I live in a small city, but lately I have been having an awful lot of interactions with wild animals.
About a week ago, for example, my neighbor stopped over to tell me how he and his wife had been watching a squirrel in my yard. While I don’t usually like the idea of my neighbors watching my yard (they might see me watching their yards!), I was interested in learning about how this squirrel had been working feverishly in a tree in my front yard, pulling off leaves and twigs, and then traveling back and forth on a utility line to a hole in my roof near the rain spout.
“That’s pretty neat, I wonder what he was doing?” I said stupidly.
“It’s actually pretty bad,” my neighbor said smartly. “She is probably making a nest. Squirrels can do a lot of damage if they get into your roof or walls.”
“Oh, that does sound bad,” I said. “I can only imagine what the moose would do if he got in there too.”
My neighbor did not appreciate my Rocky and Bullwinkle reference and suggested that we would have to get the squirrel out and then close up the hole.
My neighbor is an awesome guy, so I was happy to work with him. Even better, he came up with the plan to close up the hole, and he provided the ladder, cut some metal we could use to cover the hole and even had a drill and some screws we could use.
He figured that the squirrel would not be in the hole in the middle of the day, so we could cover it up then and then that would solve the squirrel problem. I have no idea about the work/sleep schedule of a squirrel, but I went with his suggestion.
So, the next day, he and I set up his ladder and we started to work. Seeing how my neighbor is 90, we decided that I should climb up the ladder. I don’t think it’s fair either, but I went along with it.
“And watch out so you don’t grab or fall into that utility line while you are up there, it might be a power line,” he said.
I had no desire to be electrocuted while I was up there, and I knew my family and neighbors would be upset if I somehow messed up the electricity on the block or knocked out their internet, so I was very careful.
I carefully reached up past the utility line and pushed the metal up onto the hole, and then the hole seemed to move.
“What was that?” I said.
“What?” said my neighbor who hadn’t seen or heard anything. He is 90 after all.
“I think the squirrel might be up there,” I said.
“Well, he probably just ran back, maybe you can block part of the hole so he can still get out and then we’ll cover the rest of it later,” he said.
“Ok,” I replied and I reached up to push the metal over part of the hole.
Suddenly, the squirrel swatted at me and the metal with her paw.
“Did you see that?” I said as my neighbor was laughing. I had no idea squirrels would swat at a person or do anything like that, but this squirrel was concerned about the home she had built (even if it was in my home).
I went back down the ladder for a moment to give the squirrel some space and to insure it didn’t jump on my face or anything like that.
My neighbor said he had heard of people who just reached into holes and grabbed squirrels to remove them from their houses.
I thought that sounded like a terrible idea, but didn’t want to tell him that. My neighbor is the nicest guy and he would not make fun of me, but he is also a World War II veteran who still has shrapnel in him, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I was scared of this little squirrel.
We both decided, though, that the squirrel might have little squirrels inside and we didn’t want to close them up in there, so we let her back up into the hole and then I carefully went back up the ladder, reached past the power line with my shaking hand, and put more metal over the hole, hoping to at least encourage the squirrel to leave and hoping not to fall down on top of my neighbor.
Later that night, we heard a lot of noise outside, and I think the squirrel did leave the hole for good. I have not closed up the hole the rest of the way yet, though, as I am waiting to make sure no other squirrels are in there. I am also waiting for everyone else to forget about it so hopefully I don’t have to mess with it anymore.
A few nights after that ordeal, we noticed a raccoon staggering and walking around slowly on our front sidewalk in the evening. The raccoon did not look like it had rabies, but it looked sick so my wife and I thought we better catch it so it didn’t hurt any neighborhood children or pets.
This soon turned into me, my wife, my stepdaughter and a few neighbors following the raccoon around and trying to get it to go into a dog carrier. We put some wet cat food into the dog box and the raccoon went halfway in to eat.
Everyone around decided that I and another neighbor guy should pick up the box and close the door. This was yet another example of why I sometimes hate to be an adult, but I thought I would try it.
The raccoon was not all the way in, though, so I studied for a minute about how best to tip the box up so that raccoon would not just fall out and bite me.
While I was making up a genius plan, my wife walked over to the box and tipped it up so the raccoon fell in easily. My plan worked perfectly!
I did shut the door and held it shut, and my neighbor put some tape around the box, too. The raccoon mostly growled at us, and we later took it to the local wildlife office, as we had no idea what to do with it.
Finally, I know I have talked about this before, but these 17-year-cicadas are simply everywhere in my yard and all over my city. They fly into my office at work, they end up in the house and they are simply everywhere. They are also terrible fliers, so you can’t walk outside without them running into you or getting stuck in your hair.
It is crazy about how they are all over the sidewalks, all throughout the air and everywhere you look.
I appreciate nature, but instead of having all of these animals in my house, in the air or in my front yard, I would prefer to appreciate nature as God intended, by watching a squirrel and moose on my television set as they try to pull rabbits out of hats and solve mysteries.