Armadillo I.D.

A neighbor recently caught an armadillo using cat food as bait. R.J.’s eyes darted to the bag of Science Diet Hairball Control formula on the laundry room floor when he heard the news. I said using cat food for bait was a great way to catch Miss Daisy again. RJ ignored my concerns and placed a small pile of dried cat food in the trap before he went to bed. He found a small pile of dried cat food in the trap in the morning. The trap was empty unless insects count—I saw a dozen flies gorging on cat food. I doubt armadillo pheromones would entice our armadillo. We’d probably catch a small dog though.

RJ’s outlook is more optimistic. Despite the lack of success we’ve had, his enthusiasm doesn’t waver. I don’t know what’s going on; it’s unusual for him to exhibit long-term, predatory behavior. A shotgun for Christmas is out.

RJ finally took John Miller’s advice. He dug some lovely night crawlers from the garden and placed them in the cut off foot of a nylon stocking. He added soil to keep them alive and tied a knot in the open end of the stocking to keep them from escaping. Around 9 p.m., RJ placed the stocking-full-of-worms in the trap. This morning he placed his arm across my desk chair and said, “Don’t sit down. We caught something. You’ll be thrilled to know it’s not a cat.”

“How thrilled?” I said.

“See for yourself.”

I did two step-ball-change-kicks around the puddle of rainwater on the deck, admiring how the white pentas popped on a cloudy morning. I felt a bit lightheaded from the twirl I did at the end of the kicks. R.J.’s eyes were shiny and bright as he pointed to the trap.  He killed the hope percolating in my brain—or my heart, wherever hope brews—when he said, “He’s just a little guy.”

I looked over the railing. “And he’s even uglier than I thought up close. They look better in  pictures or even stuffed.”

“Did you forget about the cute baby ones Ashley brought home when she was in high-school? She volunteered to bring them home over the summer for her Biology class. They had to be fed a special formula with an eye dropper.”

“Oh, yeah, I remember. They had to be fed every three hours and the cats thought they were fun. They were really cute when you put them on your shoulder and they crawled into your hair.”

“Admit it—you fed them a couple times.”

“I remember how horrible Ashley felt when they died.  They weren’t  going to live anyway.”

“I’m going to get this one out of the cage. He’ll make it,” RJ said. “You better get out of the way to be safe.”

I smiled at his chivalry. He’d forgotten he was talking to a woman who captured poisonous spiders, followed snakes in the garden until I could identify them and went after a dog while it was taking down a deer on the front lawn.

“R.J.,” I said. “You’re not letting this animal go until I get my cell and take some pictures. I want proof.”

­­­­_____________________________

Top Ten Signs You Didn’t Trap An Armadillo

  1. The animal has a white face.
  2. The animal has eyebrows
  3. And close-set eyes
  4. And long black whiskers
  5. And soft little ears
  6. And spiky gray hair, like an old punk rocker.
  7. The animal bares their teeth
  8. And has monkey fingers and nails needing a manicure
  9. And he doesn’t roll into a ball when threatened
  10. And jump four feet off the ground, like an old punk rocker.

Possum in a trap

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Jules Jacob

julie ginkgoJulie "Jules" Jacob is a contemporary poet who often writes about dichotomous conditions and relationships among humans and the natural world. Her poems are recently featured or forthcoming in Plume Poetry, The Tishman Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Rust + Moth, Yes Poetry and elsewhere. She is the author of The Glass Sponge chapbook with select poems featured at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts and Le Moulin à Nef where she was a resident of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Poetry Workshop.

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