Saturday, February 4, 2012

Guilty by Association

The squirrels are in trouble at our house, big time - $2,400 worth! And they have paid a heavy price...

In all honesty, I think we asked for it. Well, some of it at least. We are animals lovers and over the years have enjoyed feeding and observing wild birds. Anyone who does this knows that squirrels come with the bargain, whether desired or not. They simply show up one day, and, like the birds, pass the word on somehow to their fellow squirrels. There is quibbling, to be sure, but somehow they work it out so that most of them get at least a portion of what they come for. And, as with us human cousins, what they get soon leads to what they want - MORE of everything!

So here we have the wonderful little native Douglas Squirrels or Chickarees. For some time, we've enjoyed their antics and haven't really minded the sunflower seeds they go through, except during those times when they feel compelled to bury them everywhere. We have learned not to leave fabric tablecloths or chair pillows out for long as they tend to become nest lining. Mostly, their damage has been minimal and we've learned to live with it.

A couple of years ago, however, we did observe one squirrel in particular running back & forth between our carport and the woods with a mouthful of what looked like chewed-up yarn. Careful observation and inspection led to the car, but we could not see any obvious damage. That squirrel was run over on the road soon after and we forgot all about it. Then, last summer I noticed a small pile of insulation on the back seat of the car. Still, no sign of damage elsewhere - until the fan began to make strange noises when running. We took the car in and damage was found - extensive damage. The repairman told us that "some rodent" had chewed into the fan box, wiring, and much of the insulation lining the hood. To reach, and replace, all of the damage required taking out the entire dashboard. Parts and labor added up to a tidy sum. And so, war was declared on the dear little creatures. They have been unceremoniously removed, gently and otherwise, until only a few remain. Doubtless, their numbers will again increase in time.

Sadly, we don't even know for certain that they caused the damage - mice and rats have been known to do the same thing. We merely declared them "guilty by association". This is something unbelievably easy to do and we all do it from time to time, sometimes with animals, more likely with our fellow humans. It is completely understandable that when we feel wronged or damaged we want to strike back. Sometimes this is justified - more often it is not.

Do not testify against your neighbor without cause,
or use your lips to deceive.
Do not say, "I'll do to him as he has done to me;
I'll pay that man back for what he did."
Proverbs 24:28-29

1 comment:

  1. squirrels!! so cute...yet so mischievous!!

    i had the same thing happen in my (old) car. but not to the extent of yours...they pulled all the insulation from under the hood and made quite a nest under there. i also found a little hidey hole INSIDE the car...under the back seat!

    oh yeah, you might get a break for a little while...enjoy it while it lasts! :)