Squirrels not what they seem

Posted Monday, Aug. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Squirrels are evil.

They aren’t adorable like bunnies or chipmunks or wobbly and funny like armadillos. They’re rats with fluffy tails and better publicity.

I didn’t come to this decision lightly. I’ve been thinking about it for several years.

First, there was the interview with Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel. (Yes, I interviewed a squirrel -- and that rodent was a prima donna. Had it’s own tour bus and everything.) Twiggy’s manager was the one to point out that when her tail got wet, she looked just like a rat. I figured out that this was the woman who had to travel with the squirrel, and she wasn’t loving it that much.

Then there was the squirrel that broke into my 85-year-old grandmother’s house and hurtled from the top of one curtain rod to another -- with a vicious case of diarrhea. My fastidious little granny was horrified, but even then she didn’t want to hurt the little creature. She left the living room door open and closed off the rest of the house, believing he would find his way out.

He didn’t.

The next morning she walked out of her bedroom and there he was at the other end of the hall. I always imagined it looking like a stand-off in the Old West. Granny blinked first, hustling back into her bedroom and slamming the door. She called the police, fire department, animal control, zoo and, I’m pretty sure, the National Guard. They finally figured out someone was going to have to go over there and do something. They trapped the little monster and removed him. She wasn’t as adamant about not hurting him this time.

A couple of years later a squirrel fell into the sewer line and swam toward the light -- right into my bathroom. There he sat, looking like a drowned rat, sitting on MY toilet seat, trying to catch his breath. I slammed the door, shoved the bathmat under it and called animal control. My grandmother lived in another state. OUR animal control officer managed to only laugh once and arrived in less than 10 minutes with a net on a 6-foot-long pole. After a thump and a bump (the squirrel tried to make a run for it), he had the soggy squirrel twisted up in netting, looking like Han Solo in carbonite.

But I still didn’t bear any ill will toward the little fur balls. That didn’t happen until we got Cooper, our squirrel-hunting wienie dog. Cooper patrols the back yard, keeping it safe from geckos, squirrels and encroaching birds. The squirrels immediately went on the offensive, getting cockier and standing on the garage to bark and taunt him. I tried to convince my husband that it was the tree rats to blame, but he wasn’t buying it.

Until the day he and Cooper joined forces. Bob was fixing the fence, replacing a missing plank when one of the rotten rodents ran right across the top of the fence picket he was holding, mocking Bob and his squirrel dog. It was on.

Bob got his water gun. The squirrel laughed, stood on the roof of the garage and swished his fluffy tail.

Bob got the water hose, hooked up the turbo spray mount and opened fire. He said the last his saw of Rocky the tree rat he was hurtling into the neighbor’s yard.

We really haven’t seen any squirrels since then. But we’re ready -- and waiting.

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