Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vehicular Squirrelicide ***

A squirrel darted into the road, just as I was pulling away from our mailbox the other day. He was a squirrel of very little brain. They're all squirrels of very little brain [With apologies to Lone Gray!] They run out into the road, see your car, stop, overcome by indecision, dither a moment, change direction, stop again, and then, at the worst possible moment, run right under your wheels. Sometimes, miraculously, they run between the wheels and dash to safety....Not this one.

Dead Squirrel by idoru45
Dead Squirrel, a photo by idoru45 on Flickr.


My heart sank when I heard the small, sickening "Thunk!"

"Oh no!" I wailed when I saw him in the rear view mirror, lying there, legs frantically kicking.

"Murderer!"

Squirrels are plentiful. Not an endangered species in these parts, but I hate to hurt anything. Well, almost......I am completely cold blooded about mosquitoes. Sentient beings are one thing, mosquitoes quite another.

Tears of remorse squirted from my eyes as I willed him to regain his footing and run off into the grass. It didn't happen. He was a goner. When I reached my driveway, I turned around and drove back to the scene of the crime, hoping that he would no longer be twitching. If I had killed him I wanted it to have been swift. There was no twitching. He was lying perfectly still, eyes staring, blood oozing from his mouth. But at least he wasn't a little one. I wouldn't have a squirrel mother's broken heart on my conscience....... This fellow had been around a while, buried a lot of nuts. He might even have been the Cheeky Charlie who climbs on the pool screen and chatters insolently at El Gato. If you blocked out his bushy tail, he looked very much like a rat. Which only made me feel a tiny bit better. If it was his day to die I'd have much preferred not to have been the instrument.

Glumly, I drove home.

Roadkill is a fact of life here. We live in an area that, fifty years ago, was completely wild. We frequently see possums, armadillos, gopher tortoises [these are the most heart breaking,] squirrels, and, recently, a bunny, lying by the side of the road, having come out on the losing end of a spat with a bigger creature, one made of chrome and steel. I always feel a pang of shame when I see them, as this was their habitat long before it was ours.



Nature is so practical and efficient though, it never takes long for roving bands of buzzards [I think of them as Men in Black--nature's sanitation crew] to find the roadkill and clean it up. When I drove by the mailboxes the next day the squirrel was gone. I know the county doesn't work that fast!

In the long run, one less squirrel in the world won't cause me to sleep less soundly [Sorry Calvin!] I just don't want to be the one culling the herd.

18 comments:

Relatively Retiring said...

It's really hard to kill anything, but especially anything furry. So many badgers meet their Maker on the country roads round here, and they are following paths they have used since horses and carts were the fastest things around.

Ali Honey said...

Those buzzards are mean looking. We have hawks which do that job around here. Very beautiful in flight as they catch air currents and swoop and turn.
Whoever took that photo had a sense of humour...no dead animal falls like that.

Pauline said...

Oh I know that sickening thud. Like you, I weep over the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks that change form after dueling with my car. Everything is food for something though - but like you, I'd prefer not to be the butcher.

dianne said...

i don't AIM for squirrels (or prairie dogs or pigeons) but i don't mourn their passings, either ... like you, i don't particularly want to be the Instrument of Death (and i do NOT like the thunking around the wheel well or the thump/thump of front tire/back tire or little bird feet sticking out of the grill), but my world would be a nicer, quieter place without rats with bushy tails and rats who bark and rats with wings ... i'm just sayin'

StitchinByTheLake said...

I hate when that happens! Thank goodness it doesn't happen often but once is more than I care for. blessings, marlene

lgsquirrel said...

It's okay......we can still be friends. Unfortunately, vehicular Squirrelcide is probably the leading cause of death for urban squirrels. It's a fact of life. When faced with an oncoming predator (e.g. hawk), squirrels dart back and forth to confuse the predator and try to make them change direction. This however does not work on cars.

Thimbleanna said...

You have my sympathies Miss Molly -- I hate that sickening feeling when something darts out there in front of you. Why can't those ugly buzzards jump in front of the car once in awhile -- they wouldn't bother me nearly as much as the cute squirrels.

Julie's journey said...

I have the same problem with wallabies when I drive to work. Even if I stop you can guarantee that they will hit you. I think cars might be wallaby magnets.

Friko said...

Squirrels don't matter all that much, they are considered vermin here. I keep seeing big beautiful badgers though, farmers want to get rid of them but everybody else loves them. I swear farmers kill them and then drag them to the verge to pretend they're roadkill.

Isabelle said...

Oh, yuck.

Badgers ate our guinea pigs. Just saying. Well, partly ate and partly scattered around the lawn.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'll make you feel even worse , shall I ?
The churchyard near my late mother's house has a troupe of virtually tame squirrels , who are fed bananas by the locals . They look strangely affecting , and not at all rat-like , when sitting up nibbling a Chiquita banana ...
I always expect them to burst into song , too .

Isabelle said...

No, no, those guinea pigs were a long time ago! SIL's pigs are intact. But I think this is one reason that he doesn't entirely trust me with them....

heartinsanfrancisco said...

So sad but eloquent. I also cannot bear to kill creatures but occasionally it happens because as you said, we are invading their habitat. It's very unfair. I have always liked squirrels and used to consider them my outdoor pets when I was a child.

secret agent woman said...

I always feel badly about things like that. But you can't help a squirrel darting in front of you

Isabelle said...

Molly, will you please do another post? I don't like that picture!

No, Grandson will not be wearing a baby tux. It would be a baby kilt if anything. But... no.

Meggie said...

Sad little tale, but as you say, there is always a circle. Buzzards are men looking critters, but perform some necessary deeds.

Ali Honey said...

Molly my list says you have posted a new post but it won't show up for me to read...on either computer....is it lost in cyberspace?

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