When good squirrels go bad

July 17, 2015 • 3:45 pm

by Grania

Recently we had a story which almost certainly wasn’t about a Sciuridaen nut thief. This time round it appears the feathery-tailed rodent actually is a miscreant. Well, maybe.

The Telegraph reports,

An “aggressive” squirrel has been arrested by German police officers after a woman complained it was stalking her.

Police in North Rhine-Westphalia received the bizarre emergency call on Wednesday from a woman who claimed the rodent was chasing her.

The woman, from Bottrop, tried to give the pursuant rodent the slip but eventually rang the police out of desperation.

It’s being fed honey and will be sent to a rescue shelter, so that is certainly a better fate than hard labor at a penal colony.


In Worcestershire in the UK, it’s even worse. The headlines of Entertainment.ie proclaim:

Squirrel breaks into pub, gets drunk and causes hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

When Sam Boulter, the secretary of Honeybourne Railway Club, came in the next morning, he thought that there had been a burglary and was about to call the cops, when he discovered the real culprit.

The floor was covered in broken bottles of beer, and he stated that the place had been “totally ransacked”, but when a squirrel staggered out from behind a box of crisps, he realised who was the guilty party.

I’m beginning to think we need to re-evaluate our trusting relationship with squirrels.

h/t Joyce

87 thoughts on “When good squirrels go bad

  1. When I worked in a park when I was a student, I had a squirrel that kept following me. I think it was used to being fed & expected food.

      1. When an apartment was rented in the house next to mine, it needed a new telephone line run. It had to go across our property and the only good place to fasten it was a giant Sycamore tree in the back yard, so it was affixed with a clamp. A squirrel who had a nest in a hollow in the tree was used to going up and down the trunk right where the line was, so it solved the problem by chewing it in half!

  2. ==a better fate than hard labor at a penal colony.==

    Yes, sending it to Australia would be cruel.

    1. No squirrels! Even the cute red ones. We have enough ferals as it is.
      There’s actually a feral population of Indian palm sqrls in Perth, but they haven’t established more than a few blocks from the zoo in a century. Not for want of trying, though.

  3. …a woman complained [the squirrel] was stalking her…

    That’s an easy fix: get a restraining order — the kind Jackie O. used to get to keep the rodents in the paparazzi 50 yards away from her and Caroline and John-John.

    (For our friends using the metric system — who, therefore, “wouldn’t know what the f*ck a quarter-pounder is” — 50 yards is 46 meters, give or take, half the length of a football field … an American football field, mates.)

    1. So if we’re not American, and don’t know about your outdated measuring system, how do we know how big an American Football field is? 🙂

      I’m old enough to remember pre-metric days, so I’m OK actually. 🙂

      You’ve had metric money for years, I don’t know why you don’t just go all the way. The rest of us won’t change back you know. 🙂

      1. What Americans under 70 know about the metric system, we’ve learned not in school, but through the black-market drug trade. You need to convert ounces to grams or kilos to pounds? Ask your local stoner.

      2. “I don’t know why you don’t just go all the way.”

        I guess it’s part of our collective nationalistic effort to try to maintain that fatuity of self-esteem writ on a grand scale, “American Exceptionalism” (beyond a path-of-least-resistance “can’t be bothered” attitude).

        1. Britain still hasn’t ‘gone all the way’ either, I’m very happy to say. They still use miles for distances. (As do I. NZ might have gone metric but I still think in miles per hour. I just convert the road signs in my head).


          1. I have to agree with you about Britain not having gone all the way, though I’m less happy about it. But I still mentally distance walking and driving in miles.
            Switching mental gears between working for Americans (in lb.f, in, ft, 1/32nd in, lb/100ft.sq, barrels and tons) and working for non-Americans (in N, mm, m, m, cP, m^3 and tonnes) is a real pain in the braincell for several days. Which makes jobs where one department wants all reporting in American units (for compatibility with hundreds of nearby wells) and other departments want reporting in metric. That was not a good job.
            NASA missed an opportunity to reform their supply chain when they impacted a Mars orbiter about 18 years ago. But I’m sure another opportunity will arise.

            1. I don’t mind tonnes (which are vitually synonymous, for practical purposes, with UK tons). Millimetres and kilograms I’m fine with. But Newtons and Pascals are crap. I know what a psi is, I can even visualise it – a pound per square inch – but what the hell is a Pascal? (So far as I can tell, about equivalent to a fart in your general direction 😉


              1. A Pascal is a kilogramme per square metre. I have no problem visualising that. I think it’s about a 10th of a mm of water (at N/S TP).

              2. No it ain’t! It’s a Newton per square metre.* I could visualise a kg (weight) per sq m, absurdly small though it is. A Pascal is about a tenth of that, IIRC.

                (I don’t know if anyone’s measured the pressure of a good fart, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it could register in Pascals, at least).


                * i.e. a kg-m/sec^2 per sq. m. I think. Try visualising that!

    2. Yeah, I know what a yard is, and a metre. (Approximately 1.1 yards or 39.36″, IIRC).

      But why would anyone have a clue what the length of a football field is, soccer, rugby or American? Particularly a metric-system user. Might as well quote the length of a petanque pitch…


        1. Or about 50 feet. The length of a Southern Pacific (excluding tender) or four Lotus Elans. If that sounds obscure and esoteric I assure you it conveys more to me than the length of some sports field.

          (I’m just having a snark over the widespread presumption that ‘everybody’ should know how long a football field is. I get the same way when reading S J Gould at his assumption that baseball is universal 🙂


          1. Case in point – TVOne News just described some visiting Russian superyacht in Auckland Harbour as “40 metres longer than a rugby field”. Fuck you, TV One. You *know* how bloody long it is, obviously, why not tell us? In English. Your obscure babble conveys nothing to me. Do you expect me to resort to Wikipedia and do a mental addition to find out the figure you know already? Bah humbug.


    1. Some young people I know have claimed to have put wasabi on french fries and tossed them into the air upon being circled by seagulls begging for food. The reaction apparently, was memorable.

      The seagulls here have been waging Airhad on our cars for decades. I hope this recent wahhabi experience won’t radicalise them. Things could get messy.

        1. They are right. Capsaicin affects mammals but not birds. This is useful to the pepper plant because mammal’s teeth crush the seeds and birds pass them through.

          On the other hand, wasabi and horseradish are members of the Brassicaceae family and the active ingredient found in the root is mustard oil.

          1. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s a bit more complicated than that. I’ve known two cats, including Baihu, who very much like (or liked, in the case of Tamar), spicy foods. There’s a small family-owned Vietnamese shop nearby where they make their own jerky. It’s really, really good stuff — and, of course, a lot of the varieties use as much chili as all the other spices combined. Baihu loves it as much as I do.

            So, that’s at least two species of mammals that consider capsaicin a feature, not a bug. Of course, cats aren’t likely to seek out any plant to snack on and humans do the peppers a great service by cultivating them…but, if cats and humans were able to not just tolerate but embrace capsaicin, I’d think there must be some others who would get significant nutritional benefit who should also be able to evolve a love of the pepper.


  4. “Squirrel breaks into pub, gets drunk and causes hundreds of pounds worth of damage.”

    No Oxford comma for entertainment.ie, huh?

    Next time a squirrel breaks into a pub and commits mayhem, how will we know if it actually “eats, shoots, and leaves”?

  5. I can explain the criminal behaviour of the Honeybourne squirrel…. It obviously had escaped from Long Lartin prison which is about 1km from Honeybourne !

              1. Just back from once a decade baseball game. Toronto beat Tampa Bay 4-0. Fantastic seats right behind home plate given to us by generous neighbors. Had peanuts, hot dogs and Cracker Jack. Life is good⚾️

              2. For me it’s once per century if I’m lucky. In about 1990 I watched The Red Sox at Fenway from behind the home plate. I don’t remember the game, but we sat just behind a flock of trophy wives. Quite a thrill. Woo woo.

        1. 1 km = 352.112676056338 tables.
          According to my apple wristwatch (which is approximately 3.08567758 centimeters in diameter).

          1. I very much doubt that. 😉

            There is no way you could measure a pool table to that degree of accuracy. The natural expansion of the table with temperature change would make a nonsense of any such measurement anyway.

            [rant mode ON]
            I also get snarcastic about ‘precise’ equivalents of approximate figures – most commonly happens with newspaper reports –
            “US parachutist falls 1524m and survives” – that was presumably 5000 feet, give or take a few hundred.

            Or “London bank robbery nets $7.166 million” – I think more likely 3 million quid or thereabouts. In fact I doubt it netted the robbers ONE NZ dollar.

            Apparently the reporter knows how to use a calculator but not what the numbers mean.



              1. That still requires you to be measuring your standard pool table to a 10,000th of a micron. Which I submit is not meaningful. Even a fingerprint would destroy the accuracy of your measurements.


              2. No prints either. All my table-movers are required to wear kid gloves. (Sigh…skeptics are everywhere).

            1. Or like here in Canuckland, when they switched from mph to kmh, the signs in the parking garages now have the speed limit as 16kmh.

              1. Our signs here just say ’45’ or ’65’ or whatever, no units specified, including the bend warning signs. Which of course my compatriots in British sports cars like to interpret as miles per hour. Nobody’s brave enough to take it as a TRUE metric unit, which would be metres per second 😉


              2. We like to specify the km so visiting Americans know to use the small numbers on their cars’ speedometers.

              3. Speedometers have small numbers…presumably calibrated in km/h…? Since when? It’s not on any car I’ve ever owned….


              4. I assume you’ve never bought a car in Canada, Ben. Mine up here have all had both kmh (larger) and mph (smaller).

              5. My Miata is made for the American market (got it from NC) and I have to use the small numbers on the odometer for the miles all the time in Canada.

                It would suck not to have them. I’d have to have an app run on my phone to tell me how fast I was going. In many newer cars, people can just select which measurement they want to use.

              6. “Select which measurement” — you mean, like swap out cards underneath the dial? I’d think that’d be a major pain…getting under the dash, taking out the speedometer, taking it all apart…and I’m sure the numbers / tick marks aren’t removable on any of the cars I’ve ever had.


              7. Are you being deliberately obtuse for the LOLz?

                If not, it’s all digital and they push a button.

              8. Digital speedometers? Like those newfangled awkward clunky wristwatches of the ’80s? Who’d want that in a car? And I bet the buttons are the size of a pinhead and impossible and painful to push, just like the watches….


              9. Imagine I was emotionally unstable and just did this now. 😢😥😓😪

                I’m not though so I will just do this. 💩

              10. 🚽

                …and, of course, don’t forget the


                (Hung in its proper orientation!)

                (…and, in fairness…my main car is that ’68 VW Jerry posted a picture of…the newly-purchased car is the ’64 1/2 Mustang whose seriously upgraded engine just arrived last week…I did most of my early driving in my parents’s ’55 VW Bug, and, until just a month or so ago, their new car was an ’89 Lincoln Town Car…so, yeah. Everything I wrote was straight-up true about not ever having owned a car with metric or digital or whatever. Of course, Mom and Dad are now the very proud owners of a Nissan Leaf, so I’ll admit to a tiny bit of hyperbole…but damned little….)


              11. Oooo the Leaf. I’ve been eyeing it for a while. You’ll have to report back how the fuel economy is in the heat as I have the opposite problem with cold. I don’t know if the Leaf would work for me without me completely worrying about making it home. I’m waiting on that 45k Tesla. 🙂

              12. They’re consistently getting, if I remember right, about 70 miles on an 80% charge. That’s city driving in the Phoenix area in the summer. At freeway speeds, efficiency suffers.

                Nissan has been making a lot of noise recently…the next (mid-year?) model is supposed to get a 25% bigger battery, and they’re looking at doubling capacity in just a couple-few years. I’m getting the distinct impression that all electric vehicles are going to have 200+ mile ranges by the end of the decade.

                Electric vehicles are going to become the norm at least as rapidly as the automatic transmission did. Gasoline (and manual transmission) cars are never going away. Stephen’s got his modern Cobra, and it’s not at all difficult to find Model T Fords and similar vehicles, originals and replicas, for sale in good condition and even driven on the road…you’re just never going to find them (or anything even vaguely like them) on the showroom floor.

                (Incidentally, you wouldn’t be able to drive a Model T. It’s got all the familiar controls: three foot pedals, a couple levers, that sort of thing…but the controls don’t do anything like what you expect them to do.)


              13. That’s good news. I really like the Leaf and my current car that isn’t my Miata should be able to last a few more years – enough for me to save more money & enough for technology to improve!

                I wish rail systems were also in place. I’m taking a rail trip from Toronto to Ottawa in August with my friend who lives in Toronto and it will be so much better than driving. I can even bring my foldable bike if I want.

              14. Rail is wonderful. It especially shines when there’s suitable local transit infrastructure — public transit, walkability, whatever — that you don’t have to rent a car at the destination. Though that’s true of air travel, too, of course.

                I’m surprised more tourist and business travel groups haven’t figured out yet the bragging rights they could have with top-flight public transport…”Come to ____, and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of renting a car or jockeying for a parking meter or any of the rest.”


              15. Ben is clearly being deliberately obtuse🐸
                You could even change those metal printers’ thingies for the different units…not.

              16. An interesting thought…a custom letterpress-printed set of instrument gauge dials. I just might have to keep that in mind for the Mustang.


              17. Oh, sorry, Merilee – I was responding to Diana’s comment about adding the ‘km/h’ to signs. (I know the email you would have got would give the impression I was responding to you. Blame WP’s limited nesting).

                I agree rounding it to 15 kph would be sensible.


              18. Another solution to Ben’s problem of km indication on his speed-o-meters – use a 3D printer to create a snap-on face plate for each car you drive but don’t own. You could include raised numbers and graduation marks and have Kelly hand paint them. A little gold leaf wouldn’t hurt either.

              19. I’m actually now thinking that the whole instrument cluster might have to be a work of art…could be a really neat project….


              20. Or just mentally convert. 50kph = 30mph, 60=38, 70=43, 80=50, 100=60. Near enough for practical purposes.


              21. Within rounding, 1 kilometer = Phi miles — which, of course, also means that 1 mile = phi kilometers. That is, the one is always equal to the reciprocal of the other. 160 km = 100 mi; 6 mi = 10 km; 5 km = 3 mi, and so on.

                It also means that any Fibonacci sequence is going to be a bi-directional conversion table.

                1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233

                (Meaning 55 MPH is 89 km/h, and 21 km/h is 13 mph — within rounding…and, for the novices, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers: 21 + 34 = 55.)

                Pick any two numbers at random and follow the same pattern and the same relationship quickly emerges; here I start with 4 and 6:

                4 6 10 16 26 42 68 110 178 288

                …and so on…and, according to Google, 178 miles is 286.5 km — plenty close enough for back-of-the-envelope figuring


              22. That’s terrific. So, Fibbonacci all across your sun visor illuminated in cobalt blue and gold leaf. Simple as that.

              23. @Ben
                (Zeus knows where WP’s arbitrary nesting will put this)

                “Rail is wonderful. It especially shines when there’s suitable local transit infrastructure — public transit, walkability, whatever — that you don’t have to rent a car at the destination. Though that’s true of air travel, too, of course.”

                Works best in countries with a decent infrastructure (which is NOT New Zealand!).
                And it applies even if you do rent a car at the destination.
                e.g. Paris Charles de Gaulle to Lyon on the TGV – 2 hours. On the autoroute – 5 hours – if you can miss the rush hours.


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