A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my Raccoon Behavior Modification Kit. Nothing has happened since then. Maybe it worked. The best I can figure, the raccoon watched me build it, laughed, and said to itself, “Silly human!”
Eventually I will take it down, and the raccoon will reclaim our deck as a toilet. Unless, of course, it decided to find a more convenient facility. From what we heard the night it went up the wall, that spindly ivy ladder was not an easy climb. You can sympathize if you’ve ever been stuck in a traffic jam while your kidneys are working overtime.
We still have a raccoon, but it’s gone on to bigger crimes. That’s where the moles come in.
Several moles and a vole came to a watery end last year in the fishpond, presumably enticed by shimmery golden mermoles. Late last fall, we brought both mermoles (a.k.a. goldfish) inside so they wouldn’t freeze, and they spent the winter in the library. Sort of a fish Florida. Fish are sociable creatures, and they’re willing to accept people as funny looking fish as long as we feed them. Whenever I sat in front of the computer, they’d bang their heads against the nearest wall of the tank to shame me into feeding them again. It generally worked.
Now it’s spring. Squirrels skitter, birds chirp, and mosquitoes spawn. We got the pond pump running and took our finny friends outside. All of the mosquito wrigglers were gone in three days.
Then tragedy struck.
Lois and I went out yesterday morning to say hi to the fish, but there were no fish! The pond was empty except for a few inches of sludge and dead leaves in the bottom. The growling pump was slurping air. The top of the fountain was knocked sideways, and virtually all of the water in the pond had been pumped over the edge. A tiny golden glimmer in the muck revealed the resting place of one mermole. The other was missing entirely. The best we could tell, a raccoon had gone fishing.
How do you get attached to a fish? It happens. I ran a couple of inches of water into the sludge pit so I could clean it out later. Then I headed into the basement for some leftover cement to make the fountain untippable. If we did not repair the damage and get new fish, mosquitoes would carry us away.
Half an hour later, I went back out, and a fish was swimming back and forth. So I added more water. It was city water right out of the hose, and the chlorine might be a problem, but chlorinated water is better than no water at all if you’re a fish.
Then I pulled the pump from the muck and started scooping with a kid’s beach shovel. One scoopful wiggled. It was the other fish.
Today it is raining. Hard. They say we may have flooding. The fish think it’s great.
Here is what I think happened:
As soon as the moles discovered that the mermoles were back, they contracted a raccoon to take them out. While he was at it, he could empty the pool. Life would be happy for everybody but the mermoles.
It was a failure. Mermoles are tough to kill.