How Not to Get Rid of Squirrels

Sometimes you have to face facts. When overrun with squirrels, there’s really only one solution. And it’s not rubber snakes or hot sauce or a BB gun.

When I moved into my house in Eastlake Estates almost five years ago, I quickly discovered that squirrels had been nesting—probably for years—in the attic. Worse than that, they’d chewed the wiring in my garage and done several hundred dollars-worth of electrical damage. Damage that could have been devastating if left undiscovered.

But lucky for me, I had Sophie, who was not only the cutest dog in the whole wide world but also an outstanding hunter. Even though the woods in my back yard were filled with them, the squirrels made themselves scarce when Sophie was around. After she died, word got out that the coast was clear. Iniesta, my dog that didn’t get killed, is the live-and-let-live type. And the squirrels knew it.

Thus the terrorizing began.

My bird feeders were their first target. The baffle didn’t baffle them. When it was too close to the ground, they jumped over it and climbed the pole to the feeders. When I slid it higher, they managed to dangle from the lip and stretch and stretch and stretch to attack the feeders upside down. I greased the pole with Crisco. No use. I bought double-sided tape and wrapped it around the pole. They thanked me for providing extra traction. Finally, I moved the baffle as far up as it would go and tilted it at a 45-degree angle. Then I positioned the feeders directly above it, which looks funny but solved the problem.

So the squirrels gave up on bird seed and turned their attention to something even better: dog food, which—on days when Iniesta doesn’t eat it all as soon as I feed her—is in a bowl on my screened porch.

The little devils were perpetually on the lookout for the times when I didn’t close the screen door tightly enough or when I left the door to the garage, which adjoins the porch, open a little too long while moving the car in or out. After I became wise to those errors, the squirrels officially declared war. They clawed and gnawed holes in the screen. I patched the holes with duct tape. I blocked them with boards and bricks and concrete blocks. I cut up cardboard boxes and wedged them between the porch floor and the spindles. But no sooner was one hole was made impenetrable than the squirrels created another.

I put some menacing-looking rubber snakes on the porch steps. The squirrels laughed. I smeared the screen and railing with undiluted Tabasco sauce. They lapped it up. I bought a BB gun and stationed myself in the back yard with it cocked and loaded. They continued to taunt me, even after I pinged them a time or two.

There was only one thing left to do. In a future column, I’ll tell you what it was.

(July 21, 2019)