Every autumn, about the beginning of September, brings the annual influx of my little furry white-bellied friends, the deer
mouse, carrier of such things as the Hanta-virus, which it turns out, is carried in their urine and feces.
It is believed that humans can get sick with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings.
Fortunately it cannot be spread between humans.
Rodents carrying the hantivirus have been found in many U.S. National Parks, but most people who are exposed to the virus have come in contact with rodent droppings in their own homes.
Early symptoms are similar to the flu and include chills, fever, and muscle aches.
Without going further into the very gory details, suffice to say that if severe enough, it can lead to your demise.
It's enough to make you go out and invest in a very large cat!
Instead, every Fall, here at my office, out come the good old reliable "Victor" mouse traps which I bait with either a very fragrant cheese or some thick peanut butter.
I then make the chart you see at the top of this post and the extermination, the war of attrition begins.
Here it is, the middle of October, and already I have 40 kills! Yesterday I scored the daily double, arriving to find two traps with victims attached.
Okay. I seem to have this under control. But this early morning as I made my way up the back steps to the office a familiar sickening smell filled my nostrils: SKUNK!
For several years I had wood chucks that had burrowed under the foundation near the back of the place, nested and raised their young.
Although I know they can be destructive, I decided to try to live in peaceful coexistence and hope that they would move on, which they did.
But now I have at least one skunk that has decided that the former wood chuck apartment is just dandy for a long winter's nap.
This is intolerable. The older I get the more difficult it is for me to destroy the life of any living entity, but come next Spring my problems will only multiply as the skunks do what comes naturally.
So today when my friend Steve (Roy) Rogers stopped in for a brief visit, we discussed a strategy.
Steve has dealt with skunks before so he has a handle on what to do. We will live trap next week, cover the caged quarry with a black garbage bag to keep from being sprayed, take it out to the woods behind the house and there will be a 16 gauge execution.
It is not something I savor, but it is a must do