As I type, something in the wall is yelling at me. Technically, our walls are solid log but, through a gap between the logs and the fireplace mortar, something can see me. And it’s not happy.
I guessed these were squirrels at the start. In fact, in late March I made a video named “Squirrel Hunt” showing our kittens taking curious note of the noise which was probably nest building. It’s now May and the cats are as curious as ever about being reprimanded by a wall. After 2 months I have to ask, how much longer will this go on?
As the scritching of nest building gave way to the near-silent baby squeaks, my thoughts dubiously turned to mice. The kittens had caught a few at the time (by caught, I mean Jed sat proudly above the Have-a-Heart trap as if he had herded the mice in and slammed the door shut himself) and several folks who entered the house said they thought mice were a possibility.
As our kittens grew, so did the chimney critters. The gnawing grew louder too. Tiny squeakers turned to bullhorns – with a slight growl. If these were mice, they were BIG freaking mice.
When our house was sprayed for bees on Wednesday, I told Robert, our exterminator, about the rent-free slackers. I was sure by now that these were red squirrels. (The sound grays make is slightly different.) Robert called a trapper to broadcast the chirping and hissing over the phone. The only confirmation from the other end was, “Those aren’t mice, I can tell you that.”
THE BIG REVEAL
Outside, to the left of the chimney, my husband Tim had applied hardening foam to a hole where the mortar had broken away. That was still sealed. As Robert looked to the other side, a 6 inch gap in the wood led behind the brick.
“When Tim was armed with a ladder and foam, I had faith he’d seal the buggar out.” I said this laughing, revealing how enamored I was with our new little friends. (As Tim later reminded me, we left this gap because we feared sealing the buggar in.)
Looking at the hole, Robert said, “We can’t do anything until the babies are gone for good.”
Just then, four tiny white-rimmed eyes peered out from the darkness. We were being watched.
I finally saw the red momma squirrel on the ladder after Robert left. When she scurried off to rustle up some seed from the feeders, I too climbed up. Hiding carefully behind the brick with one arm extended to film, the camera saw what I could not…
These babies won’t be here long. The adventurous one took his first steps beyond the chimney as I held my breath in awe. I may have caught one of the last chances to see the kits before they leave?our happy nest.
Happy Mother’s Day Weekend, momma squirrel.
Your children look mighty fine.
Job well done.