The Allegory of Sarah the Squirrel

September 11, 2008

She burst into our consciousness a week ago when she chased my wife out of the garage. This splendid, feisty gray squirrel announced that she had taken over our garage, and that was it. The cottage roof slopes down close to the heads of passers-by, and there Sarah would perch, just out of reach, chattering her personal brand of trash talk at anyone who came near.

My wife was flat-out afraid of her. The first time Sarah chattered in her ear I heard this high-pitched “ERK!” from Bet and the sound of scurrying feet. Bet’s, not the squirrel’s.

Janice, our neighbour, chimed in. “You guys must have really done something to make a squirrel that mad at you!”

As long as one was in a safe place, Sarah was a lot of fun to watch. She’d patrol the ridgepole of the garage, scolding merrily, then either duck down into the hedge at the front or launch herself in a grand leap to a branch of the ash tree nearby. Then away she’d go, only to reappear from somewhere else a couple of minutes later.

My wife declared war, so I brought a box trap from the farm, along with a half-dozen fresh walnuts for bait. Five minutes later I heard a “snap” in the garage, so I opened up to find no squirrel, just five remaining walnuts and a sprung Have-a-Hart. As I was coming out of the garage after resetting it, Sarah lit into me with the worst tongue-lashing I have ever received. She seemed almost to be gloating about how easy it had been to fool me as she crouched there on the edge of the roof, just out of arm’s reach, daring me to just try it, Buster.

In defeat, but rather admiring my opponent, I retreated to the house for the evening.

In the morning I checked the trap. Three walnuts remained and the trap was sprung again. Sarah heard me and soon leaped from the hedge to her pulpit on the roof and started in anew. Gritting my teeth, I reset the thing and placed a plastic gas can at one end to complicate things.

Nothing happened for the rest of the day, but every time I stuck my head in through the side door of the garage I’d see Sarah ducking out through the slight gap between the overhead door and the concrete. I think she was trying to figure out how the gas can was part of the trap.

This morning when I checked, the gas can had been shoved aside, the nuts were all gone, and a disgusted Sarah was in the trap. I guess she had moved the can and carefully hauled the walnuts away, but then couldn’t stand thinking there might be another she had missed, so she went back and looked under that funny trapdoor in the middle.

Last week Roz had brought me a book entitled Outwitting Squirrels, by Bill Adler Jr.  He suggests treating squirrels like chickens.  “There’s no chicken recipe which won’t work for squirrel.”  Yeah, but…  This is a really pretty squirrel, and she’s as funny as all get out, as long as she doesn’t get into a position where she can do real damage.  I put a blanket over the cage and loaded her into the back of my truck for a trip to the farm.  I know you’re not supposed to do that, but I kinda liked her, okay?

When I removed the blanket in the woodlot and opened the cage door, Sarah went out of there and up a maple tree in one continuous motion.  She hid behind the tree for a few seconds, but then, true to form, she popped around and scolded me again.

But the vast canopy beckoned, and the last I saw of Sarah she was doing a Tarzan across the tops of the maples, striking a beeline for the grove of walnuts I thought I’d avoid by taking her to the northwestern corner of the woodlot.  Yeah, right.  I’ll keep an eye out for her when I’m hunting: “Don’t shoot the one that comes down the tree and yells at you.”  You’ve gotta admire her spirit, but I’m glad she’s no longer in control of our garage.

UPDATE Sept 13:  And now she’s brought her family into this.  One of her half-grown kits (?) has just joined Sarah in the woodlot by way of the Have-A-Hart.  Her name is Bristol.  I must be nuts!


2 Responses to “The Allegory of Sarah the Squirrel”

  1. […] The busiest day of the year was January 11th with 367 views. The most popular post that day was The Allegory of Sarah the Squirrel. […]

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