry disease and destroy property.

I shall not go into specifics here as to how I killed my first 'munk. Let's just say...chipmunks will go just about anywhere to get a few sunflower seeds. And they are not very good swimmers.

We have had some success, but have been encouraged to try several different types of traps, both live and not, to fully control what we believe is a large population. This war is really just beginning. I will continue to smear on my grease paint, in a distinct stripey pattern, and lie in wait for the enemy. Like Rambo, just more easily startled. And more skittish about corpse disposal.

For I have killed. And I did not enjoy it. But as I learned from Mufasa, it's all part of the Circle of Life.

Nature happens.

No comments: