One Angry Rodent


Do you remember in kindergarten, there was always that one hyper kid who threw a tantrum at the slightest provocation?  He’d always scream at you not to use his crayons, not to make faces at him, not to touch his stuff.

So how did we deal with him?

Naturally, by using his crayons, by making faces at him, and touching his stuff…preferably when the teacher wasn’t looking.   And sitting back and enjoying the resulting conniption fit.

Not that this was a very nice thing to do.  But kids will be kids.  Plus, how are you supposed to resist…when someone is almost BEGGING to be teased?

Red squirrels are the same way.  They’re just ASKING for it.

Nowhere in the animal kingdom is such anger and indignation compacted into such a small volume, as the American Red Squirrel.

They sit there perched in their tree-thrones, constantly chattering and bickering at other squirrels.  Or at you.  Or at the whole damned planet.   They’re always pissed off about SOMETHING.

I have a bunch of these critters in my back yard, and I have to spend the whole summer listening to them squawk and give me shit.  It’s either

Tttttttttttttttttttttt…..tttttttttt….!!! !



Don’t touch my stuff!   Don’t look at my tree!  Stay out of my territory!

Okay, you know what?

It’s MY back yard, and I weigh 500 times more than you do.


What a bunch of assholes.

Maybe if they spent LESS time BITCHING, and MORE time EATING and GATHERING FOOD,  they wouldn’t be so Type-A.

So getting back to the Kindergarten analogy, any time one of these little fur-bags gives me another “Tttttttttttttttttttttttttt….ttttt“, and tells me not to touch his stuff, what do I wanna do?

Touch his stuff, of course.

I admit, I’m  constantly looking for opportunities to get back at them.

The BEST encounter I had was in Pukaskwa National Park a few years back.  I had parked my car, and threw a finished apple into a garbage can.   Right in front of me, a little red squirrel jumped in to get it.

Hmmm…me standing there, a garbage can, and one of those hyper critters foraging inside.

Oh, no.   This was just too good to pass up.

With my heavy hiking boot, I wound up, and gave the can a big kick.  And the metal can resounded with a big, loud THOOOOONNNNNNN!!!

EEEEEEK!!! screamed the squirrel, as he leapt 8 feet straight up and landed on a branch a few feet away.   And boy, was he MAD.

Can’t say I could blame him.  Imagine if you were inside a huge metal silo, looking for a delicious meal (like a large pizza or steak dinner).  And some big lummox comes along with a battering ram and starts pummeling it.   You wouldn’t’ be too happy either.

But I rationalized that I was actually doing him a favor.   You see, wild animals shouldn’t become habituated to garbage and human food.

Besides, a park ranger once told me that squirrels and chipmunks hibernate and lived off the “brown fat” that their bodies produced from eating nuts and berries.  But if they filled up on french fries and human-food, it was unhealthy for them.  They’d grow “white fat” which burned differently and they’d have a harder time surviving the winetr.

So, theoretically, maybe banging the garbage can was a GOOD thing. (At least, that’s what I told myself).   It didn’t hurt anhyone, but maybe it would make him afraid to use it and he’d learn to stay away.

Squirrel Nut-Sack, however, didn’t quite see it that way.

He GLARED at me, and chattered and squawked, his little cheeks puffing angrily.   He was at eye level, just a few feet from me.  He knew he was beyond my reach, so he took this opportunity to scold me.

Ttttttt….Tttttt.  Oooo!  I’m SO MAD!  Squeak-squeak-eek-eek-eek-squeak-eek-squeak….This is MY garbage can…this is MY forest, this is MINE…you stay away…don’t do that..don’t touch my stuff….dont’ ever DO that..oooh, I’m sooooo MAD!….

After he felt he made made his point, he proceeded back down into the garbage can, to retreive HIS apple core.

Right in front of me.

Can you guess what happened next?


EEEEEEEK!!! He scrambled back up to the same spot, and proceeded to tear me a new one. He was REALLY pissed off now.

….TTTTTTTttttt  TTtttttttt squeak-eek-squeak-squeak.   Ooooo!  I TOLD you NOT to do that!   How DARE you?  Can’t you see that this is MY Apple core?   Ttttttt….ttttt!    This is MY garbage can!   Ooooh!  I’m SO MAD.  I HATE you!   I do!… I do!…I do!…Don’t let that happen again…SERIOUSLY….Okay?  Okay…okay….Now…I’m going back in again….I’m WATCHING you…OKAY?    Don’t do it……DON’T……….Okay…….

He then rummaged around in the garbage can again, doing this own thing.

So naturally, I had to do mine:


EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! , and he was back to his squirrel-pulpit, ready to fight for what was his.

Oh, and this time I had done it.  I had really gone and done it.

Never on the History of this Planet, had there ever been a more angry rodent.

His tail was bristling, and his beady-black eyes were BULGING with rage.

He was apopletic.   He made sounds I’ve never heard a squirrel make before (I think he was speaking in tongues).

Tttttttttttt!…..Ttttttttt!   Squarble-warble-gurgle-gleek.   Greegle-squork-bork-burgleeak-squeak-squawk!

He was TREMBLING with fury.   Depiste the fact that I weighed 250 lbs (and he weighed less than one), I was almost afraid….I think he was THAT close to hurling himself at face and trying to rip out my jugular.

Ttttttt…ttttttt!!!!      Y…Y….YOU!. ..YOU!    I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!   Don’t you ever…EVER  EVER do that again!  You got me?   You HEAR ME?


I put my hand out to scare him away, but he stood his ground, inches away from my reach.   And he kept screaming and screaming at me.  I could see his mouth straining, his little buck teeth gnashing, as he directed his entire repertoire of squirrel profanity at me.

This went on for several minutes.   And I stood, fascincated, and watched the whole outburst.  Not unlike watching a car-crash scene you know you shouldn’t watch.

Finally, the shit-storm abated, and he calmed down.   He glared at me, and slowly made his way down the tree, back into the garbage can, watching me.

There was silence.   Then the sparrows started chirping again in the trees, and all was calm in the North Woods.

But…(wait for it…)


I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t have…but like I said:   Red Squirrels are just ASKING for it! 😀


PS.  Don’t feel too bad.  Eventually I got bored of this game and left.   The little varmint no doubt got his precious apple core.

And if it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure he’s sent his cousins to my Mom’s back yard to terrorize her chew up her garden shed!

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21 Comments on “One Angry Rodent”

  1. Steph Says:

    Oh my God!! Ahahahahaha!! Poor thing! Still, wow, I guess we could learn from the little buggers when we want something badly enough and some malicious guy’s standing in our way… 🙂

    So that’s who’s chittering. I’d never even seen a red squirrel, the tiny things, before this year. We have red ones, grey ones, black ones, they are EVERYWHERE. They get really pissed at Lucy, our yard cop who won’t tolerate them, and it’s so hilarious watching them scramble and slip across the wire across the end of the yard. I don’t like when they’re noisy, and I am a little freaked out by how many there are, but I find them fascinating to watch at the same time. One made me laugh out loud the other day when he made a fine leap for a branch – and missed, plummeting pell mell down the branches all the way to the ground. I was laughing but still had to check to see if he was okay. Humiliated, he ran off like a shot and hid.

  2. Boys will be boys. That’s all I’ve got to say.

  3. Friar Says:

    We used to have grey squirrels run along the teleophone line in our backyard, and the neigbhor’s dog would go ballistic any time they crossed HER territory! (I think it’s good fun for the dogs…I dont’ think they ever CATCH them, though).

    Yeah, the squirrels are so lightweight they can fall from any height and not get hurt. I had another one give me shit when I walked by it…I waved my hands and went “BOO!”. He got so startled he fell out of the tree! But like I said, he was not hurt, he just scrambled back up, and ran to the top. Pausing every few feet to tell me “Tttttttttt!!!”

    Yeah, I bet a girl would have offered the squirrel the apple! (But that’s just not me!)

  4. ROFLOL-
    Friar is kind of a South Park Ranger Rick …

    And I’m thinkin’ he left you NO choice at all. Wha’t more fun than a barrel o’monkeys? A red sqirrel in a garbage can…. and Friar. 😉

  5. t.sterling Says:

    That is an insane story… but I think I could see myself tormenting some small woodland creature too. I haven’t heard the squirrels before, or maybe I have and never knew it. There are only grey squirrels around these parts. I don’t know why, but I like these wee creatures, so they might not get much torment from me. However, I wonder if they are the ones making strange (mating?) noises in the middle of the night like a cat is being steamrolled very slowly. It’s hard to explain but I know it when I hear it. And when I hear it, I wish I had a shot gun because it goes on for hours.

    Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be too surprised if acorns or other tree-things are hurled at you from unknown high places.

  6. Marelisa Says:

    You know you feel bad for torturing that poor squirrel, or you wouldn’t have launched into a whole explanation on how you were actually being helpful because of the white v. brown fat 🙂

  7. Friar Says:

    You’re right….how could I RESIST an opportunity like that?

    I like the grey and black squirrels. They’re relatively benign..they just occausionally squawk from a telephone pole when they want to get some. But otherwise, they keep to themselves.

    I’ve never seen red squirrels in Eastern Ontario until 10 years ago. I think they’ve expanded their range or something. But now they’re taking over.

    And they’re a NUISANCE. They tear up and shred things around your yard to build their nests. Ask my Mom…they’re slowly destroying her back yard (inclusing a strutural wood beam in her garage). Not to mention trying to make nests in the attic.

    Well, there was NOTHING preventing Squirrel Nutkin from walking away either….it was a battle of wills (and I guess he won, because I got bored and walked away) 🙂

  8. t.sterling Says:

    By the way, and this goes for practically every drawing but I love these drawings of these adventures. Should you catch any of these terrorist squirrels in action, I hope you have a camera ready to show the world–not that we don’t believe you, but maybe we could get a glimpse of the evil in their eyes as they glare you down with hatred. But yes, you’re right… the non-red squirrels around here are much friendlier and quieter.

  9. Steph Says:

    I love the drawings, too, and I’m happy to see you’re working in colour! 🙂

  10. Karen JL Says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else find a grown man TRYING to have a ‘battle of wills’ with a squirrel a little….oh…I don’t know…RIDICULOUS??

    Oh right. It’s Friar. I get it now. 😀

    As much as I am *against* cruelty to animals, I have to admit I laughed out loud. I’m going to hell…

    (And digging the marker action on the drawings! Nice.) 🙂

  11. Friar Says:


    Hey, thanks for the compliment on the artwork. I always try to add a ‘toon at least every 2nd or 3rd post.

    As for the Demon this day, I have never met such a strange little varmint as that one….it was almost creepy!

    But he made for a good story! 😉

    You’ll be seeing more color from now on. Last week I went to a good art store, and I discovered these “Copic” pens. They’re AWESOME…the Japanese use them to illustrate their comics. They don’t’ smear, you can blend colors together! I bought a whole bunch and I’m having a blast playing with them. I had an “ah-hah” moment…THESE are exactly the type of pens I’ve been looking for all these years!

  12. Friar Says:


    Oh, this was about 7 years ago (I’m MUCH more mature now!) 🙂

    If you like the cartoon, I got another one over at Brett’s blog. I LOVE these Copic markers!

  13. Kelly Says:


    We don’t have your reds here, but the brown dudes we do have are way too domesticated. Semi-urban living has made them think nattering at us all day is normal. They don’t shut up and they do not ever back down.

    My favorite thing the first time I went to Canada was seeing black squirrels in Toronto. We don’t have ’em down here and I just about fell over when I first saw one. I could not believe my eyes. (And lest you think I am the lone goofball, I took pictures of the critters and showed them around and everyone oohed and aahed over them.)

    I admit it, I probably would have give your little guy the apple and sat down to marvel at him, but I totally sympathize. Some types of squirrels are such a nuisance.

    The markers—are they Xylene (Xylol)-based? The washed color looks like the Chartpak pens I use for coloring design work.

    Very nice color here and at 6 Weeks today.



  14. Friar Says:


    heh heh. I felt that way the first time I saw a POSSUM. About 12 years ago in Hamilton, Ontario. They had apparently made their way north enough to Juuuust make it to Canada (But they don’t survive the winters).

    The black squirrels (or the gray one that are almost identical) are benign. Like to told Steph, they keep to themselves. They live in the trees and stay away from human dwellings.

    My Mom’s at constant war with the red ones. They’ve taken over our neighborhood..and it seems they’ve bullied out forced out the black and grey ones…we dont’ see those anymore.

    They’re slowly destroying her back yard. One’s made a nest under her deck (and keeps chewing new holes into the wood whenever she blocks it with a brick). Another tried to make a nest in the garden shed and shredded a door mat and part of the wooden door.

    Another tried to make a nest in the woodpile next to the garage, and started getting in the roof. THey got inside in the garage and started chewing a load-bearing 4×4 wooden beam. It’s when they start getting into your HOUSE like that, that you have to start to worry.

    Friar’s Mom is at constant WAR with these critters….I should ask her to write a post about it one day! 🙂

  15. Friar Says:


    PS. I don’t know if these markers are Xylene based or not. But I LOVE these pens! Here’s the link:

    They ain’t cheap..but seeing how much time I spend on my artwork, I indulged myself.

  16. Karen JL Says:

    @ Friar – 7 years? Yeah, right. It was probably last week. 😀

    I don’t see the red ones around the city, but I think they are up in the mountains more. On the north shore. They kind of sound like they could use a little tormenting…little rude buggers! The grey and black ones are so…polite.

    And never feel bad about splurging on some quality supplies. The quality is always worth it if you’re serious about it. The difference between a good pencil and one at the dollar store (for kids) is huge!

    So you enjoy your fancy markers. It’ll make you draw even more and love it. 🙂

  17. Karen JL Says:

    I’m awaiting moderation? Oh crap, forgot to sign in to WordPress. *sigh* OK, I’ll wait. But delete this one when you release me. 🙂

  18. Friar Says:


    Arggh. ( dunno what’s up with WordPress….it’s asking me to moderate people’s comments lately (I didn’t used to have to do it!).

    Yeah, I’m glad I bought good art supplies (seeing how much TIME is spend doing it). It’s the same as watercolors…you get what you pay for.

  19. Kelly Says:


    Chartpak markers cost a pretty penny, too. But the washed colors and ability to blend (on vellum, anyway) are worth it. If I ever want to splurge I might give a try to those Copic markers, just to see what the fuss is all about. I looked around the ‘net and illustrators are all abuzz about them!

    When I lived up in Rochester, NY (across the lake from Toronto) I had reds in the attic that I could not get rid of. Traps, noise, plugging up the holes they’d chew in the eaves… they’d be back in a week after any new remedy. They’re very smart like other rodents, and once they’ve got an idea in their heads, you just can’t dissuade the little destroyers!



  20. Friar Says:


    The Copic pens are about $8.00 CDN each (I got them on sale for $6.00).

    I know it’s a lot. But for $200, I can get about 30 different colors. And considering how much time I spend drawing, it’s a small indulgence I can allow myself. (Amy’s money that she paid me for drawing her Banner helped pay!).

    You should ask Friar’s Mom about the little red varmints. She’s at constant war with the little destroyers! She’s constantly discovering nests in her shed or in the garage that she distmantles…and then they rebuild elsewhere.

    I have a porch extension to my house. I left the window open by mistake for ONE day..and a little rodent had already made up his mind to try to nest in my rafters. Of course I closed the window, and had to spend the rest of the morning hearing TTTTTTTTttttttttttt, he was pissed off that he coudln’t get back in. 🙂

  21. […] Red squirrels (see my rant here). […]

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