Thursday, October 12, 2006

Catching Chipmunks

Chipmunks have lived in the rock walls around my driveway since before we moved into this house. When we built the tiered rock walls on the other side of the driveway last summer, I imagined the critters sticking their heads out of their dens and saying to one another, "Hey, Alvin, get a look at the condos going in across the way!"

In the past several months the chipmunks have become a bigger nuisance. They annoy the dog and induce her frustrated barking from the porch, they make certain parts of the planting beds among the rock wall unstable and promote erosion, and they try to dig up some flower bulbs. Just a few days ago I tried putting in some fritillaria meleagris (guinea hen flower) bulbs for next spring and they've already gone for those.

In late June or early July I bought a Havaheart trap and set it by one of the chipmunk holes by the front step. I made sure it was stocked with the bait that I read was perfect for chipmunks: peanut butter, apples, raisins and such.

Nothing. Not one chipmunk in that trap.

Oh, we did catch something...we caught a toad. But no chipmunks.

I figured I just needed to be V E R Y patient and eventually it would work.

On a whim, on Monday, I put a piece of homemade chocolate chip cookie in the trap. Within two hours, we had a chipmunk.

The boys were so excited. I was at the grocery store with S, their little sister, when they called to tell me the news. After I arrived home and unloaded the groceries from the car, we loaded in the chipmunk, still in the trap, and we drove to a nature reserve area in town and released the little critter far from us.

I figured that wasn't the only chipmunk, so we set the trap again, and yesterday afternoon we had another chipmunk. Another trip to the nature reserve, and we set the trap again. This morning I made a third trip to the nature reserve before heading into the office.

Three chipmunks in less than 72 hours. And chocolate chip cookies seem to be the difference.

I smell a Science Fair project.

Update (10/17): We're up to five chipmunks in eight days. And we didn't have the traps set for two days.

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