P80408Wildlife and domestic animals seem to follow me everywhere I go. When Brent and I lived in the dorms at Cal Poly, our room was known as the Jungle Room, not only because of all the greenery, but also because every little bird that got knocked out while trying to fly through the big windows at the dining room was brought to our room to recuperate. A baby squirrel that weaseled into my jacket while I was out collecting insects for an entomology class lived with us for a while. There were two baby ducks that need a bit more explaining.

When I moved south of town, where my roommates boarded horses, the horses worked diligently to open their gate to come to the house to eat my rare plants. The neighbor’s cattle sometimes did the same! When it rained, creepy crawdads came out of the ditch at the railroad tracks and up to my porch.

When I moved to Los Gatos, it seemed that every stray dog in town eventually arrived at my home. In fact, my home was ransacked by the FBI just because their bloodhound who was supposed to be pursuing a suspect of a crime wanted to come by! Again, that takes a bit more explaining. Birds flew through freely. A pair of some sort of small bird nested in my shower, and before I realized it, started to raise a family . . . and finished. Pigeons tried to nest repeatedly in the same spot on top of the refrigerator, but got evicted. A squirrel moved into the guest room, and refused to leave. It sometimes tried to join me for breakfast.

Then, at my second home, there was Timmy the baby deer, two feral cats, skunks, coons, squirrels and more neighborhood dogs than I can remember, as well as Bill the little terrier who actually lived there. I could go on. https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/timmy-in-the-garden/

Squirrels are a common denominator. They are everywhere.

My home in town was in the Live Oak Manor district, which, as you can guess, was dominated by huge old coast live oaks as well as comparable valley oaks. The valley oak next door was supposedly the largest in the Santa Clara Valley. Squirrels were everywhere and very well fed!

The east facing window over my desk would have had a good view of Mount Hamilton if the view had not been so cluttered with utility cables. The wildlife that used the cables could get annoying at times. Crows made their annoying noise. Pigeons just stared at me stupidly. Squirrels scurried by with bits of fruits and vegetables that they stole from the garden, and sometimes stopped to cuss at me. I sometimes cussed back, but also reminded them to be careful as they jumped from the high voltage cables into the tops of the neighbor’s hedged redwood trees below. The redwoods sometimes grew dangerously close to the high voltage cables between clearance pruning.

As you can imagine, the unimaginable but obviously predictable happened. I do not know if he was coming or going, but I would guess that he was jumping from the tree to the cable. I only heard a loud ‘ZAP’ and subsequent ‘FIZZLE’. By the time I looked out, the unfortunate squirrel was a swinging charred carcass with a death grip on the cable he was reaching for. The death grip was impressive. He stayed there for a long time, swinging in the breeze. Silent sparks could sometimes be seen at night, where his tail brushed against the tip of the redwood shoot. I do not know if a crow finally got him, or if he just fell into the neighbor’s yard. Either way, he did not get a proper burial.

16 thoughts on “Squirrel!

  1. I love squirrels. I had a fox squirrel as a pet for eight years — although “pet” implies a level of domestication that wasn’t there. But he was fun, and a great source of stories. I hate that unfortunate ending for one of the critters, but life is hard. Great tale.

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    1. I disliked the squirrels there, but they cleaned up the acorns. The foliage from the neighbor’s valley oak was quite abundant. I am glad that I did not need to sweep acorns too.

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    1. He was out of reach and quite well done. We did not eat squirrels in that neighborhood anyway, because we had not way of knowing what they had been eating. They probably would have been fine right there because there were too many acorns for them to bother with anything else, but one never knows. Those outside of town are supposedly safer, but are also not as good as those in other regions because the coast live oak is the most common oak here.


  2. We don’t have squirrels here, as you probably know, and I think they’re particularly cute animals especially the red European ones which I think are quite endangered. I believe people are not that keen on squirrels in their gardens. The squirrel’s death would have been quite alarming to observe.

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    1. No squirrels? I suppose not. However, you have those terrifying wallabies! Squirrels are sort of cute when they are being nice. They are a problem when they take produce from the garden though. They can take all the nuts from an entire large walnut tree. Nonetheless, it was sad that he died the way he did. It would have been less alarming if he did not hang on the line right outside my window for so long.


  3. Gross, but pretty darned funny. We also have our fair share of visitors. Our grossest story includes the possum that was found at the bottom of the pool, and mummified rat found behind some cabinets on our back porch. Life in the suburbs, I guess!

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