Friday, February 5, 2010

The Inescapable Conclusion

The Texas Hill Country is rife with wildlife.  In our neighborhood we have gray foxes, coyotes, bobcats, whitetail deer, skunks, raccoons, possums, squirrels, snakes (various species) and lizards.  Denny and I have identified 83 species of birds in our yard.
The human residents in this community coexist with the wildlife.  They were here first.  But a couple of species try everyone's patience.  Squirrels, particularly.

Rats with fluffy tails.  Digging up bulbs, pulling out seedlings, taking one bite out of not-quite-ripe tomatoes and leaving the bleeding carcasses on the ground.  Not to mention vandalizing bird feeders and thieving the seed. 

They're taking over the world.  One of my family members has a Toyota 4Runner.  It's the dog's car but the dog hasn't wanted to go anywhere lately because it's cold.  That's what they told me, honest.  Although they could have meant that the SUV is the car in which they don't mind having a big German shepherd ride.

So the 4Runner has been parked under the aluminum carport in the back yard.

Last week they went out to start the SUV for a trip to the garden store (the dog must have let them borrow it).  4Runner wouldn't start.  

The car repair place sent someone to check the 4Runner out.  What he found under the hood was, you guessed it, squirrels.  Mama and babies in a cozy nest made of wires lined with leaves.  Wires that used to be connected to various parts of the engine. 

Which leads to an inescapable conclusion, one not reported in any media outlet prior to this blogpost:  A conspiracy of squirrels is the true cause of Toyota's reliability problems.  Think about it; they're everywhere. 

You heard it here first, in the Texas Hill Country.

P.S.  Estimated repair cost $300.  On a square-foot basis, those squirrels had the highest-priced home in town.

Words and photos by Kathleen Scott,for her blog Hill Country Mysteries. Copyright 2009-2010.


  1. Love the squirrel photo -- thanks for the smiles and entertaining post! One of these days, I will share with you an essay in my book about the ballsy squirrel that came to visit us daily and ate out of our hands. (Even walked in our house when we forgot to close the sliding door to the patio). But these guys can be pests, I know :-)

  2. That was funny, Kathleen, but probably not to the 4-Runner owners.

    Love you. Have a terrfic weekend.


  3. Perfect.
    And while they are charming, they are annoying.
    They have the nerve to sit on the gate post lipping at us when we want to , god forbid, go into our own backyard. I assume we are disturbing the foraging, burying and mayhem. My dog does send most of them running, but he's only slightly bigger, so I fear a confrontation one day.

    and I gave a little shout out to you today. I reposted a Green Acres post, and couldn't import the comments, but I wanted to thank you for your encouragement. You know volumes more than I eve r hope to , but we do share the same love of dirt and all things growing. I'm glad to call you friend. IRL or not.

  4. Ha! Another mystery solved. Toyota must be so grateful.

    We had rats (minus the fluffy tails) for real around our house last year doing that same nuisance shuffle. Getting into the compost, raiding the birdfeeder, trying to nest using insulation from around our heater INSIDE UNDER THE EAVES OF OUR HOUSE.

    I'll take the fluffy tailed over true rats any day, and be glad they seem to stay outside at least. Gives my cats so much pleasure to watch and talk back to.... However a $300 repair bill might change my mind pronto.

  5. Wildlife can be fun to watch. But, it also can be a nuisance. So far, the squirrels around here just raid the birdfeeders. It's hard to keep them full. They left the tomatoes alone, last year.
    The deer on the other hand....if they don't eat it, they stomp it or pull it up. We have an ongoing battle, here.
    What is it about wires and rats...bushy tailed or not? They seem to love them.

  6. What a great photo and post! I'll admit, I've never had squirrels set up home under the hood of the Rav4! I guess I still enjoy the squirrels because I really don't have much planted yet that they can dig up!

  7. I've heard it said that squirrels are rats with a cuter outfit! We have our share around here, but so far *knock on wood* They haven't caused too much mayhem, though I know they can get into everything!

    What did your neighbors do with the momma and baby that lived in their vehicle? I'm curious to know where they ended up!

    Thanks for the smile this morning!

  8. Hahaha Kathleen, i can visualize the family of squirrels. We dont have them here so if might be very glad if i am the one who saw them first. I love wildlife in the property as long as they are not too plenty to cause nuisance.


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