Squirrels: Pests or Pals?
Here in the suburbs, it's a squirrel invasion. Squirrels stage takeovers of our neighborhoods, knowing full well we can't risk firing at them and inadvertently picking off the people next door who emerge at the wrong time.
Plant grass seed, flowers, or spread mulch, and these furry jihadists dig when you're not looking and displace your perfectly manicured sections of nature. They are like kids who rumple a neatly made bed, or the spouse who leaves footprints on your freshly swept carpet. It's irksome!
Fall is the time to plant flower bulbs that will be your first harbingers of Spring. Squirrels consider this a game of hide and seek. Hide a bulb underground, and they will bring it to the surface to let you know they found it. They never tire of this game, no matter how many times you replant the bulb. Placing rocks on top of your bulbs discourages them--just remember to remove the rocks before your first sprout.
If you like to decorate your front stoop or lamp post with pumpkins, gourds, or Indian corn, preventative measures must be taken or you will have paid for some pretty expensive squirrel food. Click here for recommended strategies for protecting your fall decor from hungry critters. I'm going to spray ours with a heavy coat of hairspray and form a perimeter with vinegar and red pepper. Plan B will be the petroleum jelly tip.
Squirrels are busier and more productive than some people I know. They skitter around the yard, do acrobatics across the roof, and make endless treks up and down the trees as they prepare for a long and cold winter.
Squirrels maintain different caches of food. While they lose approximately 25% of their stash to thieves, some of the blame rests on the squirrel. The one in our yard is highly unimaginative and leaves nuts right out in the open--here are three we found today on our window sill, deck umbrella, and fence.
Only one time has a squirrel has been useful--one scampered across our roof Christmas Eve, and our youngest was convinced it was reindeer hooves.
Some people put out feeders for squirrels while others shoot, trap, or club them. One camp argues squirrels are cute, fun-to-watch fuzzballs, and the other camp considers them rats with tails.
Squirrels build nests in your trees, and on a snowy day, you might find a yellow spot on the sparkling white that aligns perfectly with their winter home. Squirrels are known to take up residence in attics, so if you hear any out-of-place scratching sounds, better call pest control. Squirrels chew bark from your trees, sample your plants, and are responsible for the occasional power outage when they chew through an electrical line.
How do you feel about squirrels? Are they friends or foes? Vote below!