Friday, June 06, 2008

Peter Rabbit Must Die

I thought you'd all enjoy this unintentionally hilarious NYT piece on city folk who have moved to the country to bond with nature. But once they find out that wildlife treats their gardens as convenience stores they snap and turn into bloodthirsty killers. Some choice examples:

"The homeowner, a city-boy artist and illustrator who had moved to rural Pennsylvania, never wanted to kill the woodchucks. Sure, they were ruining the garden and digging up the foundations of outbuildings, but it was a moral issue: the artist, who is still so uncomfortable about what transpired — and so concerned about how his New York clients would feel about it that he is not willing to be identified — did not want to take a life."


"Finally, the artist decided he would have to shoot the animals. First, though, he went to each hole and made an announcement.

“I said: ‘I intend to kill you. You have 24 hours to get out,’ ” he recalls. “I wanted to give them fair warning. I said, ‘If I were you, I would find another place to live.’ I also promised them I would not take a shot unless I knew it would be fatal.”


"Eventually, though, he embraced his mission, and grew so obsessed with it that an aunt began to call him Woodchuck Johnny. How many did he kill that summer?

“I stopped at 19,” he says. “One was a suicide. It realized its days were numbered and ran in front of a car.”


"Five years ago there were serious animal problems at the community garden — black bear, deer, beaver — but “the worst pest of all was the porcupine,” Ms. Williams says. “The kindhearted would trap them and drive them 10 or 15 miles away, until one of the forest people said they just came back.”


“So finally, four years ago, we put an electric fence all around this big field, but the porcupines then decide to burrow under the fence,” she says. “They’re ingenious. So we had to put rocks down and pour cement.”

Even then, a porcupine managed to get in. And when she saw it, “strolling along, munching away,” she could stand no more.

“He was after my carrot crop,” she explains. “I said, I just cannot handle this anymore. He sees me and tries to wander off, but they can’t run very fast. I got him with the sledgehammer. He tried to dodge me, but I got him on the head.”


Steve Bodio said...

Remidsme of their previous article on fearful incomers.

I think the biggest idiot was the one who shoots the harmless milksnakes, for no reason at all. They eat deer mice (Peromyscus). Wonder if there is Hantavirus there...

Odious said...

Sledgehammer is my choice for the damn raccoons that come for my chickens, so Ms. Williams and I have that in common.

That said, these are the people that are cheering the PETA-approved vat meat.

LabRat said...

We call our anti-garden-pest device "Kang". She's really quite effective. Having to keep Panacur on hand all the time has already gotten old, though.

There was an urgently earnest lady making the rounds of the garage sales a few weeks ago handing out fliers for a snake removal service and stressing that we don't have to kill them. Everybody in the family burst out into hearty laughter; we give our neighborhood snakes NAMES, and no one loves them more than Master Gardener MIL.

mdmnm said...

At least the woodchuck guy came to eating them. Good for him!

The snake shooting lady with the 20 ga., though, she'd make a person cautious about coming around the house unannounced. If she has to kill them, a shovel wouldn't work?