Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ground Squirrels

So the other day this guy from the water company had to come because apparently our water meter has been reading the same numbers for the past year. Yes, here where we live we are obliged to do what we have never had to before: that is, every month call up the water peeps and record the numbers that appear on our water meter. Backwards land of weirdness.

Anyways, when he was leaving he observed, going down the front steps and I standing at the door, that we have "a healthy population of gophers." He meant Richardson's Ground Squirrels, called gophers by a lot of the locals.

And we do. When we came back from vacation in early June, the two that we started with had multipled into eight or ten, little chubby babies that are just the best with their tiny tails rapidly flicking. The children have since moved on to other holes, and we're back down to two. ish. Twoish.

But I don't have the heart to trap them, like most people do here. They are considered pests. How could they be pests? Little Prairie Dog-like creatures that I have never seen before who stand up on their hinds legs and chirp with high-pitched noises when they're feeling territorial. Those times, you can see their long, sharp digging teeth. I love to watch them from my writing desk. They are a source of slight distraction and endless fascination. Oh, and did I mention that they kiss to greet each other? Adorable.

I mean, sure, they put holes in the ground everywhere. If you let them run rampant, as we do, they'll undermine all of your structures. Especially foundations. And there's so many of them here, especially at the zoo. But they exist no where else in the world. And they were here before the foundations, they'll probably be here much longer than these ephemeral buildings. The city has eventual plans to tear down the houses anyways.

And after all, its only a rental.