The balance of natural forces in the wetlands behind my house had to have been altered in some way to allow for new creatures to appear in our yards. Add to it the winter with trash frozen outside, with rich evidence in the soil, and the fact that there are parts of my house I rarely go in, and we have the recipe for feral disaster. I'm talking about large rodents. Can't even write the word as I am conjuring up horrible images in my head that I can't shake.
It isn't just my house, either, which reassures me that it isn't my horrible housekeeping alone that makes my house appealing. Very organized and "clean" neighbors without pets are having issues to the point that one has even adopted a cat. They've reported sounds in their cabinets and ceilings. They've used traps in their cellar, successfully. The only thing I can think of is that the train tracks on the other side of the wetlands have been replaced over the past couple months, and possibly all that activity has displaced some wildlife. Yes, wildlife. That's what I will call it.
It looks like I have some unwelcome visitors to my porch who decided the closets on the other side of the wall were more accommodating. They've left very little evidence -- but upon seeing the unusual stuff, a very small amount left in the bottom pull out pan of my beloved parrots' cages no less, I decided to set a trap just in case, to see what I was dealing with. Fortunately and unfortunately, the trap worked. I killed two animals.
For those of you who know me, you can imagine how much pain and confusion this caused. While most people wouldn't think twice about killing vermin, and the more the better, there was something gut wrenchingly horrid about finding these dead animals in my house. I killed them. Lured them with a Rese's peanut butter chip. Their little brains were saying "Oh goodie! A treat!" then BAM, they were crushed. These are smart animals, with soft fur and intelligent eyes. People keep them as pets. Obviously not THESE as pets, but the type is the same. Having to dispose of a dead one, one that I killed myself, was literally and truly traumatic for me. I cried. I couldn't think straight. I literally shook. It was awful. The weight of the animal was more than a little mouse. It left a physical memory in my head that I still can't shake.
I immediately asked people on my parrot Facebook boards about this -- "What am I doing wrong? Do they hurt birds? Do I have to give up my parrots? Does this mean I am a dirty person?" This last part is really hard for me as I know I am not Martha Stuart, and have been hurt by people who gleefully threw this fact in my face in the past. I felt shame. Being a bad person because wildlife is trying to invade my home. I was reassured by other parrot owners that it is just nature and part of living on the edge of uncontrolled wetlands, and that many people have had issues like this. Keep trapping, they suggested. The extermination websites say that finding and fixing the entry points, then trapping any critters stuck inside, is the only way to go. A plan. Lose the shame, it is the way nature works.
I am blessed to have a friend that stepped up to help me. As I cried like a banshee over the entire situation as we talked about it, having a complete breakdown including a serious state of the physical creepy crawlies. He calmly got control, and long pliers, and we opened a closet that I haven't opened in a while. I held a trash bag and we emptied the contents, finding a little hole in the back that the artful critters made. Eureka. There are two closets in the room, so we checked the other to see the hole around a heating pipe also showed evidence of being a pathway. As it was night time, we closed up and blocked the closets and will tackle them today...in daylight...
So last night the parrots were treated to an all nighter of a T.V. session with all the lights on. I crawled into my bed and fell asleep to unwanted images of Wildlife Bodies playing over and over in my head. Feet. Noses. Eyes. Tails. My awesome cats did their usual routine of what I call the Patrol, taking turns sleeping with me and roaming the house below my upstairs bedroom. Secure with the pugs and my own bedroom light on, somehow I got to sleep. It is times like this when it is exceptionally difficult to live alone. I admit it freely, I cried at the horror of the thoughts in my head that I just couldn't shake. Terrible stuff.
I awoke in the dark this morning, and came downstairs to find no evidence of any visitors at all. I am completely grateful to the universe to be spared The Duty of emptying traps and facing more death that I caused myself. I needed to not see that this morning. I now understand how people can lose their minds over seemingly simple things that wouldn't bother others. Darn good thing I am not a soldier in a war -- if I react this way over an animal, can't imagine what would happen if my opposition was human. This calls into question my values towards all living things -- what about eating meat? Eggs and chicken farms? The clothing I wear? I just hate the fact that my life has caused the death of other creatures. Just because my species is more powerful, do I really have that right?
So, today, I will have to put on my Big Girl Panties and tackle this issue with a vengeance. Being alone in an older house, on the edge of wetlands, requires this of me. If it is Me or Them, it has to be Me for the sake of my birds and my own home. An ugly reality. Karma be damned. Maybe the creatures I've killed had bad karma coming their way, and it is my job to deliver. yeah, that's it. What a Halloween this has been already. I don't need any witches or vampires this year! I've had enough!
What will you make today?