|A squirrel taunts my dog with a jar of peanut butter.|
I made my husband save a nest of four squirrels after we cut down a tree and ruined their home by accident. He drove the nest to the animal shelter as the babies tumbled around the front passenger side of the car. He had to nudge them back into the shoebox at stop lights because it was common knowledge that I used to name the squirrels in my neighborhood when I was a child.
So, as an adult, I was at first impressed with their determination when they ate through my industrial-strength, plastic garbage pails. I thought it was endearing when I saw one glaring into my bedroom window as he hung upside down from the roof.
"Look Mommy!"my daughter said, "The squirrel is saying good morning to us."
But he was really scoping out my house. He was looking for a way in and he found it by eating through the siding and gaining access to my 110 year-old attic.
I still thought squirrels were adorable until one leaped out of a box and bounced past my head in that dark space as I was getting out the Christmas decorations last year. That's when I screamed and called my neighbor, an exterminator. At first I agreed to setting some humane traps in the attic. I was not interested in getting anyone hurt when we caught the first one with a little peanut butter. My neighbor drove him to a park far enough away that he would never come back. However, it was too late. The squirrel had already told his friends about my attic.
Next there were three more furry squatters. I almost passed out when I spotted two hanging out of the top of my chimney.
"That's like their little lookout tower," my exterminator neighbor explained, pointing to my chimney. "So, they've told all their friends on the block; they've texted their second and third cousins your address," he added.
While I usually appreciate the wit of those who enjoy personifying animals, at that moment, I was just plain horrified, standing there wide-eyed like a child believing a tall tale.
"They what? They text? They have cousins? Like how many? What the hell am I gonna do?" I was getting frantic. My neighbor raised a hand.
"Look, I'll put a couple of extra traps up there. We'll just keep getting rid of them and plugging their entry points. Eventually they will stop coming in," he assured me.
I agreed, but my feelings for squirrels had changed. They were no longer cute in children's books, and especially not in my house. In my house they were disease carrying relatives of rodents and I so I declared war on a whole brood of them.
I bought metal garbage cans from Sears. I tip-toed up my attic steps three times a day armed with a giant rubber mallet. They didn't come back in the spring. Most of the summer was quiet. It wasn't until the last week of August that I thought I heard the tapping of little feet above my bedroom, followed by the faintest scratching sound.
It was about 120 degrees in the attic at that point, too hot for ghosts I decided. It had to be a squirrel. I climbed the attic stairs and lifted the heavy, creaking door and closed it securely behind me in case I encountered the enemy. I gasped, discovering one dead in the trap, keeled over with peanut butter on his claw. There was no way he survived long in that late summer heat. My neighbor was already at the front door when I opened it carrying the full trap.
"Oh, you did it yourself," he said.
"Yeah, I want to parade this cage around the yard. It's time to send a message to the whole critter community. I'm going to smash some furry heads," I told him, breathless. It was hot in that attic.
"I think you're letting this get to you," he decided.
Nevertheless, it was time to write out some strategies- like real Generals do- to defeat my enemy. On the top of my list was scaring the nuts out of them and off of them too in an effort to decrease this obvious overpopulation.
|Indiana Jones the KILLER! That's right I said KILLER. Squirrels, text your friends.|
|Look at this fearless squirrel hunter. I think I'm in love.|