I really like nature. Honestly, flora and fauna are beautiful and fascinating. And anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that I love fresh flowers and plants in my home; flora and I are on sterling terms. It’s the fauna with whom I had a problem recently.
You see, I have a wonderful little porch adjoining my brick cape and it is my haven. The minute the weather turns warm enough to sit there (and sometimes when it’s even a little brisk), I hightail it to that sunny locale for yoga practice, meals, reading, and simply taking in the beauty that surrounds me on three sides of my wooded lot. Last Thursday was a balmy May day; I heard some unfamiliar noises on the porch and upon investigating, found a squirrel who was becoming way too cozy with the full length screened in window directly behind my loveseat. I shooed him away, which took some doing, since the squirrels in my yard are basically tame and pretty fearless. It gave me the creeps, frankly, to have him in such close proximity, but I didn’t think much more about it. He, on the other hand, evidently devoted a fair amount of small-brain thought and perseverance to his task.
I was in the living room the next day and again heard sounds coming from that corner of the porch. Lo and behold, that clever rodent had managed to gnaw a big enough (but just barely) hole in the screen to get through and, like the line from a bad horror movie, he was IN THE HOUSE. I cannot tell you who was more terrified or panic stricken as our eyes met; I’m calling it a draw. I did have the presence of mind to quickly close the door between the porch and living room and keep an eye on him through the living room window. And yes, he eventually returned to his natural habitat, the aforementioned nature. But it was not pretty.
Because I am altruistic and don’t want you to make the same mistakes as me, should you ever find yourself in a human vs. squirrel conundrum, I’ve drawn up a helpful list. I hope these tips will allow you to avoid some of my mistakes. No need to thank me; just drop by with a bouquet of fresh flowers if you’re ever in the neighborhood.
The Top Five Things to Avoid When an Uninvited Squirrel Enters Your Home
- Do not fall for the Disney mythology that all woodland creatures are visiting your home in order to help you with domestic tasks (see “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” et al). Not one sheet was folded nor table dusted during the ten minutes or so that the squirrel was here.
- Squirrels to do not understand English. They are also weak on picking up frantic hand signals. At some point during the melee last week, I finally thought to run outside and try to communicate with him through another screen. I had thrown open the large glass porch door once I saw he was inside, and figured he would leave that way (see #3, below). So I’m screaming through another porch window, “The door! The door! Run outside through the door!” And just to make sure the neighbors had a great floor show that afternoon, I was also wildly gesticulating towards said door. Nope. Nada. Nothing.
- Squirrels are not familiar with the wise advice attributed to Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” And so my visitor…who was, in fairness, truly frightened and confused at this point…simply kept flinging himself at the screens and/or glass doors he encountered (there are a total of four on the porch). My incredibly helpful high pitched suggestions were not getting through to him. As I said, there was that whole language barrier.
- Do not assume squirrels have powers of either logic or reason, especially when they’re in an unfamiliar environment. As much as he originally longed to be in my house, the squirrel didn’t have the wherewithal to figure out that he could have left at any time the same way he came in, since he didn’t seem to consider the open door an option. And I’ve got to be honest….the idea of his returning the way he had entered didn’t occur to me either till several hours later.
- Should you have a know-it-all grown son who asks a bit disdainfully, “Well, why didn’t you just call Animal Control, Mom?!!” resist the impulse to either roll your eyes at him or to remind him that you labored for the better part of an entire day to bring him…and his wiseacre suggestions…into the world.
Should these helpful hints not be enough to convince you that a squirrel is not a sociable animal and most assuredly does not belong in your house, perhaps the words of that sage naturalist Sarah Jessica Parker will. As she said, in what I consider to be the height of understatement: “You can’t be friends with a squirrel. A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit.”