Several years ago while visiting the Grand Canyon, my chance to enjoy one of the world’s greatest natural wonders was marred by an unprovoked squirrel attack. Anyone who’s been there can tell you that the park is completely over run by hordes of crazed, hyperactive squirrels. It’s gotten so bad that the park service installed coin-operated food dispensers, the idea being that tourists could feed the squirrels while remaining blissfully unaware that the pellets were, in effect, simply a diversion meant to save their lives.
The problem is that the squirrels are now SICK of these pellets, which tourists still purchase, but now hurl directly at the squirrels while fleeing back to their cars. In most cases, they never get to see the Grand Canyon at all, choosing instead to escape by turning their windshield wipers on high and dislodging enough squirrels to navigate their way into the nearest Sequoia patch.
(Movie note: Thelma & Louise originally ended with them eluding the police, then tragically plunging into the Grand Canyon in a hail of gun fire, food pellets and flailing squirrels.)
I bring this up because of an e-mail I received from Janet Blevons of Ashland, Ore., who sent me a Associated Press news story headlined:
Squirrel Terrorizes Town
According to the article, residents of Knutsford, England are living in fear following several attacks from “a rogue squirrel” that is apparently attracted to (and who isn’t) nacho-flavored Doritos.
“It’s very unusual behavior,” said a British zoologist, who didn’t specify whether he was referring to the attacks or the rodent’s choice in snack food.
What is clear is something I’ve known since that fateful day at the Grand Canyon—which is that squirrels can’t be trusted.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Students at the University of Washington have created a website called scareysquirrel.org, which records attacks from what students say is “a well-organized gang of squirrels” wearing tiny leather jackets with No Fear stitched on the back.
And, just like in Knutsford, these squirrels have an affinity for nacho-flavored Doritos.
I know what you’re thinking:
As long as I stay away from Doritos, I won’t become a victim.
I’d like to say yes.
But the fact is, I’d probably be sued by Frito-Lay.
Besides, there were no taco chips involved when a wet squirrel leaped into a 10,000-volt power station in France, knocking out electricity to 5,000 homes and causing hundreds of injuries as French residents, in a wide-spread panic, all rushed into the streets at the same time to surrender.
Scare tactic, or stupid squirrel?
We’ll never know for sure.
What I do know is that if you’re serious about protecting yourself and the ones you love, then it’s time to start thinking about wolf urine. That’s right. For some reason, squirrels really hate this stuff. There are several ways to go about obtaining it. For the frugal-minded who refuse to pay in-store prices, there’s always the option of going out and getting it yourself. Needless to say, this presents several challenges, including—but not limited to—being eaten alive.
Another option is to leave urine gathering to the professionals and simply purchase one of the many squirrel repellents now available without a 10-day waiting period. One such product is Shake-Away, which only sounds like a new weight-loss program.
Actually, it’s a repellent made from dried fox urine that supposedly offers 6,000 square feet of protection in each 20-ounce bottle. Since the product is all natural, it’s completely non-toxic, which means it can be sprinkled around gardens, door ways, or even directly onto things you wish to protect.
Starting with nacho-flavored Doritos.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Or. 97439)