Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Squirrels are just rats with bushy tales

I hope those nuts were delicious, Fluffy, because you're being deported!
This image was actually taken from the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife website.

I have this middle-aged coworker who we will call "Debbie." Debbie is a nice but lonely lady who loves animals. Debbie has taken it upon herself to look after all the squirrels on campus. Squirrels do not need looking after. They are not endangered in anyway, and yet every day, Debbie goes and feeds them on her lunch break. She names some of them. Apparently it's possible to tell them apart. One day last week, while I was reading in my cube during my extended lunch break,* I heard Debbie emerge from the stairs, breathing very heavily. She proceeded to inform another of our coworkers that there was a SQUIRREL WITH A BROKEN LEG and she needed to find a box so she could scoop it up and take it to the animal rehabilitation center. And if she didn't hurry, a dog might get it.


SQUIRRELS ARE JUST RATS WITH BUSHY TALES. They need no extra protection. You'd probably be doing the neighborhood habitat a favor by allowing a few of the bastards to get picked off by canine predators.

Now, I'm not really an "animal" person, so I kind of don't really get people who are really into them. I mean, I'm not down with raping the environment or abusing animals or anything, but I eat meat, I don't plan on ever owning pets, and acting as the main food supplier for a college campus' squirrel population strikes me as SAD AND PATHETIC. I learned to hate squirrels the old-fashioned way: I was taught to by my mother. My mother fucking hates squirrels more than anything else that lives on this earth.** As I've mentioned, my family's Mormon, and they're on the "grow your own food" and "have two years' food storage" train. Well, they try anyway. But so we always had a vegetable garden growing up. Blech to: weeding, picking raspberries, and snapping beans. We lived in a neighborhood with many tall old pine trees (Washington, used to be a forest, etc.) that were filled with a booming squirrel population. At some point they got out of control and started pulling the corn stalk sprouts completely out of the ground, stealing veggies before they were ripe, destroying flowerbeds, and just generally causing garden shenanigans. My mother snapped.

She tried little fences, they dug them up. She tried rat poison, they ignored it. She told my brothers she'd pay them $5 a head to kill them with their BB guns, and the BBs just bounced off their little skulls. So she got a trap. A HUMANE trap, calm down. She'd put in some delicious nuts or a morsel of corn to entice them, and then SNAP! they'd be trapped. Then she'd take them in the little trap across at least one freeway and preferably also a body of water so they couldn't find their way home, and then release them. There was a least one tragic death while my family went on vacation, but left the trap set up. My oldest brother, who was staying at home and having parties that my mother had advised the neighbors to call the police on, neglected to release the trapped squirrel and it died. We found the trap in the woodpile in our backyard. I felt pretty bad about that. My brother should have felt worse. Anyway, we caught and deported over 90 squirrels that first summer. Out of control. My parents continue to trap a few dozen every year. And if you ever happen to be at their house when my mom catches a squirrel climbing on one of her bird feeders, don't think she won't open the window and scream at it. I believe it is far more terrifying for bystanders than it is for the actual squirrel, because it doesn't usually work.

*By extended I mean, "I take however the hell long I want to before I go back to working."

**Except for maybe people who let their children dress poorly.


  1. OMG, nobody else understands my deep-seated prejudice against/hatred of squirrels like a family member. Honestly, there really isn't anything more terrifying than mom chasing away squirrels (and the occasional raccoon) away with a broom while screaming. Or hilarious.

  2. Have you ever seen a squirrel drown? Were your girlfriend-at-the-time's neighbors doing it in front of you?

    I've also seen one fall out of a tree and die.

    Quite thrilling, both of these experiences.