City gone squirrely


(He’s gun camera shy.)

We live in the city. Which means we have city squirrels.

How is a city squirrel different from a country squirrel? Or a suburban squirrel? While I can’t speak to any genetic mutations or species-specific differences, I do know that, until we moved to the city, I had never known squirrels to be so…


I was mildly taken aback when squirrels chewed two rodent-sized holes in our trash can (one is “in” and the other “out?”). And that whole thing about chomping away at our Halloween Jack-O-Lantern? Well, it wouldn’t be Halloween in the city without a half-gnawed pumpkin head, now would it?

And I thought it kind of cute, the day my 8-year old came in from outside and said, “Mom. You’ll never guess what I just saw. It was a squirrel, with a piece of buttered bread in its mouth.”  And I was all, “ok, ha ha, that’s funny, why do you really want me to come outside?”  And she was all, “no, REALLY Mom.” And so I walked outside, and what was staring me in the face, but a squirrel, with a piece of buttered bread in its mouth. Perfectly-buttered. Like it was presented to the squirrel on a platter, with a side of bacon.

But then the relationship started to go downhill last summer, when they began eating our tomatoes. I took action, whipping up a hot pepper spray using a half-pound of habaneros and dousing our plants.

I can only assume our squirrels like their tomatoes spicy, because it didn’t deter in the least.

Then last weekend, I had just finished putting the last strips of plaster-of-paris-dipped newspaper on the Death Star Pinata we were making for my son’s 6th birthday party. I set it outside to dry while I iced cupcakes, feeling totally on top of things, for once. I even remember seeing a squirrel sitting right outside our back door, and I swear he looked inside at me. I think he might have even chuckled. Because a half-hour later, I went out to get the Death Star, and this is what I found:


The Squirrel had chewed right through, presumably gnawing away to get the recycled Halloween candy from inside.

And then today. I have a fun new writing gig, over at NUVO (Indy’s alternative newspaper) — and one of my upcoming stories is about the Indiana Artisan Marketplace. I’ll be doing a preview story, so the PR folks wanted to send a basket o’ goodies to get the creative juices flowing. I gave the rep my address, and told her to leave it on my porch if we weren’t here.


So this afternoon I was doing some work when a glint on the front porch caught my eye. I looked, and it was a random bottle, lying in a position like someone tossed it up to my door. I opened the door, and saw the goodie basket. I was still trying to figure out how the deliverer managed to let a jar of maple syrup fall to the concrete floor unawares when, as I picked up the basket, I saw something else that wasn’t quite right.

A gnawed-through bag, of what used to be three giant dark chocolate chip coconut marshmallows, from 240Sweet. Only there were just two marshmallows left.


And it wasn’t as much the fact that the squirrel took a marshmallow — I mean, who can blame him — but the fact that he came onto my front porch. Just walked right up to the front door, and took stuff out of my basket. Tried to walk away with the maple syrup, even.

Well, it ends here. Squirrel, if you are reading — and honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had an iPad stashed away somewhere in our crawlspace, with a twitter account an all — when you strutted up to my front porch, you crossed a line.

I have three kids, and two marshmallows.

This, squirrel?





9 thoughts on “City gone squirrely

  1. I think it’s because they are those big old red squirrels. Those things are monsters. First time I saw one, I wondered where the leaking nuclear plant was and how many other nearby mammals had mutated.

    Our Mississippi grey squirrels are petite and well-behaved. They frolic in my hackberry trees but don’t steal from me.

  2. it’s totally the city squirrels. i think your squirrel’s family lives in our backyard. and they might have a joint funeral this summer if they aren’t careful.

  3. We have a similar problem here in the ‘burbs, only it’s with rabbits. I swear some mornings they flip me off on their way back to their dens, after they’ve spent the night eating my flowers and veggies. I used to think they were cute, now my neighbor and I are seriously thinking about going halfsies on a BB gun. Rodents of central Indiana beware!

  4. They ARE wicked!! The first year we lived in Indy I had a war with them over my fall porch decor. Lets just say the squirrels won. I have fake pumpkins now, and will never again put pretty corn stalks near our house.

    And Ive just had to learn to laugh when I see my bulbs coming up in all sorts of interesting places in my yard instead of the neat rows I plant them in. Ah well.

  5. A squirrel that likes sweets. That’s a new one. Here’s a tip on the marshmallows. They cut in half really nicely. Cut the two pieces into four and then you can eat one too. No one will know the difference.

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