The gopher problem has gotten pretty bad here at the old homestead. The backyard is so ridden with gopher tunnels, it's like walking on a wet sponge. Smooshy. And it's even worse when it's rained or the lawn has been watered.
The cats are pretty much, well, useless. They only have the time when we're not in bed to hunt, because we still close up the house at night because of the opossum problem last summer. We do not want a recurrence of that. Not ever. No possum babies in the garage or house. Not doing it again.
I've watched the cats watch the gopher holes. I've watched the cats pounce on the holes. I've watched the cats shove their legs into the holes as deep as they could, trying to catch that gopher.
I've watched many misses.
Every once in a while, I will see one of the cats, usually Ike, with a live gopher. Which results in some pretty excited humans, shouting at one another to "close the doors!" to the house, as Ike trots through the yard with the squirming rodent in his mouth.
Ike does not kill the gopher. Oh, no, not just yet. We have a functioning toy here. He's smart. He carries the gopher to a place in the yard where there are no holes for escape. And he drops the gopher, smacking it down, each time it rears up at him. Finally, the gopher dies. One of the other cats does cleanup, I haven't seen Ike eating them very often. But we have plenty left, if the daily, fresh mounds are any indication.
We also have them in the front yard. I've actually watched them poking their heads up and looking around. When I see this, I go outside and shove pinecones down the hole where I saw the head. The front yard isn't green or anything, just lots of dirt with mulch and a few weeds (the bunnies like to nom on the weeds). Sometimes we'll get ambitious and pull the larger ones, but we don't use poisons or traps. Heck, we have patches of clover in our back yard especially for the bees. Brian told me last weekend, he put bread down a gopher hole out front after he saw the head pop up. Bread. He's feeding the darned things! I said "no bread. Pine cones".
Anyway, last month we had a discussion about the huge amount of holes in the backyard. And Brian suggested leaving the cat door in the laundry room unlocked at night. So, the cats could hunt during the night. I guess maybe it helps a little bit, but we haven't seen much progress in the lessening of the holes.
This morning, I see this.
One down, a gazillion to go. Guess the head isn't all that tasty. (If you want to see them full sized, click on the photo to go to the photo album.)