10 May 2007


A few years ago I came home to my apartment to find a bird inside.  It made a mess, but I got it out.

Last year I came home to find two birds nesting inside my bedroom light fixture.  I got them out too, one by one, and they didn't come back.

This Monday evening a squirrel suddenly ran across my kitchen floor.  I opened the back door, closed all the other doors leading away from the kitchen and tried to herd him toward the back door with a broom, but he got behind the refrigerator.  Neither the carrot (a trail of peanuts) nor the stick (a broom) was successful in persuading him to leave.  Hours later I finally got him to run out the apartment's back door, but before I could get him out the building's back door he ran up the stairs into a pile of junk outside another apartment.  I gave up, locked the back door and went to bed.

Wednesday morning I found him in my kitchen again, but this time getting him out from behind the refrigerator wasn't enough—he went behind the stove and was unreachable.  I had to go to school, so I closed all doors to the kitchen and left, thinking that he was at least contained.

When I got home in the evening after racquetballing, there was evidence that he'd made it out of the kitchen and into the living area, apparently by squeezing under the door.  He's a small squirrel.  I found him under the sofa and he ran under a closet door.  I got him out of the closet, but he darted behind the radiator (which is purely decorative, as my building has central heat).  When I tried to get him out using a broom, no sound was made.  I heard nothing for hours and went to bed, thinking that he was at least trapped in the living area, as I had blocked the bottom of each door leading out.  He seemed very intent on living with me.  I decided to name him Squearl.

This morning I found him running around the radiator.  I quietly approached and he quickly disappeared, seemingly into a hole.  I looked and finally saw a pipe from the radiator leading into a hole in the floor that might just be big enough for a critter to squeeze through.  I carefully blocked it with a heavy stack of phone books.

I tried to be gentle, but herding all these critters out of the apartment scared them $#!+less—literally in the birds' case but, thankfully, only figuratively in the squirrel's.  My current theory is that every once in a while a critter finds its way into the basement, which is just below my apartment and is accessible from the back stairwell.  From there it can squeeze into my apartment through the radiator hole.  I believe I've now fixed my problem, but the theory will be tested when I get home today. . . .

6:00 p.m. update:  Great success!  I got home and found no evidence of further squirrel invasion.  The radiator-pipe hole is still snugly blocked.  Bizarrely, I still haven't found any squirrel scat.  I guess he had already established a toilet somewhere in the basement and was only in my apartment exploring.

Lots of loud thunder outside.  I hope Squearl is sheltered somewhere comfy . . . outside my apartment.


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