Friday, January 13, 2012

Man v. Gopher

Behind Grouch Estates is an open area, sandwiched between our older development and the newer more tony newcomer neighborhood.  Various types of wildlife lives back there including ground squirrels, snakes, lizards, raccoons, the coyote gang and probably other creatures that I'm not aware of.  We pretty much have an uneasy coexistence, like us and the Soviets during the cold war.  As long as they stay on their side of the wall I leave them alone.  The squirrels unsuccessfully try to break into the bird feeders and the raccoons dare us to mess with them as they are passing through the yard but otherwise it is fairly peaceful.  Recently I realized that the animal planet version of the Hell's Angels had moved in, and of course, there went the neighborhood!   I had seen some suspicious mounds on the other side of our block wall that faces the open area but my policy being what goes on back there is like what happens in Vegas so I ignored the signs.  One day I saw the dreaded mounds of dirt in the planter area next to the pool and I knew we were in trouble.  Gophers!   I could just imagine them, the little gangsters  with their miner's lamps and black leather jackets tunneling away under the yard and snickering as they worked to undermine the spa and pool.   The tiny tattoos on their arms:  born to dig! marking them as the little vandals that they are.   These were accomplished sappers, probably having received their training in North Vietnam, and after they dug their tunnels to the surface they swiftly and competently plugged them back up so that tracing the back to their base was impossible.  I didn't realize just who I was dealing with and thought that a gopher trap in one of the holes would clear up the problem.  I set the trap, stuck it in a tunnel that I fortuitously uncovered and figured I would come back tomorrow to clean out the carcass of the little rodent.  When I checked the next day not only was there not a dead Hell's gopher, the trap was gone!  The little so and so and dragged it off!

No one steals my gopher trap!  I had visions of them in their underground club house, leather jackets on, swigging bear out of tiny little cans and toasting the trophy trap that they mounted on the wall.  This meant war!

I went to the hardware store and got three more traps.  I also broke out the can of gopher poison that I bought almost twenty years ago when they first tried to move in on me.  You can't find this stuff for sale anymore.  Probably threatens the wild condors or something.  I wasn't going to threaten anything.  I was going to eradicate some gophers.  

I dug and I probed and I uncovered some more entrance holes.  I laid the traps, baited them with a touch of birdseed and mixed the poison in with the seed.  All of this was pushed way down into the tunnels.  Then I waited.

The next day another trap was gone.  A second trap was sprung but no dead gangster.  The third trap was immobilized in dirt packed around it by the wily tunnelers.  I dug it out, reset the other trap and placed some more poison in.  I noticed that I hadn't uncovered any poison when I dug out the trap.  Maybe the knuckleheads fell for the poison!  

Another day passed.  The traps remained untripped.  No more holes.  Yet another day and still no evidence of activity.  Are they dead?  Two more days.  Still no activity.   I may have won!   Or, are they laying low with my traps, just waiting to place them, fully armed and ready in my path as I stumble through the yard in my slippers and 5 a.m. to let the dogs out before going to work.  

Did I win the war or only the first battle of the war?  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I remember being so upset as a child that you were killing gophers, until you brought a dead one into the house and showed it to me while I was in the bathroom doing my hair. I had always thought they were so cute, and you held it up by the tail and asked if I thought it was still cute. So to this day, me=gopher hater. Good luck in your hunt!