A Chipmunk Caught in The Net

Today, I went outside with a scissors to gather some more nature pieces for my wreath. I found some great rose hips to add, and then decided to venture back to the garden. I instantly noticed my raspberry bushes bobbing up and down like a fishing pole. I thought it was odd but went back to what I was doing. Then I heard some extreme rustling.

So I went down the hill into the raspberry patch. And there I saw him...the chipmunk. He was tangled in the nets. By his neck. At this point, I realized I had a scissors in my pocket. What are the odds that I would have a scissors (and a good one at that) in my pocket in the backyard?

The nets are strong, and meant to keep animals out, so they don't cut easily. I needed to get him out. The irony of my post yesterday was not lost on me. I felt like this was a test to see what I would really do. This was my garden robber. The one who gets all my berries and tomatoes.

Would I let him strangle? No. I went right to work trying to cut him loose. As soon as the chipmunk saw me, he went crazy. He twisted and turned and got himself more tangled than ever. I started cutting him free, and worked at getting him away from any of the other nets to stop the retangling.

He had the nets around his neck at least 10 times. And his arms and legs were entirely trapped. He fought me all the way. But I remained calm. I knew this was a life or death situation, that he would bite me if given the chance, and that I was his only hope. I talked to him, telling him to hold still and I wasn't going to hurt him.

Frustrated with me, my son said, "mom, he doesn't understand human talk!" At times I felt like he was trusting me, but I realize he was just losing oxygen. During those moments, I worked hard at his neck. He guarded it from me too much while he was struggling.

I managed to free his neck except for 2 strands of net. Imagine a duck with a soda ring around it's neck....but tighter. Then I freed his legs and arms. And then he took off. I tried to get him so I could get the rest of his neck freed, but it was no use. He was gone.

I can only hope one of his family members will gnaw it off. He may or may not make it, but I sincerely tried my best. If he snags on something, the net may pull off or he may be strangled.

Forgive me for not having any pictures, but if I had any pictures this time it would have meant he died.

I try hard to keep our garden as organic as possible and only use nets to keep birds and animals out of our berries as a barrier. Not a trap. If you remember earlier this summer, a bird was caught and something ate half of it's body.

I put the nets up as soon as the berries start to ripen and take them off immediately when they are done. But still these things happen. :(

On a positive note, my children were right there with me. They saw the entire thing. I doubt they listen to me half the time (as evidenced by their toys on the floor) but actions speak louder than words, and I want them to see how much we try to take care of the things that have been entrusted to us.

More important than even the basics of caring for animals, I firmly believe that it's just a small leap from how you treat animals to how you treat people. And I really want them to be caring and loving people.


Rose said...

That had to be so scary.

shadygardener said...

What a sad story. We care about animals too, and have had our times of trying to save little animal babies. I appreciate you sharing that story. I found you on Mom Bloggers Club, and I'll be following your blog from now on.

Anonymous said...

You should have gloves near your garden and next time just grab him and cut him free.

Anonymous said...

That was a riveting account, Angela. So glad you were able to help the poor fellow. Lucky he didn't bite you or anything.

Thanks for sharing that in my Midweek Meme today. :0)

Anonymous said...

I realize I'm writing some long years after this posting, but finding myself in a similar situation, I wondered if you had been able to help free him? I've got a lil' guy wearing a collar of netting (the net I didn't manage to cut off of him) and was looking for advice on how to approach him without him running or biting me. He seems to be getting up to all his normal activities at least. THANKS!

Angela said...

Yes, I did free him.I would recommend wearing thick gloves and using a scissors. You can grab him if you are wearing gloves and that helps keep him from wriggling and retangling himself.

I did not wear gloves and had to keep snipping off netting that retangled on his body. He ran off with just a little netting left on him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding Angela! My problem is how to go about catching him in order to get the rest of the netting off of him. He's always on my deck eating my tomatoes, (now I just set one out for him whenever I can) but he runs if I open the door to come help him. I don't think I was very clear in my last post. I helped him once, but that was because he was caught in the net. Now he is running free, but wearing a netting accessory.

Angela said...

Yikes. Other than using a live trap, he will probably need to keep wearing the netting.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Yes, he's very formal with his lace collar. :) I hadn't even thought of that. It may eventually come down to a live trap. Still afraid of him biting though if he feels threatened though. Right now I'm trying to gain his trust, hoping eventually he'll let me pick him up. I've heard of chipmunks walking right into your hands up in the mountains of Colorado, so maybe it is possible. Thanks again for your help!

Anonymous said...

Gee some years past but I look up chipmunk caught in garden net and I can relate to your post. Some birds were eating my bean sprats so I put the net on early this June. Like you I usually put the net on after the vegetables and tomatoes appear in late July. So I was weeding and went to get a garden tool and came back and there he was very busy burrowing into my garden. He some how got under the netting. I said "OH NO YOU DONT" and on reflex picked him up with the pitch fork but not stabbing him but just scooped him up forgetting that the net was in-between. So I was sorry I did that because he got so caught up with the netting all around his neck. I was upset so I went into the tool shed and got a pair of scissors. I scooped him up with the pitchfork and cut the netting around his neck. I had to be careful not to cut his ear or little paw. It took some time to get him free. I almost through I was going to not succeed. I keep telling him "I am trying" and he look at me with big eyes. He stop wigging because he was maybe losing air or traumatized. I got him free but he went weak. So I put water on him and that woke him up and gave him some drinking water. I covered him with big hasta plant leaves and check on him giving him some water bath. He looked at me with big eye but did not move. I also had some almond slivers in the kitchen so I gave him some. I do not know if he ate any but when I check on him the third time he was gone. Another chipmunk was under the bush watching and must have been aware of the injured chipmunk because when he saw me approach he bolded out form under the bush like he was afraid of me and ran under the fence. I hope he is alright and I saw a chipmunk walk up to my patio window and then zip away but I don't know if it was him on not. This was a little upsetting for me because a couple of weeks ago I had to remove five bunnies from the center of my garden before I could plant but that is another story. Thanks for you post it is good to relate. Ellen

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