Ah yes, God’s little sweeties-pies: Chipmunks.
Who hasn’t ever spotted one and commented on how cute they are? Despite their disarming Ewokness, these cheeky munks, in truth, tote a giant chip on their collective cute little shoulders. Pound for pound, they are the toughest animals on the planet. (And I thought it was the red ant.) If they were even the size of a racoon, we would need to call out the National Guard (Do we have that in Canada?) to save us from rampant roaming bully chipmunks.
The “little bears,” as they are also called, would probably know how to stand on their back legs so as to scan the lay of the land before breaking into your house and carrying off your refrigerator. (No doubt, stuffed in their cheeks.) Until I did research (A word I loathe) I had no idea chipmugs are omnivorous – They eat everything from worms to seeds to dryer lint (after they make their nest in your exhaust duct.)
What do we really know about these mini-rats with good public relations? All 23 species are found in North America, except for the Siberian chipmunk (which wears a small bearskin Russian hat – Surprise, surprise.) And they all look exactly the same. (What is the point of classifying varieties if you can’t tell them apart?) And another name for them is “timber tigers.” You gotta’ wonder where these weird nicknames are coming from. Bear and tiger do not summon the placidness nor cuteness of lambs.
To a chipmunk, the world is a buffet for the taking, and they do not discriminate: Nuts, fruits, grass, fungi, insects, frogs, bird eggs, plastic, AAA batteries, concrete and so on.
My neighbour across the street is having a war with them. She planted a huge vegetable garden and a family of chipmunks leveled it like bulldozers. So, now, my neighbour’s husband traps and relocates them to a nearby conservation area. (Try that if they were the size of bears or tigers.) I, on the other hand, have no problem with chipmunks on my lot. I trap and deposit them in my neighbour’s back yard at night while he is sleeping. (Why should both of us drive to the conservation area?) He keeps telling me how he can’t understand why he isn’t making any headway.
Even my local circulating pest control squad – a family of foxes – cannot make a dent in a chipmunk territory takeover more invasive than the growth of the USSR in Eastern Europe. The little bears are so damn fast no creature can touch them. I think they have the capability of inter-dimensional travel like built-in transporters. In one moment they are two feet from you and in the next second four blocks away. That’s why I think chipmunks are actually an alien species. (But that’s a whole other article.)
On the topic of trapping and relocating them, one wonders how long it will be before animal rights lobbyists come to the rescue of even these mini-Flashes. I can envision a newly established CRC – a Chipmunk Rights Commission – heading off humans at the pass. Their credo: “Ontario’s Chipmunk Rights Code is a provincial law that gives all chipmunks equal rights and opportunities at your vegetable garden (and dryer) without discrimination. They gotta’ eat too.”
They are like little Jimmy Cagneys. (I leave some of you fresher-faces to have to Google who that was): In your face, eat-anything pests of the highest order. But…. they are soooo cute.