(Remy and a squirrel. Not the one that has moved in with us)
We had a knock on our door one day before Christmas. It was the man from next door, looking very serious. He suggested that we had mice in our attic as he had been catching them in his attic and had heard noise coming from our side of the dividing wall.
I put some traps out in the attic but didn’t catch anything. I assumed that this was because the corridors that the mice were running along were the walls that divide the houses. I don’t have a ladder long enough to get that far into the attic so I just left the traps around the attic trap-door and hoped for the best.
Having a baby that likes to cry meant that we were awake in the night to hear the rustling noises in the attic. So I phoned a pest control man to come get rid of the mice. After a lot of alterations to the date Mouse Man was coming (caused, partly, by snow and partly by Mouse Man and his wife not co-ordinating his diary properly) he came and explained that we don’t have mice in our attic at all. We have squirrels.
This news encountered a mixed reception because a squirrel, who has become known as Mr. Squiggs, has been a regular visitor in our garden for a few months, eating the nuts that Emma puts out for him.
We think the squirrels are coming into the houses through a small hole in next door’s fascia (the other side, not where the mice have been caught). So I went next door to tell them that they might have squirrels in their attic. The people from next door are Polish and don’t know the word squirrel. I don’t know the Polish word for squirrel. I understood that they thought the noises they heard were rats so tried to explain that they weren’t rats but things with bushy tales. I also understood that they wanted me to leave when she started closing the front door.
Mouse Man put some poison down and said he would come back two weeks later. This turned into three weeks because of Mouse Man’s diary system. When he did come back all of the poison that he put down had been eaten. This means that he doesn’t know if all of the squirrels are dead yet.
In rodent communities, it seems, the alpha male will eat as much food as he needs before distributing any to his mate and young. This could mean that only Mr Squiggs has eaten the poison and that the female and young could still be free to chew through our plumbing. So Mouse Man has to put some more poison down and will come back again to see if there is some left, as that means that there are no squirrels left to eat the poison.
So we still have squirrels.
Which is nuts.