Getting Squirrely

Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean the squirrels aren’t out to get you. Seriously.

I’ve been around the block a few times, lived in the suburbs nearly my whole life, and people, I am here to say, the squirrels are getting downright salty.

I initially noticed the change in our furry friends a few years ago. Not only were they more active in the fall, they were so, so loud. It seemed every time I walked outside there was a squirrel screeching in the trees.

Now, you have probably heard a squirrel and thought it was a bird. A large, angry, bitter bird. Make no mistake, the noise is hideous and insistent. It is a high pitched noise that sounds like the name “Hank” repeated over and over while someone is scratching nails on a blackboard.

And I am not really doing the horror justice.

My friend swears that a squirrel threw a nut at her as she was walking the dog. And then he laughed a little squirrel laugh from atop the towering branches. Probably high-fiving his rodent friends. And yes, I said rodent. Squirrels are classified in the rodent family, which explains a lot. Like why I don’t want them anywhere near me.

As a child I remember squirrels scampering away at the first sight of a real, live human. Back in the old days, a squirrel knew its place. Somehow, over a decade or two, these grey critters have become emboldened. A couple of features in a Geico commercial and they are unstoppable.

It’s a movement, I swear.

But #stillarodent.

So now, I have a squirrel living in my yard. I first spied him rolling away one of our pumpkins while nibbling at the outer rind. I should’ve pegged him as a troublemaker right then, but I was too enthralled with his coordination and mad skills. He has been a permanent fixture ever since.

Rumors of winter hibernation are urban legend and this pest has no fear whatsoever. He rises up on his haunches and taunts us. He winks at the dog and dares him to come play and suns himself on the front porch in the afternoons. He picks at our grass with his herky-jerky motions and basically lives the Life of Riley when he should be slumbering with visions of acorns dancing in his head.

And yet, we are obsessed. I snarl at him when I come through the gate with groceries and he doesn’t even have the decency to freeze. If he is not going to play like a statue, then all bets are off. We release the dog to chase him and he scurries away momentarily only to return to his previous task of killing my grass once a pane of glass separates him from canine threat.

Yesterday the mailman delivered our mail with that pesky squirrel perched on the fence watching. Is this his permanent address? Is he the one who steals my husband’s Sports Illustrated? All I know is that he is the pet we never wanted; the house guest that will never leave and the bane of my existence.

I am just a girl standing in front of the storm door wishing for a way to outsmart a rodent.

So, I did what anyone would do. … I Googled it. And I found out a few things.

For instance, there are 44 species of flying squirrels in the world. The thought of this squirrel being able to do a fly-by at will makes me mighty grateful that’s not an option. They also are double jointed, have an insane number of toes and can see behind them.

Alright, I admit the backward vision is cool. I mean, squirrel moms can actually say they have eyes in the back of their heads. #respect. Well, sort of.

Because through all my research, I never really figured out what value squirrels bring to the whole lifecycle or ecosystem. Unfortunately, I was kind of counting on a nugget somewhere to make them more endearing.

Alas, that leaves us at an impasse.

Clearly this squirrel considers himself a part of the family and is assuming his rightful place at the old homestead. To which I say, “Scram and don’t let the tree branch hit you on the way out.”

In the end, I’m pinning all my hopes on the dog. He is quietly biding his time, plotting as he watches this menace frolic in HIS yard. An interloper crashing HIS domain. I have seen him trap a squirrel with one paw in the past, so I know he can do it.

It’s personal now—and personally, I can’t wait to see the eviction plan my faithful pup has been squirreling away. After all, just because the squirrel’s not paranoid, doesn’t mean the dog is not out to get him.