A sad death for a little guy

This morning I left the house for the gym, putting on my downstairs shoes. I keep two pair in slip-on slip-off state, one by the back door, one by the front, so that I never forget and walk on carpet with dirty shoes. I drove to the Post Office, and then to the gym, about seven miles. Once there I walked across the parking lot, slipped off my back door shoes and put on my gym shoes, and then completed my workout.

After I finished I took my gym shoes off and grabbed my back door shoes, and freaked.

Blurry photo, I realize. I had come all the way from home to the gym with a mouse in my shoe. I think I probably killed it with my body weight, but honestly, I felt nothing. Like all houses, we have mice living in and around us, and our garage is ground floor, so they tend to reside there, under the adjacent basement.

It reminds me of another event, one I deeply regret. I had decided, for reasons unknown, to use larger than average rat traps to kill some chipmunks and Golden Mantled ground squirrels that were eating all of our plants outdoors. I placed one under our deck, and within minutes heard a snap.

I had trapped a tree squirrel. It was in mortal agony, but very much alive, so I knew I had to finish the job and kill it. I went to the garage and got a hammer, and came back and began to bludgeon it. It hung on for quite a few blows before life left him.

I felt like shit, utterly disgusted at the pain I had caused an innocent animal. I got rid of the traps, and to this day we use far less lethal methods to control our rodent population.

Last year I installed motion-activated sprinklers at the top of each stairway leading to the the deck. It has been mostly effective even as we had to concede ground level to the rodents. We do our gardening in pots and planters on the deck. The sprinklers make a loud noise when they come on, and that scares the rodents. That, and they hate water. It was loud enough that I think one scared a bear off one night – there were footprints.

After I first installed them we watched from above as a chipmunk made his way up the stairs. He set the sprinkler off and the next thing I saw was him flying 25 feet through the air – it had to have been his own panicky jump that propelled him, as the sprinkler would have been over his head. I laughed hard and still chuckle to this day. Say what you will.

And no, the little guy was not injured.

5 thoughts on “A sad death for a little guy

  1. I use live traps for both rats (my cats need to be fired) and the occasional possum (my dogs need to be fired).
    The squirrels here seem to be too smart for the traps.


    1. Interesting – where you wrote “fired” my eyes saw “fed”. A friend in California uses live traps and then drowns the captive animal. I cannot do that.

      Here, it is legal to kill squirrels and ground squirrels, most likely chipmunks too. With permission from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, we are allowed to transport a trapped animal to a similar habitat within ten miles. However, the species repopulate easily. If not killing them, best to figure out ways to live with them.


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