Wildlife Memories

I was just reading the list of top ten question that the Bell Museum’s Wildlife Information Services receives because I am thinking of topics I could use for my new game. Some of the questions remind me of weird things.

Now that’s a gray squirrel of a different color?
This one actually doesn’t remind me of anything, but rather I have a follow up question: why doesn’t Minnesota seem to have red squirrels (like South Dakota)?

What’s tunneling under my lawn?
I was in high school (the later years). My parents have an egress window in their basement (so the outside ground covers about two-thirds of the window), where I have found many critters, mostly snakes, trapped on top of the layer of rocks there. I’ve always assumed they fell down, but maybe they just burrowed up. I don’t know. Anyway, once I found a baby mole. There didn’t seem to be a parent around, so I decided to adopt the baby—because Karyn was coming home in a day or two so I wanted to show her. I had never seen a mole before, and I don’t know if she had either, but this baby mole? It was really pretty darn cute with its over-sized hands and long, pointy nose. I found an old aquarium and filled it with dirt from somewhere (possibly my dad’s garden, possibly from under their deck). Then I put the mole in and he burrowed around for a while. I did research to figure out what to feed him, and found that moles like worms. So for the next few hours/days I would go into my dad’s stash of worms (for fishing!) and steal one or two to feed my new pet. Everything was going just splendidly and I enjoyed watching the mole. (I guess I should also mention it was spring or summer and the weather was being fantastic.) Unfortunately, tragedy struck when one evening there was a very heavy rain. I don’t want to finish this story, because now I’m depressed and I feel guilty all over again.

Why are there garter snakes in my yard?
I used to think they were called garden snakes because there were so damn many of them in my parents’ garden.

Eek! What should I do about bats in my house?
The only bat I remember seeing indoors was when I was very young. Karyn and I shared a bedroom and, in fact, had bunk beds. She slept on the top bunk. For this memory, the bed was situated against the north wall, just next to our bathroom. Which is fortunate, I guess, in a way. Karyn had gone to bed, and I think she was still sleeping, but a bat was flying in circles over her. Which was sort of eerie. Dad got a broom and shooed the bat into the bathroom. I’m sure a vicious struggle ensued (he closed the door) and Dad came out, holding the garbage can and looking victorious. Or exhausted, whichever. Note: Nowadays I am very much a fan of bats and I would never, ever approve of this sort of behavior. And you shouldn’t either. </public service announcement>

How do I help an orphaned animal?
This is what I should have looked for information about when I found my mole. One of my coworkers told me that moles have very, very short lifespans anyway, but that doesn’t decrease the guilt I feel.