Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Freakin' Squirrel Problem!

Like the title says, we have a squirrel problem in our house. Two summers ago a young squirrel decided to find its way into our house and freak out my wife in the family room. I was dropping my daughter off at ballet and of course decided I didn't need my cell phone for such a short trip (mistake #1).

Well, when I finally made it home I could hear my wife screaming my name from inside. I run into the house to find her and our middle son (youngest at the time) on the couch. She tells me that the squirrel ran into the room past her and the baby, into the fireplace. Then she says that she stayed in the room to keep it trapped in the fireplace and that I need to take care of it.

Aaaa, okay. I don't know about anyone else but I've never dealt with a squirrel in the house before. So I creep into the room thinking it's going to jump out and attack me or maybe get scared and start running around the room looking for a way out. I've heard that you could open a window and try to shoo it out, yeah right! Or maybe set a trap in the room and get it out that way, yeah didn't get around to buying one of those yet (mistake #2). Best solution, call someone else to take care of it.

So I call an animal control guy and he shows up with a fishing net. He asks me in his manly Italian accent if I want to come into the room to help and laughs at me as I decline the invitation. Doesn't bother me, I'm not the one getting paid to risk my life!

After a few minutes he traps the squirrel in the net and tells me to open the front door. I open the door and go onto the porch. I start to look in to see whats going on (mistake #3). The next thing I see is a ball of fur coming at me. Thank god years of martial arts training sharpened my reflexes and I got out of the way just in time. The guy tells me that the squirrel was ready to jump out of the net so he had to fling him out the door.

I don't know what would have been worse, the squirrel escaping back into the house or the squirrel in my face, but I was happy to have it out of the house. The guy told that it was a young squirrel and we were lucky because an adult would have been harder to handle. He then told me that one way the squirrels get into the house is by sitting in the gutters and chewing a hole through the fascia into the attic.

Sure enough, one day I watched a squirrel climb up to the gutter and followed its tail as it ran inside the gutter. It then disappeared somewhere in the middle of its run. I already knew there were squirrels in the attic but didn't know how they were getting in until then.

Armed with my new knowledge I proceeded to get all the necessary materials to squirrel proof the attic (traps and wire mesh). Bought 2 sizes of traps, a smaller one for flying squirrels and a larger one for grey squirrels. Setup the smaller one in the attic with no luck, the trap was tripped with no bait left behind. I figure it was either a grey squirrel that was too big and prevented the door from closing or it was something smaller that got through the mesh of the cage.

I second guessed setting up the bigger trap in the attic because I thought if I did end up catching a grey squirrel, how would I get it down from the attic and through the house without it peeing & pooping all over the place. So I ended up placing the larger trap on the porch and caught 2 squirrels that way. One that had been eating the Halloween pumpkins and breaking pots and one that I saw chewing paint off a column (little bastards).

I searched online to find out what i could do with the trapped bastards and found that in NJ you could either put them down or release them at or near the site of capture. Being Buddhist kind of ruled out the first option but the second option didn't really make any sense. So I searched a little more and found this document

The document talks about relocation to a better habitat. In both instances I drove them 10 miles out and released them in a large wooded area, which I believe is a better habitat. But I'm starting to rethink the relocation plan as it's most likely just creating a problem elsewhere. The other option is starting to come up for consideration but I don't know if I have it in me to do it. So I may just have to get a pet that would eat squirrels, maybe the koi pond I wanted to build could be a piranha pond instead.

Haven't gotten around to putting up the wire mesh yet but will hopefully do that in the spring. Stay tuned for that project...


Gregory said...

eat them

shclin said...

Believe me, I thought about that but I don't think I'm quite ready to give it a try.