It’s probably the same everywhere. You have moles. They’re destructive little things that can tear up a flower bed and vegetable garden in record time. They’re the bane of people who want perfectly manicured lawns. And they’re tough to defeat! But I fought the mole and the mole lost! So why do I feel so bad?
Yesterday the dogs were playing out back while I sat in the sunshine. The boys usually run around like insane
people animals paying no attention to the wildlife that is always present. But yesterday Henry (our small spare dog) suddenly stopped and began tugging at something in the grass.
I thought it was a mat of grass that had fallen from the tractor mower blades. The dogs are strangely drawn to this substance and we’re forced to holler at them when they find any we’ve missed when picking up. Then Remy joined his brother. They both left the item when I told them to but Remy insisted on going back several times. He’s not usually that cavalier about ignoring me.
Remy’s fascination with the thing in the grass aroused my interest. If it had merely been matted grass he wasn’t going to be allowed to eat he would have given up. This had to be more interesting. It couldn’t be a snake since that would have been easy for either dog to pick up. And the single-minded intensity of their interest meant it was something unusual.
Walking carefully over to the spot they were fixated on I saw a furry little rear end with a short tail sticking up out of the dirt. It was a mole. About a foot away was another hole from which the mole had apparently come. It was desperately trying to dig itself back underground but the dogs were just as determined to keep this captivating creature above ground.
The dogs aren’t exactly fierce hunters and I knew they thought if they could only capture the mole they could talk us into letting them keep it as a pet. After all, we are the people who have ducks in the tub!
Allowing the dogs to keep the mole wasn’t in the cards. They’re not ideal pets. According to Wikipedia one hundred four moles taken in Indiana exhibited four species of fleas, one species of sucking louse, one species of beetle, and at least 20 species of mites, several of them entirely new species, with one of them, Scalopacarus, constituting a new genus.
I was determined to get rid of the parasite laden, root destroying critter. So I grabbed it by its little tail and tugged. The mole didn’t pop out of the hole instantly. Once a mole gets its paws in the dirt they’re surprisingly strong. And, since I didn’t want to end up holding just a tail, I had to reconsider my strategy. Moles generally don’t carry rabies but they can bite so hauling it up by the tail probably wasn’t a plan well thought out.
We have a few extra steel fence posts that haven’t been used in the garden so I grabbed one. Not to play whack-a-mole; at least not immediately. I wanted to use it to pry the mole out of the hole. Of course while I was fetching the post the mole was frantically digging. In the seconds it took me to get the post it had already dug itself nearly waist deep. I stuck the post in the ground being careful not to stab the mole in its buried head and then flipped it out of the hole. My caution was strange given my ultimate plans for the little animal.
Once I’d gotten the mole free the dogs’ excitement was nearly uncontrollable. They were sure I was going to let them keep it. Remy began play bowing in front of it and Henry was literally dancing with joy. Neither would sniff it now that the business end was no longer under an inch of dirt. Even after I put them in the house they stood in front of the sliding glass door, eyes glued to the mole. Perhaps they thought I was going to bathe it before bringing it in.
What I did next was worse than any bath, even in Remy’s eyes. I took the fence post and tapped the mole on the head. It wasn’t a good, hard smack. There was no way the blow could cause death. It was more like I was trying to give the poor creature a migraine. And the mole didn’t appreciate my timid whack. It squeaked loudly at me.
Assuming that the squeak was some kind of mole battle cry I became a warrior princess. Okay. I acted because that tiny sound terrified me and I wanted to defend myself from the attack of the mutant moles I was sure the mole was summoning. I hit the mole again but much harder. The blow may have even cracked an egg shell. But it was enough to silence the mole army calling sound.
Having done my part by dispatching the mole I called Mr. Comfortable to dispose of the body. And that’s when I started to feel like the worst person on the face of the earth. As Mr. C scraped the tiny body on the shovel it rolled over and I saw a little white patch on its belly.
Suddenly it was no longer an aggressive, plant destroying minion of hell. It was an innocent bit of fluff weighing less than 3 ounces that only wanted to live its life aerating the lawn and eating terrible insects. The instant the “Aww” escaped my lips Mr. C said, “No! It’s not cute and it wasn’t a pet! Besides, it’s dead. Do not feel bad about this!”
And, aside from having trouble falling asleep last night and tearing up all day, I haven’t. Because I fought the mole and the mole lost. I am evil and I must be destroyed.
Images via Wikipedia, Deviant Art, and Cocker Spaniel Rescue of East Texas