That’s not a squirrel, it’s a chipmunk!

So you might have seen from the various Tweet updates that the gatos chased a little furry critter into the house and into an air-duct vent in the living room. It should be noted that this is entirely my fault for not getting the vent covers painted and the baseboard put up as I should have lo these many years. Dad didn’t say “I told you so” but he did laugh a lot as I explained the circumstances of the situation.

I only got a glimpse of the critter as it disappeared into the hole on Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday, it still hadn’t come out. I banged around on the air duct pipe downstairs to make sure it was still alive, and I could hear the poor thing’s terrified squeaking, so it was definitely alive and at least somewhat mobile, but it didn’t seem to be making an appearance any time soon.

We talked about the possibility of cutting into the galvanized steel air ducts, but Dad didn’t seem to have much confidence in my ability to operate a jig-saw, and since I’m not even sure if I’m spelling that right, I didn’t have too much confidence either. The best thing seemed to be for the darned thing to come out on its own.

Air ducts in the basement

In consultation with Dad, I thought perhaps it wasn’t able to climb up the steep incline of the air duct tube, so I poked a scarf into the vent with a hanger and threaded a bit of apple with a needle and lowered it into the vent to make sure the poor thing didn’t die before I figured out how to get it out. (The thread was so I’d know if it ate it or not!)

Apple bits on thread

I went out to buy an animal trap, and when I got back, I discovered evidence that the critter had managed to climb up out of the vent, but had gone back down again! But not before pooping in the corner.

Chipmunk tracks in the power

I blocked off everything but the trap with a box and an old PC case, and at least once it came up and ate the food off the pressure plate without tripping the trap.

The setup

I reset the trap before leaving for work, and when I got home, the chipmunk was alive and well and a little squeaky, but otherwise appeared unharmed.

Chipmunk in the trap

I carried him down to the bottom of the hill in the backyard and let him loose among the autumn leaves. He stopped just inside the tree line and looked back for a moment, and then dashed off into the underbrush. I hope he stays far from the cats and lives a long, happy chipmunky life, poor guy.

I should also note that this is not the first time I’ve had wild critters in the house because of the cats. They also managed to separate a corner of the screen door to the patio from the frame, allowing these guys to come into the dining room where I discovered them eating right out of the cat food bowl.

Racoons in the tree 1

I chased them off with a broom and they went as far as the tree in the back yard, but sat there for hours waiting for a chance to come back in! No more leaving the screen door open.

Racoons in the tree 2

Maybe Animal Planet should come film at my house.

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