This year’s presidential campaign began with more characters than a Dickens’s novel. Yet, amidst all the debate, rhetoric and blather, not one aspirant so far has said a single word about the terrorism happening in our own backyard. And front yard.
These are terrorists undermining the dirt, sod and root structure of this country’s land—solitary outlaws who creep silently beneath the surface, arising only long enough to ruin the hard efforts of our best lawn care. These terrorists are destroying the very fabric of our America—assuming fabric can be made from grass.
These terrorists are the velvety-furred saboteurs known as moles.
These are not the kind that dermatologists can handle. Freckles, skin tags, seborrheic keratoses and benign lentigines are generally removable—like a drunk at a city council meeting.
But the intruding moles that leave dirt piles everywhere behave like members of a small mammal Mafia: The Talpidae Family, in this case.
And they kill. Lawns. Yours. Mine. Bill Gates’.
Moles don’t care how hard you worked on your landscaping. To them, the underside of your lawn is one big buffet. It’s The Sizzler. To understand moles you have to think like one. So reduce your brain from its normal 1320 grams weight to around 3 grams. In other words, from the size of a large cauliflower to a lentil.
Then, imagine that you have no taste for chateaubriand, lasagna or blackberry pie—but instead salivate for the taste of fresh earthworm. There are no known vegan moles.
Moles love worms and insects like fish love water—and like fish, moles don’t require much air. They can survive in low-oxygen environments, such as a Tupperware party.
Moles breeding season is right about now. Male moles attract female moles with a high-pitched squeal. (To approximate this sound try sitting directly onto a sewing needle.)
But after a family of moles is born, everybody heads in different directions. Moles, after all, are solitary creatures. Even moles hate moles. So when you see a multitude of dirt hills in your yard, it’s likely that one mole, working alone, did all the dirty work. After all, there’s a reason that ‘mole’ is found in the word ‘molester’.
But you’ve got to give it to them: Moles work hard. In fact, a group of them is called a “Labour of moles.”(You can tell by the spelling of ‘labour’ that the word is British—so it only makes sense to send all moles back to England. At least until their immigrant status can be verified.)
The little buggers are able to do their underground tunneling with the help of their powerful limbs—and huge paws. You’d be able to dig like that if you also had polydactyl hands. That means moles have twelve fingers—six on each paw. Specifically, they have an extra thumb. That’s not only good for digging, but also handy for hitchhiking.
There is one type of mole—the Townsend mole—that is said to be endangered in the U.S. That is definitely not the type that’s been at work in my yard. Mine are about as endangered as telemarketers—and just as annoying.
Moles don’t even taste good. An 1800’s English theologian named William Buckland got involved in the hobby of Zoophagy—feeding on other animals. He decided that he would try to take a bite of every creature on the planet—working his way through the entire animal kingdom. He found that rattlesnake tasted a bit like chicken—and that chicken tasted a lot like rattlesnake.
But when he took a bite of a mole, Buckland declared it tasted “vile”—even when covered in mole sauce. There are almost as many methods for getting rid of moles, as there are moles. There are mole-catchers, smoke bombs, poisons and traps. People have tried nitrogen gas, strychnine and calcium carbide and something called phostoxin. Cat litter, blood meal and types of stabbing traps are also sometimes used. The stabbing trap is particularly nasty. Even “Game of Thrones” would find it appalling.
Of course, there are humane traps—where the moles are captured alive so that they can then be transported across town to someone else’s lawn—an idea I highly favor.
The other option of course is just to shrug and give up—because as soon as one mole is eliminated, there will be another to take its place. (See the telemarketer reference made earlier.)
However it is useful to remember the old saying “making a mountain out of a molehill.” In fact there are some geologists that believe that’s how Mt. Rainier got started. So don’t ignore what’s going on in your yard—or climbers may start showing up.
In the meantime, the D.O.T. needs to finally scrap Big Bertha. Throw a mole or two in there. The tunnel will be done in a week.