The Curious Case of the Dead Squirrel

There are roughly five hundred million squirrels in the world* and I found a dead one in our backyard this morning.

The squirrel- I don’t know its name or sex, was lying under a tree. There was an acorn still in its mouth. Its eyes were open. So now it’s in the bushes behind our shed. I wasn’t going to just put in the trash. That seemed gross.

But what killed this squirrel? I think it was poisoned. Granted I didn’t look all that closely and I used a shovel to dispose of the body, but I couldn’t see any signs of a scuffle. Do squirrels have heart attacks? Because if so, the squirrel maybe could have died of a heart attack. I doubt it, though. Mainly because I doubt that squirrels have heart attacks. And I don’t think this was any other kind of natural cause. I also don’t think this death was because of an attack, because wouldn’t there be blood? Would an acorn still be in its mouth? Wouldn’t it have dropped the acorn when it fought back?

I bet the killing is gang related. I think the squirrel pissed someone off- probably another squirrel. The body was left out in the open to send a message- like in the movies. Do squirrels watch movies? Never mind, I’m getting off track. But no, I don’t think they do. They don’t seem to have very solid attention spans.

Since we’ve lived here, we’ve learned that squirrels are incredibly loud eaters. But I don’t think this was why the squirrel died. No, that can’t be it. Our backyard is definitely a hot bed of squirrel activity, though. We see them all the time. So who is to say that there aren’t allegiances? We would be fools to assume that all of these squirrels are friends. Packs, herds, flocks- these are nature gangs. Who is to say squirrels are not part of this? I think they are and I think that the squirrel I found this morning was part of a gang, stumbled into another gang’s territory or even worse, slept with someone’s wife. This dead squirrel did something and somewhere; maybe in a dark bush with only a single stream of sunlight peeping through, one squirrel said to another, this son of a bitch has to go. Then maybe they did it themselves or maybe they contracted the job out.

But where would a squirrel get poison?

I think that was the cause of death- a poisoned acorn.

In the end, I feel bad for the deceased squirrel’s family. The families of gang victims never take it well- unless of course the killing was for some crazy Mafia reason. Then the families seem to understand. But I don’t think that squirrel gangs have the civility of the Mafia, so I’m ruling out the family being okay with the murder. The family was probably pretty broken up by this, although they might not have been surprised. The deceased squirrel’s transgression might have been so egregious that everyone knew about it. The squirrel’s body was left out in the open, where every other squirrel in the yard could see it. That was for a reason. It’s not the first time this has happened. One time, while dog-sitting for Willy Brazil’s parents, their two dogs, Brigham & Zeus, killed a squirrel in their backyard. They left the body there for other squirrels to see- an obvious message. The scene was much more…violent.

Our neighbors don’t have dogs. One has a couple kids, the other a couple cars. I don’t think either one was responsible for the squirrel’s death. I am ruling that out. Also, I have yet to see a falcon fly by our yard. I’m ruling out falcons as well. Eagles too. Michael Vick most certainly had nothing to do with this.

So this was an inside job. It certainly wasn’t my fault. I have been doing yard work recently, but none of it involved recklessly spraying squirrel poison around. And I thought about this; wondering if it was my fault. I wondered this while tossing sticks at the body when I first noticed it. I wanted to make sure it was really dead and not playing possum before I moved it. If it was playing possum, then I was staying out of it. The weather is far too nice today to get mixed up in a squirrel gang war. Plus we have errands to do.

Since disposing of the body out behind the shed (which I’m not sure Kim is all that happy about, but what else should I have done) I’ve seen multiple squirrels kicking around our yard. They look content and care free. So maybe this kind of stuff happens all the time and maybe it’s not that big of deal. But I think it is. I think they all might be in on it. A squirrel gang conspiracy? Maybe. The world is a complicated, dangerous place- even for squirrels. Squirrels look like such simple creatures- but perhaps they’re messing with us and inside, are conniving, evil geniuses. There are no squirrel experts out there to ask. We can only guess.

Gang warfare…a crime of passion…a poisoned acorn…in the end, you can’t make this stuff up. Life is happening and it’s happening at all kinds of different levels and…wait a second, I hear a dog barking.

Was a dog involved?

Do dogs climb trees?

Do dogs have access to poison?

This case just won’t quit. It’s like our backyard is Baltimore and Kim & I are Bunk and McNulty.

Our errands might have to wait- this case might have just gotten bigger than we thought.


* I made this number up.
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  1. I just found a dead squirrel with hie eyes open and a chestnut still in his mouth laying under a power line. It didin’t seem to have any injuries. I tried to find out hat happened to it, this is when I came across your post. Guess we will never know, huh?

    Reply

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