Sunday, November 22, 2009

The War of the Squirrels, Part 2

Some of you who follow my blog may remember me talking about urban critters and my ongoing Squirrel War.  Just when I thought that all was quiet on the western front, it started up again.

It began about two weeks ago when I kept hearing a gnawing sound on the side of the house. It was always around 8am and I’m not awake at that hour of the day (Bruce works nights and we sleep during the day) so the sound didn’t really register at first. By the third day of being awakened by it, I was seriously annoyed, threw on some clothes and went out to the backyard to see. When I got to the corner of the house, I looked up and a furry little head popped over the side of the gutter. Yep, it was my old nemesis, The Squirrel.
Okay, so I don’t know if it was the same squirrel or not. It’s doubtful but so far I haven’t found a way of determining the difference between them. But I’m pretty sure it was one of the same family and he’d heard about me.

He pointed a little finger at me and started barking and chattering. Oh my gawd, the things he said! I asked him if he eats with that mouth and it only made him madder. He stomped his feet and twirled his tail and cussed up a blue streak! Really, it was an act that could bring back Vaudeville. He finally stopped and just sat there glaring at me, his little sides heaving as he tried to catch his breath.

I told him, “Look, you need to go find something else to chew on. Houses are not chew toys and you’re waking me up.” He chattered a little more, ran down to the other end of the house, hopped on the patio roof and into the tree (that’s like Route 66 to the local squirrels) and sat there cussing at me some more. Then he blazed off down the fence to the neighbor’s yard.
We heard the gnawing sounds a couple more times but Bruce went out and checked and the attic vents were all covered with steel mesh so we figured the squirrel was exercising his futility. The next morning I heard scurrying sounds going up the side of the house and then a “thump-thump-thump-thud-thump” sound. He’d been climbing up the downspout on the side of he house, lost his grip and slid down like a klutz. I softly chuckled and went back to sleep.

I should have known that wasn’t going to be the end of it. A couple days later we woke up to the sound of thumping on the ceiling. The furry little bastard had made it into the attic. We checked the mesh over the attic vents and sure enough, he’d managed to peel back a corner of it, gnawed at the hole a little bit to make it bigger, and came right on in like he owned the place.

Of course you know this means war.

I ranted and raved about it for quite awhile. It’s not like they don’t have a soft and comfy home to go to coz that huge nest in the tree is fully lined with the stuffing from my patio cushions! What’s next? Do I wake up to find him on my pillow complaining about how loud I snore? Will I get up in the morning and find him in the kitchen with his head stuffed in the coffee canister? Nope, there is no way I’m going to share my house with a squirrel. One of us has got to go.

Being of sound mind, I know that it’s better to let the professionals deal with squirrels. And there are lots to choose from in the Denver area! The yellow pages are full of Wildlife Removal Services. Of course I already knew this because of the raccoon who gave birth in my chimney, but it still amazes me.

The Squirrel Specialist showed up today and I had the strange and eerie feeling that we were re-enacting a scene from Ghost Busters. It got more and more surreal as he asked questions.   He had his notebook out and was scribbling down my answers. To his credit he did not say “Just the facts ma’am”. I showed him the place in the bedroom ceiling where we heard the most noise and he took more notes. Then he went outside and we got an education in squirrels.

The nest up in the tree is the “summer home”. That’s where they have their babies and hang out in spring and summer. When it gets cold they try to find a way to get inside houses and from what he said, they can be rather militant about it! Remember, these are urbans squirrels. They’re street smart and stealthy. After looking around our backyard with all the trees, the Squirrel Specialist said that our yard is the perfect sanctuary for them. All our neighbors have dogs or children and our backyard is the only one on the block where there’s not a lot of human or pet traffic. Combined with the trees (especially all the pines that provide them with food when they’re not calling for Chinese takeout or raiding trash cans) this makes our backyard squirrel heaven.

Great. I’m running a resort for the freaking squirrels! The Squirrel Specialist said that urban squirrels are too smart for things like predator piss, owl decoys and taped predator calls to work so there’s not much I can do to get rid of them unless I hire a Great Dane with a bad attitude. Seems like the best we can do is make sure that they don’t have any easy point of entry into the house.

The plan is to put a trap with a one way door over his little entry hole. The Squirrel Specialist will come back every day to check the trap and when the squirrel is in it, he’ll take it away and release it somewhere else. I’m a little doubtful about whether or not this will work since I saw the squirrel up in a tree, carefully watching and listening to everything that was said. I think that the Squirrel Specialist wasn’t the only one taking notes. If UPS delivers a box from ACME addressed to Wyle E. Squirrel, I’m outta here! I really hope that Squirrel Specialists wear helmets, goggles and full body armor.

Wait. Back up a little bit to that part about catch and release. Release where? Oh, he said, “We’ll take him several miles from here so he can’t find his way back and release him in a different neighborhood”. Ooooooookay. Is that something like job security?

We’ll have to wait and see what happens next with the “one way trap” and the catch and release program. The Squirrel Specialist is confident that they’ll catch him. Since I know these squirrels well I’m not so sure about that. All I can say is that I’m glad my walking cane has a sword in it.

Or perhaps I should simply call in a different type of professional.


  1. Hmmm If the Squirrel Specialist can't get rid of the little guy, the Skipper sure could!
    I hope your squirrel war ends soon. =D

  2. Snickering a bit here... sorry.