Viva les chipmunks!

After the last rain, I found a chipmunk floating dead in a water bucket, unable to swim any longer.  I was sick about it all day.

There is plenty of tragedy out here.  Not life eats life, which we call “that’s life”, but preventable death or pain, especially due to human (my) activity.  Animal death for the sake of human convenience, because a sophisticated and specialized animal hasn’t evolved fast enough to cope with human experiments like plastics and cars, that’s tragic, and it’s a tragic drama of global scale.  Everywhere we look there is destruction of animals deliberately, accidentally, and indirectly.

But here, this week, it was a dead chipmunk.  Here, luckily, there is much more life and joy than death and sadness (a ratio that must be necessary to preserve hope). I try, really hard, to mitigate the negative impact of our presence here.  No cats.  Special measures. Some species are enjoying my food provision and protection in exchange for our intrusion and pressure on them and others.

I’m sure I’m not at all big-picture balancing my use of a vehicle, consumption of plastics and dubiously sourced food, or air travel.  Not even close!  Just the small picture:  I steal habitat, I create habitat.  I introduce chickens, I introduce a food source.  Etc.

There’d been a near miss before;  I found one last year struggling and instinctively scooped it out before thinking that it could bite me (it didn’t, it was too tired).  But this one was lost, even though I tried compressions.

She was lactating, too, so I got to imagine a carefully made cozy nest of mouse-sized chipmunklings slowly dying of starvation nearby.  That’s this time of year- every dead bird, turtle, or squirrel on the highway means the loss of their offspring too.

So I was sick about it.  Then this morning, on my way to feed the birds, I saw light brown movement in a brush pile.  Furry bodies were oozing to the top.  Little bitty brown eyed chipmunks!!

There were three!  Curious and fearless, apparently emerging for the first time, probably hungry.  Adorable!  They made it!  They were old enough to survive!  They are so cute.  Half sized, a little slower moving.

So naturally, I fed them.  It took about 20 seconds for them to discover a dish at the base of their brush pile.  They took turns.  They’re going to be ok.

6 thoughts on “Viva les chipmunks!”

  1. I hate it when I am the source of an animals death too. Once, I cried all the way to work after running over a squirrel. I had tried to miss it, but at the last second, it changed it’s mind and ran right under my wheel. On the flip side, my husband and I once saved a racoon that had gotten it’s head stuck in a glass jar. It was so lethargic. We had no idea as to how long it had been stuck, unable to eat or drink anything. We held it down with a towel and barely pecked the jar with a hammer, breaking it off. The poor little guy just laid there. We got him some water to drink and just left him there. Eventually, he wondered off. So glad we were able to save it. And, I’m glad that you were able to help the chipmunks offspring and that they are going to make it.

    1. I had the exact same thing happen with a squirrel too:( including the crying. Ugh, that sick feeling…

      omg, what a freak raccoon incident, and wasn’t it great that you found it in time? He was asphyxiated!

      1. We were really glad that we are able to save the poor raccoon. People don’t seem to realize how devastating their littering can be to wildlife…or they don’t care.

  2. Whew ! So happy they’ll be okay . What you’re doing with habitat and not having cats is what hugely weights the scale in favor of the wild feathered and furred !

    1. Thx:) I love cats. We miss having one, but with 200sq ft to keep it inside, because it would have to be an indoor cat – that’s got to be one special cat. Narcoleptic? Disabled? There was a three legged cat candidate, but someone else took him. And a litter box is a pretty big downside for everyone in the 200 sq ft:)

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