Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tossed In Space


So how did the Russian Space Gerbils and their friends fare? Not so good. The space lizards returned in the same nonchalant state they left, although behavioral experts caution that reptiles play things pretty close to the vest anyway, and reliable inferences about their emotional state cannot always be made. As the former caretaker of an iguana, I can attest to this. I enjoyed believing that Sparky was genuinely fond of me, but lizards walk a fine line between affection and thermoregulation. Anyway, half the space mice died, proving the value of seat belts once and for all; and every one of the gerbils appears to have fatally freaked out. From the standpoint of Mongolian gerbil eradication, the mission was deemed 100% successful, and costs are expected to come down over time.

The truth is, whatever gerbils didn't die were slated to be murdered and examined right here on earth anyway. I suspect that the real reason gerbils were sent to space is that there is someone in the Russian space hierarchy who has it in for gerbils, and bad. I can imagine things coming to this extreme because I am living with a man who loses all sense of proportion when it comes to Eastern Gray Squirrels. He hates them. Ignoring his repeatedly-demonstrated historic inability to kill anything (a trait that helps me sleep at night), he keeps threatening to get a gun and create as many squirrel smithereens as he can.

They don't bother me much. I do want to discourage them from hoovering up all my bird seed, and to that end we purchased a splendid Squirrel-Proof Feeder, one that shuts down the feeding holes if something as heavy as a squirrel clambers onto it. I could have opted for the other kind, the one that triggers a catapult and flings the squirrel at warp speed into the stratosphere when he leans on the perching bar, but I visualized endless cleanup of rodent schmutz on my siding and Dave slowly wasting away, unable to peel himself away from the window.

I trace a lot of this animosity to the Corn Nuts And Baggy Shorts Incident of 1994, but the man is capable of making distinctions. He seemed to enjoy the strenuously adorable Abert's squirrel, with its Ears of Exuberance, that we saw in New Mexico. But probably he tolerated the Abert's squirrel because it was in New Mexico, and not here. The reason he hates squirrels is he has an easily stimulated fret center in his brain, and he believes squirrels are devoted to destroying our house. All of them. They want to scurry into our attic and tear
up our insulation, and then they want to dine on our electrical lines. At some certain point in our future, Dave believes, our house will burst into flames as a posse of evil squirrels chuckles from the neighbor's roof. He does not believe his obsession is unreasonable, because he has a reason, and the reason is that this is what all squirrels want to do. Only the vigilance of his fretting has warded off this eventuality so far. If Dave had the money, he would totally blast the squirrels into space. All of them. Even if they're not all Muslims.

56 comments:

  1. I think I can understand Dave's point...the possum-who-chose-to-live-with-us liked to gnaw on the pine (lovely, soft Oregon pine)in his chosen cupboard. We worried that he'd extend the snacking to some wiring and The Man constructed a barrier of aluminium sheeting.A major feat in itself, given that the cupboard was less than a metre wide/deep.
    (Are what you call Eastern Greys what, in England, we call Carolina Greys? Little bastards have wiped out native reds over there.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably not the very same--the second picture is of Eastern grays. I'd have to look it up right now but I do know they are fairly recent migrants to our part of the country and have edged out the natives in the city. I definitely grew up with them in Virginia.

      Delete
  2. Oh, Dave is so in tune with me,or I with him. We do not need this many squirrels on the planet...send them all into space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that squirrel feeder we DIDN'T get probably gets them halfway there.

      Delete
  3. OMG! I was eating dinner last night, looked out the window and there in my crosshairs....... A fucking baby groundhog! I launched myself from the table with my butter knife in hand, spewing carrots at the baby and practically ran through a screen door whilst screaming; GET OUT OF MY YARD! he crawled under the hydrangea..... Grrrr... I hate them and have been know to drive off the road and through a field in a little Nissan to run one over..... My kids were in the car..... Dave, I get it!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No offense, but I think you've gone over the edge!!!

      Delete
  4. Squirrels are one of the main reasons I quit feeding the birds. They were everywhere, chewing on chairs and digging holes in my flowerpots, as well as eating all the bird seed! I am with Dave here, but I can't help but be happy that the squirrels caused you to write this, so I can enjoy it with my tea. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy to report that squirrels are not hitting any of my birdfeeders, which are: 1. Hummingbird feeder (duh), 2. Squirrel-proof seed feeder, which really works, and 3. Suet feeder. Because we use hot pepper-laced suet which doesn't bother the birds but the squirrels won't touch it. You're welcome.

      Delete
    2. SOMEthing- we haven't figured what yet- jumps or leans out from the deck rail, grabs the perch of our hummingbird feeder, and drinks the nectar that spills out due to the angle this imparts to the feeder. I'd like to impart something else to the li'l critter, whatever it is. For now, I remove the feeder each night.

      Delete
  5. Squirrel coitus. You find the most amazing photos! I myself have committed raccoonus interruptus by racing into the backyard in my bathrobe,and throwing small garden tools at the little verminous thugs, meanwhile screaming, "Stop it, stop it, stop it!!" The female fled. The male, understandably annoyed, growled and lunged at me. I nailed him with a slipper and chased him out of my yard, flapping the bathrobe and roaring, "Not in my yard, asshole!" He climbed a telephone pole and cursed me. I went into the house, woke the husband and tried to persuade him to take the rifle to the furry parasite vector. The husband declined. I'm not that good a shot myself, so the little bastard got away with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am proud and Dave is horrified to inform you that I did not find that picture. I took that picture. In my back yard. I've been advised to be careful stealing photos off the internet and so far I've done okay, although Pootie has had to stand in for a number of villains.

      Delete
    2. oh my god, you took that picture? that's hilarious.

      Delete
  6. They should shoot raccoons into space! Grey squirrels would be a good second choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What goes up must come down. That would be a sight. Remember the lemming post?

      Delete
  7. We relocate our squirrels to a nearby park. Cheaper than paying their way into space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How long does it take them to get back to your place?

      Delete
    2. 15 minutes. They usually beat us back to the house because they don't have to stop for red lights.

      Delete
    3. Not long enough... we used to time Grampa and whichever squirrel he'd managed to trap. They beat him "home" most of the time.

      Delete
  8. We used to relocate our squirrels, but realized that when we got home and went to put the trap back out, there was a line of squirrels waiting for the peanut butter treat inside.
    And on your feeder---our neighbor had a raccoon get his paw caught in it. She was a vet, so she took the raccoon, feeder and all, put them in a garbage can, took them to the office, and amputated the very damaged foot. She shot the raccoon up with antibiotics and set him free.
    Moral of the story---save up some $$$ for squirrel foot amputation. Just in case.
    My previous cat used to bring headless squirrels in the house. I can't think about where the heads were. But now our cats are indoor only. Whew...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Attagirl, knittergran! Indoor kitties are where it's at. Or where they oughta be at.

      Delete
  9. Today the comment needs to be in list form, it's just that thought-provoking:
    1. There are some very angry people in the world vis a vis wildlife.
    2. We NEED to hear about the Corn Nuts and Baggy Shorts Incident of 1994! Um ... please?
    3. "Only the vigilance of his fretting has warded off this eventuality so far." You have completely captured why people worry. It works!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. Surprising amount of hostility. I told Dave I was going to tell on him but that I thoroughly expected his point of view to get a lot of sympathy. I didn't think it would be THIS much.

      And as to the Baggy Shorts incident, I will only confirm that squirrels are very interested in nuts.

      Delete
    2. There went the coffee....

      Delete
  10. My brother-in-law "went off" on the squirrel infestation, maybe about 20 years ago. From our deck he dispatched them with his hunting rifle, and kept score on the kitchen blackboard. The hash marks were in the neighborhood of Tom: 49, Squirrels: 0 and he quit. I have no idea where it stands now; they only amuse me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if it's legal? I'm hoping y'all aren't real close to the neighbors.

      Delete
    2. It is against the law to shoot the native squirrel of Oregon as it is endangered. The fine is very steep and can also get you jail time!

      Delete
    3. The eastern gray is a transplant--not that I'm in a position to shoot anything.

      Delete
  11. Awh! How can anybody hate such cute little things? Send Dave over to my place to see a video of a guy up a tree with a bear and he'll have something else to fret about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Better than a bear up a guy on a tree.

      Delete
  12. Considering my murderous intentions toward pocket gophers, I have to say my sympathies are entirely with Dave. But thanks for the screwing squirrels - there's nothing like a little animal porn to brighten my day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll make a note of that, for the next time you're sounding melancholic.

      Delete
  13. We're the crazy people in our small town that drive around almost daily with our Schnauzers barking at other people's yard squirrels. We have favorite streets that provide maximum squirrel panic scatter. The dogs love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I trained our dog by deliberately walking near squirrels. We were supposed to find things to distract the dog and teach her not to be distracted. Squirrels were A#1 distracting.

      Delete
  14. I don't think Dave has gone 'round the bend OR over the edge and I do think squirrels of any and all varieties evince an unhealthy interest in wiring, whether it is in our houses or our cars. They want to chew upon that which they should not.

    I have had personal experience with them ("them" being Western Washington squirrels of some ilk) making floofy little nests out of insulation and chewed up bits of I-don't-know-what up in the attic and when the electrician got up there to rewire something he said we were lucky we didn't burn up in our sleep. Squirrels are just rats with better PR than their brethren.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That last line is virtually a Dave quote.

      Delete
  15. As I have evolved through life, I am at a point where I do not advocate the killing of too many things..

    But many years ago, living in rural Minnesota, a meal was prepared for me of fresh grey squirrel. Even then I was reluctant, but good manners prevailed... I must say, they are delicious. Some of the best lean meat I have ever eaten...

    But please, don't tell Dave.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My squirrels eat my birdseed and mock me - but I still adore them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you. I was just thinking this was a pretty bloodthirsty bunch.

      Delete
  17. I've done my share of bird feeder protection duties but since we came here I've grown kind of fond of the local variety of tiny red squirrels. As you can imagine, winters here in Halifax are pretty severe so by the time fall comes I take peanuts with me to the park for whoever needs them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tiny red squirrels! They only eat USB cables.

      Delete
    2. Tiny red squirrels! I've gotta go see!

      Delete
  18. Possums. Who are (I think) bigger than squirrels. And with totally toxic piddle and poop. While visiting a friend a large chunk of ceiling collapsed on the sofa when it reached piddle overload.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you call that a whiz-bang event?

      Delete
  19. This just proves a long-held theory of mine that an alliance of small, furry animals actually rule the world. Yes, I could be wrong, but just THINK about it ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kinda wish they did. They'd probably do a better job of it that we do.

      Delete
  20. This is possibly the same reasoning behind Aussies displeasure with possums. They're cute little buggers, but once they've found a way into your roof they're impossible to get out! If they build a nest in there (right above your bedroom!) the stink of possum piddle on a hot summer's day will have you sleeping anywhere else but in your own bed. Ditto rats. And they will chew through wires too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I've got possum piddle....on a summer's day...."

      Delete
    2. We had one die, over the weekend of course, over the conference room at work- shortest Monday morning meeting I've ever had to endure. Just goes to show you there's always a positive point of view. But Oh what a stink!

      Delete
    3. Hell, we've got plants that do that. Our corpse flower blooms but one day a year, although it stretches out to a week with the numerous shoots. Um, it's fly-pollinated.

      Delete
  21. I have a nesting pair of Cooper's hawks living near my barn. Best damn pest eradicators in the world. Just wish they wouldn't leave uneaten body parts in the yard. They make a terrible mess on the underside of the lawn mower.

    Love your blog! Thank you for visiting mine and leaving breadcrumbs to here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that is a proper pest eradication technique! We like to go watch the Vaux's Swifts bedding down (all 300,000 of them) in the big chimney of a local grade school, and there's usually one or two Coopers just hanging out to grab a bite. They get booed by the audience, but disapproval just slides right off of them.

      Delete
  22. What is it with squirrels and attic insulation? Whenever my clothes dryer begins taking four hours to dry a load, I know to clean the heaps of insulation out of the vent (and even up into the machine itself) that a squirrel has put there along with his stash of acorns. Wish they made squirrel-proof dryer outlet covers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew Dave would get a lot of support on this one, but it's near universal.

      Delete
  23. In my first comment (waaaay above), I was remiss in failing to say if I was for or agin the little beasties. We had a cat, back in our outdoor cat days, who came home with a squirrel's tail. Just the tail. I cried. Then both our cats (and every one since then) became indoor cats only. There are lots of squirrel supporters out there, but we don't generally admit it around squirrel-haters because they have louder voices and we aren't the shouting kind. Or the shooting kind, either!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are very noisy, yes. So are the squirrels, during breeding season, actually--they're tearing over the roof and trees right now. Once we found a cat tail in our tool shed. Later we found a tailless cat. Grisly little bugger. We just have to wonder.

      Delete