Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Tale of the Squole

Or Squat.  Squouse.  Mourrel?  Vourrel.  

We really weren't sure.  


That, I'll have you know, is how one captures the elusive squole.  With enameled pot in hand and skittish wife with camera by side.

For the last month or two we've been hearing something in the attic at night.  It sounded too big to be a mouse.  Too small for a squirrel.  (I know my rodent sounds well.)  A peek up there didn't show any nesting typical of a squirrel or opossum.  We even had the bat people come and make sure it wasn't the bats that we know roost behind our chimney.  *shudder*  The guy saw, and I quote, "something coming at me" (?!?!), freaked out a bit, slammed the ceiling hatch shut, and said it could be an "attic rat."  How that is different than a regular rat, I have no idea.  But his quote for getting rid of said attic rat was far, far more than the cost of our own trap.  We got this, bat man.

(But then, of course, we did that thing where you forget about it until the problem presents itself again and then you think, "Oh, right.  That.  We need to do something about that."  And then you promptly forget until the next time.)

The other night we saw Maggie cat tracking something and we heard it in the radiators.  She gave up quickly.  She's kind of lazy.  

Last night we saw her doing it again and got in on it.  We saw something - SOMETHING - scurry across the floor.  We were right.  Too big for a mouse, too small for a normal squirrel.  Rat?  But the tail!  The tail almost made it look like a baby rabbit!  And these weird skin flaps on the side.  Oh my, what IS that thing?  Maggie gave up.  We spent a hilarious twenty minutes or so involving enameled pots, baskets, cake carriers, rulers, cat food and Brian's not so patient mutterings regarding me and my camera.  
(Husband.  How else am I supposed to get these spectacular shots and intrigue the masses with my rodent tales?  THEY WANT TO KNOW.)

That's it's tail!

We cornered it in the almost laundry room.  Then it snuck out as cute and desperate as could be and stole some of Maggie's food.  And then I fought back the urges of wanting to keep it and love it forever and ever.

We finally snagged it in my cake carrier.

  Squirrel?  Mouse?  Both?  For a while we really thought that's what it was - some sort of mutant cross-breed animal that we had the privilege of hosting in our attic.  Do animals do that?  Like mate with each other across species naturally?  (No, no they don't.)  



(I gave it a fine selection of almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds on which to dine.)

I googled "squirrel body mouse face" (DON'T do that.) and it led me to pictures of our creature.  Turns out it is a squirrel!  
A northern flying squirrel.  
In. Our. House!  Which may not be exciting to some of you but around here it's pretty rare.  By this point of discovery Brian had already left with it safely stowed in my cake holder driving it according to my instructions, "far from here but somewhere with an old abandoned barn so it won't just freeze to death.  And somewhere it can have tolerant friends that won't reject him for being a cross-breed."  (Brian's response:  "Aw, we should make a movie about him.")  I called him with the thrilling rare rodent news and told him he should throw it and see what happens.  He wouldn't.  He just asked if he was now supposed to keep it.  (No.  But I'm sort of regretting that after seeing how excited the boys were when I told them the story.  "We've been wanting a squirrel! We wanted to teach it to use a sword like Urchin!")

So as if one infestation of flying rodents wasn't enough, we can now add this to the list of animals that have invaded this house.

Bats
Voles
Mice
Craneflies
Ants
Fruitflies (It sounds lame but no.)
Live yellow jacket nests (in the basement and in the walls!)
Wolf spiders
Flying squirrels 

(And that's not including the stuff we see outside.)

In case you were desperately in need of a better idea of what it looked like.

And dear Jesus in Heaven, thank you for not letting it do this while we were trying to get it:

Super squirrel!

We would have freaked and thought it was a bat mouse.
A bouse.  





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22 comments:

  1. Wow...what an advernture. I hate rodents, so this totally eeked me out. I was very thanful it was a squirrel though....a squirell is way better than a rat.

    I see a new cake carrier in your future. ;)

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  2. I've gotta be honest - this might be my favorite of your posts ever! It was, by far, the best entertainment that I've enjoyed so far in the hospital! And it goes without saying how AWESOME it is that you had a flying squirrel choose to take up residence in your home!!! (Maybe the bats had told him what a sweet place it was)

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  3. Bahahahaha!!! Oh my goodness! This is too too funny. We had a possum problem at our old house, and I wish I had had the good humor you do in the saga that was his capture.

    Thanks for the early Sunday morning entertainment. :)

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  4. What a hysterical story. I'll putt our cat on a greyhound bus and send her to you. We live on a ravine and have a grand variety of rodents, moles, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, possums, raccoons, even muskrat and mink. And bunnies. Our cat is an indoor cat but frantically claws at the windows to get the beasts on the outside. If anything ever got in I'm pretty sure we'd find a bloody carcass which I'm only slightly sure is better than a scurrying critter.

    I think a pet Urchin would be great (except for stuff like distemper, mites and fleas).

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  5. That thing was so cute! I might have been tempted to keep him!

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  6. Great post! I'm so glad your rodent woes provide the rest of us with great entertainment. After reading this to myself and laughing out loud, I called the girls in and read the whole thing to them. We just finished reading Ulysses and Flora which is about a squirrel with super powers that can fly (and type).

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  7. Amazing! I have always been fascinated by Flying Squirrels, how awesome to see one up close!!

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  8. Oh my goodness, I'm laughing so hard right now! This post would make an excellent illustrated children's book. Any chance you want to become a children's book author? ;)

    I would have freaked out so much and definitely wouldn't have been able to get a picture of it. My husband probably would have preferred the paparazzi wife to the squealing coward that I turn into when I see anything move in our apartment that is not the dog, cat, or hamster.

    But I have to say, I've seen a flying squirrel once and it was so amazing to watch! And I love the comment from the boys! Haha!

    - Hannah

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    1. I'm thinking we should sell the idea to Disney and make our fortune :)

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  9. oh how funny! Dad would've been in his glory trying to help u catch a squirrel!! and I think I see a present u need in the future (and no its not a squirrel catcher)

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    1. Ha! He already sent me a picture of what he would have done! Ew.

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  10. Looking at the pictures again, he looks a lot like a chinchilla. Maybe the boys could have one of those? Come on, mom. Please?

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    1. If only I didn't fully know who would be the one cleaning the cage every week... :)

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  11. That is awesome and freaky.at the same time! :) And an excellent homeschool science adventure!

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  12. Oh MY! I love it! I started reading your post, and thought, poison, I would get poison and kill the creature. I like all of God's furry creatures, just not in my house! But, that little guy is so cute! My kids would have wanted to keep it too!

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  13. Hilarious (and gross and neat and curious!) I am really impressed that you caught him! I think you should have stuck it in a hamster cage and kept it for awhile!

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  14. I love this post. When I got to the part when you told Brian to throw it, I was laughing so hard my laptop (which was on my lap) was bouncing around and I had to wait until I stopped laughing to continue reading. Same thing happened when you told about the boys ideas. Have a great day - you made mine.

    Grandma in Chicago

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  15. This was so funny. I haven't had a good laugh today so this was perfect after a mildly stressful day. "And then I fought back the urges of wanting to keep it and love it forever and ever." Struggling to breathe after much laughter. Oh my goodness, so cathartic.

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  16. So funny Mary!! What adventures you have! I do think you should have kept it and let the boys teach it how to use a sword like Urchin. Can you imagine what Disney could do with that??
    Only you would think to capture it all on film but so glad you did.

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  17. My husband has a squirrel invested apartment for a few years. He had to live trap them and relocate them something like 10 miles away so they wouldn't find their way home.

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  18. HILARIOUS!!! This post really cracked me up!
    I have a tail to tell you...(yeah: TAIL). Let's just say it's the Year of the Rodent here and that's contributing to my tears and lack of sleep in a MAJORIFIC way.
    I love the flying squirrel. Did you pet it? Tell the truth, Mary.

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  19. How did I miss this post the first time around? I actually jumped in my seat a bit when I scrolled down to that picture of it jumping (flying?) through the air. I can't imagine that coming at my head. The rest of the time I was laughing though...in a very, very sympathetic way.

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