Feeling squirrelly

I get that some people don’t like squirrels. They raid bird feeders. They gnaw on your house at times. And they scurry across your roof to make it sound like badgers are running across it.

But I try to give them my support.

I refer to my bird feeders simply as animal feeders. Whatever comes up there means the feeder has been a success.

I enjoy watching them chase each other in the backyard, zipping up and down trees and performing amazing acrobatic leaps.

And like any animal, if we find a squirrel in distress we will do our best to help it. Just a few weeks ago, my son was able to get a squirrel free that had gotten caught in some netting in a neighbor’s yard.

I consider myself to be a good friend to squirrels.

So why would they decide to straight up turn on me?

We noticed the problem a few months ago. The sound of the scurrying had intensified, and it sure sounded as if they were in our walls. And I treat animal issues much like I treat car issues. If there is a weird sound, I am very good at pretending not to have heard something in the hope that it will magically never happen again. My wife is not. And so it was especially bad timing when the scurrying occurred at the wall right at my wife’s back at dinner one night.

We decided we would inspect the house and see if we could find how they were getting in. My son and I went in the attic and found a little bit of gable screening had been peeled back. A few heavy duty staples later and problem solved.

OK, problem not solved.

The scurrying continued. Perhaps they were trapped inside the house now. I set live traps in the attic. Nothing.

I decided to walk around the outside of the house and see if I could find any possible way they could be getting in.

What I found is that these squirrels had gone from occasionally gnawing on a corner of the house here or there to straight up become giant furry termites. They had made a couple of giant entry points at both sides of the house, and if six of them wanted to go in side by side, there would be plenty of room.

We contacted a company to come out and give us an estimate on repairing the house (and further squirrel proof it). They came out to inspect the house, and at one point during the inspection, as we were looking up at one of the holes, a squirrel was kind enough to stick his head out, as if to say, “Yes, can I help you?”

The company that came out to give us an estimate clearly sensed how kind we had been to animals all of these years, and offered to do the repairs for free!

Yeah, not at all true.

But what is true: For the next six Christmases, my kids get squirrel home repair for a gift.

Once the squirrels are fully evicted and their mode of entry is permanently eliminated, I will get back to enjoying them again. I hope. 

I will still try to enjoy their chase games. I will not shoo them from our feeders. And I of course will help an injured or trapped one if I could.

But don’t come back in my house again. Even I won’t ignore the sound next time.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at scmgibbons@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at www.mikeslife.us.

 

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