Today walking into a garden on Uranus (the street, not the planet) both of the pygmy date palms were gone, just gone…well, not entirely gone, there were inch high stubs of trunks, gnawed apparently, by what?  Rats?  Squirrels?  Opossums?  Whatever did a thorough job of it, dissuaded not one bit by the spiny defenses.  Fronds were drug into the shade beneath a ceanothus, perhaps to give a reflective privacy to an interlude of teeth-picking.

The urban fauna are enjoying a population surge.  Earlier in the month I noticed that the astelias in the front garden in the Richmond were oddly lusterless, but it wasn’t odd, given their roots had been devoured by gophers which heretofore had colonized only the back garden.  Ooof, there goes the pretense of co-existence.  Where’s my guillotine?

(Right, they say, what are you going to do about it?  It would take a village of traps.  Forget poison.  Is there a pied piper for gophers?  Can you rent owls?)

Lately every night just after dusk I hear a scuffling on, or worse, in the roof.  A squirrel?  A rat?  A few years ago one never saw squirrels except in Golden Gate Park.  Today already I’ve seen two, one on my patio and one walking the wires above Uranus St., each with a peanut in its chomps.  Who knows, maybe it was the same one.  My uncle tells the story of trapping the ones wrecking his vegetable garden, painting a blue spot on their tails, and taking them a few miles out into the country, to find them back at his garden before he was.






  1. I have no solution-oriented ideas to contribute, but I can confirm the notion that pest relocation never seems to work. During my November pigeon research I enjoyed the tale of our fair city packing thousands of pigeons into a truck and moving them to a pastoral paradise in Willits in the ’60s. They all flew right back!

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