This is a chipmunk.
photo courtesy of www.johnehrenfeld.com
This is NOT who I did battle with; I battled with these little fellas -
The thirteen-striped ground squirrel.
photo courtesy of itsazoo.ca/pictures
I had to set the record straight. I didn't want to mislead you and think that I was battling chipmunks, like Chip and Dale,
photo courtesy of Wikipedia
or better yet, The Chippendales (although that WOULD be a fantasy of mine!)
photo courtesy of www.getmein.com
Okay, so now you know the characters I was dealing with in my yard.
When I first saw one I thought, "Aw, isn't he cute?"
Ha! He was cute alright. Till he mated. And then there were, I don't know, maybe 7? Their nest must have been close to our house because we first spied them through our patio doors; the babies stood in a circle near their parents. It reminded me of a candle holder similar to this one:
photo courtesy of Rockmister on Flicka
Ground squirrels eat things like grasses, weeds, and seeds. They also eat earthworms and insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, and ants. My backyard? Grass? check. Weeds? check. Seeds? (birdseed) check. Earthworms? Probably. check. As far as the insects go, I knew we had problems with those coppery-looking beetles on our shrubs, so check, and everyone has ants, so check. So basically, it was a little EDEN in my backyard.
If I looked down to my backyard from my second story bedroom window, I could see their trails in the grass leading to the birdfeeders, to the field in the back, to the neighbor's yard, basically to all over the place. It was as complex as the runways at O'Hare Airport.
These squirrels were fast. They would scurry along the edge of the house, run across my driveway, and even the front porch. They were bold little suckers.
And they were NOT CUTE ANYMORE.
We had holes all over our yard from all their burrowing. The difference between ground squirrels and moles are that squirrels do NOT make mounds around their burrows. NO. In fact, they spread the dirt around the opening and pat it down with their feet AND head. Yeah. They like a clean entrance.
Well I was tired of Mr. & Mrs. Ground Squirrel taking up residence in my yard, and it was moving day.
I had the watering hose in the backyard, and after filling the birdbath with fresh water, got the idea that I would flood out the ground squirrel's home and they'd leave. Either that or they'd drown and that would be the end of them.
I shoved the hose about two feet into the hole and ran the water for a good 5-10 minutes.
"Aha! I got you now, sucker!" I screamed, my eyes glinting off the water droplets on the hose.
Finally I figured the hole was soaked enough and began retrieving the hose. A few seconds later, to my amazement, a fat, water-drenched ground squirrel staggered out like he had a few too many drinks, shook himself off, and then ran away.
Score: Pat: 0 GS: 1
I loved to sit on my front porch, sometimes reading, sometimes just chatting with my neighbor. Many a times a ground squirrel would hop up on the porch and run across it, amid our screaming and jumping up. I think he liked to disrupt the peace and quiet.
They were getting BOLDER, like they owned the place or something.
Score: Pat: 0 GS: 2
One day the Schwan's man came to my house.
(They sell ice cream and frozen foods.) We were standing on my front porch while I was looking through the brochure to pick out what I wanted to order. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the ground squirrel come onto the porch. I didn't say anything because a) it all happened so fast, and b) I figured the squirrel would hop right off when he saw us standing there.
But that's not what happened.
Schwan's Man's back was to the squirrel. The squirrel ran towards the man. Then he ran UP THE MAN'S LEG, THEN BACK DOWN, and off the porch.
This is what the man's face looked like.
I think I peed myself a little - I laughed so hard.
"What the hell was that?" He asked.
I could barely speak as I got out, "G-g-ground squirrel", and bent over in fits of laughter.
Score: Pat: 0 GS: 3
My husband kept telling me to stop feeding the birds, and then I'd get rid of the ground squirrels. I was not willing to give up enjoying the birds flocking to my yard, so I had to continue to put up with the ground squirrels.
One day I went to throw out the garbage in the garage. I was about to shut the door when I heard a scratching noise, like little claws on metal. I flipped on the overhead light and saw one of the ground squirrels scrambling to climb up the garage door!
"HA! I've got you now, you S.O.B.!"
With that I smacked the garage door opener with all my might. I don't think my face looked any different than this.
photo courtesy of redriverautographs.files.wordpress.com
I watched with glee as the little guy hung on for dear life as the door raised higher and higher. I waited for his moment of defeat when he would come crashing down to the cement floor.
He fell directly into the metal wheelbarrow with a dull thud.
I thought my days of fighting the squirrel were over.
I had won! Finally!
That little mother tucker popped his head up over the edge of the wheelbarrow, and I SWEAR, flipped me the bird, then hopped out and scrambled out of the garage.
Score: Pat: STILL 0 GS: 4
And every time that squirrel scores a point, this is what he does:
When we sold our home five years ago, we signed a paper stating all the things that we knew were "wrong" with our house. But I kept the little secret to myself about the ground squirrels. I figured that the new owners would find out soon enough.