The wily wandering ways of wildlife

By Barb Lumley

With the coming of spring and summer comes the emergence and appearance of bugs and animals of all kinds. Birth and reproduction occurs all over our country. As the various animals and creatures grow and mature they must seek their own place or natural habitat. Occasionally some of them do not wind up in the places where you would normally expect to find them.

A few days ago a friend of mine went down to her basement with plans to do her laundry. She noticed that her dryer vent tube was hanging down. Further investigation revealed that it was heavy. She noticed leaves on the floor, which was very weird due to the location of her basement next to the steps. She pulled the tube down, looked into it and it was plugged. She immediately pitched it out the basement door and when it landed a baby possum ran out the end that she had looked into and ran into the flowers. She then found three more. Needless to say, she was not happy with the choice those four baby possums had made for their new home.

I, too, have memories of unexpected guests in my house and basement. I had a bird in the commode. It evidently fell down a small vent pipe.

I also awoke a little late one morning and was hurrying down the basement steps to put on my barn clothes and shoes. I was not wide awake as I proceeded down the stairs. As I started to put my bare foot down from the last step, I suddenly realized it wasn’t just the throw rug laying there. A huge black snake was curled up on the rug!

And there were other types of wildlife that got in the basement somehow — birds, a toad and the occasional rat. I especially remember one special rat. I had gone to the basement to shovel some coal into the furnace. The second time I shoved the shovel into the pile of coal a rat ran out. At my side was our faithful golden cocker spaniel, Rusty. As I ran screaming for the stairs to the kitchen, Rusty grabbed the rat. As I turned around to slam the basement door shut behind me, there was Rusty, rat in his mouth, tail wagging, and so happy. He wanted to give it to me. No thanks, Rusty!

Many years ago when I was young, I went to the basement to get my coat and boots and go to the barn to do chores. As I put my foot into the first boot I felt something in the toe. I yanked my foot out and looked and there was a mouse in it. I screamed, grabbed the boot and ran to the coal furnace, jerked open the door and threw boot, mouse, and all into the flames. My Dad teased me for years about it.

Raccoons are always a problem. My son had one that tried to come down the chimney into his fireplace. So many people have problems with them in their attics, garages, barns, and everywhere. They can ruin feed and hay in the barns. They seem to be able to find a way in everywhere and they make such a terrible mess. Skunks can be a problem also. Several years ago, we had one who decided to come and drink milk with our cats in a small shed connected to the barn.

You just never know what interesting wildlife life is going to present.

The “Barbwire” column is written by Barb Lumley, a retired Registered Holstein breeder (both Red and White and Black and White) living in Carroll County near Carrollton. She has been writing dairy industry sale reports, show reports and regular columns for more than 20 years. She has written a paperback book “Black & White and Read All Over” available on Amazon. She has been active in the Ohio Holstein Association as well as numerous other activities and associations for many years. 

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