They say the fastest land mammal of all is the cheetah, capable of running as fast as 120 km/h without breaking a sweat. But “they” are wrong. “They” have obviously never applied a stopwatch to a squirrel the moment it is released from a live capture trap. As a gardener and freshly minted rodent hunter extraordinaire, I know this from personal experience.

Recently, en route to my weekend gig as a mini-train engineer in the local mall, I spotted a fellow bus rider with a two-pack of varmint traps. One was for raccoons and such, the other for lesser critters. She needed them for feral cats in her neighbourhood, she explained. I needed one for the dang-blasted squirrels in my garden, I replied. Turns out the local farm supply place had a spectacular sale on catch-and-release gizmos. For $30, how could I go wrong?
I soon realized it was my best impulse purchase ever.

Within 36 hours, I had trapped no fewer than four of the nasty grey/black marauders who’ve been laying waste to my groceries for the past two years, and had gleefully transported them to a new home on the city’s southern extremities. Those who know me well, or who have read my less-than-benevolent Facebook posts, might be surprised that I have abandoned my previously murderous attitude toward the species known as sciurus carolinensis.

If truth be told, I’m a pacifist by nature. Live and let die, say I. I do not wish my fellow mammals any ill; I merely wish some of them gone. (At least during growing season.) Accordingly, it gives me great pleasure to chauffeur these furry bandits to a suburban paradise where they no longer need contend with city traffic or the rude epithets of cranky gardeners unwilling to share their bounty.
I’ve even learned some of their language.

“Whoa, what just happened? Last I knew, I was munching on free peanuts and some geezer’s sweet corn stalks. Now I’m in the ’burbs.” “I get you, bro. I loved digging up those unsprouted green beans and rooting around the marigolds, but I definitely wasn’t into his garlic or multiplier onions.”
And I’m already attuned to what the next wave of potential invaders is thinking.
“Hey, I hear Herb and Jenny moved out last night, along with their obnoxious kids. Can’t say I’ll miss them.”

“I never liked Jenny. Always acting like she was better than the rest of us.”
“Well, tell the cousins. Fresh corn stalks on Park Street. And more treats than Halloween around that wire thingamajig.”
Meanwhile, I sit patiently at my office window, watching yet another squirrel circle the peanut trail to captivity.
Methinks there’s another trip to the suburbs in the near future.