Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Thoughts on Squirrels

A cat (not mine) killed a squirrel in our backyard last Saturday. Except for the scale of things, it looked just like a lion killing a wildebeest - you know, dragging the squirrel down by the neck, then kicking it with its hind feet while keeping a death grip on the throat. You've seen the drama on Animal Planet, I'm sure. When the squirrel was limp, killer-cat carried it off and we've seen nary hide nor hair of either of them since. I feel as if I should be sorry for the squirrel, but I'm not.

There's a squirrel on the deck right now, winding its way up and down my Engelmann oak. Its tail looks a little scrawny to me - maybe it had a close call with something hungry. It can have all the acorns it wants, but when it starts in on the macadamias I get annoyed. It's not the competition for the nuts, which are hard to open and require roasting and all what-not; it's the mess. See? I just swept that deck earlier this morning. Damn you, you little vandal! (It dropped a nut shell on me while I was taking pictures.)

The birds hate the squirrels, and not without reason. The squirrels eat the bird seed I put out, which is just grossly unfair. Squirrels are capable of drilling a hole in a macadamia shell, and they waste time stealing sunflower seeds? Puh-leese. Leave something for the less fortunate, you little bandits, you.

They'll dispose of my macadamias and then they'll start in on the avocados when they ripen in November. Squirrels love avocados as much as they love macadamias, and when they go after those, they seriously piss me off. In that case it's not the mess; it's the food. We're in direct competition for the avocados.

Eating all those macadamias and avocados (we're squirrel-gourmet-central here) makes our squirrels fat. When one jumps from the tree onto the roof, it sounds like a bear landed up there.

Squirrels are vindictive. If I fight back by throwing things into the tree or poking at them with brooms, they break things I leave on the patio, like lanterns and flower pots. This year the fight has been escalating - they've started knocking things off the balcony, too. I'm beginning to regret my rule that the balcony belongs to my cat - a little Roxy-presence might make a difference. Sadly, my cat (Amelie, who, you must remember, is not the killer) needs the balcony to be safe from coyotes, and she's worked out a truce with the squirrels, a feat she hasn't accomplished with Roxy. She'd rather be eaten by a coyote than share a space with the dog.

In spite of everything, I have to admit that squirrels are cute. If it weren't for the mess and the loss of avocado-goodness, I wouldn't have the heart to cheer killer-cat on. As it is, all I can say is: the killer-cat is cute, too, and it doesn't eat avocados.

Updated to clarify the non-killer nature of my cat.


McMama said...

By the way, if you click on the pictures and examine them close-up, you'll see little white dots around the squirrel's face. Those are bits of macadamia shell spewing from his little mouth and raining down on me. He sounds like a tiny buzz-saw.

Megan said...

I actually find squirrel's a bit stalkerish and unsettling. They freak me out. I don't get too close, as I'm afraid they will attack. I'm sure that's just me though.