Dear PoP

IMG_0174, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

From a reader:

“I know you’ll appreciate this. Yesterday evening, after getting back from Giant, my roommate and I saw this crazy squirrel trying to get into our house. The windows were open, and it was trying to get through the screen, so we closed them. This guy would not give up, and was still there 20 minutes later. Attempts to scare him off had absolutely no effect. I also suspect he might be responsible for popping out one of our railings, you can see it in the picture. Have you heard of rabid squirrels around or is this just standard craziness?”

My war on squirrels is fairly well documented. I am embarrassed to admit that at times I’ve also had difficulty scaring them off my porch. I don’t think they are rabid though. I think they are brilliant tacticians and are just trying to drive us crazy. I’ve never had one try to break into my house but I did have one break into my car and change all the radio presets. You see they are just messing with our heads. The best advice I can give is that a water gun never fails. I also find yelling YIP, YIP, YIP, in quick succession can scare the rookies. But for the veterans I recommend you go straight for the water gun.


12 Comment

  • In my old place in Arlington, which was three floors up but right next to a tree, I had one chew through a window screen, eat a pear in my kitchen, and take off with an apple and a banana (obviously I wasn’t home). I closed the storm window, and the next day there were little scratch marks in the glass. Poor guy/gal. I salute their obvious ability to survive everything except cars. Give them time, though, and they’ll start looking both ways.

    what does scare me is their love for all the chicken bones that wind up in the trash in Petworth. Nothing like seeing a squirrel carrying a meaty piece of bone to give one pause.

  • I’ve heard there are two ribs of that fence missing now.

  • The squirrels have knocked a couple of my rails loose, too. Plus, they sit on my steps and gnaw the hulls off black walnuts. I don’t know where they get them, but as you know, black walnut stains like a mo-fo. For all that, I still think they’re freakishly cute. I love to sit on my porch and watch them chase each other around the tree, or even disfigure my sidewalk with walnut hulls.

    And 4nature, you’re not alone: a good friend of mine came home one day to find a squirrel sitting on her windowsill *inside* the house, munching away at an apple. It had chewed through the screen to get to the fruit bowl, where it was apparently on at least its third whole piece of fruit, not to mention the nibbles from every other piece. The funny thing is, it was so stuffed that it had a really hard time fitting back through the hole in the screen.

  • I once saw a squirrel carry an entire Jimmie John’s sandwich. It still amazes me to this day.

  • Two have broken into my mother’s house on Columbia Road. One through a broken screen on the upstairs porch; the other through a crafty entrance through the kitchen window that we each thought would’ve required an opposable thumb!

    In each instance our cat sentries were able to scare the squirrel out of the joint . . . they are excellent squirrel spotters and have a many decades long war with them.

  • Home Depot sells “Tree Rat” poison – ’nuff said.

  • In my fevered brain I imagine that there exists a socioeconomic class divide between the various vermin and verminettes of our fair neighborhood. From what I’ve gathered in this conversation the Squirrels represent the educated elite, capable of sophisticated strategy and execution but not above takin a dump on your porch and stealing your Jimmy John’s. The rats make up the far more populous ‘unwashed masses’ feeding from the refuse and forgotten morsels of other animals, ignorantly content in their short and equally vile existance… and as far as I can tell pigeons represent the mass of the republican base; dividing their time equally between merrily mistaking their lackluster ploomage as a badge of entitlement, getting kicked by tourists, and taking a dump on the entire process below.

  • “Squirrels, nature’s little speedbumps!”

  • I have a very irrational fear of rabid squirrels. This post nor the 5 million squirrels in DC does not help my fear one bit.

    I had one get in my apartment in college it just ran back and forth across the kitchen cabinets until it finally went out the way it came in.

  • The other day I was grazed on the shoulder by a squirrel jumping out of the tree I was walking under! It sort of bounced off the back of my shoulder and onto the ground, then scampered away along with its squirelly friends.

  • I was digging up my backyard one afternoon and kept hearing a screeching sound from above. When I looked I saw a squirrel in a tree yelling at me. It occurred to me that I was probably messing with his or her stash of food for the winter. Sure enough after I went inside, the squirrel came down from the tree and starting digging around where I had been digging. I guess I’m lucky he or she did not pull a Rocky (the flying squirrel not Balboa) and dive bomb me.
    Another squirrel (or maybe the same one) often rolls around in the dirt in my garden. I thought it might be digging for bulbs but someone told me that it’s how squirrels clean themselves. I’ve also caught it sleeping in my planters under the flowers.

  • DC_Chica, you reminded me! I was used as a trampoline by a squirrel in college! Our campus had a black squirrel as our unofficial mascot, and it was always good luck when you saw it. Walking through the quad the black squirrel jumped out of a tree, sprang off of my back, and launched himself into another tree. Freaky!

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