Squirrels Suspected in Holiday Rampage

During the quiet hours before a scheduled Easter morning candy-filled egg hunt last week, wild marauders apparently invaded a local backyard and literally crashed the party. At least two dozen brightly colored plastic eggs filled with wrapped chocolate candy and jellybeans were found cracked, smashed, bitten, clawed and broken open by unknown agents who may harbor a grudge against fake animals and pretend nature.

Chix Licken with a basket of ravaged plastic eggs

Battery-operated poultry impersonator Chix Lickin’ is pictured here with a portion of the carnage – a basketful of phony eggs wantonly invaded by what she calls “egg-sucking, bushy tailed candy hogs.” She says the attack was premeditated. “Not that they think all that much,” Lickin’ sniffed. “All the contents of the compromised not-really-eggs were completely fouled,” claimed the false fowl, furiously.

Her comments were echoed by Coco Hollow, a one-eared confectionary rabbit who is only visible in profile, and a squishy marshmallow hatchling simply named “Peep”.

“We are Easter Kitsch, modeled after natural things,” said Hollow, with a hint of pride, “but we take it to places nature is unable to go. That causes some resentment.”

Hollow is made entirely of chocolate and confesses to being “… unnatural in the extreme.”

A culprit poised for mischief

Peep, though fashioned from basic foodstuffs, is so saturated with chemicals she admits “I’ll live forever if I’m not eaten by someone who will be immediately disappointed afterwards.” This, she said, may indicate that the underlying conflict is related to a Natural Creature vs. Manufactured Product rivalry.

“They say nature abhors a vacuum,” Peep mused. “But I think nature hates plastic even more.”

“And loves chocolate,” added Hollow.

“It’s very complicated,” said Peep, sadly.

Squirrels: Social Misfits or Anarchists Bent on Overthrow of the Human Race?

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95 thoughts on “Squirrels Suspected in Holiday Rampage”

  1. they live in their own little world, the way their tail twitches and the hang oddly from the trees waiting for the moment to jump own and run across the yard. its odd very odd.

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  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Yes.

    I wish my husband, Lou, was writing this. He waged an anti-squirrel campaign a few years ago that I found entertaining, as well as ineffective. He began live trapping the squirrels to remove from the yard. He took them to a local, yet distant park to release them. However, the final step in the method was that he spray painted their tails so he would know if they returned to our yard from that distant park. He even developed a color coding system that left me giggling helplessly!

    This all followed several years of outrageous squirrel behavior–A mama nested below our deck in the innards of a cement block, then spent months trying to terrorize us and our rat terrier out of using the deck. The rat terrier especially spent the summer in a frothy frenzy of squirrel chasing. The next spring our family room in the basement developed a vile odor. It became very clear that during the Christmas holiday, Santa Claus had died in the fire place located there. We could not find the carcass, though. Finally after watching the spot the dog became obsessed with, we disovered that a squirrel had come down the fireplace, chewed the electric cord that connect the fan to power, and electrocuted itself sometime during the winter. Getting it out of there required persistance, given its, um, rather decayed condition.

    Lou took on the task of removing the late squirrel. It was after that that he developed his deportation/color-coding process. Then new ones just moved in. The new gene pool appears a bit less aggressive those. It’s been at least five years since they tried to move in with us without another incident of that. Now they just raid the bird feeders.

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    1. As a boy who grew up in the woods, I thoroughly admire and enjoy them.
      As a former gardener in a old neighborhood, I have only unkind words for the little @#%&** They dug up every thing I planted unless I planted in wire, which solved the issue with not all that much work. I ran an anti-squirrel campaign, while my next door neighbor fed, them encouraged them, and socialized with them. We thought it was funny. I live trapped rabbits, which would occasionally netted a squirrel, once two large rabbits in one tight fit and once a rabbit and a squirrel. If I caught a squirrel I hauled it off, but only after checking to see if it was one of my neighbor’s special friends, and he would know. Who can tell a squirrel from a squirrel, besides a squirrel?

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        1. My solution was to haul them out in the country and across the MN River, assuming they would not cross a long cement space if they could come back. I thought about marking them. I wonder how quickly they shed fur. Would they shed damaged fur faster? Maybe you don’t really know that they did not come back.

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    2. Great story, Jacque, though not very funny at the time, I imagine. I love the idea of your husband spray painting their tails. Did any of the released squirrels ever make it back to your yard?

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    1. Apparently this is a universal plan!

      Lou’s grandpa once rigged up an electrocution system in front of his house. He would sit at the picture window with a button. When the squirrels headed for the bird feeder on an electrified wire, he would push the button and watch them writhe in pain.

      Now that is an entire retirement hobby.

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    2. The long-time naturalist at Gooseberry was a close friend of ours. He and his family for many years lived in a three bedroom cabin right behind the old refectory. The cabin is now the gift shop at Rustic Inn in Castle Danger. He fed birds but strung a wire from the cabin to a tree and rigged elaborate systems to keep the squirrels out of the feeder, but mostly to watch the squirrels defeat it. They learned how to get around plates and cones and pipes, etc The odd thing was that only once did he see a squirrel climb the side of the cabin, easy to climb rough wood, to walk the wire from that end.

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  3. i had an uncle who would catch them paint their tails and then go let them go at friends houses. he is the same uncle who would place wake up calls in your hotel room for 2:30 in the morning when you were away for a minute.

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      1. I think in the old days those uncles would live out their lives in a shack on the back 40. There was always some way they could be useful around a farm. These days, what do you do with them?

        My grandma had a brother who lived in her basement till he was 70 or so. Slept on the billiard table in the room with all the National Graphics. He was a sweet man who built us kids all sorts of things out of scraps he had in the garage, like little tables and such. In his 70′s he married the widow down the block, Clara Belle Bell. She was another character; had a September birthday (like me) and would have a soiree each year for everyone she knew with September birthdays. We’d all perch on velvet furniture in her gloomy sitting room (this was in California, but she would keep every shade drawn against THE SUN, presumably to protect her Victorian settee) and eat chocolate cake with melty vanilla ice cream and drink tea from her best china teacups. I was the youngest in an age range from 6 to 66+. Where am I going with this? Oh, yeah, strange uncles. . . .

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  4. My daughter’s family does an Easter egg hunt that way, chocolate in plastic in their yard. If they leave them un attended for only a few minutes, the squirrels go after them. They have set some eggs on their deck to watch the squirrels pop them open.

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  5. They can be entertaining little buggers, industrious and wily, but if you take the fluff off the tail, aren’t they just rats?

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  6. At my cabin I installed a sort of pinwheel thingie with four arms that ended in screws. I would screw corn cobs to each of the arms. The idea was to give the squirrels a physical challenge so they would provide entertainment in their frustration at getting the corn. Well, they weren’t so entertaining, as they figured out the device quickly. And then the bears moved in and ate all the corn and I had to quit feeding.

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  7. I had friends who cleaned their house in anticipation of a visit from the social worker for their adoption homestudy. They left a pristine home for work only to return to find it in shambles thanks to a visit by squirrels. They were approved for adoption in spite of the squirrel s.

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  8. Squirrels are definitely anarchists. If they just damaged gardens, I would consider them only nuisances, but they get in attics and houses and do all sorts of damage. I’ve had a squirrel in the house and trying to get the squirrel out of the house is way more futile and much crazier than herding cats.

    Having squirrels in the house is one example of how squirrels are trying to create fear in the human heart. Some of you are familiar with the large plastic, wheeled garbage bins that the city of Minneapolis provides for its residents. They made them to be pretty indestructible, but back before I composted, the local squirrels dug a squirrel-sized hole in the lid of this bin. They would then go in there and munch away on all that good, rotting food. The first few times I hauled out some garbage, opened the lid to throw the bag in, and had the extreme shock of one to several squirrels fly out of there in my face I’m sure took years off my life. What a fright. I’m sure the neighbors thought I was crazy when I developed a method to avoid “squirrel-shock” – I would kick the side of the garbage bin several times – a thump, thump, thump that could be heard all the way up and down the alley – stand back, and wait for the squirrels to leave. Only then would I open the lid to toss in the trash.

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  9. Husband has observed that squirrel obsession seems to be almost entirely a male phenomenon. Are the women inside doing everything else while the men are out defending the homestead against rampaging rodents? Our current neighbor has also spent an inordinate amount of time live trapping squirrels with his little son and releasing them who knows where. I wish he’d spend half that time and energy finishing the eyesore drain system he started outside our window 5 years ago. The living screen I planted will reach maturity long before that ever happens. The upside is the father-son bonding over a common enemy.

    We have a friend who owned bakeries for years and had a contract to bake brownies for NW Airline when they still served real food. He used to trim the edges off of the pans of brownies and throw the trimmings out back for the squirrels. The upshot is that he eventually killed all the squirrels in his neighborhood. Mind you, he didn’t start out with this intent, but that was the end result. Maybe if you don’t want the little buggers spoiling your easter hunt, you should seed the yard for weeks ahead with chocolate decoys and kill off the opposition before easter day rolls around. ????

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    1. PS He didn’t set out to kill squirrels, but he started to notice large numbers of dead squirrels in the neighborhood and put two and two together. It was a generous gesture that had an unexpected outcome. So apparently squirrels can’t tolerate chocolate either, like dogs. So maybe all you squirrel hunters should stock up on half price chocolate the day after easter? Unless you’re more into “scaring” them away or relocating them. How’s that been working for you :-)

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  10. Good morning to all. Like most people, I have many squirrel stories. I have a rotten dead squirrel story about one I accidently trapped in our attic. Then there is the squirrel that seems to have fallen down our chiminey and crawled into the house through the furnace. I found out I should have kept our kids wading pool covered when I found a dead squirrel floating in the pool.

    This morning a squirrel was partly hanging from the screen on a window trying to get at our bird feeder. I put some seeds out on our picnic table hoping that this would cause the squirrel to lose interest in attacking our bird feeder. I put out seeds every morning for the squirrels, but I was late at getting this done today.

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  11. My father adores squirrels, and has a dream of going to that town in Illinois with the albino squirrels and importing a couple to Luverne. The ladies in their town house complex won’t let him feed the squirrels anymore, since “they are rodents, you know, Jake”. A couple of years ago he had a baby squirrel that would perch on his shoulder for treats. He set up a bunch of stakes at the base of a tree and put ears of corn on the stakes for the squirrels. He is the sort of guy who sees a documentary on an river otter sanctuary and starts to long for a pet otter. He is a real advocate for the rascally underdog. He was so disappointed when he found out that the squirrels in our yard won’t touch the ears of corn he brought for them. They prefer the hazelnuts from the bushes and the sunflower seeds in the bird feeders.

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    1. I do believe on my bike ride just now I saw an albino cowbird. I was kind of following a flock of cowbirds flying from nesting site to nesting site, I suspect to lay their eggs in the other birds’ nests. In the midst of the flock was a pure white bird shaped exactly like and behaving just like the other cowbirds.

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      1. I remember seeing an albino squirrel when I was about 3 or 4, behind the apartment building we lived in, on Robert St. in West St. Paul. That was also the place I saw a walking stick insect for the first and only time. The walking stick was not albino, but it was still interesting and strange. Not surprisingly, though, I preferred the squirrel. My roommate is from Michigan, and keeps a lookout for any black squirrels, which she misses from back home.

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  12. A few years ago I saw an adult squirrel lead a pack of at least 7 small young squirrels down the trunk of a tree where they had been raised. It seemed this was the first outting for the young ones. They went across the yard and up into another tree where they spread out and seemed to be on their own for the first time.

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  13. Let’s not forget about last year’s World Series, where the Cardinals took inspiration from a squirrel that ran out onto the field. Their ‘Rally Squirrel’ has been immotalized on both an ‘error’ variant of Skip Schumaker’s Topps baseball card and the Cardinals’ championship rings. I think both of those honorariums are COOL!

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/skip-schumaker-baseball-card-features-rally-squirrel-not-190252048.html

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/cardinals-put-rally-squirrel-world-series-ring-160249382.html

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  14. One Thanksgiving, I ran out of room in the fridge and decided to set my pies on our 2nd floor screened porch. The next morning I discovered the porch in complete disarray. Our chair and couch were torn apart, an inflatable Captain Underpants was defeated and flat on the floor. The saran wrap was torn away from my pies and the pies were mostly consumed. We found the entry point for the squirrels in the screen, an almost perfect circle had been cut out like a robber in a movie.
    While that is one of my favorite squirrel memories, my brother has also experienced the Easter squirrel raid and another year we found a squirrel trapped on our porch. Thankfully the door was closed, even though it was a nice spring day. It had found the Thanksgiving entrance but didn’t seem to remember how to get out. We called our friend who works in animal control for tips on how we could get rid of it. He had one response, “Make sure you film it.” I chased the squirrel back towards the hole in the screen wearing heavy work boots, 5 shirts, 2 hats, goggles, and a few layers of pants while waving a broom. I made sure my husband did not film it.

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    1. Welcome to the trail, becca. I’m sure there’s a good story behind inflatable Captain Underpants. Can’t wait!

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  15. Last December, when my friend Helen and I were making truffles at her house, we needed to chill the first batch of ganache. We opted for the table on the deck just outside of her back door. We continued working on another batch of a different ganache, when Helen out of the corner of her eye spied movement on the back porch. Wooden spoon in hand, wildly gesticulating and shouting, she raced to the back door, just in time to see a squirrel with its front paws and whiskers all coated with chocolate/raspberry ganache. He had the good sense to flee, but we abandoned the idea of the back porch as a good place to cool the remaining batches. We considered ourselves lucky to have spotted the culprit before it had done much damage.

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  16. I have good inside information that within the last week one of our fellow Baboons rescued a family of squirrels. ;)

    I asked Pippin how he feels about squirrels and his answer was very clear. He almost went through the patio screen.

    A red squirrel has built its home in the base of my huge old black walnut tree. It’s like a cave in there. Red squirrels can be very destructive. So far the gray squirrels have only raided my bird feeders but I don’t trust that red squirrel at all. I recently saw it with another of its own kind. :O

    There is a small population of leucistic squirrels in Waterville. They’re not albinos because their eyes are black. I think leucistic squirrels might be a little more common than truly albino squirrels.

    WP doesn’t like the word “leucistic.”

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      1. No, it’s a real word.

        leucistic

        Pronunciation: /luːˈsɪstɪk/
        adjective
        Zoology

        (of an animal) having whitish fur, plumage, or skin due to a lack of pigment.

        Origin:

        from leuco- ‘white’ + the adjectival suffix -istic

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  17. Anarchists. Definitely. They are up to no good, this much I know for sure. And I can tell you this for sure as well – if my dog had thumbs, I doubt I’d have any squirrels in my yard. Ever.

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  18. My high school classmates gather monthly for brunch at one or another’s home. About a year ago, we were clustered around a picture window admiring a gorgeous view of nature outside when, to our astonishment, two squirrels shimmied down a wire to the twirling bird feeder’s food tray. They grabbed onto the food tray for dear life as the rapid twirling was so fast that their bodies were horizontal! We stood there laughing hysterically, incredulous that these critters would not let go for what seemed like ten minutes at least. That was the day when several of us discovered we had stress incontinence, too. That part wasn’t as funny.

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  19. When I was 13, a baby fox squirrel (eyes still closed) crawled into our yard. We adopted “Nutsy” as a pet. Nutsy’s early weeks were fun. We enjoyed the way Nutsy hid food in between sofa cushions, and he (she?) absolutely stuffed a chiming clock with stashed food. Then Nutsy became a testy teenager, and one day he bit my father. That was it. We gave Nutsy the bum’s rush, driving to the northern edge of Ames and releasing him in a park up there filled with oak trees.

    At dawn the next day my whole family was back at the park, trying to call Nutsy back. My mother suffered the most, sobbing so hard she could hardly call to Nutsy. For hours we wandered around under oak trees, heads turned up, calling “Nutsy!” “Nutsy!” Mom cried out at one time, speaking between sobs: “Poor little Nutsy! He’s gonna starve! He thinks nuts come in cellophane packets!”

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  20. Who knew how much squirrel info and paraphenalia was floating about on the web!?

    Dale, you must have been spying on our vacation! My sister held her annual Easter Brunch, and my nephew Evan (15) had helped Sue hide all the eggs in the back yard before everyone else arrived. There were dozens of plastic eggs filled with various chocolates, etc., and probably a 10 or 12 brightly colored hard boiled ones. The adults were eating finger food and pouring mimosas, while the kids started the egg hunt. Suddenly there was a shrill cry, and either Elia or Janaina (the granddaughters) shouted “He’s got the egg!” Sure enough, a squirrel was running along the top of the fence with a whole bright pink boiled egg in his mouth. His jaws must have been aching from being open that wide. NO ONE could react that fast, (especially those of us with the mimosas,) and he was in the next yard in a flash… Thought we were out of the woods then, but we lost two more hard boiled and several of the plastic eggs!

    Monday morning I ensconsed myself on a deck chair near the scene of the crime, with a cup of tea and armed with my camera. Evan and I baited the fence with a bright turquoise boiled egg and waited. And waited, and waited. A squirrel finally moseyed by, sniffed it and said “Meh,” then continued on. This happened twice. Nebby their Cat wandered along top of fence and said “What the hell?”, also ignored the egg. We finally gave up and left. Came back hours later, egg all gone. We concluded that only SOME squirrels like hard boiled eggs.

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  21. I don’t like some of the things squirrels do, but I do enjoy watching them. Once I watched a squirrel and a large rabbit face off in our yard. Niether of them gave ground and in the end each went their own way. Another time a squirrel got caught in a chain that was used to hang up a bird feeder. I cut the chain down and got out of the way of a very angry squirrel.

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  22. I once responded to lots of ‘chitter chatter’ in the living room from what was obviously a very upset squirrel. We had the windows open with the screens on. Our 25 lb. ‘mama’s boy’ cat was sitting on the window ledge and a squirrel was on a branch just outside of the window yelling at him. Poor Indigo turned to me and cried because he was getting yelled at pretty seriously by the squirrel. Indigo’s mom, Violet, who had been a mouser when she was a barn cat, was sitting on the other side of the window sill, twitching her tail, and just begging for that squirrel to get a little closer.

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  23. A previous poster wrote about painting a squirrel’s tail in order to recognize if it returned. For about five years, we had an albino squirrel that we named, “Snowball”. We grew quite fond of him since he was the only squirrel recognizable year after year. One early spring day, a loud boom sounded just outside the window. It was a transformer blowing. In that instant, we watched in horror a small, white body smoking as it flew through the air to the ground below. It was, of course, Snowball going out in a literal blaze of glory. He now rests among cats, birds, and other critters in the pet cemetery out back. It just confirms that once you name something, it has your heart.

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  24. Afternoon all — funny comments so far today.

    Two summers ago, when I started feeding birds in the backyard, I feverishly tried many solutions for keeping the squirrels off the feeders. I even found a book at the library about the subject. The solution came in giving up – kind of. In two of the feeders, I put stuff that the squirrels don’t care for, one of the feeders is a weight sensitive (if the squirrels get on it, it closes the holes to the food) and the last feeder is now called the “cardinal/squirrel” feeder. There’s a great sense of relief in giving up!

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  25. Dick Clark was an important part of my early teenage years. I watched American Band Stand on a regular basis. Many of the great rock and roll bands from the 50s appeared on that show mouthing the words of their hits. Later I learned that Dick Clark was not really the great supporter on teen age culture from the 50s that he seemed to be. Never-the-less, I loved seeing his show that featured the great music of that time and included cool young teenagers dancing to that music.

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  26. Before I gardened in the city, I thought squirrels were cute. If they would eat a whole tomato because of hunger, I would not begrudge them a fair share. but that is not the case, so sometimes I flashback to a nightmarish google remedy. A man posted his sure-fire solution; a garbage pail half full of water, a floating frisbee with a dollop pf peanut butter in the center. I can’t believe how many times that image has haunted me.

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  27. I used to have a really gimpy squirrel living in the roof of my porch. I called her Lefty. (I don’t really know if the squirrel was male or female, but you have to pick a pronoun, so I decided she was female.) Lefty had something wrong with her right side – most squirrels run straight forward in the direction their noses are pointing, but Lefty would sort of scramble diagonally across the yard instead. She seemed to be able to fend for herself, although she didn’t move very fast.

    One day when she was foraging around the compost pile I put out some nuts for her and retreated far enough so that she could come get them. I wanted to see if I could figure out what was wrong with her – I thought maybe she had lost a foot or something. She picked up a nut with her front paws, but instead of holding it with both paws, she used her left paw to trap it against the right forearm. As I watched, she nibbled at the nut slowly, and then she abruptly fell over on her right side. For a moment I thought she was dying, but she was apparently using the ground to get a better grip on the food. She finished off a couple of nuts that way, and then something spooked her and she loped off with that weird diagonal gait.

    She was around for a couple of years, and then she disappeared. Probably hit by a car or picked off by a hawk or something. I kinda miss her.

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