Rob was hunting. His first traps were tripped but empty. He was in hot pursuit. He carefully pulled loose earth away and exposed the burrow, then tried to place the trap in the runway without snapping the sharp tines together. Snap! He had to pull on the nylon cord to remove the trap and reset it. On the second try he met resistance. The burrow was full of dirt. With mounting frustration he cleared away the dirt and tried again, but again resistance.
Then with a pull on the cord he discovered the trap was stuck in the hole so he started to dig it out while pulling it free. It seems there was something furry and brown on the other end. Apparently the gopher, subsequently named Oscar, was trying to close the breach in his tunnel system and that failing, tried to bite the intruder. The trap had snapped on his voluminous cheek pouch; a sharp pinch but not serious.
Catherine ran to get a terrarium out of the storeroom for Oscar's new home and that is how he became a house pet. Oscar has settled into his new, smaller territory. He eats carrots, lettuce, celery, grain and mealworms with an occasional potato or left over pancake. He is active at night and in the early morning, digging tunnels and peeking from one doorway or another. If you carefully hold a flashlight up to the glass where one of his long tunnels runs, he will come to see what is causing the light. Then you can follow him with a spot of light or he will chase the light as it moves ahead of him. Sometimes you can even discover where he has hidden the food he has taken below from the previous night. He will come to the screen on the top of the terrarium to sniff your fingers if you move very slowly and quietly. The soil must be kept damp so it makes good tunnels. Dry dirt collapses and leaves Oscar curled up in a ball in the corner of the cage with no place to hide. He doesn't seem to mind being petted gently with one finger far away from his mouth and those sharp gnawing teeth. Gophers can chew rock you know.
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