Last week, my daughter and I embarked on an animal rescue of prime importance. I’m not talking about the kind of liberation you might see on TV, like a beached whale, escaped circus animal, bear on an iceberg, or large game stuck in an inexplicable situation. This rescue was the backyard type; the predicament was a window well. (You may recall in “Oh Deer” that the wildlife near my house is the decidedly smaller variety.) It was important because I didn’t want to watch an animal die — or deal with the consequences if it did, which would be inevitable without human intervention.
Our basement has two egress windows and over the years many an animal has gotten themselves stranded in the window wells that surround them. Many a successful rescue operation has been completed. There was one rabbit and a couple of birds (the escape trajectory is too steep for some of my featured friends). In this case, a pail, lowered on a string, along with a dose of patience, does the trick. Other unfortunate critters have included frogs, toads, and each spring, newts (salamanders — I’m not sure if they hatch there or what). These can be extricated by hand. Aside from the mysterious arrival of the Newts, the rest fall into the opening.
That leaves the moles. These buggers tunnel up from the bottom. Never mind that it is four feet deep and the bottom is lined with wire mesh and covered with gravel. Somehow they work they’re way in. As soon as they exit their tunnel, the gravel caves in and they are unable to dig back out. In their panicked attempts for freedom, they work themselves into a frenzy and quickly succumb. Not a pleasant end. Usually, I don’t find them until it is too late.
This time, Laura saw him right away. He was moving too fast to catch by hand and the pail technique didn’t work as its circular shape provided ample room for escape. A new method was needed. It turned out that a square Tupperware container taped to a long board was the tool for the job. After the sixth or seventh try, I was able to free him (so he could go dig up more of my lawn.)
So if you ever call my office during the day and I don’t answer, it might just be that I’m out on another animal rescue 911.