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Published April 13, 2021

Squirrel wants its yard free of cats

By John Toth / The Bulletin

I was in the backyard watching my cats chasing bugs and listening to birds singing and a young squirrel complaining.

At least I think it was complaining. It made the same sound over and over like it wants the cats to get out of his yard. I don’t know if it was a male or female, but I could tell that it was ticked off.

I put some pecans on the fence. Walnuts are cheaper, but I couldn’t find the bag. The squirrel let me get pretty near to it before climbing up the tree; then the complaints continued.

The cats were only interested in flying bugs and ignored the squirrel, who returned after I left to check out his new goodies - while still complaining.

Then it shut up and got down to some serious eating. After finishing, it complained again because the cats were still in his yard.

Another squirrel in the next yard started complaining. I wonder if they have some sort of pipeline set up to inform each other to stay away from my backyard (or is it theirs?) while the cats are there?

This was a new litter of squirrels born in the winter in a nest built in a tree in the backyard. The nest has been there for a while. When I had the tree cut back last summer, I made sure the nests were not disturbed.

I was surprised that the young ones (pups) survived the freeze. I think that may be because they sought shelter in my neighbor’s attic, from where they were subsequently evicted by Killum Pest Control.

The company name does not indicate what happened to them. The technician set up a camera where the squirrels entered the attic. The next day the video showed two squirrels leisurely coming and going, then stopping to bathe in the afternoon sun.

The next day they were trapped and relocated to an area where they could live forever after without destroying things in the attic, like A/C ducts and wiring.

These same squirrels, or their relatives, tried to break into our attic also, but we caught that in time and blocked the entrance before they could move in their furniture.

We have several squirrel families living around the house, and I hope they have learned from the past and will stay away from our power transformer.

I knew what happened after hearing what sounded like a gunshot. Then the house went dark, and I had to call Texas-New Mexico Power company.

I had the number saved to my cell phone from the previous time this happened.

“Bring that long stick also. You’ll need a new capacitor,” I told the nice lady on the phone. This was before the nice lady was replaced by computer voices and options.

The power company workers knew exactly what to do. I guess I wasn’t the only house that was left without power because of an unlucky squirrel.

I thought for a long time that squirrels mate for life, but after doing a little research for this column, I was surprised to learn that they do not.

While male and female squirrels will often share a nest during mating season, once the pups are born, the male is kicked out and has to go find a new place to live. That’s gratitude for you.

Squirrels can live to be 20 years old in captivity, but in the wild they live much shorter lives due to predation and the challenges of their habitat. At birth, their life expectancy is 1-2 years. An adult typically can live to be six years old.

Mr. or Miss Squirrel finished eating the pecans and seemed satisfied. It even stopped grunting after the cats went back inside. Bon appetit. We’ll do it again. Just let me know you’re here by complaining about the cats being in your yard.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)