Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When You are Attacked by a Squirrel

The biggest problem with city life is that it precludes chicken ownership. If you read Susan Orlean's Chicken Chronicles in a recent New Yorker you know what I'm talking about. Of course this is the Susan Orlean of Orchid Thievery-Adaptation fame. I'm just saying, she does tend to get carried away. And now she's got me daydreaming about a red Eglu and Gingernut Ranger hens. Thanks, Susan.

Another problem with city life: it's entirely possible that there's a hit on me.

My dog just LOVES squirrels. Bode is getting on in dog years and doesn’t have a lot of speed left in him but he usually makes an effort to stalk a squirrel. We egg him on, inciting him to GET THE SQUIRREL. It always ends the same way, with the squirrel running up a tree.

Of course one day Bode did get one. The “one” in this case was definitely a squirrel of sub-par intelligence, an unfit squirrel in the Darwinian sense. This substandard specimen was safe overhead in a small tree but decided a better move would be to launch itself onto a nearby taller tree that was, in point of fact, not a tree but a lamp post. With no bark to cling to, he slowly slid down the post like a frightened, furry fireman and into my dog’s eager smile. Oh, it was so awful. I started shouting LEAVE IT! LEAVE IT! Poor Bode, who was pleased as punch at his good fortune, mulled it over for a second or two, then dropped it, reluctantly. Relieved, I watched the squirrel quickly gimp away.

Now, the fact of the matter is that I like squirrels just as much as my dog (an ominous indicator of personal fitness, in the Darwinian sense). They’re just so darn cute with their scampering and nut gathering. Anyway, a few months after our run-in at the lamp post, reports of Rogue Squirrels started hitting the wire. Turns out some squirrels were doing some stalking of their own, and launching themselves out of trees and onto the unsuspecting heads of passersby.

The incident at the lamp post left me convinced of imminent retribution so I prepared for certain attack. I tried imagining my response to having a squirrel drop onto my head, but I couldn’t figure it out. What should one do when this happens? Surrender was almost sure. If I were attacked by a squirrel I would be at its mercy.

I thought it through some more (it was a slow day) and then called my husband to see if he had any ideas. I like to think of calls of this nature as a welcome break in a dreary day at the office, but I’m assured they are not. My timing must have been good because Josh had some brilliant - if violent - ideas. They all hinged on the basic premise that any person - even me! - could TAKE a squirrel. Here's what you do:

The key is taking a STOP, DROP and ROLL approach. Rather than running around squealing, “There’s a squirrel on me! There’s a squirrel on me!” do this instead: STOP. Keep still and simply detach the squirrel from your body (let’s be honest, that little monkey is not going to stay put on your head - it’s gonna totally run speedy circles around your entire person). But stay still and seize it. Then, you throttle it.* I’m pretty sure this defensive move is also known as "wrassling," as in, “I shall wrassle this squirrel or die tryin’.”

At this point, you have put the squirrel in it's place but you are by no means safe from future attack. I think it's kind of like lightening, in that it actually does strike twice. You should return home, pack your bags and move to the country. And get some chickens.



* If you really want to put on a show for any gathered spectators try this: Throttle the squirrel within an inch of his life then suddenly release him. As he wobbles off, shout at him: YEAH! TELL YOUR FRIENDS, TOUGH GUY!

2 comments:

Mike S. said...

MSN has useful, albeit controversial, squirrel-eradication tips, along with a convenient "Rocky and Bullwinkle" reference: http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=20781850&GT1=35000

Katie Fairbank said...

MSN certainly covered the bases on what to do when a squirrel is feasting on your house or your house's wiring. I will consult them if I ever have that problem, but - with due respect - it's more important to have some self-defense maneuvers ingrained for the squirrel whose intention it is to snack on your eyeballs. :)