Me? Declaring War on Animals?! You Betcha.

Yeah, yeah, nature is my therapy and all that, but chipmunks are a pain in the backside.

I don’t kill spiders in my house, I take them outside. I stop traffic so a sick raccoon won’t get run over. I cry when animals suffer. But today we have had enough of the chipmunks; it’s ON!

Chipmunk hole in lawn

Multiple holes around Hellebores

In past years we’ve tolerated regular chipmunk “chirping parties” in our yard, and have even enjoyed watching them sometimes. But for some reason this year, they’ve gotten out of control and are taking over the joint. They’ve dug holes all over the yard, and have begun regularly raiding the squirrel-proof bird feeders. The key phrase in that sentence is squirrel-proof: Those feeders work great at keeping the squirrels off, but the chippies aren’t heavy enough to trigger the hole-closing mechanism. So the little guys just hang there for 30 minutes at a time, filling their guts and their cheeks with our not-cheap bird seed.

These were filled just yesterday!

And their tunnel holes are often under my perennials, killing those plants as well. Eric and I have brainstormed and Googled for weeks trying to figure out a humane way to keep them from getting to the feeders. (Despite these being common suggestions around the web, there will be no killing them with BB guns and no drowning them in buckets…) We want to keep the feeders where we can see them from the windows, so there’s a limit to how far we can move them from the chipmunks’ main access point. You see, the chipmunks just run right up the side of the house (it’s stone, so easy for them to grip) and take a flying leap about 2 feet to the nearest feeder.  On occasion they have accidents and end up dropping five feet to the mulch below — we can hear the thud in the house, so I know that can’t be fun.

Bon voyage, Chippy!

So anyway, today Eric decided to put the Hav-a-Hart trap out and start relocating them. He put the trap out with peanut butter bait at 3:30 today. At 3:51 we had our first volunteer for the relocation program.

That little guy is in the car on his way to the city park right now.  I figure we’ll have to trap at least a half dozen of them to make any difference in the resident population. The number we catch will depend on how many trips to the park Eric is willing to make in the 90-plus degree heat we’ve got today.

I worry about the survival of the chipmunks that get relocated — will they have to fight others for new territory? Will they find enough food? Will we be separating families? But even with all those worries, I’ve reached my limit of tolerance. They’ve become too much of a destructive pest and they’ve got to go.

While I’ve been writing this, Eric came back and baited the trap again and caught another one — he’s on his way back to the park now. This could be a long evening for somebody….

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