“Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep” –German proverb
By Leslie Criss
TUPELO, MS–I’m a city girl. Don’t get me wrong. I love visiting the country. But I prefer leaving it–and its wildlife–behind for life in the city.
So, here’s my question: Couldn’t there be a rule relegating certain members of the wildlife community to the country?
I’ve already survived a rat and her offspring in the shed behind my house. And I understand rodents, like me, seem to prefer life in the city. But now I have a opossum that has taken up residence on the uncleared lot just beyond my yard. In the daylight hours, the marauding marsupial makes its way under my fence and under my shed.
The opossum’s presence pushes my puppies into a pandemonium that involves a lot of barking. At least twice their vocals have caused one neighbor to admonish them from his upstairs window. Of course, my response to the neighbor is, “They’re dogs. Dogs bark.”
I requested a trap–the no-kill kind–be set out back in hopes the opossum could be caught and carried home to the country. But I don’t think the trap ever made it to Madison Street.
My friend William at the Journal asked me if he could come sit on my deck with his pellet gun and see how many bottles he could hit on my bottle tree. I told him no, but he could take out some of the squirrels. (Just kidding; don’t call PETA.)
I think they’re cute, but there has been a population explosion of them in my neighborhood. When I drive into my driveway, there are always two or three slow-moving squirrels leading me into the backyard before they scurry up a tree.
Several Saturdays ago as I walked out on my deck I noticed movement in my yard. Something was lumbering away from me toward the back fence.
Then George and Gracie saw it and took off after it. The thing didn’t pick up much speed. It tried–and failed–to squirm under the side fence. Finally, it escaped my yard by way of the back fence. But not before Gracie got a mouthful of fur.
What was it?
I can only tell you what it wasn’t. It was not a rat or nutria or any sort of rodent. It was not a opossum or raccoon. It was not a cat or a rabbit. There was no visible tail, it was a solid grayish-brown color and it made no sound. The body looked Beaver-ish, but without that large, dam-building tail.
Muskrat? Groundhog? Your guess is as good as mine. But I’d just as soon not have all manner of wildlife in my backyard. George, Gracie, the birds and a few squirrels is all I need.
Now, I have a friend in Vicksburg who called me a week ago to let me know she has “at least” four snakes in her house. Not out in the yard. IN THE HOUSE!
I told her when next I visit, I won’t be staying with her.
But, her news made me ponder anew my own situation. And I’m finding a fondness for my furry, four-legged friends in my yard. Better many mammals in the yard than even a single serpent inside.–Daily Journal’s