Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Yard...Teeming with Wildlife

Last year we had quite a problem with voles. No, they are not mice, and not moles...just something in between. They look a lot like mice, but they are diggers. They carved little trails through our yard and came up all over the place. Tyler spent a lot of time thinking of ways to exterminate the unwanted guests. At one point, he caught five babies and we put them in a jar (here is a picture from last year).



He worked hard to get rid of them, so as the season has warmed up, he has been watching for early signs of our unwelcome residents. Tyler filled in all the holes and watched for new ones to be dug. He placed rat poison in all the usual spots and waited. It looked like most of the little pests were gone. There are a few that continue to camp out under the AC unit, but the worst of them (back by the garden) seem to be eradicated.
Tyler checks the holes religiously. He comes home from work and pops outside just to make sure that nothing has developed. He took Ivory with him yesterday and I was watching out the kitchen window. "See," he said. "There is a dead mouse right there." (For the sake of argument, we just call them mice, because it is easier to say and the girls have no idea what a vole is). I looked out to see a splotch of brown on the lawn. "Don't let Ivory touch it!" I said.
"Wait, it's not dead!" he exclaims. This I had to see because mice are fast and I couldn't imagine one just sitting there waiting to be discovered. I picked up Ivory on my way there so I knew exactly where she was and I looked at the mouse just sitting there. I was pretty sure it must be poisoned already. Rodents don't just stay still unless they are in a dark space and this was one right out in the open. Tyler said he was going to kill it and I told him I didn't want to watch (especially since he went and picked up a big rock. Yuck!) He could see the distaste on my face and he said, "Should I catch it?" He got a big jar and put it right over the sitting mouse (by this time, I had no doubt the mouse was not feeling well). I decided to wander back into the house and as I was walking across our patio area I heard a rustle at my feet. My first thought was that something was down there, but then I figured I was just being paranoid since I had just seen a mouse. It was probably just the wind. Even as I decided upon this verdict, a snake slithers right out in front of me. "Snake!!" I yell and Tyler comes bounding around the corner. This snake was much more lively than the mouse so we chased him around and invited the kids out to see him. Tyler put on some gloves and caught him so the girls could touch his scales. I think Tyler has lost the boyhood vigor of grabbing a snake without gloves (he has been peed on one too many times). He tossed the snake in a jar too and decided to take the girls to a nearby field to release them. I snapped a picture of his prizes before he took off.



I told him not to release them together because the snake was likely to eat the mouse and then be poisoned as well (talk about a meal that doesn't agree with you). When he returned he told me that the snake was headed in the direction of the mouse when he left. My guess is one less mouse and snake in the world.
But people, that was so weird to find one so quickly after the other. I apparently need to watch my step in the yard.

12 comments:

¡Vieve! said...

I'm the biggest sissy in the world, so seeing those two would have made me wet my pants. It seems like you kept your cool, and I salute you.

*salute*

Good luck not getting anymore creature friends.

HulseFam said...

I am going to have to stop checking your blog if you don't stop putting on pictures of rodents, snakes and spiders! I am shocked every time! :) I really have to read with my hand over the pictures!!!! I'm a wimp, I know! Anyways, we have the diggers as well, and all I can say is they are resilient little buggers...

Stacy said...

The mice in that area are definitely out of control. I remember once when we lived there opening the fridge to survey the contents when a freakin mouse ran across my foot and under the fridge. AHHH! IN the house! I would not rest until this problem was eraticated which resulted in David spending a whole night chasing the mouse around the living room with a broom. I can't wait around for poisen, this thing could of attacked me in my sleep!
Anyways, the snake! That is crazy I would have totally flipped out, I absolutely hate snakes. Worse than spiders...but at least the snake picture isn't right at the top of the blog.

skye said...

Maleen! I thought this was you! I just saw a comment you left on Miss Nemesis' blog and wondered if it was you. It's good to see you in the blogosphere. What a totally cute family you have! I'll definitely be back to catch up on all your past posts.

As for the wildlife, we've been seeing lots of uninvited guests as well. Hurray for spring! :)

~Andrea (Mason) Kaufman

Hot Chocolate said...

Okay, wait. You've got me confused. You want to poison the "mouse" to get rid of it, yet you catch it "alive" in a jar instead and put it in a field so that it won't die. But wait there's more...put the "mouse" out in the field to save it, but then put a snake right next to it. Why didn't you just put some poison in front of the mouse to kill it in your yard and keep the snake there too so that it can eat the ones the Tyler misses during his daily hunts and save you a trip to the field?

All that being said, I feel bad for the voles of the world. They are just doing there own thing...only in the wrong place. My hubby was after then a couple of summers ago here at our place when we had an investation in the neighborhood. Sadly, two got caught in our basement window between the glass and the screen. So he smashed them...and dare I say it...then left them there to decompose.

Some how the animal lover married the vole smasher and we still live harmoniously.

Stacie said...

AHHHH! I can't take the spiders, voles, and especially snakes. I absolutely HATE snakes - worse than spiders. My parents have also experienced voles out there, and there is one thing that they've found here to get rid of them. If you want some, let me know - I can get you some and send it home with my parents on one of their many trips out here in the next few months. In the meantime, I hope the attack of all these creatures comes to an end!

Kayla said...

Ew! I hate all things that crawl and creep and slither... Yuck! I would not have handled it as calmly as you seem to have. That's one of the things I DON'T miss about living down in that area. I definately see less critters and bugs where I live now. Good luck getting rid of all of them though!

Ker said...

Ok so it is 6:12 in the am and I am laughing hysterically- not only at your post but all of the comments. Who is awake and laughing at 6 in the morning! Thanks for the story Maleen! I cannot believe that photo of Tyler and his treasures. Hey it could be worse I guess-a skunk maybe...

Maleen said...

Hot Choc-- for the record, I don' LIKE killing rodents (although I don't want them eating my garden), so in case the mouse wasn't going to die from the poison, I wanted to give him a chance in the field. I can't help that Tyler released the snake so close.

And everyone else-- I'm actually not scared of snakes...I kind of like them. How can anything with NO legs be as creepy as spiders with eight legs (ew!)

Scott, Erin, & Ellie said...

maybe renting is not that bad after all - maybe we need to wait until winter to find a house. i do not want to find rodents, snakes, or anything like that. i just can't handle that at all - and until i am rich enough or my kids are older or scott can stay home - i would be paralized in the house. pathetic...i know, but that i my life.
i guess i need to bulk up on some sort of superhero power!!! i am glad tyler was there.

Chelle! said...

YUCKY!!! YEP!!! IT IS ALL YUCKY TO ME!!

Cindy B said...

I laughed the whole time I read this post and had to read it out loud to my kids. What adventures you have! This is a good reason to have cats. No mice, voles or snakes. We do have dead birds that they catch, but that's it. No rodents.

I still remember the first time we had guests over for dinner after Randy and I were married. We were living in this 2 room student apartment by BYU. Just about the time we were ready to eat, a mouse ran across the room. It was great. My friend and I both jumped on the chairs at the same time.