Thursday, December 28, 2006

Oh NO! More Squirrels!

Terrorists! Squirrels! OMG!

"Austin, TX (AHN) - The reason behind a large number of power failures in Texas is not storms, thunder or rain. To the surprise of many people, it is the seemingly harmless squirrel. According to a report from the Austin Energy power company in Texas, almost 20 percent of all its power outages are caused by squirrels.

The news, published in the Austin American-Statesman, says that the squirrels apparently come into contact with sensitive electrical equipment on utility poles, which can cause 700 area outages a year.

According to Austin Energy supervisor Karl Hauer, "He's a formidable foe. Ask anyone who has been stuck in traffic or left in the dark because of a squirrel."

Austin Energy is reportedly spending more than $100,000 annually to install deterrents on equipment to keep the animals at bay.

However, many Texans say that the power companies are just making excuses by blaming their faults on squirrels."

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Is anyone paying attention to this nefarious perfidy? ... Or do I mean perfidious nefariousness?


mapaghimagsik said...

I for one welcome my Tamiasciurus overlords.

ellroon said...

Damn, you made me call up a zoological dictionary:
American red squirrels.

I quake in fear of the Tamiasciurusian religion they will impose....

In googling squirrel terrorism, I notice Dave Barry is also keeping track of their evil-doing ways. At least I'm not alone!

Steve Bates said...

My late father finally defeated the endless procession of squirrels raiding his bird feeders. His method was, for the most part, harmless to squirrels, unless a particular squirrel happened to be inordinately clumsy, and even then the results were not fatal.

For a suitable price, I'll tell anyone how he did it. :) Actually, give-away-the-store liberal that I am, I'll tell anyone for free.

ellroon said...

Oh please, yes! More squirrel stories!

Steve Bates said...

Dad strung a line between two tall trees. (This was the hardest part; trust me.) From the middle of this line dangled the bird feeder, at a suitable height above the ground. (Some sort of pulley mechanism allowed the feeder to be lowered and refilled.) Threaded on each end of the line, a few feet from the tree, was a piece of PVC pipe, free to rotate on the line but held in place by some sort of stop placed on the line. At the treeward end of each piece of pipe was a plastic disk about a foot in diameter, attached to the pipe. Squirrels that managed to get past the disk had no choice but to walk on the pipe, which rotated freely, dumping them unceremoniously on the ground. Dad said only one squirrel ever had the coordination and brains to defeat this mechanism.

Anonymous said...

I am paying protection to a particularly nefarious squirrel who knocks on my (third floor) balcony door, every morning, demanding peanuts.

Peanut Brain has come quite good at hanging upside down off the bird feed, and generally providing much hilarity with her antics. I wouldn't dream of denying her her treats.

As if I could....

ellroon said...

I've heard of the cleverness of squirrels before, but the pvc dance must have been hilarious, Steve. Were you in the city, the suburbs, the country? We have squirrels both grey and red, recently displaced by all the freeway construction, house lots, etc. They have yet to become a pest for me luckily, and haven't discovered my vegetable garden. It's only a matter of time.

Anya, THIRD floor? Does the squirrel have a tree to gain access or is the building easy to climb? And what does it do when you aren't there? Leave ... donations? Beat up your cat? Chew on the bird feeder?

Anonymous said...

Nope, no trees. The third floor seems to be easily accessible, even without them. Squirrels and chipmunks can climb right up the brick wall, and cats shinny up the wood support posts. I'm sure the raccoons would be up here, too, if they weren't so fat.

I'm thinking of having the government declare my balcony as a wildlife sanctuary.

I didn't have a cat for them to beat up until yesterday (said cat having climbed the post to cute her way into my apartment), but the squirrels do chew the birdfeeder, and leave, um, "rat raisins" all over the railing.

ellroon said...

Omg, Anya! Sounds like you have freeway level activity on your balcony. I won't say anything about racoons then, else you will have them cute-ing their way onto your sofa as well.

Hope the kitty works out! (Into your graces one way, and to deal with the mafia squirrels the other way).

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the kitty belongs to somebody else who came to claim her this morning. However, they have several cats and don't take any pains to keep them inside when opening their patio door. Since Reesie seems to enjoy being an only cat, she'll probably be up here visiting again the next time she gets out.

I'll get such a talking to by the resident squirrel-queen.

(Yes, I can tell the gender of my main squirrel. She frequently climbs up the screen door, and her double row of "buttons" are there for all the world to see.)

ellroon said...

Whoa! A female flasher mafia squirrel! Have you checked to see if there's a little animal sign that says: 'Nice lady, good food' somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Must be.

The climbing kitten came back, came in and went directly to where the food bowl should be.

I took her home, but the minute I put her down, she headed back to my apartment at full speed.

I guess the critters all love my home cookin'


ellroon said...


Some people just radiate fuzzy goodness. You must be one!