Frequent readers of this column know my recent battles with no-good, vegetable-thieving, smelly, racist chipmunks (or chipPUNKS as I call them). A series of letters sent to one particular trespasser last year went unnoticed, the opposite of what happened to my tomatoes. My not-so-subtle hints have only resulted in what appears to be chippunk condos. More residents seem to be flooding in and I've not yet developed a way to monetize this so they have to go.
"Oh yeah," I imagine the original jerk saying to his friends (or as I call them "known criminal associates"). "This place is great. The landlord is kind of a maniac, but he's harmless and you get used to him. Feel free to move in."
My two-year-old daughter, an awful judge of character, was unaware how awful these creatures are. She's spot one and say, "Daddy, look! Isn't he cuuuuute?!"
The last time she did this I pulled her in close. "No," I whispered in a hushed, serious tone. "They are not cute. They are bad. Bad, bad thieves that steal. We don't like them, do we?"
"No," she said, quietly, then, "No!"
So I've just indoctrinated my first child, which was, frankly, pretty easy. I feel pretty good about it.
Now, whenever we're in the backyard she'll go to the garden and say, "No, no, chipmunks. Don't steal our vebstables!"
Perfect. I'm thinking about giving her an AK-47 and having her man a guard tower. Unfortunately her firearm prowess to this point is to grab a cup, point it at me and shout "bow-bow!" She always misses (my super agility notwithstanding), so I must seek alternate solutions.
I'll admit it, my first move upon discovering, what I can only assume was poker night with three huddled around one of my pepper plant cages, was poison peanuts.
I laid down a smorgasbord of death, walking away rubbing my hands together like some kind of villain, suddenly needing a high-back chair, cigarette and map of China with pins in it connected by colored yarn.
"What do you expect me to do with this?" I picture the chippunk saying to his dirty self. Once he lifted the peanut a tiny TV would appear with my face. The pre-recorded message would begin to play.
"I expect you ... to die." Then I'd laugh, evilly.
I returned a day later, whistling, expecting to see the chippunk version of Jonestown; instead, one was literally EATING THE POISON PEANUT WHILE LOOKING AT ME. It's as if he was saying,
"What, fool, you think these are gonna get rid of me? Poison is the weapon of women, cravens and eunuchs."
Apparently chippunks love Game of Thrones.
Naturally this made me a bit ... frustrated, and a little afraid that I'm trying to battle invincible rodents. I needed to show him who was boss. So I called him some choice phrases before raising my hands above my head and yelling/chasing him like some weird Frankenstein anger monster. This was effective in scaring both the chippunk back into his downspout bachelor pad, and also the neighbor's toddler who was apparently watching this entire exchange.
"Huh," I thought. "That was a bonus."
Below were my additional methods of rodent eviction.
Method #1: Stuff big, heavy rock into rodent hole, effectively saying "This house has been condemned. Get the hint, jerk."
Result: Hole dug next to rock. Rock moved.
What I learned: Chippunks don't do subtly.
Method #2: Dig hole, cover opening with leaves, place bait on leaves, wait and try not to giggle.
Result: Get bored, go inside. Come out later. Food gone.
What I learned: Chipmunks can levitate.
Method #3: Prop shoebox with stick. Tie string to stick. Place bait by stick. Hide around garage. Place mirror against fence to see box. Mutter "I'mgonnagetyou, heheheheheh" like Elmer Fudd.
Result: Eventually catch one! Dance around looking for someone to high-five. Approach captured rodent. Realize I haven't thought this through. I have no next step. My plan looked like this: Step 1: Capture chippunk; Step 2: Ice cream victory party.
Eventually drag box around ground like dog pushing empty food bowl to owner with its nose. Attempt to flip box upright. Chippunk gets free and runs toward me. First reaction? Run in opposite direction.
What I learned: I'm afraid of a lot of things and my wife should not feel any sense of security with me whatsoever. If it touched my feet and a chandelier was present, I probably would've jumped and hung on like a cartoon elephant.
Method: Profanity-laced harangue
Result: Neighbors worried. Wife apologetic. Chippunk gets cardio in for the day by running in circles, then back into hole.
What I learned: I know lots of curse words.
Eventually I pulled out the big guns and purchased a special trap. Since that purchase, four chippunks have been relocated to more spacious accommodations. Unfortunately when I returned the fourth time to admire my chippunk-free garden my eyes immediately found a rabbit. Our eyes met.
I swear the thing smiled.
Bonus chipmunk facts:
- 66 percent of a chipmunk's body is made of spite
- Chipmunks host their own Olympics with miniature events like ours
- Chipmunks actually prefer Bing over Google, but say they don't
- Chipmunks preferred method of transportation is atop a Roomba
- A chipmunk can get to a top speed of 46 mph with the right shoes
- If you get a chipmunk wet after midnight it turns into a wet, grumpy chipmunk (what did you think would happen?)
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Kelly's Pest Control Service (making rodents uncomfortable since 2013!). Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he'll leave a trail of peanuts to your garden.