Oh, the joys of living in an old house. Double that with the high number of trees we have in the neigborhood. We are Squirrel Central, especially now that they’re all coming out of hibernation. And, more specifically to Taylor and me, we have a stowaway in our attic.
This is the second year we’ve unwillingly hosted squirrels. There are gaps under the eaves in the unfinished part of the attic, perfect for little fuzzy acrobats to come crawling into. Last year we called the rental agency, who had a humane exterminator come in, trap the family that had taken up residence in a pile of shredded insulation, and release them elsewhere. Unfortunately, they neglected to patch the hole where the mama had originally gotten in, and guess what? She (or another very much like her) is back!
It’s not that she’s really hurting anything; I haven’t noticed any chewing on the wires and things we have stashed up there (mostly cardboard boxes). However, every morning around 7 or 8 she starts running around, right above our bedroom ceiling. I’ve chased her out a few times, but she’s tough–I threw a few lightweight objects at her and she just dodged. Finally I had to charge (okay, stumble, hunched-over) at her with a flashlight and a stick to get her to leave. She was back that afternoon. Plugging the main passageway didn’t help; there are entirely too many gaps that she can get into.
After a week of this, I was about ready to snap. Yes, she needs shelter. No, she’s not harming anyone. But just because she isn’t chewing wires now doesn’t mean she or her progeny won’t down the line–and that’s a great way to start a fire. Plus squirrel poo isn’t exactly hygienic. And it’s only a matter of time before a crawlspace door blows open or gets left open by accident and we end up with a wild squirrel in our apartment. And there’s the fact that she’s a damned noisy neighbor!
So the other morning I talked to Squirrel. He wasn’t about to tell her to leave, since he thought she was pretty cozy up there. However, he did insist that I not cause her any direct harm (which negated any chance of me picking up a cheap BB pistol and doing a little impromptu hunting. Or baiting rat traps with peanut butter. Or otherwise bringing her life to a premature end.). And what good would it do anyway? Another squirrel would just come along and take up her place.
Finally, after calming down a bit, I was convinced by my husband to call the rental agency again, who is supposed to be sending out an exterminator again (hopefully before she has a litter!). Beyond that, that’s about all I can do at this point. I’m just going to have to live with a noisy, squirrely neighbor for a little while longer.
Today, I came to a realization with Squirrel’s help. A lot of the people in life who can be downright irritating are, for the most part, just squirrels in the attic. Generally they aren’t causing any actual damage, just some annoyance (and maybe shredding a little insulation). And for the most part there’s not really much you can do. Do what you can, and then wait for things to calm down. If nothing else, when Autumn hits, the squirrels will go back to hibernating–and then you can murder them in their beds!
Okay, maybe not that. But there is a good lesson in this. Unless the wires are getting chewed or the squirrels are nesting in the lingerie drawer, don’t worry overmuch. Do what you can, then get on with your day. if they’re causing damage, then act on it; otherwise, relax. In the grand scheme of things, are the squirrels in the attic really worth that much attention?