We have a resident muskrat (actually several). Contrary to expectations they’re cute little buggers. For months one has periodically wandered around the front lawn going more or less from nowhere to nowhere and bothering nobody. I like him.
My useless balless cats didn’t want to mess with him…I have no idea why.
I stood on the porch and pondered “he’s so little, not much in the line of claws and spikes…how does he survive?”
My wife said “he’s shuffling toward the chicken coop…blast him.” (Is she a keeper or what?)
I said “nah…he’s staying outside” and left him alone.
All winter the little clueless furball has never entered the barn so I’ve had no problem with him. Not like the darned rats and raccoons. They’re always looking to cause issues.
Yesterday was such a day. Either a rat or raccoon got into a feed container in the chicken coop. The can rocked back and forth ominously. My wife squealed and I instantly went to DEFCON IV protective/deathmatch mode. I slapped the lid down and prepared for battle.
Luckily the lid created a great barrier so I had time to ponder my options. The invader was doomed. It had assaulted the homeland (er… home barn) and was therefore sentenced to death. I’m merciless about that. Rats and raccoons should know better. They’re smart and should know that looking for free food will get you into trouble with me. (I’m looking at you OWS! Things that pester me for free food get walloped with a shovel.)
Yet critters, even small ones, have teeth. How to use my big monkey brain to get this threat out of the can and properly dead without letting it crawl up my leg and foment an epic struggle? All I had in my hand was a screwdriver. Raccoon versus screwdriver? Been there, done that, and I’m not doing it again. (That’s a different story.)
I decided to use shock and awe to soften up my opponent. I picked up the can (lid still on) and shook it. Whomever was inside thunked and banged into the walls and started scrabbling ferociously on the metal. Hmmm… It beat flailing around with a shovel or whatnot.
So I picked up the can and became a human paint shaker. The critter inside bounced off the steel walls like a free radical. I paused. It sounded like it was still moving. Time for more aerobic exercise; shake shake shake, whap whap whap. After a couple of minutes I knew I could safely dump out the contents. It seemed lighter than a racoon. Probably a damn rat! I hate rats and every time I see one I wish I could upgrade my useless cat staff to mutant rat hating wolverines.
With “the shovel of smiting” in one hand and the “screwdriver of stabbing” in the other I gingerly dumped the can. The world’s most dazed muskrat flopped on the ground. Oh no! Poor little guy. I’d put him on a spin cycle meant for a 20 pound raccoon. He was toast.
My wife was unrepentant “he was in the barn…smack him and lets get back to work”. (Did I mention that my wife is awesome?) On the other hand, I was in full wuss mode; “ah man…he looks like a tribble. I’d have tossed him in the forest if I’d known. I liked him.” What a bummer.
Then he twitched in my direction.
WHAM. The shovel of smiting, following a program laid down by millenia of evolution, flattened him like a pancake before I even realized what I was doing. I like cute critters but I’m not going to get all emotive and let one bite me.
He knew the rules. Cute or not he was a furry mess now. I flipped his dead ass out in the snow and got back to work…