I am not a grumpy guy. There are too many grumpy guys in the world. Just look at tv cop shows: Criminal Minds, Law and Order, CSI – they all feature old guys with bad dispositions. Whenever I feel a bout of negativity or crabbiness coming on, I turn on one of those shows and tell myself to chill.
But one thing really gets my dander up – squirrels! I’m not a crotchety old coot who sits on his deck with a BB-gun or a water rifle full of ammonia. I do not begrudge them the sunflower seeds and peanuts they work so cleverly to extract from my squirrel-proof feeders. It’s when they invade the sanctity of my home and start costing me too much money that the ecologically-sensitive nature lover in me wants to exterminate them all.
So, when Pete Corradino titled a recent blog “100 Dead Squirrels” I laughed with glee. “Great,” I thought, “100 fewer squirrels left in the world. It’s a start.” Sad to say, the title of the blog was misleading.
To me, red and grey and black squirrels are not, as my daughters claim, cute. They are just rats with cute, fluffy tails. Rats who prefer trees to sewers and have no fear of heights. Rats who could probably work for Cirque de Soleil if they could fit into tiny, colorful spandex outfits. Destructive rats.
One night several years ago my daughters complained to me that the upstairs bathroom fan was not working. I grabbed a ladder, put on my handyman face and removed the fan. As I did, two gallons of acorns cascaded down on me. Plus other assorted bits of debris and dozens of maggots. The little red monster had chewed through the vent cap and set up his winter home in the pipe.
Two weeks later my clothes dryer croaked. The red devil had built a new nest in the dryer vent, preventing the heat from escaping and cooking the dryer. That cost me big bucks.
I set up a live trap to catch it, but caught a grey squirrel. Fine. It was the guy who had gnawed his way through three two-by-fours on my deck. I drove him ten miles away and dumped him in a park. To make a long story short, I caught 12 more grey squirrels before I called in the exterminator. He caught three more before he got little red. One grey had gnawed his way into the attic, one had chewed a hole into the soffits. More $$ gone!
Then the red squirrel chewed through the roof of my tool shed. Rain and snow came in before I discovered the hole. And the fancy digs he’d set up: a place for his acorns, a separate place for his crabapples, another spot for his pine cones, another for his bedroom, and another for his latrine. Rotted the floor, wrecked the place. More $$$ gone. But red had a weakness for peanut butter, and we caught him.
As the exterminator carted off the red monster, his parting advice was: “You’ve got a yard full of trees. It’s a squirrel magnet. Find a couple of squirrels you like and learn to live with them.” He sold me his trap. I’m still trying to find a squirrel I like