by Ben Small
Cottontails are eating my yard.
They have no shame. I spend half a day planting agave and other cool desert plants that won't impale me on spines, and then I sit in the Jacuzzi and watch as rabbits crawl under or around the ocotillo fencing and munch on my servings. What's the attraction? These aren't tequila-producing agaves. Have you eaten an agave leaf?
But there the ear-heads are, chewing on agave stalks, laughing at me, bouncing while they throw out Wayne-Newton-Dancing-With-the-Stars-like finger thrusts. Yes, and I get bunny-mooned, too. Bad enough staring at any animal's fanny. But when it's a twitchy swaying big cotton ball...well...there's a humiliation factor.
I've tried to get rid of these pests. I've put up chicken wire, but that only seems to trap really ugly lizards that are too dumb to realize that if they'd just back up, they'd be free.
Do lizards have only one gear?
And of course a stuck lizard is not a good thing. My wife starts screaming, and my manly duties are called upon. But how do I untangle Baby Godzilla without touching it and when BG only wants to go forward or to bite me? I can't kill the thing; my wife thinks they're cute. She's got a machete.
Don't think I haven't thought about murdering me some wabbit-meat. But, as I said, my wife carries a machete. After what she did to the pool guy, I thought she'd be delighted to practice her slice-'em-and-dice-'em skills on something other than people. But she thinks rabbits are cute, too.
She told me so.
"You so much as split a bunny-hair," she said, her tone steely, her fingers sliding to the tang of her lacquered leather scabbard, "I'll split your underwear two feet up."
I elected not to push the point. Not then anyway. Gotta plan...
How do I catch a rabbit?
I researched this. Googling "Herd of rabbits" turned up 695,000 links.
A lotta people don't like rabbits.
Somebody actually analyzed rabbit body language and wrote a paper on it? Talk about having too much time on one's hands. Or was this a Washington pork project?
Anyway, I learned something about rabbit-body language:
"* Sniffing — May be annoyed or just talking to you
* Grunts — Usually angry, watch out or you could get bit!
* Shrill scream — Hurt or dying
* Circling your feet — Usually indicates sexual behavior. He/She's in love.
* Bunny hop/dance — A sign of pure joy & happiness!
* Begging — Rabbits are worse than dogs about begging, especially for sweets.
* Stomping — He's frightened, mad or trying to tell you that there's danger (in his opinion).
* Teeth Grinding — Indicates contentment, like a cats purr. Loud grinding can indicate pain."
So if I throw out cookies while my wife is at the grocery store, I can sit back, drop my pellet gun's bi-pod, dial in Gamo's Varmint Hunter optic setup to twenty-five yards, and pick 'em off one at a time with my steel-tipped Savage pellets.
Good stuff this research.
Maybe I'll get a directional mike and amplifier. Tune in to the sniffing, grunts and stomping, record the shrill scream after a pulled trigger.
Yeah, I smell a research project of my own. Wonder if I can get it funded?
Okay, you're shocked. But what other choice do I have? Poison? Then bobcats, coyotes and vultures die, too. Can't have that; I'm hating rabbits here. Trap and release? Gitmo-wabbit? Do you know how these things multiply? Plus, I gotta feed 'em. The little fuzzballs eat constantly. And what if one starves? I become PETA's poster-boy; they'll come at me with automatic weapons. A friend said my pool lured the rabbits, that I enticed them, and they decided to eat while they were here. She suggested I put kibble out, along with a tub of water and a solar recycling pump.
Yeah, sure, build 'em a spa. That'll keep 'em away.
Duck, Bugs. BooYah.
A shotgun would be fun. But shotguns are loud, and we've got an ordinance against gunfire, an HOA prohibition, too. That's why my wife carries a machete.
Can't deny a woman her jewelry.
A shotgun is too Elmer Fuddish. I'm Republican, but not a Fuddite. I prefer stealth. A pellet gun is legal. No powder, no fire; no g-u-n-f-i-r-e. Rule not applicable. And frankly, I'd rather not have cops around while I'm still stalking my neighbor, especially not with our former pool guy rotting in a hole next to my neighbor's driveway.
So Gamo it may be. The only one doing the bunny-hop around here may be me.
And look out Wayne Newton. You should see my finger thrusts.