Welcome to the Hotel Squirrel-a-fornia!

Living as I do on a lot with a bunch of trees on it (in a town where many of them have been chopped down to build McMansions) I guess it was inevitable… for the past couple of years I’ve been having problems with squirrels. Southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) to be exact.

Southern Flying SquirrelThe good news is they’re not nearly as big, messy or destructive as gray squirrels. They’re not aggressive either and they’re actually rather cute (some people keep them as pets). The bad news is they’re still a pain in the — when they get into your house and they’re small enough to squeeze in through some pretty tight spaces!

The critter control company I called after the first “incident” did an effective job, but they used glue traps which I HATED. In addition to the general “yuck factor” and the fact that I have a real problem with deliberately killing ANYTHING that isn’t endangering my life, I’m a long-time fan of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Paying someone to put a “hit” on Rocky? That’s just wrong!

But that company got increasingly more difficult to deal with, so when I had a recurrance of the winged invaders last month I went in search of another company.

First estimate I got recommended glue traps, didn’t mention finding and screening the places where they were getting in, and tried to upsell me to some additional plan that would put poisoned bait traps all around my house (inside and out!) to effectively anhilate every mouse and insect in the area.

Errr … Nope.

Then I happened to find a guy in my county who specializes in wildlife control – I mean lives and breathes this stuff, has certifications in it, teaches others how to do it … so I gave him a call. Turns out his estimate was much more reasonable than expected AND he was the first one to offer the option of a LIVE TRAPPING solution to the problem!

So he and his wife (its the family business) came by…

… and set up a half dozen little SQUIRREL HOTEL ROOMS in all the crawl spaces of my house! About a half dozen little havahart traps, each with food (some peanut-butterish concoction, peanuts, sunflower seeds), water and a comfy bed … NO, I’m NOT JOKING, it looks like cotton or some kind of nesting material!!! Point being to keep them alive and happy until they come to collect them. My job is to check the traps a couple of times a day and call them right away if anything “checks in”.

What do they do with them? Release them at their house! They’re a good 10-15 miles away, so the little critters would need a cab and/or a GPS to find their way back this far. Oh and they also keep a colony of them – it seems they, er, make a bottled “lure” that they sell to fellow critter catchers (I have no freakin’ idea how they “collect” what they collect to make the “lure” unless THEIR squirrel hotel also has little tiny TOILETS or something …but that’s more information than I want or need!).

Weird as this sounds, they were very professional, called to let me know they’d be delayed a few minutes, when they weren’t even THAT late (20 minutes or so). The guy also runs a goose control business, and though he doesn’t use dogs any more, he used to use his border collie for goose work. Since that was Bryce’s part time job a while back, we had a good conversation about that.

So far no little “boarders” have checked in – I’m a little disappointed but I think that’s probably A Good Sign. While they were here they thought they saw where the little beasties were coming in too, so if nobody shows up in about a week they’ll seal that up more efficiently and knock-on-wood no more midnight visits from Rocket J. Squirrel!