Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Squirrel Saga – Part Two

After a period of great reluctance – hoping the upstairs neighbours would become a permanent fixture – management, tired of the continual prodding, agreed to place a humane trap on our balcony albeit with scant confidence in capturing the pest. Much to my surprise, only a couple of days later I heard the snap of the trap door closing shut. Was it the squirrel, a Norway rat (does sound upper class for a varmint) or another bungling critter? Taking a few steps to the slider, I was pleased to find ensconced in the cage and butting his pointy head into the wire mesh, a rather upset squirrel that had lost all interest in the peanut buttered cracker. Now all I had to do was inform the manager to spirit the prize away to wherever surplus pests are quartered. Once I realized nobody was on duty, I returned to discover that the captive had fled the scene by simply pushing up the faulty door at the opposite end which suffers from a broken spring. So, Mr. Squirrel is not overly intelligent, however the management team is even less so. Based on the deep belief that a scared squirrel is one on the run and subsequently too overwrought to attempt a homecoming, the decision is made by the professional managers to close off the entrance/back door above the veranda. Therefore, I am treated to three agonizing hours as a qualified fumbler attempts to restore the integrity of the soffit vents. Amazingly, it required this amount of time to apply and staple a 15 foot stretch of 4 inch wide - 3/8” wire mesh to patch the existing hole and supposedly prevent further occurrences. Ahh! But one should not be so fast to accept a lifetime guarantee. Within days ‘peanut breath’ or his cousin could be heard scraping, gnawing and scurrying above our heads from sunup to sundown, occasionally poking his head and beady eyes around the corner of the building to give us the razz. As I expected, neglecting to close the ‘front’ entry presented an open invitation for my friend to return home or a neighbourhood newcomer to declare squatter’s rights. Once again, I was enthralled by the opportunity to plead my case for the forcible removal of the unwanted guest. On the way to knock yet again at the manager’s door, an open unlocked access hatch presented me a chance to sneak up to the roof to check out the situation for myself. Immediately evident on a cursory inspection were the piecemeal efforts to control the ingress of any nuisance animal. Every chewed hole in the plastic screening had been dutifully covered with a strip of wire mesh, and it would appear each time, a squirrel would simply move over one joist space to chomp out a new entry. Equally evident were the little piles of stucco below every past access gap and also under the current entrances. Unbelievably, the squirrels always remained one step ahead of the dominant intelligent beings. Relating my observations was met with blank stares as though I was pretending to present myself as a world authority on rodent removal. None-the-less, management informed me that plans were already in the works to hire some outside ‘pest patrol professionals’ to evict the present nuisance tenants and prevent any future occurrences. The promise came across as so sincere; it allowed my gullible side to accept the statement as a warranty of their good faith and a guarantee of satisfaction for elimination of the problem pests.

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