Monday, 1 October 2007
Squirrel Saga – Part One
In the beginning, it was an innocent incident. I happened to be staring out the sliding doors to the balcony when a smallish grey squirrel poked its head around the corner of the building. Now I live on the third and top floor of the building, no surprise seeing a squirrel at that height, especially if scampering about the treetops, but it is still amazing to watch one hanging motionless on to a stucco finish – even though it has a rough texture – and moving quickly across the surface as if it was on the horizontal. Only the slightest squeak from slowly opening the slider and the squirrel disappeared abruptly back behind the building’s edge. Since there is nothing up here worth eating, it appeared to be simply a chance encounter as he travelled in search of sustenance and would unlikely not return. That was not to be!
Only three or four days later, I became aware of scratching and clawing noises which I assumed were emanating from the exterior of the building. Going into silent mode, I peered out to the deck and then stuck my head out the window to attempt discovering the culprit’s identity. Whatever it was had already left either due to disinterest or my stealth mode was like lumberjacks arriving. So I assumed crows had been using the edge of the gutter to hold a meeting or using it as a watering hole which they do regularly; and then, flew away shrieking in anger at being disturbed. Fast forward to the weekend and fresh coffee in hand, I decide to enjoy the sun sitting out on the deck. Just as I stepped over the raised threshold a chattering broke the silence, and quickly gazing upwards I’m was looking into the eyes of a downward facing pesky squirrel splayed against the wall. No standoff occurred: squirrel bee lined it around the corner while I’m left gawking. However, due to the high interior ceiling, the eave meets the outside wall at almost ten feet, and there up in the corner was a brand, spanking new hole chewed through the plastic strip which serves as the air flow gap. As it turned out, Mr. Squirrel had been busy gnawing a handy new backdoor for his new digs.
Now I reside in a strata complex, so what with a council, an on site manager and a management company, you would naturally assume having any number of critters living in the common roof space would be frowned upon and action would be taken. Faulty reasoning on my part, as the entire building has suffered from pest invasions for years and skimpy patch work efforts have been made to control the ingress. Occasionally, a transgressor is caught in a humane trap, carted over to a local park and released with the good wishes of the management even though there is evidence to suggest squirrels are capable of finding their way back from a distance of miles. And then, any holes are carefully covered over with some metal mesh as if this is the final solution. In reality, the returning offender or a possible new tenant merely needs to proceed to the adjacent roof joist space, chew through the plastic strip or simply push its way through to gain entry.
As I awaited word from the management deliberation process on any solution, the roof tenant appeared to be starting up renovations to his unit. On sunny days, I hardly notice anything, while on rainy ones the chewing and scurrying would last from three to four hours at a time. Did the place require that much fixing up? Or was I just blessed with a demented rodent?