Friday, August 20, 2010

If you give a mouse a cookie--or if you give a weasel your bag of snickers bars...

I woke up this morning and these were the things that I *did not* find in my house:

a frog--or frogs (either in the bathtub when I went to take a shower, or in the hallway on the way to the kitchen)

a snake--not often, but occasionally found near the door to the laundry room

giant spiders--which *often* frequented our bedroom. The rule was that if the spider remained near the ceiling then it could stay, if it began walking on the floor then there would be consequences; the broom would come out and the spider would be remanded to the out of doors. As a child, I used to be horribly afraid of spiders, but their everyday presence in our ancient house and my husband's general tolerance of them gave me a change of heart. (The only time that his tolerance was tried was when a giant huntsman hid her egg sack behind our television. When we woke up one morning the babies were hatching and spread a dark, moving stain of tiny bodies--their eight little legs barely visible to the naked eye--up the wall toward the window where they left us for the wider world.)

bats--they usually did not come in and even if they did by morning all that would remain would be the tell-tale signs that they had been there: bat poop (guano? probably that would call for a colony of bats and not one or two, so I vote for "poop") and the left-over bits of their dinner (inedible insect parts)

geckos--I actually miss the outline of their small toes backlit on the shower door.

crabs--surely nothing like Christmas island, but during really heavy rainy seasons, they would sometimes appear in the hallway between our bedroom and the kitchen (the same place as the frogs)

CENTIPEDES--which are evil incarnate and deserve their own separate discussion later.

and finally the thing that was *definitely not* in our house when I woke up this morning was:

a weasel--

For about a month a weasel took up residence under my pantry. I didn't know right away, but then things began to go missing. First it was a bag of rolls, then it was a bag of cookies the last straw really was a whole bag of mini-snickers bars that I really wanted for myself. Someone/something had chewed through the bag, eaten most of the contents and bitten through all of the wrappers. There were crumbs and chocolate stains... I began to suspect a furry thief. Sometimes my mother-in-law would leave the side door open too long and neighborhood strays--usually cats (but they typically don't go for chocolate) would take advantage. Then one day, much to my astonishment, a slightly pointed head, followed by a beautiful coppery body popped (yes--pop goes the weasel--he he. Had to put that in here somewhere) out of the space under my pantry.
To make a long story short, it took us several weeks to figure out how it had gotten in the house. We finally found that it was coming in via a loose board under the eaves. We secured the entryway, trapped the little weasel with a net and released it on the other side of the stream in front of our house. But it had the last laugh--it gassed us--kind of like a skunk spray but slightly less lethal. I had no idea they could do that. ewwww!

when I woke up this morning and there was nothing crawling, creeping or flying in the house--and especially no furry form emerging from under the pantry, things were less exciting, but I was not really disappointed.
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