It Is My Job To Exist As...

...a shining beacon of hope in the heartland


By: Juli Eklund

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Wednesday, 12-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | Bookmark
Big A-- Rat Trap

The trap
The Feeder
Their position in relation to one another
People often ask me, "Juli, why is there a giant rat trap bungee-corded to your downspout?" There really is a simple explanation. It's not that I have rats climbing all over my house. For cryin' out loud, I have three cats and two dogs. You would think rodents would be no problem. Except for one certain rodent. That would be a certain rodent favored by Steve Troy.

Last Christmas I got this cool bird feeder. It has a spring loaded pole that is intended to make it hang in a window for close up viewing of birds in action. We fondly call it Kitty TV as the cats will sit in the perch for hours, ears back, tails twitching---making that noise that sounds like maybe there's a hairball in the immediate future---just staring raptly at the feathered rodents, uh, birds.

Well none of my windows will accommodate the spring loaded pole so I got some big suction cups and little hook-and-eye hooks and rigged it so that the hooks are attached to the wood frame of the feeder and then those hooks hang on the suction cups on the window. It will support the weight of the food and a couple of birds, but not much else.

Enter a certain rodent. The bushy-tail. The tree-rat. Yes my friends, the squirrel. Next to the raccoon, one of the smartest pieces of wildlife I've run into. They studied this bird feeder and they determined that if they shimmied their way up the downspout, they could launch themselves from the cross piece of the downspout and land on top of the window-mounted bird feeder, thus securing themselves some succulent sunflower seeds. Now do you think those puny suction cups are going to support the weight of a squirrel?

No, they don't. I don't want to take away the Kitty TV. I can't move it to another window as this is the only window that allows easy refilling of the feeder. A cut-to-shape piece of foam wedged between the downspout and the eave was circumvented in less than 24 hours. A piece of plywood would do quite nicely, but very unsightly. What to do? My brilliant idea was to get the biggest, baddest rat trap I could find and bungee cord it on top of the cross piece, guaranteeing a good scare to the rodent if not an outright kill.

The first thing I killed was a bird. I felt just awful. How to keep the birds away? Enter the festively strung curly-ribbon. It flutters constantly and the birds avoid it. So now I have my squirrel discourager and I don't rack up any unintentional kills. And no, I don't feel guilty when I see a squirrel running around on the deck gripping his paw like he's just been reprimanded by a nun with a ruler.

And that is why there is a big-ass rat trap on my downspout.


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