Why New England’s Squirrels Have Been Acting Like Real Jerks Lately
Every morning on my way into work, at the same intersection, a pack of deer greet me – specifically, deer with no fear. In the Before Times, these deer would hit the ground running the minute my headlights came over the hill.
But not anymore. It’s up to them to brake for me.
Then there was the North Shore Black Bear. Taunting us all summer like Leonardo DiCaprio in “Catch Me if You Can”, it appeared on doorbell cams and pool surveillance video during its brazen summer on the run before finally saying, "What took you so long?"
But I’ll tell you who’s a real piece of work: those damn, dirty squirrels.
It all began last fall when my mom had me buy a dozen tiny pumpkins to line my parents’ fence in October. By the end of the day, the pumpkins had been ransacked like a TJ Maxx on Black Friday. Even the stems were gone!
And sitting there, almost daring us to get angry while they ate up the last few bits of orange sludge, were the jerk squirrels.
Like the Children of the Corn, they didn’t even wait until the sun set to ruin Halloween.
But Mom wouldn’t give up.
“If you put some Vaseline on the pumpkins, that’ll keep the squirrels away.”
So, there I was later that day, in broad daylight, in front of my parents' house, greasing up some pumpkins. And guess what? Within minutes, the squirrels were back for more.
Just what is behind the Squirrel Revolution? As it turns out, it might be us.
While we were all indoors watching “Tiger King” for the better part of 2020, the yards we once ruled were left unattended. And the squirrels, as well as other wildlife, took control of the moment.
According to Science.com, wildlife accustomed to hiding now roamed in broad daylight, and were less active in response to humans reemerging. In other words, they ain’t scared of us anymore.
Much like Gen Z doesn’t know the angst of someone picking up the phone when you’re trying to log onto AOL, this new generation of squirrels was never taught to fear humans. And so, the nut is in their court.
So, support your local farms this fall. Take some hayrides, run through a corn maze, snatch up what you need to bake your favorite pie. But buy pumpkins at your own peril.
Might I suggest you also spring for a guard dog (or should I say gourd dog?).