Southern Utah News Articles
Over the hedge at the Senior Center
When you find a loaf of bread in the corner of the room, you might think someone set it down and forgot it. When you find another loaf in the laundry room, it looks like someone is playing a joke on you. But when you find seven more loaves hidden behind a refrigerator, on top a six-shelved storage unit, behind the door in the janitor’s closet and behind a heater, then it’s more likely you’ve stumbled onto someone’s stash.
At the Kanab Senior Center, where the daily ‘bun run’ provides for an endless supply of rolls, breads and pastries, some critter got itself locked into the building and thought it had died and gone into one of DreamWork’s animated cartoons.
“We were checking the ceiling tiles because we were winterizing,” explained Craig Hansen, director of the center. “The flashlight beams picked up several sets of beady eyes that would look at me and scurry to the far corners.”
A quick search at the periphery of the center’s building revealed two open pipes, which were promptly plugged with foam and mortar. But in doing so, the staff had trapped something inside that didn’t necessarily want to get back out.
“Whatever it was, it had it made,” said Hansen. “It had warm digs, plenty of food to eat, games to play (Wii bowling), and people to hide from during the day. My staff wanted to start a pool on what the creature was. It had to be strong enough to carry a loaf of bread up six shelves, and have dexterous hands to open a bag of vanilla wafers and finish the whole bag. We had votes for a flying squirrel, a raccoon, a pack rat, and a large lizard. We were all wrong.”
After securing a live trap from a local source – and baiting it with raspberry strudel – Senior Center staff came back from a weekend to find the cutest looking Ringtail Cat they had ever laid eyes on. And boy, was she mad!
“From a distance, she looked pretty and sweet,” said Hansen. “But if you got close to the cage, she hissed and tried to bite you. She had big black eyes like on the cartoons, but she was not something to trifle with.”
The Ringtail was released to the wild a couple of miles away near Three Lakes where BLM indicated other Ringtails cohabitated. Then another trap was set the following weekend just to make sure there wasn’t a family of Ringtails hiding out.
“We caught two more on consecutive weekends,” said Hansen. “They are now safely at Three Lakes, and the center is critter free.”
Though Ringtails are considered nocturnal loners, the center provided a large food source. And since Ringtails are omnivorous (they’ll eat anything) bread, strudel and vanilla wafers suited them just fine. Ringtail Cats are a mammal of the raccoon family, and prefer to live in arid climates and rocky desert terrain. They can be found throughout the Great Desert Basin, which covers most of Nevada and half of Utah. They also happen to be the state mammal of Arizona, so maybe we should have driven them to the state line and pointed them in the direction of Fredonia.