Viscacha, Vermin and Varmints (Oh My!)

2013-01-29 09.06.31Viscacha! I love the way that word rolls off my tongue. What’s a viscacha, you might ask? Besides being a word that starts with the letter “V,” a viscacha is a rodent-like animal in the chinchilla family that resembles a rabbit and lives in South America. See you learned something today. No? Well I did anyway!

A vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia) in the Sur Lipe... A vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m grasping for topics as I wind up these last few days of the April A to Z blogging challenging (see my lame umbrella post from yesterday) and today I’m resorting to writing about vermin or is it varmints? I’m not sure, but I do know I’m not a big fan of them. Seeing as I don’t live in South America, I haven’t seen many viscachas, but living in rural Ohio in an old farmhouse I see my share of  pesky insects and rodents. I used to fear many of these loathsome fiends, but I’m much braver since I’ve been somewhat desensitized to them. Now that I’m a mother, I find myself forced into the position of the brave exterminator when unwanted beasts invade our home.

Here’s a rundown of the various vermin found around our farm and my ability to handle coming face to face with said creature:

  • Mice – We get these in the house a lot – especially after the farmers bring in the crops. If the mouse is dead in a trap, I’m OK with picking the entire thing up and throwing it away – trap and all (I don’t recycle). If it’s alive in the house and I see it, my heart start still jumps and I might stifle a scream; however I don’t have to move into a hotel overnight.
  • Spiders – Typically we get brown wolf spiders and daddy-long-legs. I can smash them with my shoe if they are below me. I’m not too crazy about killing them when they are on the ceiling, although I am brazen enough to suck them into the shop vac.
  • Wasps, Hornets and Bees – These still scare the crap out of me. I must have a can of Raid and be able to spray them from afar. If I can though, I’d rather shut the door and wait for my husband to get home and send him in for the kill.
  • Snakes – We once had a corn snake eating a frog in our barn. I also saw a garter snake in the yard before. Both times I’m sad to admit, I let out a blood-curling scream. I was taken off guard. I went my way and the snakes went their ways and that’s the way I like it. Luckily I rarely see these cold-blooded ones. If one got in the house though, I’d definitely think about putting a for-sale sign in the yard.
  • Bats and Birds – Luckily I only see these creatures flying around outside and they don’t bother me in the least. I’ve never had one in the house and I hope I never do. If a bird, or especially, a bat found its way into the house, I’d definitely being checking into a hotel until the exterminator could come.
  • Skunks – One summer day the girls and I were going for a bike ride, when a small, wobbly black and white animal slowly walked by us. It was not a kitten, but a baby skunk. We slowly backed away and fortunately were not sprayed. My husband smoked their den and I haven’t seen another.
  • Opossum – These guys truly creep me out with their pointy noses and long tails. I’ve only seen them in the creek and ditches when I’m driving at night. That’s bad enough for me!
  • Raccoons – We had two of these masked guys in our barn.  Some people eat them. I do not. Some people wear them as hats. I do not. They are another varmint that my husband takes care of. They no longer reside in the barn.
  • Groundhogs – These animals are also called woodchucks. I don’t know why. I do know they are lousy at predicting when spring will be here. One decided to make his burrow right beneath our living room window. Bad move on his part. He’s joined the skunks and raccoons on the other side.
  • Turtles – One day I heard my littles one screaming from the garage. I ran outside to see what was wrong and found a box turtle milling around. I found a big shovel, scooped him up and took him out to the field. See you later little guy!
  • Rabbits – They’re so darn cute, but not when the eat all my flowers before they can even bloom! My oldest daughter raises domestic rabbits for 4-H, so I have a soft-spot for the little cotton tails. They know they’re safe – at least from the humans – the barn cats are another story.

So that wraps up my vermin list. I don’t think I missed any. From afar I’m very brave, up close not so much, on me I’d probably freak out.  On the bright side, at least I don’t live in place with poisonous, deadly varmints.

What kinds of vermin do you deal with? Anyone seen a viscacha in the wild?