Monday, October 12, 2009

Worse Than Rats

When we were househunting 15 years ago, one of the nicer houses we looked at was what we now refer to as “The Squirrel House.” Nice home, a “California Split,” with everything in good shape. Understand please that we were at the bottom of the heap for pricing: fixer-uppers were definitely our domain, and solid sheetrock walls and level floors were a rarity in the homes we reviewed!! So the house was in great shape and we were excited. We went to tour the home, and found that every.single.windowframe and every.single.door had been methodically chewed by squirrels. There were trees overhanging the roof, and the squirrels would scoot across the roof, climb down the chimney, and trap themselves in the house. They gnawed at every bit of woodwork within. It was a MESS. When we toured the house a second time, we actually chased a squirrel out of the house by opening a lower-level sliding door and shoo-ing it out the door. We didn’t buy that house but not because of the squirrels; we wanted gardens and kids, and the land was on a steep hillside with little flat area for either gardening or children’s play. The woodwork would have been expensive but judicious trimming would have resolved the issue and the topography really soured the deal for us.

We bought a house with few trees in the immediate vicinity of the structure. Not that we were paranoid BUT. There are three swamp maples near the house that we talked about thinning, but as a group they made one huge, beautifully shaped tree. 15 years later they are getting much too large and we are talking once again about cutting down one or two of them. I hate to give up the South-side shade in the summer, but they are just getting too big! My little flower garden (my back vividly remembers the stone wall I built for it) is now a full-shade garden, much harder to get good colorful plantings to thrive. And we’ve had to limb the nearest tree every year to keep the branches from reaching the roofline.

We failed.

Saturday morning I heard a nasty scraping sound while I was outside. Woodpecker? Owl? What IS that?!? I found a hole up in the fascia boards. I got my camera and used the zoom to get a better look.

Yup, that's a hole. A BIG hole. In my House! This morning, hubby found the problem. Gasp! A SQUIRREL!

So we need to patch that hole, and FAST, and be certain the squirrel is OUT before we do so; we’ve both seen firsthand the damage a trapped rodent with a cute bushy tail can do. Then we need to limb that tree! There is only one limb near the roof (you can see it in the first pic) at this time, and it doesn't extend past the roofline so the creature must have leapt from there. We actually discussed this earlier this year and decided that the branch was probably too fine to support a squirrel.



  1. Okay, I have to tell you this story. I read your blog post two nights ago and just kind of 'filed it' in my head. Then yesterday at two different places, there were two separate conversations by different people who started ranting about the squirrels and how they are such a nuisance in the older homes(well, the ones with the wood fascia) It was so ironic! So, yes, apparantly here in Coquitlam, BC, squirrels are naughty, cheeky, and destructive too. But, according to my brother in law - it's all about the food chain. where we are right now, at their place, the cougar den is nearby, the bears are out in full force, and thus the squirrels aren't bad this year. *shudder*

  2. We've seen squirrels running on the cable wires so a slim branch would likely be no problem!

    But the reason I stopped by, was I had to tell you, I just looked at your profile, and all of your favourite books are my favourite books! Get out of my head!!! :)

  3. I lived in an apartment once that was in the back of an old Victorian home. Squirrels lived in the ceiling/insulation/roof area just above my bed. I had nightmares (and daymares) of a squirrel chewing through the ceiling and dropping onto me in the middle of the night! Thankfully, that never happened and they never got indoors, but that rustling chewing sound still creeps me out 16 years later!