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Updates from Andy Selters

Problems with Rodents - Deer mice, chipmunks, and wood rats ("pack rats") present an occasional, persistent problem at Pine Glade, and it's important to know how to deal with them. They are amazingly skilled at burrowing under and into cabins, where they damage things. And of course we all should know that most deer mice and their droppings carry the hantavirus, a very dangerous, often fatal respiratory disease. The Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care Center (located at Keough's, south of Bishop) has brought out how recent wildlife studies show that rodent poison has been found in up to 90% of tested predators around the West. These poisons, which include "D-con," kill mammals by causing internal bleeding. Rodents that eat the poison become sick and easy prey for predators, and so the predators ingest the poison too. This of course includes domestic cats and dogs. The poison is cumulative, so that predators get sick and can die as well. The other thing to know about putting out poison is that it doesn't solve the problem, because more rodents keep getting into the cabin. Apparently it's now difficult to obtain rodent poison, for these reasons. The primary solution, of course, is to seal off your cabin. Depending on your cabin's design, any number of steps can go a long way. A full cement foundation makes a much better seal, and retrofitting one into your cabin will make it stronger in an earthquake too. A secondary barrier is to dig a trench all around your cabin right along the siding, and fill it with gravel, which rodents can't dig into very well. Once your cabin has this kind of general barrier, patches of hardware cloth/mesh, cement, and steel or (preferred) aluminum wool can be used to block and fill little gaps. When the critters do get in and you need to kill them, snap traps are the most effective and humane. Spray the carcass with a 10% bleach solution, wait a few minutes, and it will be safe to handle. Another option is a drowning trap. Thanks for paying attention to these matters. You can contact the Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care Center at 760/872-1487.