Mammal Mondays: Rodent Roundup

The Electrician has done such an awesome job of looking after me since my paw repair. He’s helped me with little things around the house, driven my wounded self to the places I needed to be, and even made me lunches ahead of time since cooking without a dominant hand is pretty dangerous right now. He’s most excellent.

Don’t get the idea that The Electrician is all mushball and no muscle. I asked him if I could tell his little mammal story here at Bluespeckledpup to my small but dedicated fan base, and he agreed, but only if I made him sound extra rugged. I figured you folks might appreciate a change from photos of my beasts, anyway.

My sweetie went home on Saturday after dropping me off with my family; he had a serious to-do list before his mom arrived home from very far away on Sunday afternoon. His folks work overseas right now and come home for a couple of visits a year, and The Electrician lives in their house and is essentially the caretaker and groundskeeper while they are away. It is an arrangement that works well for everyone, except when things go sideways like they did this weekend.

While he was swapping out the broken handle on the basement toilet, The Electrician noticed the house was way too chilly, even for a big, hairy dude. He turned the furnace on and went back to his repair plans. It was plus one celsius Saturday morning, and parts of Alberta had snow (go, June!) so I think most of us fired our heaters back up.

While he was rearranging a float or changing the TP roll, or whatever things are required in fixing a toilet, The Electrician heard a funny sound: scritch, scritch, scritch. Then he heard a chatter. The hairs in his beard stood on end. See, rugged. Beards are very rugged.

He followed the sound and ended up in a vent feeding directly off the furnace. The Electrician was certain he was dealing with a mouse, and the thought of wrangling vermin did not brighten his already busy day. Note, please, that he has no fear of mice, but he’s well aware that mice are dirty little critters who leave dirty little turds everywhere they go. A seek and destroy mission for dirty little turds was not on his list of things to accomplish on a chilly Saturday afternoon.

When he found a way to look inside the furnace, he jumped back, thinking that the home invader was the biggest, fluffiest, reddest mouse in the history of home invaders. Then the creature turned, screeched, and gnashed its terrible teeth in the flashlight beam. The Electrician was so started he dropped the flashlight (swearing as only a tradesman can swear, of course).

It was a squirrel, a big red squirrel from hell, and he was not a happy mammal. Neither was The Electrician.

Originally, the plan was to lure the squirrel, who I will call Rusty, into a bucket, snap the lid on quickly, and carry the bucket o’ vermin across the river for rehoming. Have I told you before that The Electrician has a heart the size of Idaho? I’m pretty sure I have. To maintain a strong, masculine state during rodent rescue and relocation, he planned to listen to Zepplin or some other testosterone laced stuff during the drive to the open field to release the critter.

The bucket plan didn’t pan out, largely because Rusty had been trapped in the furnace duct for a while and was not a happy camper. He had chewed up the furnace filter trying to find a way out; all evidence pointed to him falling through a vent from the roof after chewing through the mesh that was supposed to keep him out. Rusty got full points for tenacity, which did little, I’m afraid, to balance his abysmal score as a houseguest.

It was about this time that my sweetie called me to tell me of his plight. I was worried about rabies and such, and, having seen too many movies, of a Rusty bite turning The Electrician into some sort of hybrid weresquirrel who would sit in the tree behind the dollhouse, eatting chunky peanut butter with my biggest kitchen spatula under the light of the full moon. After conferring with my dad, we decided the best course of action would be to set a big rat trap and wait for Rusty to meet a quick and minimally painful end. The fact that The Electrician’s mother would be home in fewer than 24 hours also meant that the Rusty problem needed to be solved as quickly as possible.

Theoretically, the plan should have worked. Rusty had other ideas. The little stinker decided an odd approach to the trap, baited with a generous dollop of peanut butter. Somehow, Rusty tripped the release before he was fully in “position” and the trap glanced across his little rodent head, wounding him, but not finishing the job.

So, now The Electrician had a furious, injured squirrel, screeching and bleeding and freaking out in the furnace duct. Rusty, in very rough shape, moved as far back from the vent opening and the trap that tried to kill him, and continued to thrash around.

Unfortunately, my sweetie didn’t get the quick resolution he was hoping for. The Electrician had limited options because Rusty was beyond arms’ reach and he was a very angry little beast, so getting too close to him was less than ideal. Left with no choice but good old ingenuity, Rusty’s coup de grâce involved the butt end of a hockey stick (Oh Canada). He was then retrieved with a long pair of barbeque tongs and laid to rest in a series of tightly tied Costco brand garbage bags.

The rest of the evening was spent cleaning up the various things Rusty left in the furnace duct, and trying to seal the point of entry against further invasion. I’m going to be honest and say that I’m very glad I missed the whole ordeal. I have no fears of rodents, but I have no desire to be around for their ugly final acts.

A note to The Electrician’s momma: the tongs were wiped down with disinfectant and then sent through the dishwasher; any Rusty related threat has been neutralized.

Rest in peace, Rusty.

copyright 2011:

3 Comments Add yours

  1. bd says:

    good job by the squirrel squad, hope ya never see a deer in the yard or head lights! pa

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