I am not a person who uses the word hate very often. It is just not a frequent part of my vocabulary. But I will say that I HATE flying squirrels. It has not always been this way. For years, I was actually quite ambivalent. I never even gave them much thought. That all changed a few years ago and became a struggle I will never forget.
The first incident that spurred my hatred of flying squirrels was not even a direct contact. I was away on a trip and woke up one morning to a video text from my daughter. In it, there was a lot of yelling, running around, and general mayhem. I had no idea what was happening but called home to find out.
Apparently, the prior evening, just before midnight, when everyone was tucked safely in bed, we had an intruder. The four-legged kind. Yup, a flying squirrel. The dogs went crazy, my daughter was startled (it was in her room), and my husband struggled to capture it and get it out of the house. It thought it was going to stop there. Just an amusing story that we could look back on and laugh about (after they caught up on sleep and straightened up the house).
Well, a few weeks later, I found a couple of acorns in a drawer. I still didn’t put two and two together. It wasn’t a drawer I used very often. I had no idea how long they could have been there. A few weeks after that we heard scampering footsteps. It sounded too loud to be mice, but we put out a couple of traps just in case. After two weeks, we had bare mouse traps and more scurrying noises.
We talked to a couple of pest companies, and they said that our best bet was to trap them and release them. We bought a couple of humane traps, did a lot of research, experimented with the best type of bait, and did a lot of waiting. We then started catching flying squirrels. Not one or two, but over a dozen. It was a long, crazy winter.
Spring came, we didn’t hear any more noises, and we were hopeful that all was solved. We spent the summer happily reveling in the fact that we didn’t hear anything in the attic crawlspace of our house. We were lulled into a false feeling of security. Fall came around again, and so did the scurrying. Out came our trusted traps and long nights of catching flying squirrels. An animal that I had honestly never given much thought to became an obsession. I was researching this rodent as if I were about to give a dissertation on it.
After several more weeks of this, we decided it was time to turn it over to the professionals. They came and built eviction ports in the eaves of our house and plugged up every small hole they could find. Apparently, a flying squirrel can fit through an opening the size of an average pinkie finger. For the next few weeks, we heard less and less noise until the blissful night when there was none. We elatedly called the pest expert, who told us to give it a couple more weeks. Two weeks went by of quiet nights and deep sleep. It seemed like the eviction was a success. The pest company came back and removed the eviction ports and closed those holes up as well.
I don’t know when I have been happier to see an animal go. The flying squirrels didn’t damage anything. They didn’t eat any crops. But they did tamper with our sleep and sanity. So, while I am not a person who uses the word hate often, I will say that I hate flying squirrels, and I think with apt reason. I will now wait with bated breath for the first few chill fall nights and see if I am awoken by any scurrying noises. If I am, I know to just leave it to the professionals!