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FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2009, 4:49 A.M.

Man versus gophers…

Wikipedia-ground squirrel (The Spokesman-Review)
Wikipedia-ground squirrel (The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning, Netizens...

The rise of the Rodenator in Spokane's Finch Arboretum has a lot of citizens up in arms over ground squirrels. In case you hadn't heard, the Rodenator injects propane and oxygen into the gopher holes and then lights up the highly flammable mix with a spark, thus killing or at least maiming the ground squirrels wherever they happen to be below-ground at that moment. According to its manufacturer, it is an effective, humane method of dealing with one of America's most persistent underground burrowers.

Here's the video that warbles ecstatically about how the Rodenator works:

According to the Rodenator web site “The majority of Rodenator customers use our pest control products on the following types of pests: voles, moles, gophers, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, rabbits, armadillos, marmots (rock chucks, ground hogs, wood chucks), badgers, foxes and coyotes. As of this morning, their web site is occasionally up but sometimes unable to connect. Perhaps the national news media attention cast their way is bringing new customers their way. Who knows? The web site is quite informative in a brisk, businesslike manner. That, of course, depends upon whether you are a gopher.

I have tried for two days to get anyone from Spokane Parks Department to comment on their use of the Rodentator to solve their persistent problems with ground squirrels, but now after the National Humane Society has taken the City of Spokane to task for their inhumane method of solving the problem, they seem to be a bit reluctant to comment further.

However, there is always someone somewhere on the Internet with a tongue-in-cheek commentary well worth watching.

Having lived on ranches and farms for a fair portion of my life, I have seen two horses being put down after breaking their legs on gopher holes. My suggestion to the Spokane Parks Department is, if they have a good working alternative solution to the Rodenator, it might be time to deploy/use it, perhaps even get working on a patent, because the problem will not go away otherwise.

Of course, your results may differ.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.