Saturday 12 May 2012


Today after supper Louise and I went for a short walk. We walked along a path, and like most open areas in the city it is riddled with gopher holes. We have always called them gophers, but the official name is the Richardson Ground Squirrel. I suppose there is a Latin name, but I don’t imagine too many of the people that read this blog are smart enough to know Latin. Sorry, that is just the way it is.

There are any number of entrances and exits to their burrows, I suppose that when you are small and tasty it is a good thing to have an exit strategy. I don’t pretend to know anything much about them, but I do know they are really hard to kill if you aren’t an eagle or a coyote. Louise’s uncle Nick and I set out one day to rid his farm of a few of these pests. Farmers really hate them because they eat crops and sometimes horses can break a leg if it happens to go in a burrow while running. I guess kids could too for that matter, but they aren’t as expensive as a horse. Nick and I took a 12 pack of beer, a box of .22 shells and a rifle and went to find a hill to get comfortable on while we killed some gophers.
Turns out that the only thing we killed was the case of beer. I knew I was a shit shot, but I thought that Nick would be a dead eye what with having years of experience and all. We did have a good time and I’d like to think that I am well on my way to being a “tenderfoot” or maybe a “Dude”.

Usually, there is a lookout that will let off a loud squeak if there is danger afoot. When Buster and I walk near one of these burrows, there is a squeak and then heads drop into the holes. Buster would like nothing better than if I would let him dig into one of these burrows, but as I keep telling him, “Life is full of disappointments, and you have to choose your battles carefully.” I don’t think he understands or maybe he just thinks I am full of shit. What does he know, he is just a fuckin’ dog!

Anyways, tonight on our walk I was looking at some of these holes, making sure I didn’t step in one (I am not as expensive as a horse either), when I saw little gopher turds all around one of the openings. I had never seen that before! I knew they must crap, but I assumed they would be more discrete about it. Who shits on their front doorstep? I suppose it could have been juvenile delinquent gophers lighting a bag of crap on fire, knocking on the door and running away laughing. That is pretty unlikely though. I asked Louise for a camera or a phone so that I could take a picture, but she seemed to be less interested in tiny turds that I was. They looked just like tiny people turds, but even I don’t want to go there. I am going to have to go back tomorrow and have a closer look.

While we were walking along, I kept an eye on the other entrances and exits and it seems that not all holes have crap around them. I wonder if the other gophers are disgusted by that kind of behaviour. “Those Johnson’s should be ashamed of themselves! Why don’t they defecate in the field like everyone else? I guess they are too important and their shit doesn’t stink!” It has to be some kind of rule hard wired into mammal DNA, DON’T SHIT WHERE YOU LIVE!

There is any number of information sites on the web about the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, if you are interested. So far I haven’t found one that deals with their bathroom habits, but if you do, then leave me a comment. There is kind of a wacky museum in Alberta whose website might interest you.

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