There are too many damn squirrels.
It seems to me that their numbers have grown exponentially in recent years, to the point that we are being over-run by the damn things.
I take a long walk each day along a rural road and trail. It seems like I encounter a squirrel every 25 feet. I saw on Nat Geo recently that ants (a future rant subject) account for the greatest percentage of bio-mass on the planet (and those are just the ones in my kitchen). Apparently, squirrels have taken this as a challenge.
They certainly are taking over my place. A year ago I purchased for 300 bucks a largeRubber Maid storage locker to keep recycling and bird feed. The seed was in a sealed plastic garbage barrel within the locker. The gray demons chewed their way through the locker in two places and the garbage container to get to the seed.
I know it was squirrels because I saw their stupid bucky teeth marks in the plastic and I encountered one up-close-and-personal when I opened the locker one day. I lifted the lid and looked in; staring back at me, bird seed all over his furry little face, was one of the cursed rodents.
His expression was like that of the squirrel on the tire commercial that is about to be run over by a car. I swear every hair on his body stood up and he let out a scream before hurdling from the bottom of the locker to the ground in one leap.
They are amazing athletes, I will grant them that. They have confounded my every effort to keep them out of my bird feeders. They can thwart any “anti-squirrel” devise ever invented. I even had to take the shudders off the side of the house where we have our feeders because the squirrels would climb them and launch themselves from there to the feeders some six feet away.
They have turned my 100 year old horse chestnut tree into a condo. They go in one hole and emerge from another twenty feet away on the other side of the tree. I am sure they have it on Craig’s list as “conveniently located to well-stocked bird feeders.”
Get a dog or cat, you might suggest. I have had both and neither was willing to take on the job. Our cat, a voracious hunter, had very distinct ideas about how large an animal she was willing to take on to satisfy her blood lust. Squirrels, she deemed, were outside her size range. I tried to explain to her that, factoring out their fluffy tails, squirrels were not much larger than the chipmunks and baby rabbits she slaughtered in profusion much to the distress of my children. I pointed out that, unlike alligators, squirrels don’t use their tails to batter their foes into submission. Try talking sense to a cat sometime and see where that gets you.
My two Irish terriers, however, were only too happy to chase squirrels. Two problems: they couldn’t catch them, and they preferred to chase them on other people’s property.
My male, an affable but not bright fellow, never figured out where the critters went when they would suddenly disappear just as he closed in. The whole up-a-tree idea was beyond his conceptual reach.
They were also like Arab chieftains in that they felt an obligation to be hospitable to enemies within their own tent. The dogs would happily wage war all over town while our squirrels lay on pillows eating dates.
Some people actually encourage the beasts by feeding them corn in the winter. Some even get excited by sighting an unfamiliar species. I saw a group with binoculars getting all ga-ga because they had spotted red squirrels in Califon. These are the same people who got excited 30 years ago by the appearance of Canadian geese and now employ dogs to run them off their property.
There is hope though. Squirrels really suck at crossing the road; this is why the roadways are littered with their rotting carcasses. They dash out into the street, and just as they seem to have made it to the other side, will run back right under the wheels of the car. This, it was explained to me, is because squirrels have home trees, and will bolt to them in times of danger even if it takes them to their doom.
I am sure that is on my chestnut tree’s listing as well: “On a quiet cul-de-sac, its the perfect home tree for you and your children.”