A Mother’s Fierce Love

I rescued this juvenile chipmunk from a neighbor’s cat. He seemed to be in shock, so I took him inside and gave him some diced apple and maple spinners. After an hour or so he had recovered sufficiently to munch these cheerfully.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the house I observed a black snake backing out of a chipmunk burrow with another juvenile in its jaws. I thought that was that, but 30 minutes later the chipmunk had partially chewed and clawed its way through the snake’s stomach. Sadly that was its last effort.

Shortly after this, I was surprised to see the chipmunk’s mother battling the snake, from which she had somehow extracted her pup:

At last I threw the snake into the woods. The mother pawed piteously at her pup’s body for a few minutes, then retreated to the mouth of her burrow, whence she began a series of chirping calls. I imagined that she was trying to summon back home the rest of her babies who had fled at the snake’s entrance, and guessed that the pup stuffing himself in my bathroom must be one of them.

I placed him in the yard. He wandered over to the burrow, and the mother, without undue sentimentality, pulled him down the hole.

A happy ending of sorts. Nature’s lessons are never bloodless.

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