I was working with my gardener Federico when I noticed what I thought was a dead grey squirrel curled up near the compost pile.
“Look at that,” I said, “A dead squirrel, can you get rid of it?”
The squirrel must have heard. It unrolled itself, sat up and blinked, looking sad.
Federico noticed that ants were crawling over its spiky little feet. Yes, the sick squirrel was pathetic but as I looked at it, I was overcome by rage at its kind.
Squirrels are just rats with good PR. They eat my flower bulbs. They wiped out my crop of snow peas by eating the plants. They dug out my lettuce plants. And they are trying to invade my home. I have proof.
Look at this picture. I heard noises around my skylights, and I hired a roofer to investigate. The bright parts are SQUIRREL CHEWED METAL. SQUIRREL EATEN ALUMINUM. Yikes
I looked again at the woozy squirrel.
“Get rid of it.” I said, and went into the house to hide. Later, Federico, who is a kind man, told me he just put it under a bush.
Very early the next morning, I woke up from a dream about fleas and squirrels in a cold sweat.
Squirrels are a vector. There was sick squirrel loose in my yard. A vector animal carries sickness from one species to another. What could it do? I looked up squirrels at the Santa Clara County vector control website:
While the headline disease now is WNV, the West Nile Virus, turns out squirrels can carry bubonic plague, too. THE plague! That killed 1/3 of Europe!
Visions of “Bring Out Your Dead” from Monty Python danced in my head. thinking that squirrels can carry the PLAGUE! I called and emailed vector control about the sick squirrel in my backyard.After I hung up it hit me.The squirrel might have recovered. While it was still at large, it was not my problem.I stopped hyperventilating, and left the house for an errand.When I got back, my husband hollered down the stairs at me. “Did you call someone about a sick squirrel?”I wanted to tell him about everything, fleas, plague, buboes, Monty Python. I wanted to bury my face in his chest and have him soothe my fears of being the epicenter of a horrible pestilence. But he was upstairs, and I am lazy.
“Yes,” I hollered back upstairs to him.
“They said if the squirrel isn’t dead, and you don’t have it, then they can’t pick it up.”
“OK,” I hollered up.
Right, I thought. They can’t test a living squirrel for disease, only a dead one.I made a quick tour of my garden, looking for the corpse, but didn’t find anything. So the squirrel probably recovered.
If that recovered squirrel ends up chewing on my skylights, I’m killing it for sure and calling Vector Control again.