The squirrel chronicles
For several years now there has been a war bubbling between my house and the kingdom of the squirrels. We have had several incidents with the many different squirrel families. Mostly they taunt our dogs. Until this last winter, they have nested in our chimney (not attached to a fireplace) and it wasn’t anything more than a mild annoyance. We could hear them scurrying and packing nuts or velcro wallets stolen from joggers in the nearby park or whatever they pack away in their nest-holes. I like to imagine they have trinkets liberated from people and back yards, kept as trophies of conquests. Maybe a wallet or a set of keys, some may have a pet’s collar from a sort of urban squirrel rodeo where a squirrel jumps on a dog or cat and sees how long they can hold on. I like to picture in my mind a squirrel nest where all these plundered awards are hung up so Squirrel Steve can brag to his friends how he conquered Pebbles that one winter. (Pebbles, by the way is one of the sweetest dogs in the neighborhood, the kind of dog that would help carry the squirrels groceries, so it’s purely a tall fishing tale, but Squirrel Steve’s squirrel friends just let him carry on and tell his tales. It makes Squirrel Steve feel better, so what’s the harm in a little white Squirrel lie?)
But I digress… Where was I? Ah yes.. The chimney incident. Early winter, a squirrel DIED in our chimney. This dead squirrel reeked. It was horrible. I think very ripe durian and foot funk blended together with spoiled apples would be better. And of course, this ‘chimney’ is next to my office in my house… Where I spent many many hours every day.
So there’s this dead squirrel in our chimney, rotting away. I couldn’t get him out myself, so we called the local dead-thing-extraction firm. They failed too as this particular squirrel decided to die in the middle of the chimney, out of reach from the top and the bottom holes. The dead-thing-extraction engineer also brought up that looking down from the top of the chimney he could see MORE SQUIRRELS. That’s right folks, these squirrels are so cold hearted one of their brethren dies in their house and they don’t give a shit, they don’t leave or try to move the squirrel, they just walk around him. “Oh look, Todd’s dead, fuck it. Grab his wallet. He’ll decay soon enough” Squirrels are assholes.
So at this point I imagine that our little squirrel family is not the wholesome american pie house with pictures of granny hung up on the wall and the family sitting around drinking tea arguing who recreates Aunt Gertrude’s acorn pie the best, (It’s Sam by the way. Aunt Maxine will say it’s her, but we all know her crust it way too salty.) NO, it’s not this wonderful little slice of squirrel americana in my chimney, it’s a squirrel meth shack. There’s bits of tinfoil and graffiti with “nutters waz here” spray painted on the walls. This must not stand. THIS ENDS HERE.
So we asked the dead-thing-extraction firm to get those squirrel meth-heads out. They put a one way trapdoor, so squirrels can leave but could not return. Then they filled the chimney with Earl’s famous dead-squirrel-b-gone™ and went on their merry way. Later in the night, when the squirrel left and discovered there was no way back in the chimney of meth-head squirrels, there was a terrible racket. Have you ever heard a squirrel meth-head have a temper tantrum on the top of a chimney banging against metal flashing and tubing? IT WAS TERRIFYING! I couldn’t sleep for a week, I woke up drenched in sweat thinking that the squirrels would invade. They didn’t.
But they kept on coming back.
That was winter of 2016. Since then, they have tormented our dogs. They play these drunk redneck squirrel games like “run across the yard and see if you can outrun the dog!” then they jump on the roof of the portico and laugh in their annoying little chatter. So I devised a plan to get rid of the squirrel problem. I call this plan “The long game”
The idea came to me when I saw that the top causes of death in the US are not accidents or gunshots but heart disease. We eat poorly and have an epidemic of diabetes. This rate of heart disease and other diet related ailments has increased in the past few decades due to our diet. Could I use this to cause a similar pandemic in the squirrel population? Could I give the squirrels in my hood diabetes? I started doing something you should never ever do. I started feeding the squirrels. I’ve learned they like all the things we should not eat in excess. So far the items they like:
- Yeast rolls
- French bread
- Kashi bars
- milk bones
- dog food
- peanut butter dog treats
- cashews (these went fast)
They have only rejected two items thus far.
I missed the opportunity to get a photo of the squirrel chowing down on a milkbone. I’ll get one and post it soon. It’s oddly satisfying.
In the meantime enjoy this photo of Whakadoodle D. Squirrel enjoying fancy pb dog treat balls.