- Education and Science
The Difference Between Squirrels and Rats
An elderly woman enjoys sitting in her backyard on warm fall days, tossing peanuts on top of the closed barbecue lid for the squirrels. She likes watching the cute rodents scurry up to the house and nibble on the treats. She thinks it's just adorable how they hold food in their little paws, sitting upright with their fluffy tails standing up behind them.
One sunny day, one of the squirrels is minding his own business, busy stealing birdseed from someone's birdfeeder. The elderly woman's husband is in the backyard with their beagle puppy, whistling contentedly as he grills up some dinner on the barbecue. A pair of yellow feline eyes are fixed on the squirrel in the neighbour's yard, inching their way towards him. A bird dives at the squirrel, knocking him from the ledge of the feeder and directly in front of the cat. He sees the yellow eyes and leaps away in a blind panic, as the cat flies out of the bushes after him. The squirrel races toward the old woman's house, and suddenly the beagle is tearing after them both. The cat shoots up and over the fence and into the neighbours yard, but the dog is focused on the squirrel. Just inches behind that gorgeous bushy tail, the chase leads them onto the deck, where the only option is up. The squirrel leaps desperately up and onto the barbecue, where so many of his meals had come from. The man shouts out in surprise as, with a horrible squeal of pain, the squirrel lands on the lit barbecue; his bushy tail igniting into a wild fireball. He swats the rodent off the grill and into the rain barrel, where the deadly fire is extinguished.
The beagle is put in the house, and the man grumpily disposes of his dinner while little squirrel crawls soaking wet from the rain barrel; his feet charred and his tail a skinny, hairless embarrassment.
A few days later, the old woman sets out a few peanuts for the squirrels and sits down in her old wooden lawn chair, enjoying the warm sun on her face. She hears a rustling in the grass and the scuffling sound of rodent feet climbing up the barbecue. Little squirrel, with sore feet and a hairless tail, had come for a snack. The old woman screamed in horror.
"A RAT!" She wails, "A wretched rat has come to steal my food, invade my house, oh LORD a RAT! Whatever will I do?"
She runs into the house, phones her husband and demands that he bring home the strongest rat poison they have at the hardware store.
A week later, the squirrel is dead.
What is the moral of the story?