Monday, 22 September 2008
Going Squirrelly in Suburbia!
A clarification right off of the top. I am not an animal hater. I rarely hold much animosity for our furry friends. It is true that I am not a member of PETA, nor do I wish to be, but I think that I possess a mild understanding that we two-legged creatures are merely sharing this planet with the four-legged type. We have encroached on their natural habitats and thus, we need to be mindful of the fact that they need to survive as best they can in the face of such natural calamities as strip malls, highways and subdivisions. My World Wildlife membership notwithstanding, I need some help in controlling the squirrel population that has invaded my property.
I have complained mightily in this space before about the unavoidable landlord/tenant relationship that I have with the squirrel community of north Toronto. Allow me to refresh your collective memories. We live on a tree line. When the houses were built many years ago, the integrity of the tree line was maintained so as to add to the beauty of the neighbourhood. It worked. It was certainly a selling point for us when we bought the house. As a result, we have numerous species of forestry dotting our property, including two very large oaks on the front lawn and a bosc pear tree in the back. When we first moved into the house, we were accompanied by our two boys and a very large, rambunctious and goofy yellow labrador retriever. Yellow dog took it as his responsibility to keep our property rodent-free, and as such we were not bothered by such nuisances as mice, raccoons, skunks, chipmunks or squirrels. God forbid that a bushy-tailed invader should set a toenail on the lawn! Yellow dog would bark like a maniac and chase the unfortunate creatures out of the area!! But, all life ends and we lost Yellow dog a few years back. I think that the rodent community held an underground party celebrating Yellow dog's demise, because ever since, my property has been the fruit and nut buffet of the squirrel world. The pears barely ripen before they are yanked off of the branches, nibbled on and tossed into the pool. As bad as that is, however it cannot hold a candle to the mess that theses pests are making of my oak trees.
It is acorn season in the Great White North and the squirrels are in squirrel nirvana! On any given day, my front lawn looks like Hurricane Squirrel has hit it. Whole branches and clumps of leaves are strewn all over the front of the house. Acorn shells and whole nuts litter the driveway. It resembles the shell bowl that my grandfather used to keep next to the nutcracker. The man who mows the grass and keeps the lawn neat was just here and the grass is already cluttered with the remnants of the midday squirrel meal. Worse yet, is how brazen these creatures have become. On Saturday morning as I went to retrieve the paper, I counted 7 (yes 7!!!!) of the miserable beasts brunching on my front walk. It got so bad that I actually resorted to barking like a dog in order to scare them off. I need help!! (Serious psychological care couldn't hurt either, but that is for another post!) I have presented this problem to several friends and the solutions are not what you would call squirrel-friendly. A rabbi friend of mine actually suggested a shotgun. When I pointed out to him that this wasn't exactly in the spirit of Torah, he replied that this is what they would do in the west where he was raised!! Wonderful! Gunslinging rabbi seeks work as squirrel terminator!!
Look. I don't want them dead or injured, I just want them gone from here. Don't give me poison recipes or slingshot designs. I just want to find a humane way to ask them to relocate!! I put it out to you, readers! Any ideas how to rid myself of the squirrels? I am truly going nuts!!! Big and brand new Yellow dog may be on the horizon, right husband?