23 February 2006

Squirrel update

We got some things called “Squirrel Logs“. They’re supposed to last as long as 12-24 ears of corn. Given the rate at which our half dozen fluffy friends go through corn, that seemed like a convenient idea.

I tried hanging one from the bungee. No deal, it seemed that they would definitely last 12x as long as corn, because the squirrels wouldn’t touch ’em. They went straight for the corn on the squirrel-a-whirl instead, and even after eating it they continued to climb out on the whirl and sniff the corn husks rather than eat the log.

I wondered if it might just be too much work for them to knaw at the log while bouncing up and down on a spring, so I decided I needed to rig up a makeshift holder for the log—something that would stop Blacktip from trying to drag the entire thing away. I also realized they’d be more likely to sit around and chow if the log was above ground level, out of the reach of the neighbor’s cat.

I picked a sturdy chunk of wood out of the trash near a local building site, and drilled two holes in it about 1cm apart. I threaded some steel cable through one hole, through the squirrel log, through a metal hex nut, back down through the log, and then through the other hole in the wood. I twist-tied the cable underneath the wood and duct taped it out of harm’s way. Then, I positioned the wood platform over the metal fence, and attached one end to a post of the wooden fence behind the metal fence, with a small right-angle bracket. (I’m not sure why we have two fences.)

The result allows the squirrels to climb on via the fences, and sit and gnaw at the log in comfort. They can grab it and move it around, but can’t actually drag it away.

We haven’t seen Blacktip in a couple of weeks. I’m wondering if something has happened to him. I’ll put corn out all weekend, and if he doesn’t show, I think it’ll be time to put the feed box back. Frida is still a regular visitor, and we’ve also seen a new smallish squirrel with a thick tail, who had trouble working out the whole bungee thing.

© mathew 2017