Squirrels: Cute friends or destructive enemies?
My love/hate relationship with squirrels
Copyright: novascotiamiss 2011©
I look out into the white winter wonderland at our bird feeder which is strategically placed in front of the living room window. We watch the colourful birds fly in and out, it’s a constant stream of happy chirping. But the main entertainment starts, once Joe Squirrel takes possession of the bird house and starts feeding his face. This year it took him a bit longer to find a way to his seed bar. We had to move the feeder from the tree that it was hanging from. The reason is simple: Out of sheer boredom, Joe also started chewing the Christmas lights, located nearby. Later in Spring, Joe nibbled on all the new leaves and blossom and made one heck of a mess of our beloved tree. To make things worse, Joe also invited all his other friends to the party. Joanne, his girl friend and Squinot, the little squirrel from next door. All of a sudden our garden became the favourite playground of the local squirrel colony. At first we absolutely adored the cute creatures. So playful, always up to some mischief, running up and down the trees and across the lawn like some weird remote controlled toys. Soon they started playing under the house, making scurrying and gnawing noises. That’s when the fun stopped for us. Squirrels are known to get into the insulation and nibble on electric wires. The only way to get rid of the destructive creatures was to eliminate the food supply. As soon as the feeding stopped they became wild animals once again and ventured into the neighbouring forest. It’s no wonder, most people living in the canadian boonies have developed a distinct hatred for squirrels. One of our neighbours simply calls them “rats with a hairdresser”.
Now it’s winter and the bird feeder is attracting our furry friends like a magnet once again. My ex-engineer husband constructed a metal contraption that the bird house is hanging from. At first, Joe and his mates were stumped as there was no way they could climb a 7 ft. slippery metal bar. However, after a day or two they got wise to that and in no time the whole tribe was happily nibbling away. One morning, after an especially chilly night, the metal was frozen rock solid and so slippery, that poor little Joe was unsuccessfully doing a pole dance for hours. We nearly cried tears from laughing. By early afternoon, he had figured it out once again and soon Joanne and Squinot followed. I must mention one thing though, squirrels are usually very territorial and defend their food viciously. Until recently, it was very rare to see more than one squirrel feeding at the time. They seem to have become more friendly and now feed on either side of the bird feeder. Yesterday, all hell broke loose when Squinot wanted to get his fair share as well. We were amazed to see him climb the pole, while the bird feeder was already accommodating his two mates. Squinot rudely launched an attack from the roof of the bird house, jumped on Joe and pushed him off. You should have heard the racket! Later on we saw them playing again in the snow. The whole area around the bird feeder had become one huge network of snow tunnels which peeping holes, strategically located every 3 feet or so. Heads popping up, tails disappearing in the tiny holes, rolling in the snow. I don’t need to mention that we are totally infatuated with the cute creatures. Sooner or later they will probably move under the house again and wreak havoc. And then the war will start all over again. You have to know that we are animal lovers, but our love for squirrels is limited. You cannot imagine what chaos they have already caused in our garden shed. Nothing is safe from them, not even the plastic covers or the cushions for the lawn furniture. Until last winter we used to store the bird seeds in a tough plastic container in the shed. But plastic will not deter a squirrel from getting to the center of attraction, and neither will wood. One of our friends had an ongoing squirrel infestation in her garden shed. The creatures chomped huge holes right through the wooden walls and started nesting, peeing and pooping all over the place. Squirrels quite often carry dangerous viruses that can be deadly to humans. So giving them shelter is definitely not an option. Our friend set up traps, shot at them with a shotgun and even sat in front of the hole for hours with a samurai sword. Just imagine, what a 64 year old widow in despair can get up to. Yes, us boonie people sometimes have to defend ourselves from wild intruders.
Squirrels are probably the cutest enemies mankind could ever wish for. Right now they are treading on thin ice. One day you love them, the next day you want to murder them.
PS: We had to remove the bird feeder (or should I say squirrel feeder) once again, as it attracted too many squirrels. They finally burrowed a tunnel under the house again and started chewing.... So no more food for the birds and definitely no more food for the squirrels. Like in real life, there are always the few who will abuse the system and as a result everybody has to suffer. I guess, squirrels are just like us humans.
Just to give you an idea how clever squirrels are and what they'll do to get to their food source:
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