I have squirrels in my attic.
Yes, I know. You’ve had that suspicion for years. But this time we have actual rodents residing under our roof. I’ve been hearing them scramble around up there for a few months now, and I did think they sounded a bit large for mice. But I just kind of hoped they would go away, you know?
That hope vanished abruptly at the end of the summer. Returning from the Cape one Thursday, Betty confronted one of the little nut collectors brazenly climbing the living room drapes. Since I just happened to be talking to her on the phone from Pittsburgh, I got to participate in the ensuing hysteria. Fortunately, Betty has decided that (unlike mice) squirrels are sort of cute and she was therefore willing to co-habitate with it as long as remained more or less hidden under the refrigerator. When I returned that Friday night, we opened the window and sort of herded the intruder out like a pair of border collies.
Cut to this Thursday morning at 4am. I was awakened by the cat meowing and hissing, rummaging and scrambling around under the bed. I got up, corralled the beast and tossed it into the hall. I closed the door and was reaching to turn out the light when I saw the drapes move. As I watched, a squirrel climbed up the curtain (over B’s sleeping head) and perched on the rod, looking directly at me. Well, now at least I knew what had the cat all exercised.
I considered the options. It was still dark, I had to get up in two hours, my back hurt and briefly, I actually considered turning off the light, quietly climbing under the warm covers, and going back to sleep.
But that’s not the kind of thing a manly man does. Instead, I gently woke Betty and had her stand guard while I fetched a broom and a trash bag; regulation squirrel hunting gear. I then returned to the arena, determined to take the fluffy-tailed sucker on.
Anyway, two minutes later I’m standing on the bed in my underwear, swinging away with the broom like I’m Carl Yaztrezemski, wreaking havoc on curtains, pictures, books, magazines,alarm clock and only very occasionally, my fuzzy opponent.
Two things I learned:
- Hitting the squirrel with the soft, sweepy part of the broom not only doesn’t hurt the little bugger, but it rather encourages him to ricochet from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, at incredible speed.
- Squirrels can climb like a mother. Up anything. And they can go up just as fast as they can go in any other direction. Swinging away wildly, I felt like Julio Lugo facing a Roger Clemens with a butt full of steroids. Not a ghost of a prayer of a chance.
Then, after about 20 exhausting minutes, I realized that I hadn’t actually seen the squirrel for a bit and I stopped to study the situation. I decided to enlist our trusty cat to sniff him out from under the bed or wherever, but no luck. In my frenzy, I had evidently missed his escape via whatever secret passage let him in here in the first place.
So the crisis was all over. As were the drapes, books, magazines, etc. I toyed with the idea of going back to sleep, but we were actually as wide awake as we had been in weeks. So we straightened up the bedroom a bit and put on the coffee.
Anyway, long story short, after consultation with the authorities we have to:
- Find the hole(s) that allowed the squirrel(s) into the attic from outside.
- Plug all but one with metal cloth (huh?) and wood.
- Examine the attic for nests, etc. Remove them.
- Put lights on up there 24/7. They don’t like that.
- Put a radio up there. The sound of human voices repels them. (If that’s true, WATD will probably drive them to suicide)
- Possibly scatter moth balls around the attic. (Jury still out on that)
- Hire a carpenter to securely and permanently patch the hole(s). $$$!!!
There goes Saturday. At least.
If our 7 step program doesn’t yield results, I plan to implement the Uncle Hank Memorial Squirrel Remediation Program. It’s a bit complicated, but it involves a pellet gun, a six-pack of beer, an optional iPod and a lawn chair in the attic.
Hey, it’s probably more humane than WATD.
Any volunteers? I’ve got two lawn chairs….
Update 8/16/2012: Fox pee! A purchased bottle of Fox Urine applied generously to the attic repels rodents. They were gone in an hour.