Squirrels Having Fun Over the Holidays Print


By Susan Miele

Jan. 30, 2019:  Check your chimneys and batten down the hatches: A new kind of intruder has been entering Bronxville homes, and it’s not a burglar. Squirrels are invading.

In early December, Jeannie Murrer set out to decorate her home for the holidays. After finishing the tree in her family room, she was heading toward the boxes of decorations that remained in the living room when she heard an unsettling noise. Peering around the threshold, she saw something move in the middle of the room. Whatever it was, it had a tail. It was too large to be a mouse, and mice typically cling to a room’s perimeter. “You could have heard me scream for miles,” Jeannie admitted. “People must have been thinking, ‘She is totally crazy in that house.’” In a panic, she closed the room’s doors, dashed out the kitchen entrance, raced around the house, and opened the front door in hopes of facilitating the intruder’s exit.

Jeannie called her husband, who was out in Quogue. He instructed her to call the police and insisted on hurrying home. She hesitated to bother the police, but a neighbor advised her to do the same. As Jeannie had anticipated, the police explained that they cannot respond to animal encounters unless the animal behaves aggressively. She was advised to contact animal services.

Two hours after Jeannie called her husband, he returned home, but there was no further sighting. With the front door having been left open all that time, the animal might have accepted the invitation to leave or perhaps scurried up the chimney. Later investigation revealed that the damper had been open, but despite a cap on the chimney, there must have been sufficient space for a critter to crawl in or out.

But this was not her first encounter with the fluffy-tailed rodent. Last spring, Jeannie, a sportswriter for MyhometownBronxville, and her writing partner, Sue, were sitting outside on low chairs, discussing a story they were collaborating on. Jeannie was looking down at some papers when two squirrels aggressively came charging at them. Sue’s instinct was to seek cover behind the screen of her open laptop; Jeannie, less shielded, was alarmed to find a squirrel running up her leg.

Another Bronxville homeowner had an indoor squirrel encounter this month. She noticed noises in her chimney one night and again the next day. She closed all the doors and vacated the home with her son, fearing exposure to an animal’s germs. She pursued numerous agencies for assistance, calling five or six chimney-service providers, before landing on a local animal trapper. The company representative inspected the area for compromises and identified a small gap between the cap and chimney that would allow a small animal to sneak in.

Squirrels and other wildlife also have been known to regard a cat or dog door as an invitation to enter a house. But homes aren’t the only site of squirrel havoc. Several years ago, a teacher in the Tuckahoe School District discovered that squirrels had built a nest in the tailpipe of her car while it was parked in the teacher’s lot. This resulted in considerable damage, a high price tag, and a newfound hatred for squirrels. A resident of Chester Heights discovered a squirrel behind her stove.

The Washington Post runs an annual photo contest, soliciting amateur photos of squirrels that are up to no good. The published results can be quite humorous—provided, of course, the victim is someone else.

Photo by N. Bower

Editor's note:  This is not the first time MyhometownBronxville has reported on squirrel activity in Bronxville. We published an April Fools' Day article on the subject in 2010. Here is a link.