In 1903 Beatrix Potter wrote a story about a squirrel named Nutkin. The story starts: "This is a Tale about a tail—a tail that belonged to a little red squirrel, and his name was Nutkin."
And one of his clan is now living somewhere in my home.
Aunt Pittypat Hamilton had a great statement in the movie Gone With the Wind about Yankees in Georgia. She declared, Southern-belle hand placed melodramatically upon her forehead: "However did they get in?" It works for squirrels too. How did he get in? Perhaps through the front door, left open when I was out on the drive, gathering grocery bags from the Bug to restock the pantry. Or maybe he came down through the chimney. Perhaps Santa showed him the way.
The Black Labbies are very concerned about this intruder. I walked through the living room the other day to find the little varmint sitting right next to Marg's head as she lay snoozing on the couch. I was surprised he didn't have his little squirrelly feet up on the coffee table, using the cable remote to catch the latest doings on Animal Planet. Just my luck. A slacker squirrel. Get a job!
This isn't the first time Mason Neck's wild creatures have paid a visit to this humble abode. A few springs ago I was cleaning up the kitchen, and had some sundries to add to the infamous junk drawer. As I put the stuff in, I noticed a snake, and closed the drawer.
It was a small black snake, slithering among the coupons and rubber bands, matchboxes and emergency candles. I slowly pulled the drawer out of the cabinet and, grimacing the whole time, straight arms holding the drawer as far away from me as possible, walked down the back wooden stairs to place the container on the ground so the little snake could twirl its way out of the drawer to go eat some bugs or something else FAR AWAY.
This squirrel is a juvenile (delinquent...probably tries my clothes on when I am not home) and is quick, not willing to be caught. Have been researching tips on how to catch him so I can release him out where he belongs. I have read that squirrels don't like mothballs. My mother tried that with a skunk in the garage, and the skunk slept through the whole undignified ordeal. So it looks like it has to be a safe trap cage with some peanuts in it. Or maybe the lure is a year's subscription to Ranger Rick. I wonder if they have gift certificates.
PHOTO: Squirrel Nutley, illustration from the book by Beatrix Potter, from Gutenberg.org