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Fear & Loathing in Special Education

Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

Like a Caffeine Addicted Hamster

Posted 06-16-2010 at 05:03 AM by Speced9

Chipmunks. They're small, cute and look cuddly (though I doubt anyone has been able to catch one for a quick hug). You can look at them and say, "Awwwww..." in the same way you gush over a newborn baby. Yeah. I used to be that way until I realized that they're just rats with a total body makeover. They're nature's smallest example of a wolf in sheep's clothing. They are the ENEMY.

Before I begin, I need to do a little something to satisfy the Blogging FCC. In order to have this post on the main PT blog page, I have to have this post categorized as teaching related. How do you categorize a blog post about chipmunks as teaching related? You start your post off with this:


There. Justification of categorization complete. Now, onward.

My first contact with chipmunks of any kind began when I was just a wee tyke back in the 60s. It was an auditory introduction courtesy of the Christmas season and my dad's AM radio in the car. What did I learn? I learned that chipmunks had names and that they were great singers. Once I saw the album cover, I learned that they wore shirts, but it was unclear whether or not they wore pants.

That same decade, I met Chip and Dale. They were au naturel so to speak. I'm guessing they were much more in tune with their inner chipmunk than Alvin and the boys. Still, they were cute and cuddly. What was not to like?

Twenty years later, Alvin, Simon and Theodore made a comeback. Given that I was in my twenties, and working in a toy store during this time, you can imagine that I didn't quite see them in the same way I had many years earlier. I found them mildly irritating by the fact that they were into the Just Say NO campaign, and they had a tendency to record and butcher a song. Let's just say that when I heard the Chipmunk's version of Let's Go by The Cars, I was none too happy with my cuddly, no-pants-wearing friends.

That brings us up to 2007. I bought a new house on the edge of a wooded area. It was great to live in both worlds. I had urban living in the front with streets, neighbors and traffic, and country living in the back with trees, owls a hootin' and deer frolicking. I guess you could say that I was living in the equivalent of a real estate mullet. This is where I began to encounter our furry friends, the chipmunks.

I got my first glimpse during the summer of '07. My wife and I often saw the little guy scampering to and from the underside of my neighbor's shed. We liked him. We thought he was cute. We named him Chip, though we never saw any sign of Dale.

Dale made his appearance the next spring. He set up shop in the rock bed I had painstakingly created the previous autumn. Though I didn't hear it then, I'm sure there must have been a trumpet sounding and an official spokesperson of the king announcing,


and begin they did. Dale would move rocks and dig a hole. I would fill in the hole and unpile the rocks. One day later, Dale would have his hole back. This went on all summer. I spotted Dale once sitting above his newly filled in hole with a perturbed and perplexed look on his little chipmunk face. If I could read chipmunk body language, I'm sure he was saying,

"Well, I guess you know that this means WAR!"

Fast forward to 2009. Alvin and boys moved in along the back of our house. This presented a new set of problems. Alvin and the boys were fond of my wife's flower beds. Actually, it's kind of the reverse- my wife's flower beds were in their way. Each day we'd discover that certain plants had been excavated to make way for a new chipmunk condominium. So, the games continued.........

Now, during this summer of 2010, I find myself hating Chip, Dale, Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Why didn't I see this coming? Surely Dave Sivile's cries of, "ALVIN!!!" should have tipped me off as a child, but I didn't see it. And.... don't get me started on all of the high jinks of Chip and Dale, especially around Donald Duck's house.

I was blinded by their cuteness. Something had to be done. I'm sure if things continue as they are I'm going to find one of them passed out amidst a night of fun in my lawn furniture one of these mornings.

So, I've finally decided to do something about my cute, little, destructive friends. They have to go, and since packing up their belongings and telling them to hit the road will never work, I have to be a little more aggressive and perseverating than Donald. I took my war to the vast knowledge of the Internet.

Let me tell you, there are a lot of people around who have the same problem I do. There are also different levels of chipmunk hatred. As far as I can tell, there are four main ways to give my friends the heave ho with just as many levels of maliciousness to go with them. Here's what I found:

1. Mothballs
This is the least threatening way to get rid of my guests. The theory is simple- mothballs smell bad, chipmunks hate the smell, chipmunks move out into the yard and beyond. The downfall is that they smell bad to humans too, so I may have to move out in the yard with them. Maliciousness Level: Low

2. Live Trap
This one involves a little more cost. There's the cost of the traps, and the cost of the gas to relocate your friends somewhere far, far away (I've considered relocating them to my mother-in-law's house.). This has it's disadvantages though. First and foremost, there's laws about catching and releasing WILD animals in certain areas, and second, I'm not so sure that Chip and Dale might stage some elaborate escape from the trap then car jack me during the relocation process.
Maliciousness Level: Low

3. Rat Trap
You don't need too much description here. Bait trap. Set trap. Chipmunk checks trap. SNAP!!!! No more chipmunk. Sure, it's a quick death, but disposal is a big problem on this one. Can you compost a chipmunk?
Maliciousness Level: Medium

Personally, I couldn't believe I found this one. Here's the deal-
You take a great big bucket and fill it half way with water. You place a board leading up to the bucket to give the chipmunk a way to see what's in the bucket. You disguise the water by pouring a layer of sunflower seeds that float on the surface. As nearly as I can tell, the chipmunk walks on up, sees the bucket of seeds (it must be a chipmunk utopian thing I'm sure) and dives in.


The bucket is then too tall for the chipmunk to get out. The little guy drowns, but he does get a last meal. Now, honestly, I'm not too crazy about this one, but people swear by it. I don't know about you, but I'm not building a death trap to kill Chip and Dale. Who could live with that on their conscience? Plus, once again, you have disposal to worry about except on a much larger scale. Some of these Internet posters were boasting about having multiple chipmunks going for a death swim every day. Yikes.
Maliciousness Level: Off the Charts

So, where does that leave me? I'm going with #1 Mothballs. Some people swear by them as a foolproof solution. If the boys don't go for that one (which is likely), then there are other non-lethal ways to get the message across to them. I'm most comfortable with those. I'm keeping the live trap option open though. Something tells me that a few days into the mothball campaign, ol' Chip will discover they're actually a food source.

Posted in Teaching Related , Life As I Know It
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  1. Old Comment
    Speced9's Avatar

    Uh oh, it's worse than I thought....

    that's one smart chipmunk.......
    Posted 06-18-2010 at 11:38 AM by Speced9 Speced9 is offline

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