Monday, December 11, 2006

There's something in the pantry......

Last week on Tuesday, I heard a rustling in our panty. I know our house is old and drafty, but I didn't think it was drafty enough to make rustling noises in a closed pantry. I was home alone and I wasn't brave enough to open the door and see what was making the rustling noise. Clyde sure wanted at whatever was in there though. I feared for my cat's life as he is without his front claws and has never had to deal with "wild" animals before. Adam finally came home and looked through the pantry and of course found nothing. Wednesday morning, I again heard a rustling in the pantry. And once again, I was too scared to open the door. I did run upstairs and wake up Adam to let him know. 10 minutes later, he finally walked downstairs to investigate...and sure enough....he found nothing. I was starting to wonder if maybe, just maybe, I was hallucinating.....if I was, so was Clyde. On Wednesday evening after church, I once again heard something. And of course, Adam wasn't there to hear it. But when he got home, he took everything out of the pantry. The only evidence of something being in there was a bag of Peanut M & M's that had been chewed open.....and several were strewn throughout the pantry. OK, obviously it's some sort of critter. We realized that inside the pantry above the doorframe, the drywall was not flush with the door and there was a decent sized gap. Now we knew how it was getting into the pantry.....but we still didn't know what we were dealing with.

We put out a few Peanut M & M's and sat back and waited. Within a 1/2 hour or so, we heard some noise coming from the pantry. Adam opened the door to find a creature of which all he said was "What is it?!" Suddenly to our surpise it scaled right up the wall and out of our sight. It was bigger than a mouse, but it had a puffy tail. It didn't really look like a squirrel, becuase it was a lot smaller and the tail wasn't that big. Plus, he had really big black beady eyes! We did a little research and found that it was a flying squirrel! Here's a picture of one in action:

So, we then put a "humane" sticky mouse trap and put it in the pantry along with some Peanut M & M's . We sat back, watched some TV, and waited. We soon heard some flopping and knew that he was caught (those traps are really sticky......I think if I stepped on one, I'd have trouble getting out!)
Turns out that a little bit of vegetable oil can get the animal loose. We put the little creature in our cat carrier. I looked it over and determined there's no way that he could get out of the 1 inch or so "breathing" holes in the carrier. By now, it was nearly 11pm, which is past our bedtime. We decided to put the carrier in the pantry and decide what to do with him in the morning. (At this point, Adam thinks the little guy is really cute and thinks he'd want to keep him as a pet......he's also named him Hammy)
Thursday morning rolls around and we check on the little guy......HE ESCAPED! Either he managed to weasel out of the "breathing" holes or he has a friend who came and let him out in the middle of the night! In any case, he is once again roaming around in our walls. Yes, we can hear him.
We've tried to bait him with the sticky traps again, but he's a very smart little guy and seems to maneuver around them. He's still coming in the pantry because the peanut M & M's keep disappearing!
On Sunday afternoon, Adam rigged up a very intricate trap. I was amazed at his capabilities. He simply looked at me and said, "What?! Didn't you ever booby trap your room?!" It has yet to catch the little guy becuase I think he's scared of the contraption.
So....we have a new housemate. His name is Hammy and he's a flying squirrel. I've been reading up and apparently it's not good to have squirrels living in your house becuase they can chew up wires and tear up insulation (what insulation?).
So, stay tuned and soon we'll find a way to catch the little guy. Right now, if we catch him, there are 2 options we are considering........1) take him to Kuyper College and let him go.....there are lots of good tress and he would be very happy or 2) we have a friend who is learning to do taxidermy (animal stuffing) and she's never done a flying squirrel before..........we'll have to wait and see. First, we have to catch him.