Blog

Animal Problems 2: Squirrel-gate 2012

Possibly part 1.

So, let’s take a moment to say, I get that it’s a squirrel. A small tree rodent. And, apparently, after being hand-fed for a couple of weeks by the Dianes (I normally don’t mention my coworkers by name, and everyone else’s names are going to be  changed, but I don’t feel like this level of bad judgement deserves shielding), who promptly took four coinciding days off, the squirrel is two, fast, furry pounds of menacing terror.

To be fair, squirrels are pretty cute. They have giant eyes and adorable fuzzy tails. The way they nibble things and move all twitchy…

Not this asshole:

So, to recap, The Dianes are feeding the squirrel by hand, removing its impetus to hunt for food and then on a Thursday, and by Saturday stupid squirrel is hungry. It peeked its head over in the morning, and we threw a peanut across the lawn to get it away from us. It stayed away for the morning.

When evening came around, squirrel was ready for dinner. Expecting a Diane to throw it some food, it returned and was rebuffed. The squirrel’s solution: to charge and climb all over the evening shift women. Second shift was less than pleased about it.

I didn’t think much of it because the staff member who mentioned it is prone to hyperbole (every scratch is deserving of a hospital visit, one yawn means the person slept for hours…) and “the squirrel was hanging on my waistband a ran up and down my body” could be interpreted to mean “the squirrel was within 4 feet of my person.”

Then, at 6:30, in dashed Mrs. P, screaming. She tossed her coffee across the table, her purse across the kitchen, jacket on the floor. Apparently the squirrel had climbed her, too, but unlike the evening shift, she was wearing shorts, so the squirrel’s little claws scratched up her legs. She also had no warning about the squirrel, having not worked at our house in a week.

Once we got Mrs. P her inhaler and more or less calmed down, but not less angry about the stupid squirrel, we looked out to see where it was. Two of us still had to go out there to go home. Stupid squirrel was watching us from the center of the courtyard, crouched and ready. It saw us looking and ran up and across the windows.

So, we called the boss, who, in turn had us call the cops, who instructed us to call animal control, who were out of town.

So, I did the best thing I could think of and called my dad. At 7am on a Sunday. After some pleasantries, I explained the situation. Dad a few thoughts:

  • It’s a squirrel…just kick it.
  • It’s a squirrel, just ignore it.
  • In 25 years at the Wildlife office, I have never had a complaint about menacing squirrels.
  • How about you act as a decoy by lying on the ground and pretending to be a nut.
  • He shared his solution to the security problem when the governor was coming to talk about the bear population–to have one really out of shape officer accompany him, because he only needs to run faster than that guy.

So, while providing some levity, it was not really a solution. So we came up with our own. Trap the stupid squirrel. Armed with a plastic tote and a slice of bread full of peanut butter, accompanied by M with a push broom,  we called out our enemy.

After several tries, we got the squirrel trapped under the tote. The on-call supervisor was on his way to take the squirrel to another location. Third shift finally left.

I returned to work that night only to find that the on-call had shown up and released the squirrel. By this time, my boss was convinced all of the area squirrels had rabies, and, as a precaution, all of the ladies were to stay home and in the house. A little bit hysterical considering there are no cases of rabies in squirrels in Massachusetts.

When my boss called in the morning, I repeated what I felt like was becoming my catch phrase. “Squirrels are territorial and can be aggressive. Because people have been feeding the squirrel, it expects to be fed. This is a reaction to the Dianes not being around to feed it.”

“Wait, people were feeding it?”

“Yeah. The Dianes have been feeding that stupid thing for two weeks.”

There were more calls to Animal Control and the police and possibly the wildlife office over the course of the day.

And then, I arrived for third shift on day 3 of squirrel-gate to be faced with a Diane. “The animal people came and said that there is nothing wrong with the squirrel. It was obviously hand raised and all we have to do is shoo it away and stop feeding it. They aren’t going to come out here again to deal with it again. They only deal with dangerous animals.” She used the same snotty tone you expect from a third-grader.

“Well, stop feeding it. Squirrels get territorial and aggressive…” and so on. She rolled her eyes and left. And then continued to feed the squirrel for two more weeks.

So, now I’m stuck dealing with Squirrel-gate Part 2. So far I have learned that the the squirrel is not afraid of loud noises, projectiles, jangling keys (which actually incited more aggression). It is driven away by me swing my purse in its general direction and saying, “Go, you stupid fucker.” Which makes me feel extremely stupid.

Also, the projectiles I was throwing were change, and it tried to eat a penny.

My first order of business when I am no longer a state employee may be to shoot the stupid squirrel with a BB gun–which is something that I am fundamentally opposed to. We’ll see how it goes.