Don’t mess with the wildlife

Posted 6/8/23

In an alarmed voice Carol announced Friday morning, “there’s a squirrel in your car.”

I understood perfectly why she stood on the porch and no closer to the car. Years ago she …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don’t mess with the wildlife


In an alarmed voice Carol announced Friday morning, “there’s a squirrel in your car.”

I understood perfectly why she stood on the porch and no closer to the car. Years ago she attempted to assist a squirrel that became entrapped in a snare of garden tools and buckets on the back porch. She was on a mission to come to the aid of this poor creature. The squirrel looked at it quite differently. When she reached to free him, he bit her finger down to the bone. Fortunately, her yell was enough for the squirrel to let her go.

The image that came to my mind is what Ollie did to the interior of my Subaru soon after we adopted him. He loves the car and would race from one side of the back seat to the other to howl a greeting to any pedestrian and or dog in a yard or walking. So, we imagined he would be quite happy in the car when we visited Ted and Erica and the granddaughters in North Kingstown for lunch. We left the windows down but not far enough for him to get out.

Ted had a story for us. He was in a battle with the deer that had dined on his garden and decimated freshly planted ornamentals. He’d  tried scare crows and coyote piss, which wasn’t cheap,  to no avail.

The deer were the only explanation to what we found upon leaving. Ollie was in the back seat, just about the only place that hadn’t been trashed. He had torn out the headliner and the dash exposing the passenger air bag. Ollie looked quite content, not even a glimmer of guilt for the disaster he had caused. Our conclusion was that being a spotted coon hound from North Carolina, {we assumed he had been trained to hunt}   he had spotted one or more deer munching on Ted’s botanical offerings and sending him into a frenzy.

Would and could a squirrel similarly trapped inside my car wreak such destruction?  And how had it gotten inside the car ? I hadn’t left a window open.

“Listen,” said Carol, “you can hear him.”

Indeed, there was a scrabbling from under the hood. As I approached the car three squirrels ran from under the car and raced up a nearby tree to chatter. The critter under the hood kept scratching. On opening the hood it dove down to the bowels of the engine where I could clearly see its bushy tail.

Now what?

Do I start the engine in hopes of it abandoning its perch? Might it dive into one of the spinning belts?

Cautiously, Carol handed me a stick. Could prodding it force him to leave, or might it view the stick as a lifeline and run up my arm? I gave it a shot. The tail disappeared. Carol announced she’d seen another squirrel on the tree although she couldn’t tell if it was one we had already seen. The engine compartment was silent. I figured it was safe to go to work.

I turned the ignition key wondering if it would start. Could the squirrel have chewed some wire or hose in its desperate move to be free? Whew, the critter hadn’t pulled an Ollie on the engine.

I put the car into reverse and looked at the dashboard screen to get a view of the drive as I backed out.

There ,to my astonishment, was a squirrel as if leading me out.

Perhaps he was as happy to see me leave as I was to have him go.

wildlife, squirrel, editorial


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here