Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to Catch a Chipmunk

When I was a kid, I caught chipmunks. No seriously.

Oh, I did normal stuff like play soccer and piano and hang out with my friends.

But when a friend came over to my house, sometimes we would catch chipmunks. Are you picturing a couple of third graders running around trying to catch the little critters with our hands? Nope, that didn't happen. We had much more—ahem—civilized methods.

If you want to catch a chipmunk, all you need is 6 things:

1. A chipmunk to catch

2. A trash can

3. A rope

4. An enthusiastic friend who doesn't think you're crazy

5. Bird seed

6. A high place

So I would put the trash can on its side and then place some bird seed near the bottom. Then I tied a rope to the handle of the trash can (it has to have a handle; I forgot to mention that) and brought the other end of the rope up to the high place and handed it to my friend. Thus, she could sit up there in the fort and yank the rope, instantly pulling the trash can upright once an unsuspecting chipmunk crawled inside in search of food.

Often the person holding the rope was too high to see inside the trash can, so I would sit somewhere across the way, perhaps on the porch, and watch the chipmunks like a hawk. I'd signal my friend to pull the rope when the chipmunk was in the right place.

I was a patient kid, at least sometimes. I'd sit there for quite some time if necessary, but usually it didn't take the chipmunks long to discover the treat in the bottom of the fallen trash can. Sometimes I would signal my friend too early, and the chipmunk would escape. But if I waited until the little creature was all the way at the end of the trash can, it worked every time.

What did we do with them once we caught them? Nothing, really. We'd just go look at them up close. But not too close though, because they'd usually be jumping like crazy trying to get out. They never could, but we didn't want to hurt them, so we'd always let them go in a few minutes. 

The ones we caught must not have been that traumatized, because sometimes they'd crawl right back into the trash can a few minutes later for another snack.

We also used to feed squirrels peanuts out the back door. They'd crawl up the screen door and knock on the window if we didn't respond fast enough. But that's an entirely different story. And so is that squirrel that was stuck in our chimney once. Yeah.

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