One Smug Squirrel (#286)

There weren’t many squirrels around when Andy and I moved into our little house in Southern California. The native Western gray squirrel lives off oak trees and hangs out mostly in forests. SoCal isn’t big on forests.

The few squirrels we did begin to see weren’t natives. They looked exactly like the squirrels I grew up with in D.C. and Virginia. That’s because they were Eastern fox squirrels, brought to Santa Monica by veterans a century ago as pets. These squirrels are savvy little scavengers. They used telephone and electrical wires to colonize Los Angeles County.

They’ve bamboozled numerous elderly neighbors into feeding them peanuts daily. Which means that those invasive squirrels bury their unshelled peanuts in my flower beds and Andy’s vegetable gardens. They also eat our peaches, but not in a good way, like Mr. Possum.

Mr. Possum stops by our yard at night, helps himself to the compost bin, and chows down on any ripe fruit that’s fallen off trees (fallen fruit is best when covered in insects—extra protein). The worst thing Mr. Possum does is sneak a bite of leftover dog food.

An Invasive Dick Squirrel, on the other hand, will climb the peach tree, pull off an unripe peach, and take one bite. Then he drops it in the yard. He finds another peach, eats one bite, and drops it. Because that’s how Invasive Dick Squirrel rolls.

We encouraged our dogs to chase those squirrels. “Get it” became a command. The furry demons were forced to retreat from our backyard. They still dug up my freesia and pansies in the front yard, though.

Unfortunately, there was a problem with teaching the dogs to chase squirrels.

They didn’t stop. They become squirrel-chasing addicts, like the dogs in the movie Up.

Which wasn’t bad when I walked dogs early in the morning, before the squirrels woke up.

During the last few weeks of no school, though, I’ve taken kid, soccer ball, and dog to the park. (Parks and paths are open, playgrounds are closed.) Baby D juggled and kicked his ball on a huge field, rather than into our neighbors’ yards (retrieving a ball is not compatible with social distancing). I’d walk the dog until he got hot, then sit on a picnic bench near a shady tree.

On our last trip to the park, an Invasive Dick Squirrel was hiding in the tree. Unbeknownst to me, it crept down the tree and scuttled within a few feet of the dog.

Well, that’s what I assume happened. All I really knew was that I was yanked sideways off the picnic table and dragged a few feet before all the swear words coming out of my mouth caught up with the dog. He stopped.

Invasive Dick Squirrel got away.

Dog and I had a discussion about the merits of “stay” versus trying to catch even the stupidest Invasive Dick Squirrels.

We went back to the picnic table and continued counting how many times Baby D could kick/ knee the ball without dropping it.

Less than 5 minutes later, I was on the ground AGAIN, because Invasive Dick Squirrel had returned. It clearly understood and took advantage of the concept of leashed dogs, standing just out of reach, chittering smugly. While my wrist burned and my hip throbbed.

I let the leash go and said, “Get it.”

Have you ever seen a squirrel’s face go from “Ha-ha” to “Oh, fuck?”

I have. It was glorious.

No squirrels were harmed in the making of this post. Unless you count a TINY bit of fur off of the tip of a bushy tail. But don’t feel bad for it. It is an invasive species.

And also a dick.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

16 thoughts on “One Smug Squirrel (#286)”

  1. That happened to a groundhog with a friend’s dog. The dog was usually leashed in the back yard and the groundhog was safe until that one day. Sadly it was the groundhog’s last day.

    1. Groundhogs are not as fast as squirrels, sadly. I would never release a dog if I thought he could actually CATCH the prey.

      I just wanted the squirrel to learn caution. The hard way.

  2. I’d have loved to see that squirrel’s face. We have squirrels around here who I do not feed. I accept them, but do have issues with their propensity to dig in flower pots, just for the heck of it. They ruin my flower gardening chi.

    1. I find unshelled peanuts in flower pots ALL THE TIME. We’ve tried to tell the couple that insists on feeding them to quit it, that its not healthy for the squirrels to be dependent on non-native, human dispensed food, but they just think the squirrels are so cute. (And the bag of peanuts is cheap.) Ugh.

  3. I used to hate squirrels, referring to them as “rats with bushy tails” every opportunity I had. And then one day, I happened to have one eat peanuts out of my hand and completely changed my tune. I mean, I don’t love them because they do have a habit of taking whatever they want, but at least I can tolerate them now.

    Also, when I moved from WA to SD, I was surprised to see red squirrels here. I’d only ever seen gray ones before.

  4. I often miss squirrels. (A few of them made it over the ocean to Cape Town, but not to Joburg. I guess we’re too far inland?) But maybe I should rethink that feeling.

  5. I’m just north of San Francisco and it used to be all grey foxes here, now there plenty of brown along with a few black and a handful of white, albino?

  6. That squirrel totally deserved it, haha.

    Good that you can take Baby D. to the park. In Spain it was not allowed. Now they’re allowing children to go out for I think a specific amount of time from April 27th on.

    1. Yes, it feels so good to get out, if only for an hour or two. And the air is unbelievably clear. A lot of hiking trails, the beaches, and National Parks are closed, but the little local ones are available for walking, biking, scooters, skateboards, and soccer balls.

  7. I’m late to comment, but your “Invasive Dick Squirrel” name for the pests made me literally laugh out loud. As you know, I’m also dealing with squirrel problems. When I googled about various squirrel remedies for my garden bed, ‘get a dog’ was one of them (and throw their feces on it). I would love to get a dog just so I can see it frighten the shit out of the squirrels near my house. Relish in that glory, Autumn!

    I got some all natural pellets with garlic, cayenne pepper, and all sorts of other smells squirrels hate. Crossing fingers it works!

    1. Ooooo, let me know how those pellets work. Some people put hot sauce on their flowering bulbs, but apparently squirrels did not care.

      They were all, “Cinco de Mayo! Let’s party!” and ate them up.

If you liked this, let the white girl know!