Hmm…I suppose technically, I’m the one who did the attacking. I was riding my bike along the Clear Creek trail this morning…I’d just passed the muddy stretch of trail that you have to watch out for (muddy from last week’s drenching rains) and was coasting down the hill on my mud-covered tires when all of a sudden this chipmunk darted out right in front of me and well…I hit it.
What was really weird about this was just TWO DAYS AGO I sat in a coffee shop with my editor talking about animals you have to watch out for when you’re out biking. She said she’d run over a chipmunk. I told her I didn’t worry about chipmunks; I worried about RABBITS!!! We have a lot of rabbits around here, and I swear they are the DUMBEST animals I’ve ever seen. They’ll sit at the edge of the trail and watch people coming on bicycles. Then, when a bike is right in front of them, THEN they’ll suddenly dart out and attempt to cross the trail. In fact, I’ve seen one go right through my husband’s spokes when he was riding ahead of me. NOT a pretty sight. (Hmm…maybe they’re not dumb…maybe they’re EVIL??? Or maybe they’re just trying to scare riders away from their habitat by darting out in front of us?) I’ve never had that experience with a chipmunk. Chipmunks usually stay out of my way. But on Saturday, I jokingly said something about watching out for chipmunks now, too. Obviously, I should have taken it a little more seriously.
Here we are two days later and what happened? I ran over a chipmunk! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sensation. And after I hit it, it flew into the air and hit me in the leg. I wasn’t sure whether it bit me or scratched me…I found out later that it scratched me because I have a mark. It didn’t break the skin, though, so that’s a relief. Still…I started to wonder if maybe I didn’t really run over it…maybe it leapt up my leg to get away? But I don’t think so…I’m pretty sure I felt the “bump” of my front tire rolling over it a split second before it popped up. And the scratch on my leg runs parallel to the ground rather than perpendicular, so that implies the animal was horizontal when it scratched me.
I don’t even know what happened to the poor thing. I was on a hill and my tires were covered in mud, so I couldn’t stop easily. But I didn’t see it on the trail when I turned and looked over my shoulder.
When I was a kid visiting my grandparents in northern Wisconsin, my grandfather used to set traps for chipmunks. And then when he’d catch one, he’d put the sprung trap inside this box he’d made especially for this trap and he’d set it over the exhaust pipe of his tractor mower (Ew! Ew! Ew! I’m cringing just remembering this!!!!) and he’d gas it to death and then put the body down some other pipe he had way out at the edge of the property. I used to set them free when I saw the trap was sprung (and he’d get mad at me for it).
I think I’m going to have “chipmunk issues” for life!