Jun 30 2007

Retreating rodent de la semaine


Dang. Once again, no time to blame. But certainly one never tires of photos of tree trunks with galloping squirrels in the background, so here you are.


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  1. cypress

    I’m also very fond of rodents-on-the-wires-in-the-
    back-of-the-house-with-the-near-slavering-dog-underneath photos.

    that light is amazing.

  2. Orange

    I still have holes in my kitchen door screen from when the squirrel chewed its way in last year. And this was a frightfully dim (but persistent) squirrel, because its first several holes were chewed where there was impermeable glass a fraction of an inch behind the screen.

    It struck terror into me and my kid, this alarmed squirrel rampaging in the kitchen and dining room (and sometimes pooping). The beastie tore open a loaf of bread but totally missed the pecans, almonds, and cashews nearby. Hah!

    Your photo would traumatize me if it didn’t show the squirrel in rightful retreat.

  3. Astrolo

    IBTP for no time to blame.

    I credit feminism for beautiful photography that doesn’t sell sex–looks like you caught this shot just in time!

  4. Sara

    It’s true; one never does.


  5. Hattie

    that’s one scraggy looking squirrel.

  6. Theriomorph

    Nice one. The rodents ’round these parts are all wire-chewing, wall-and-attic-nesting criminals. My dog used to chase squirrels off whenever he saw one, but then as much by accident as by skill he caught one. He was so traumatized by the whole experience of it not, in fact, being a squeeky toy – but still squeeking – that he’s not been much use since.

    An alarming experience for all three of us, in fact.

    How’s Zippy doing?

  7. stekatz

    Dogs blame squirrels.

  8. schatze

    My dog Alex swallowed a squirrel once. A golden retriever, he came over to me with a tail hanging out of his face. Not wanting to pry out a possibly angry rodent, I bartered with a dog biscuit. That’s when he swallowed it whole to get the biscuit. Even in his prime he never caught one so I got to worrying if the squirrel had gotten into rat poison or was sick. I ended up at the vet getting a drop of morphine in Al’s eye so he would return the squirrel to the light of day before digestive juices got to any possible poison. Al lived to be 14 but he never got another squirrel.

  9. delagar

    My dogs (Spike and Big Dog) actually caught a squirrel once. They ran it down in a smooth coordinated attack like wild dogs do on Animal Planet. I never saw such a thing in my life. I would have put a stop to it, probably, but I expected the varmit to get away. Every squirrel they had ever chased in the past (here in AR that is plenty of squirrels) always had. It was pretty appalling. (And yes, squirrels squeak just like squeak toys when caught — something I could have lived without finding out.)

  10. ew_nc

    Cool, a while back we got a shot of a bug’s junk. Now we have a shot of a squirrel’s junk. The photo was all-to-familiar to my dog Katie, as the retreating hindquarters of a squirrel are all she ever gets a good look at.

  11. EN

    Alas, I have no good squirrel stories, so what is a blamer to do? Tell you a raccoon story! It was midsummer in Minnesota, and my apartment didn’t have a screen door, despite the mosquitoes. It was hot enough I slathered up with repellent and left the doors open. I’d been feeding a squirrel on my back patio, and it had slowly been coming closer to the door, so when I heard noises from the kitchen, I thought it had finally come inside. I went to investigate and found, not an adorable little squirrel, but a huge raccoon with three babies. She had gotten my loaf of bread off the table, ripped the bag open, and handed out slices to everyone. I grabbed my broom and pounded it on the floor between us, saying, “Shoo! Shoo!” She looked at me, looked down at the bread, and looked up at me again. Quite unconcerned. Then she got up, picked up the bag of bread, and led the little ones out onto the patio, where they continued eating.

  12. banshee

    Nothing to blame? Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VdNcCcweL0

    Unsurprisingly, men would rather watch Paris Hilton than discuss real news.

  13. pisaquari

    Oh thank you banshee–I was hoping someone would put this video up for the blamers. May all journalists and squirrels live up to their fullest potential!

  14. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Thet there rodent looks like he got away with something – great photo!

    How does one humanely get rid of squirrels in the attic? I swear there was a whole basketball team of them running around up there all spring, favorite time being around 2 a.m. Now I don’t hear much from them, but whew! the stench of rodent pee is about to drive me out and leave the place to them. Anybody know a solution?

    Twisty, I’m very curious to know about the ‘real life blaming’. Busybodying minds want to know.

  15. incognotter

    Wow. You photographed my dog’s subconscious!

    CuriouserAndCuriouser: I had squirrels in my attic a few years ago. (Not a euphemism, though it sounds like one.) The maintenance guy had me play a boom box very loudly as close to the ceiling as possible. Use something really percussive, like rap. That should get them to vacate (or not come home from scavenging.) Then patch their entry hole. Not recommended if there are small ones which may be left in the nest. He claimed the local nature center recommended this approach. I didn’t care if they didn’t, since it worked.

  16. Vera

    I don’t have any dog-and-squirrel stories, but I used to have a neighboring bluejay hop inside each morning to eat out of the cats’ dish. I noticed the jay and began leaving crumbs on the back step, and after a while he spotted the many crumbs under our breakfast table, which was just inside the open door. (The girls were small, rowdy, messy eaters in those days.) One morning the jay hopped right up to the back door and squawked loudly at me, communicating with head-tilts and wing flaps, “Want crumbs.” I communicated back with eyebrow wiggles, “Come on in! The cats are asleep upstairs!” I was seated at the table, just inches away from the jay as he pranced about gathering crumbs, and, as it came to pass, sampling from the cats’ dish. Thus was established a daily routine.

    One morning as the jay was filling up on Meow Mix, one of my cats came around the corner. I would have warned the jay, but Coconut was walking on cats’ feet so I didn’t hear her. The jay was in no danger, though. Coconut took one look at him and froze in mid-step, with a look of complete shock, horror, and indignation. I had no idea that cats could command such a range of facial expression, what with all the fur and whiskers. Cat and jay stared at each other for a moment, and then they both turned and took off in opposite directions.

    The jay never returned. I miss him to this day. He was one of the best guys I’ve ever met.

  17. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Thanks incognotter, I’ll give the boombox method a try.

    Great story, Vera!

  18. speedbudget

    I know I am being completely off-topic here, but thank you, Twisty, for creating a website where I know I can receive support, however anonymously. I just had yet another unsatisfactory relationship (yes, with a guy. I know, but bad habits are hard to break) followed by yet another babykins break-up (think passive-aggressive), and it’s good to know that it’s not my fault that a strong, intelligent, independent woman finds it next to impossible to find a male companion. It’s the patriarchy’s fault, and this is a prime example of the patriarchy hurting men too. At least, I like to think so.

    Anyway, thanks for being there. I can always come here and get my confidence back.

  19. Jezebella

    speedbudget, come visit the forum if you haven’t already. (link on the sidebar)

  20. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Hmmm, good dog-and-squirrel stories.

    My niece has a Chesapeake Bay retriever who would make a fair field dog. He caught a squirrel once. I thought he was playing with a chunk of log until I noticed the tail. I could’ve lived without that particular visual.

    My dog only catches bunnies and birds. She does have barking arguments with the squirrels. She is happy to swap prey for cookies, and she expects to be praised extravagantly for her hunting prowess. I try not to disappoint her.

    She did catch a possum once. It, well, played possum until she dropped it. She treed a hefty raccoon last week, but thankfully didn’t catch it, because that woulda meant a hefty vet bill too. We get a fair amount of wildlife in my neck of the forest.

  21. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Oh, and my sister used to have a squirrel who visited regularly because she fed him peanuts. He would tap on the window until the peanuts appeared. If the peanuts didn’t come quickly enough to suit him, he’d pee on the screen.

  22. Zora

    Has anybody noticed how strange the squirrels are here in Austin? (Yes, I realize the majority of you have likely never been to Austin. It’s just a question that pops up for me when I see them.) First off, they walk around like dogs rather than scurry like rodents. Secondly, I frequently spot them laying flat on their bellies, legs splayed out, on the concrete. I suppose this is to cool off, however I used to live in Savannah (equally as hot) and never saw such behavior there. Perhaps they do it there too and I just never notice, but I do pay a lot of attention to squirrels.

    At first it kind of worried me (do they have the plague or something?) but now I like to think it’s because Austinites are so friendly they’ve come to realize we aren’t predators.

  23. Theriomorph

    How does one humanely get rid of squirrels in the attic?

    Hopefully the boom box method will work for you – mine just dug it. Funky little squirrels, apparently – I could hear the dance parties. And they didn’t care about the ultrasonic device hung right under their nest, either. Or me training the dog to bark furiously at the ceiling whenever I said ‘criminal!’

    Best solution I know is to build or have someone build a one-way door for their most heavily trafficked entry/exit, seal up all the other roofline/ground access points, and wait. This way, they can all, theoretically, get out.

    The thing about sealing without an exit option is that in addition to cruelty, dead squirrel in the walls is no better to live with than chewed wires – the olfactory consequences last a long, long time.

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