Friday, April 14, 2006

Mole Killer

Yes, I just got my first ever mole, and the experience is making me reevaluate the way I live my life. I'm just not a killer, I don't think. I might even have to stop wearing shoes made out of leather now.

It all started when I realized that he was missing my trap system by burrowing under the old tunnels in new, deeper runs. Copying some of the ideas I've read that we're considering for attacking Iran's nuclear labs, I decided to reformat my traps as "bunker busters" so that they could reach deep enough.

It worked quickly. Little J and I were out puttering for about ten minutes this morning when I noticed two traps had gone off. One was empty, like usual, but the second, an old school "loop" type trap I'd borrowed from a friend who prefers to dig his out of the ground with a keen eye and a shovel, felt heavy as I lifted it. It felt heavy and then it squirmed as I noticed the furry grapefruit sized critter trying to escape the thing. Yes, she was alive, and very cute, actually, front paws like paddles with claws at the end and skinny pink nose. I wasn't prepared for this at all.

It doesn't seem fair, really. It's a lot easier to lead a moral life when you don't have to make so many decisions about things. But here I was, the guy who feels bad for the fish when he sees his father in law clonk it on the head, having to decide how or if I was going to kill this mole that had kept me up nights for the past year or so.

It wasn't much of a decision making process, really. I knew immediately that I would be setting her free in the park across the street. Getting her there was a problem, though. I had a dog outside, a kid with no shoes on, and a sleeping B. up in his room. Further complicating things, I didn't want J to see the mole struggling in the trap because up to now she had been rather encouraging about Mole Hunt 06, and I was afraid I would lose her support if she finally figured out what a mole was or that the project involved killing them.

So, I dropped the trap and mole into a plastic shopping bag and carried her inside so that I could get a leash for the dog. A plastic bag isn't much trouble for a mole to dig through, though, and soon dirt was falling all over my house. I switched to a bucket.

To cut to the chase, I picked up J and with the dog we darted to the park with B still sleeping. This is right next to the Park & Rec offices, so I tried to find a place away from windows to let him go and that little guy dug a hole so quickly that . . . well, I just couldn't believe it. It was like his paws, or hers, were cutting through snow instead of soil.

Anyway, I don't know what to think now. I still hate moles, just not the ones I meet. I could not kill the thing with my bare hands, no question about that, but at the same time there is a part of me that knows if one of my more lethal traps got one and killed it, I would not feel all that bad about it.

I don't know. As Whitman says in Song of Myself:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)


acoolbreeze said...

Don't moles have a range of many acres? In other words, won't this guy be back in your yard by dinner time tonight? i was trapping groundhogs, raccoon, and possum for a while at the old house and I took them 20 miles away to the southern end of lake monroe to release them. I think you need to re-think your release strategy, Scott.

Mr. Hill said...

Well, it's not the best, but there are four lanes of traffic and two high curbs between us, and he has a few hundred acres of land on his side. I've actually seen a mole running in the street, unable to get up over our curb before. So, it's not the best relocation plan, but it was the best available considering I had a dog, a kid, and a sleeping kid back at home to consider.

Random1001.5 said...

Hopefully, she won't run across the street to return to you. We have to deal with muskrats and the Canadian Geece and sometimes I wonder what percentage those Canadian geece are actually made out of poop.

Oden, Miles said...

You asshole.

Almighty Ryan said...

Well, you can at least be proud about the fact that you finally caught something in one of your traps.

Tito said...

Holy crap I had no idea that's what a mole looked like! I trapped a mouse last summer on one of those sticky pads. He wasn't dead, of course, just stuck real good. He had done some serious flailing too, becuase the pad had moved a good two feet out from the wall where I'd placed it. Jen wanted me to free him until I explained his legs would probably rip off his body if I tried to unstick him. So I put him in a bag and threw him in the dumpster. As Andy Partidge said, we're the smartest monkeys.

MBW said...

... I do have a release spot to suggest, that's close by and a good spot for Miss Mole. Remind, me and I'll tell you the place.