The Hungry Squirrel

This squirrel is inadequately afraid of humans! Squirrel, I am a threat to you! We are enemies! Please get off my bench! Oh, god! Oh, god! Don’t touch me—oh, god!

― John Green

Tanya Barrientos Birdhouse 

Tanya Barrientos’ DIY squirrel-proofed bird feeder


Who among us has not witnessed the hunger of squirrels, their unrelenting quest to sate their voracious appetites? 

John Green [The Fault in Our Stars] was accosted by a hungry squirrel while eating popcorn on a park bench in Washington D.C., an unnerving interaction caught on video. The squirrel was not only not frightened, it placed a paw on Green’s knee to demand an edible morsel. 

I have seen a squirrel hang upside-down by a toenail in order to suck nyjer seed from a backyard finch feeder. I swear he had a tiny straw for sucking the rice-like seed from the minuscule portals in the feeder. Some say squirrels don’t like nyjer, but go on to suggest lacing it with capsicum [hot pepper] to discourage foraging. Why not just leave a bottle of Sriracha on the feeder?  

A squirrel’s Id is succinctly captured by author Kate DiCamillo in “Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures,” the 2014 Newbery Award-winning tale of a girl [Flora] and a squirrel [Ulysses]: 

Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel. 

Huge portions of what is loosely termed “the squirrel brain” are given over to one thought: food. 

The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: “I wonder what there is to eat.”

Thousands of words have been devoted to magazine articles and blog posts on how to prevent squirrels from reaching the bird seed. 

A large segment of the bird-feeder industry specializes in products meant to discourage squirrels from raiding the nuts and seeds meant for birds, not–as actress Sarah Jessica Parker has described squirrels–“rats with cuter outfits.” They include baffles, devices that will spin the interlopers into the air, greased poles and cages that will exclude squirrels but admit birds. I can assure you, these tactics and devices do not work.

Squirrels are undeterred. 

So am I. I consume, but my hunger is not sated. What is it I hunger for?

The Resale Evangelista is simplifying, clarifying and trying to live a more artful life. Sometimes, it’s a puzzle.



6 thoughts on “The Hungry Squirrel

  1. evilsquirrel13

    Squirrels are awesome critters once you get to know them. It’s too bad most people don’t seem to just think they’re annoying pests who for some reason have less right to food than the birds…


  2. laurievincent

    I keep our squirrel (née bird) feeder stocked with black sunflower seeds — the fave food of our furry neighborhood aerialists — to keep our dog entertained. Squirrels nibble blissfully, undeterred by the feeder’s slick design. Frankie spends hours stalking squirrels from across the yard. She doesn’t expect to catch them & they don’t worry about being caught. A suicidal squirrel would have to leap into her jaws.


  3. Mike Hess

    I am always impressed with the dichotomy of thinking when it comes to animals. People love their dogs and eat their chickens and are baffled if not horrified to reverse the order. I’ve generally called mine a cat feeder, but the day a hawk nailed a sparrow I’d invited over I was just as pleased. Most startling to me are the folks who have never hunted but own BB guns or .22s against squirrels exercising their evolutionary advantage. I’ve never fed squirrels, but corn cobs on posts seems like a better “solution.” Maybe hang them from strings: as long as the trick is to get the food, squirrels are easier to train than most pets. Hanging by a toenail is more fun to watch than jumping through a hoop or chasing a ball anyway.


    1. Susan at Resale Evangelista Post author

      You’re right. The best solution–the only one that works–is to feed the little rascals their own grub. I like the idea of hanging the corn on strings, you just know they’d figure a way to get it. Also, I do have marginally better things to do than grease the poles of my bird feeders. Currently I’m training my (indoor) cat to catch individually thrown kibbles mid-air. Keeps both of us entertained for 30 minutes at a time.



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