Sunday, May 20, 2007


This is not about fish, and not purposefully about humane trapping-and-releasing nuisance mammals. Inadvertently, though, it is.

It started during a heavy bout of landscaping, at a point where I was dispatched to pick up more topsoil; I believe we were planting a winterberry (Ilex verticillata) when this all went down. Whatever the plant, I was behind the garage picking through the pile of "stuff" that has accumulated -- pots, stakes, watering cans, bags of topsoil, mulch, and so on - when I heard some sporadic rustling from a pile of leaves. Buried in the pile was a scrap of deer netting we didn't use last year, and it ensnared an eastern chipmunk (Tamius striatus) , wrapping tightly around its neck. Not unlike this image (note: opens a .jpg file) of Lovelace in Happy Feet.

The chipmunk and associated netting, along with the topsoil that started this whole thing.

I put the entangled mess in the wheelbarrow, along with the topsoil, and called for my wife to grab the camera (I recognize a potential blog post when I see it). After a few minutes of careful snipping, the little bugger was free (and not "dispatched," which is the first thing that came to mind when thinking of what relentless predators they are).

Freeing the chipmunk, though that's not the first option that came to mind.

I just didn't have the heart to do it. So, we'll probably lose a few nests we'll never know about, and we'll likely lose a few plants that we'll eventually notice "went missing." And a deer will probably get the blame.

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