June 29, 2006
This red squirrel is on my conscience today. Earlier in the week we heard noises in the attic; Mr. Karen put a trap up there, but every time he checked it, it was empty. Until this morning, when he found this little guy. I felt bad. Poor little squirrel, trapped, chewing on the bars and flinging his little body around the cage trying to find a way out. He didn’t know our house wasn’t just a different kind of tree or, that our attic was off limits. In fact, maybe Melissa, the red squirrel we caught in the attic last summer, left a sign pointing the way. Maybe today’s squirrel followed her directions, readable only to others of her kind since we sure can’t figure out how they’re getting in. (If you peek at Melissa’s pictures, you’ll see we are at least getting smarter about catching them–using a smaller trap so it’s easier to get out of the attic opening and not putting it directly on the floor in reach of the pink insulation Melissa lined her prison with.)
Much as I felt bad for the little guy, I knew we couldn’t just release him in the yard. He’d be back in the attic before too long, and red squirrels do not belong in the attic, any more than the raccoon belonged in our chimney before we put the cap on or the gray squirrel belonged in the basement. I didn’t want him to spend any more longer imprisoned than he had to, so I hurried and finished getting ready for work before loading the trap in my trunk and driving off. Four miles later, I pulled over and released him in what passes for a nice wooded area around these parts. He bounded right out and headed for the trees as soon as he realized the cage was open, so I guess that’s a good sign. I just hope I haven’t doomed him to a shorter, crueler life than he would have had in my neighborhood. What if the place I let him out is already at its maximum squirrel capacity? What if he can’t find enough food? What if he falls in the pond and drowns? Maybe I should have brought him to work and shown him where the birdfeeder is and never mind my colleagues wondering what I’m up to. Maybe we need a Squirrel Evictor. I don’t know. I just regret that I was mean to a furry little creature.