Have a Heart

I recently purchased a Havahart humane trap at my local hardware store, hoping I could catch and release the chipmunk that has been living in the walls of my garage for a couple of years now. I read the instructions carefully and follow them to a T. Using three recommended apple slices topped with raisins and peanut butter as bait, I leave the trap in my back yard near the stone wall where the chipmunk likes to hang out during the day.  As directed, I am careful to make sure both entrances are open and the bait tray is level.

I should confess, I am not particularly bothered by the chipmunk, but my dog is. She is a Karelian Bear Dog, with an extreme prey drive, and she knows the chipmunk lives in the walls of the garage, and she is determined to stalk it night and day. She has worn her front toenails down trying to scratch her way through the plywood that acts as a barrier between her and the furry little appetizer she can hear, smell, and almost taste, and it is driving her (and me) crazy..

Once when I was young we had a mouse infestation in our home. My parents purchased a Havahart trap and within a few days had captured 12 little gray mice, which they either released somewhere near our neighbors, who had cats, or else they drowned them without telling us. I find gray mice to be rather ugly and unpleasant–not at all like Hunca-Munca from Beatrix Potter ‘s The Tale of Two Bad Mice. But I digress.

So I set my trap with three apple slices coated with peanut butter and raisins, and wait.

First day: it looks like a chipmunk has been inside, because there is a dried leaf in the cage that wasn’t there before, and one of the apple slices is off of the bait tray, without its raisins and peanut butter. I remove it and leave the other two.

Second day: One of the remaining apple slices is undisturbed, and the other is gone, but the peanut butter and raisin topping is left sitting on the bait tray. I remove them and replace with thinner slices of apple coated with peanut butter and raisins.

Third day: All the food is gone. I conclude that I have simply created a convenient feeding station for the chipmunk.

I go back to the hardware store to tell them my story. They say that I should set the trap so only one door is open, and the food is way on the other side of the bait tray, so that the chipmunk has to walk across the bait tray to reach the food, and thus trigger the door. I had already thought of trying this, but the instructions specifically said to have both doors open or the bait tray would not be level. I go home and forget to put food in the trap. My dog goes nuts in the garage again.

To be continued…





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