Mr. Chipmunk, who inhabits a woodpile against the north side of our house, died tragically late Wednesday or early Thursday, June 10. He was less than 5 years old.
Pam found him Thursday morning floating in a bucket near our back door, a bucket which had filled with rainwater. Mr. Chipmunk apparently drowned after climbing into the bucket and not being able to extricate himself. However, the circumstances of his death are still under investigation.
Mr. Chipmunk had confounded our cats, Jordi and Molly, for the past ten years. They continually stalked and chased him, but the little guy was way too elusive, way too clever. He toyed with them, walking right past them to get their attention, then scampering into a bush or into one of his favorite escape hatches: a downspout or a sump pump tube.
Just the other day–Tuesday–Mr. Chipmunk teasingly strolled past Jordi, who was then laying beside a bush out back. When Jordi arose, his ancestral hunter instincts fully aroused, Mr. Chipmunk positioned himself directly on the other side of the bush. As Jordi slowly crept around the bush, Mr. Chipmunk likewise moved, to keep the bush between them.
Tiring of this–it was just too easy for him–Mr. Chipmunk ran around the porch, and Jordi gave distant chase. They continued playing “cat and chipmunk” for the next hour, until Mr. Chipmunk headed to the woodpile to check on the family.
Only once was he caught–last fall by Molly, who is much faster than her lumbering brother. She trapped him just shy of a downspout…but only for a minute or so. Then Mr. Chipmunk escaped back to his woodpile, an impregnable fortress.
Since the lifespan of a chipmunk is 3-5 years, Mr. Chipmunk–like Lassie–is obviously not the original who began tormenting Molly and Jordi 10 years ago. Chipmunks give birth twice a year, so the Mr. Chipmunk in question could be the second, third, or perhaps fourth generation. Who knows how many babies lie in their woodpile nest, waiting to grow to adulthood and assume their father’s stealthy place.
Mr. Chipmunk will be greatly missed by Jordi and Molly. But perhaps, soon, another will take his place, and the games can resume.