Reprobate tree rodents really out to get us


Every year around this time I mumble the same promise: “I’m not going to write another (bad) column about (bad words) squirrels!”

And then, almost immediately, I’ll break that promise because – and this might just sound a little paranoid – squirrels want to get me.

Q: You’re joking, right?

A: No, I’m dead serious. Extremist squirrels have had it for me since I started writing Crusader Columns exposing the fact that these obnoxious rodents pose a far greater threat to our electricity grid than human terrorists.

Consider this: Human terrorists have caused exactly zero blackouts on this continent, while squirrels are behind 1,252 blackouts, according to Cyber ​​Squirrel 1, a recent scientific website that tracks such things.

Not to mention the fact that I’m now scared of venturing into my backyard because if I do, a rogue squirrel that lives on one of our towering evergreens will bombard me with pine cones the size of regular volleyball balls.

In fact, over the weekend, my wife, who is much braver than me, filled no less than 12 large garbage bags with rotten pinecone fragments that had been chewed by villains and then casually fell into our garden.

Power outages and the driving of pine cones are bad enough, but I became more alarmed earlier this year when a Toronto woman made headlines around the world after discovering a squirrel wielding knives in her backyard.

Andrea Diamond, who lives in the Rosedale area of ​​Toronto, made a video of this bushy-tailed fiend sitting on her fence, gnawing at a paring knife she set up near a tent in front of her house.

Q: That’s pretty alarming, Doug, but luckily it can’t get any worse than knife-wielding squirrels, can it?

A: Let me just say – and it comes from the bottom of my heart – you are an idiot!

It turns out that things can get a lot worse. I’m basing this comment on a handful of online messages I’ve just read that have different versions of the following perfectly accurate heading: “Oh, nuts! Colorado squirrel tests positive for plague.”

Nuts, indeed! According to multiple reports, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) confirmed that a squirrel tested positive for plague last week in El Paso County.

Yes, in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic, we are now faced with the fact that a Colorado squirrel has the plague, something most of us haven’t had to think about since the “Bring out your dead” scene in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail from 1975.

The good news – you have to trust me – is that officials say it’s not uncommon for the plague to be present in Colorado at this time of year, and there’s really nothing to worry about.

I have always believed that the best time to be alerted is when someone in government tells you there is nothing to be alerted about.

“Precautions for people and their pets include not treating wildlife, keeping pets away from wildlife, treating pets against fleas, not feeding wildlife, and reporting sudden deaths of rodents and rabbits in the community,” according to .

In other words, to avoid the plague like the plague, keep your distance from squirrels. On the flip side, maintaining a safe social distance from these innocent-looking tree dwellers has also become a major problem for the people responsible for the safety of visitors to a major US tourist destination, by which I mean the Grand Canyon.

Seriously, on Monday Grand Canyon National Park issued the following wildlife safety warning: Watch out for squirrels!

The warning advised visitors to stay away from sharp-toothed critters at the Grand Canyon, particularly squirrels, which have forced at least 30 tourists to seek medical help for their bloody fingers in recent weekends.

“Enjoy squirrels from a safe distance,” advised the National Park Service. “Their sharp teeth crack nuts – and cut their fingers … Although harmless and even curious about you, these little stone squirrels cause the most injuries to visitors.”

I am aware that some readers – and you know who you are – believe that my anti-squirrel crusade is a couple of fries before a happy meal (we also accept “a few beers without a six-pack”) crusade, but please look at the evidence.

Aside from attacks on our electricity grid, in Toronto we have squirrels wielding knives, squirrels that tested positive for the plague in Colorado, squirrels chewing tourists’ fingers at the Grand Canyon, and worst of all, Winnipeg squirrels defiantly at An innocent newspaper columnist hurls gnawing pine cones.

I also remember finding out a few years ago that a hump-toothed New Jersey squirrel gnawed on some overhead lines, was set on fire, and then fell kamikaze-style into the engine compartment of a 2006 Toyota Camry which immediately exploded .

So laugh your cruel little laugh and ignore the mounting evidence of the global squirrel threat if you will, but that would only prove one thing – I’m not the only one mad!

Doug Speirs

Doug has done almost every job at the newspaper – reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model – and his co-workers are confident that at some point he will find something he’s good at.

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