Who’s the Real Pest around Here Anyway?

photoNo fan of squirrels am I. In the abstract, I can enjoy their wild gymnastic athleticism and pranks and admire their elegant plumy tails and all of that, yes I can. But when I hear that familiar thud on the roof when they’re jumping from the red oak to the shingles and holding their miniature NASCAR events up there, what I’m thinking is not ‘how cute’ but ‘rats’.

They are, after all, rodents. The little scarpers have nice sharp claws that scrape bits off of our roofing (see: roof confetti in gutters) and nice sharp teeth that chew chunks off of our siding (see: bare wood fringe appearing on siding near where only birds or squirrels could possibly reach) and not-so-nice habits of eating every bit of bird seed that I put out if they can reach it (see: squirrel hanging upside down by ankles from gutter like trapeze artist while he stares longingly and calculatingly at nearby-but-not-near-enough bird feeder, then dashing back down to the patio below to scarf up every seed, nut, pod and shell left below said feeder before dashing back up again for another recon) and of ‘recycling’ said bird feed onto patio, porch, garage perimeter and paths for me to sweep up after them (see: squirrel excrement scattered decoratively hither and yon).

But there are as many fans of squirrel-dom as there are less sympathetic critics like me, and there are certainly many, whether among squirrel friends or not, who think many other creatures more dirty, pesky, or persistent than I do. Take pigeons, for one. I’ve heard them called ‘flying rats’ more than once, and know that they are at least as frequently cited as disease carriers and civic troublemakers as are squirrels. Other than the remarkably tiny headed (and I confess to thinking them remarkably tiny brained in equal proportion) mourning doves that visit our place occasionally, there are rarely pigeons around there, so it’s probably simple arithmetical odds that make me like them perfectly fine when I’m so prejudiced against squirrels. As long as you don’t swing by for the seemingly sole purpose of eating my food and then expelling it back out upon me and mine when you’ve had your fun with it, I guess I’ll give you a free pass.

I should very likely just cut the poor squirrels some slack, too, in exchange for the hijinks they provide as compensatory amusement. After all, they, along with all of the other critters that call our garden, yard, ravine, neighborhood and planet home, must surely look on me as a dirty, self-centered, gluttonous and destructive interloper on their home turf, and they would not be wrong. And I sure don’t expect to be able to repay the affront by amusingly hanging by my ankles from the gutter anytime soon.

9 thoughts on “Who’s the Real Pest around Here Anyway?

  1. Oh I do love squirrels Kath, and have always said to Pete that I would love a squirrel and giraffe to complete our family. πŸ˜‰ Seems they are quite destructive though, oh dear.
    Have a beautiful week ahead.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo

    • I probably do pick on squirrels more than they deserve! After all, they provide plenty of free entertainment right outside our windows. Although now I think about it, it might be even more spectacular to see giraffes leaping from tree to tree or racing on our roof!!! πŸ˜‰
      xoxo,
      Kath

    • It’s kind of the reverse of the vultures that I so enjoy watching around here: those poor guys get a lot of bad press for being ‘ugly’ (have you seen how magnificently beautiful and graceful they are in flight?) and eaters-of-dead-and-rotten-stuff (hey, squirrel cleanup on aisle three!). Perspective. So hard to find and keep! πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m squarely on the side of the delightful pigeon. We had one as a pet once. Look for an upcoming post featuring “Duke”. Wouldn’t dream of having one of those tomato stealing varmints as a pet. Imagine. Stealing a Bartolini tomato. Of all the nerve!

    • I shall be on tenterhooks until the arrival of Duke in my inbox! πŸ™‚

      As for the thieving squirrels: I hear they make a fine stew. Add tomatoes and voila! Retribution *and* dinner! πŸ˜‰

  3. Pingback: THE SILENCE OF THE … | SERENDIPITY

  4. My husband once went to war with the squirrels over the bird feeder. I will have to write about it someday. They are cute and clever creatures able to demolish houses one bite at a time. πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: Squirrel Roofway | emilykarn

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