My Asshole Neighbor

This is Grover.


Grover, a gopher tortoise, chose my property to build on.  He’s dug two burrows that I know of.  Grover’s name is a portmanteau of “ground rover” and has no affiliation with Sesame Street.  Anyway, he’s an asshole.  If he’s not hiding from you, he’s hissing at you.  Let me tell his story.

The screen on my screened-in pool enclosure on my house was getting a bit shabby.  The roof had a hole in it, the spline was falling out of multiple panels, and finally, a panel fell out because of the missing spline.  So I made an appointment to get it all replaced.

A couple days before the company came to give me a quote, I walked around the patio.  In the back was a large hole.  What the fuck.  Because my GF is knowledgeable in such things nature, I knew what this was.  It was a gopher tortoise burrow.  If this were the GF’s blog, she would insert at least five paragraphs here on the importance of gopher tortoises in nature.  And I’d heard it all before, so I understood what needed done.

Gopher tortoises are a protected species.  Don’t fuck with them.  Knowing this, I called a wildlife trapper (not a pest removal company) and asked him if he could take care of my unnamed-as-of-yet problem.  He told me that I needed to contact a trapper who was specially licensed to trap gopher tortoises, of which there were few in my state.  That’s something I didn’t know yet.

I found a licensed trapper and called him up.  Trapping was no big deal.  It would cost probably around $300.  Sure, no problem, let’s do it.  But there’s other issues.  You can’t just take the tortoise and drop him off in the woods.  Anyone could do that, right?  Gopher tortoises have a strong homing instinct.  There’s a better than good chance he’ll just show up again and reclaim his burrow.  Also, to rehome a gopher tortoise properly, you have to grant them enough land to claim as their own, without other competing tortoises.  And they like to roam.  So, what’s that mean?  Finding a new home for the asshole would cost me $3000.  Plus the trapping fee. Plus no guarantee he wouldn’t come back.

So, asshole got a name.  He lives there now.

Back now to my total screen replacement.  The crew arrives and I point out the very obvious burrow right next to the patio wall.  I tell them this is a gopher tortoise burrow.  It is a protected species.  Don’t fuck with it.  Everything went swimmingly well with the screen replacement.  They called me one day and said they were all done and cleaned up.  After work that day, I got home and saw that they really cleaned up.  They filled in Grover’s burrow.  What the fuck, indeed.

Of course, I immediately broke the opening up again, even though I’m pretty sure he could have burrowed back out on his own.  That’s what they do, right?  And by the next day, Grover the asshole had made his entrance even bigger than before, probably out of spite.  Did I mention this illegal activity to the screening company?  Yes I did.

Grover’s been there for years since.  For our Hurricane Irma lockdown party, we put out a bunch of watermelon for him, which was gnawed down to the rind in short order.

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He’s an asshole, but he’s part of the property now.  These bastards live 40-60 years.  He’s going to outlive me for sure.


  1. This is delightful.

  2. Grover is indeed an asshole, but I kind of like him out of obligation.

  3. Haha I love this