I had to do it.
I'm sorry, rodents, but you were nesting in our engines and chewing wires and cables and making life expensive and dangerous for us. I say live and let live, as long as we stick to our own territory. The moment you invade mine, I reserve the right to use deadly force.
And boy, did I ever.
Kayleigh and I went to McLendon Hardware to look at a mind-boggling variety of traps, some more humane than others. There was the rodent zapper, for $40, which electrocutes the furry little varmints. There were all manner of poisons and poison delivery systems -- all of them were out (I don't want to poison the squirrels or the neighborhood cats). And of course there was a wide variety of traditional traps; cage traps, and snap-traps. I got Kayleigh's input, and together we decided that the heavy-duty plastic snap-trap would be the best for our particular requirements. She liked the fact that it was quick, and that the top part would cover the carnage (keep in mind, she'd just recently dicovered our guinea pig James Brown dead in his cage - finding rodent carnage is not something she wants to really do a lot of).
I bought two of them and baited them each with a spoonful of peanut butter and half a wheat cracker (the peanut butter secures the cracker to the pressure trigger). I set one inside Sportacus' left front tire, under the engine. Apparently, rodents don't like to cross open spaces, so putting traps along walls will usually yield better results. I put the other one next to a woodpile at the back of the carport.
About three hours later, just prior to dusk, I went out to check the traps and, lo and behold -- the one under the car had clamped an interloper: a big gray rat. It appeared to be an instant (and totally bloodless) kill. I disposed of it out back in a hole near the fence.
Astonished in my first victory since the rodents had declared war (the current score being rats: 2, humans: 1), I reset the sprung trap. The bait had not even been disturbed.
I dreamed of setting traps and disposing of rats all night. It was a slightly odd but very productive feeling. This morning after dropping Kayleigh at school, I set the traps in the carport. Within the hour, I heard both snap shut. I went out to find both traps had been sprung, but there were no rat bodies to be found.
And a very smug squirrel bounding off toward the big locust tree.
I reset both traps (moving them to different zones) and noticed the one under Sportacus had been stripped of the peanut butter and cracker bait.
It is obvious to me who rules the rodent criminal syndicate. Squirrels. Crafty bastards.