Thursday, August 30, 2012

Creative Critter Compromises

Have you ever heard of creative critter compromises?  If not, neither have I...until I just made it up because I need your help.

We have two critter dilemmas at our house, and I could sure use your help.  The first challenge is chipmunks, and not the kind who sing and bring in money (aka Alvin, Theodore, and Simon).  The other is moles, or gophers...though which of the two for certain, I cannot say.

 Dilemma One:

Two summers ago my oldest son was getting married.  Just before we set to take our family of five in the SUV to his place, a couple of states away, the air conditioner stopped working.  It'd been giving us signs that it was ailing for awhile, but they were unusual a fine white spray of powder, almost like tiny pieces of shredded paper coming out of the vents when you turned on the fan, so we did exactly what you're not supposed to do (ignored them).

I called the mechanic and he quoted me $600 to get the air running, and they were booked so the car would be gone two days.  Fine... we got a rental to go to the wedding, and gave him our vehicle when our trip was over.  When the car was ready, the manager of the shop called because he wanted to talk to me personally.  It turned out the cute little chipmunk I'd seen numerous times running across my porch or out from under my car was really a sneaky varmint.  He'd been storing up nuts in the air conditioning box of the car.  A whole box (a nice-sized box too) of acorn nuts later, and a pass on labor fees (because it was amusing to everyone in the car shop), and our a/c was up and running good as new. 

We were told the likelihood of the chipmunk using our vehicles for storage again was minimal at best.  The advice was that if you take away their storage they're smart enough to know not to put things in there anymore and they'll search for a new place to take their nuts.  Not our chipmunk...I have been finding the telltale signs lately; an acorn half eaten on my floor mat, that fine white papery substance again (not in the vents, but in the car from time to time), and the worst sign of all, that little sneak running out from under my car when I open the front door of the house.

Dilemma Two:

We have beautiful backyard that I love.  Unfortunately the pocket gophers or moles (I'm not sure which one) have also found our yard to be appealing and they're digging holes back there that catch you unaware (I swear I'm going to break an ankle from the falls they cause me if we don't find an effective solution soon).  It makes playtime in the yard less than fun (it's hard to have fun when you constantly have to watch where you step).

The Biggest Dilemma?

I suppose the biggest dilemma is not the animals themselves, but rather me.  I don't want to kill them.  I know...I know...I know...I've heard it all before from anyone who's heard the tales, there are countless ways to kill them, and I'm a 'wimp' or whatever other name you want to throw in there.  It's okay, hurl away (but don't be too harsh, please, lol), even the ones I love have sent the 'don't be so lame!' lines my way.  I've also heard the definitive, 'Well, if you don't want to kill them (have you seen the things used to kill moles?!??! That's not my only moral obstruction with killing them, but really?!?! *Shudders*), then you'll just have to suffer with them,' advice.

But that can't be...

There are so many different solutions to every kind of challenge imaginable.  There has to be a foolproof way to repel those two beasts...I mean critters, so that they aren't dead, but they aren't messing up my stuff.  I am looking for creative critter compromises to help me with my dilemma.

I've done the research online, asked friends, and tried some of the solutions, but nothing has worked so far for either situation. So, if you have, or know of anything that has worked for either type of dilemma, please feel free to share.  The only stipulation (besides not killing them), is that I can't have any kind of substance to repel them that is going to cause harm to our toddler.

It's not an easy order to fill, I know, but this is the Internet...surely someone knows something that I don't.  If so, please share (and thank you!)!


  1. Rosey... my friend... I really don't know what to say, because if I was in your shoes... well I wouldn't want to kill them either.... what if you made a little house for the chipmunk and store a few nuts for them? Maybe they would take over the "house" and accept the house warming gifts and call it quits? LOL! Just a thought... grace, peace and blessings, Carla

    1. Carla, I see your reply was super popular. :) It's cute and it did make me smile/happy to think of, but if I made a house, maybe they'd invite company over! he he he

      I am about to go order the Shake Away and hope it will at least work for the chipmunk out front.

      I'm going to wait and see if it's effective before investing in the cost to do the backyard (which I think would require the bigger bottle or several of the little ones).

      Wish me luck. :)

      Thanks to all who replied.

  2. I wouldn't have the heart to kill him either :)
    Oh, but you must get rid of it, or him. Yes, lure him by making him a lovely house for himself. Give it a try :)

  3. I had this dilemma several months ago with stray cats which stayed on the unfinished ceiling of our room extension. Their pee smell was so terrible that I really swore to kill them. Actually, I didn't dare, I couldn't afford to kill them and we just ended up moving out to another room until the time that I could have the money to finish the ceiling. Folks suggested to give the cats poisonous food but I didn't. The solution to my problem just came as a miracle when suddenly, the cats has stopped coming back to the ceiling. Perhaps, they've found a nicer place to stay in. Giving them a nicer home might be the solution. :)

  4. Yes indeed! a chipmunk house, all painted and primped! Surely he'll go for that :)

  5. Those are cute critters. I think I can't afford to kill them too.

  6. Luckily, we don't have any critters around the likes of which are tormenting you - so I have no advice. I hope you find a solution soon!

  7. I'd rather have chipmunks and moles than rats.
    I wouldn't want to kill those guests of yours either... perhaps the chipmunk house would work? :)

  8. There are shake on critter repellents that are made from the urine of critters they don't like or are afraid of (all natural, non-toxic) at I know this works.... Better than anything that might actually KILL them....EEK.

    1. I'm ordering a bottle of this right now. Our yard is a pretty decent size (a little over a couple of acres), so I'm not sure how it will do w/the moles in the backyard, but I'm sure hoping it repels the chipmunk from storing his nuts in my car. I'm going to put these along the perimeter of the driveway where the car sits.

      I love that it's safe for humans, won't hurt the animals, and could solve my problem.

      We have a huge Acorn tree out there...I bet it gets rid of our squirrels too, and we'll miss them (their antics are funny to watch from the window). It seems such a waste to let those acorns go to waste (if the animals aren't coming around to eat them), but I do want the car acorn-free, so we do what we gotta do...

      If anyone has ideas on the moles in the back, that would be great. Thanks for this link, Detox Diva. The reviews online for the product were good.

  9. Honestly, I would contact your nearest wildlife rescue people. Tell them the situation and have them come out. They will usually come for free or for any donation you can give. I had that issue with opposums and we ended up shooting water under the deck to get them to leave so we could patch up a hole. Sending good thoughts your way that you find a solution:)

  10. I hope that you will be able to find a solution soon. I stay in an apartment so I haven't personally experience what you are going through but it sure sounds really frustrating for you.


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