All creatures great and small

Working from my office at home today, I had time to observe the pesky little grey squirrel that lives in the mulberry tree making inroads on my spring bulbs. I had noticed the other day that one of my Iris reticulata bulbs had been dug up, but as it had been left lying on the soil, I had hoped that the squirrel had found irises not to his taste.

Apparently not, however, as when I looked up from my desk, there he was, perched on the edge of a pot, ready to dive in and destroy. I tried glaring menacingly through the glass door, and then threateningly opening the door, and then finally throwing a shard from a frost-damaged pot at him. Each time he ran off (briefly), but then came back again, and each time he came back faster and with more evil intent.

Eventually I realised that my threats were just increasing his interest in my bulbs, so I beat a dignified retreat back to my desk and tried to ignore him. It seems to have worked – no signs of any more bulbs dug up. Perhaps he has found a better source of food. Or perhaps he was just trying to annoy me.

I did briefly contemplate putting some other food out for him to lure him away from the bulbs, but that just seems too much like admitting defeat. I can’t quite bring myself to start sprinkling chilli flakes over the soil – just seems a bit too barbaric, even for the sake of getting the better of that revolting rodent – but next year I’ll remember to put down wire mesh over my bulbs once they’ve been planted. And then when that bulb-wrecking little pest appears, I’ll stand at the door and laugh.

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