Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

The Squirrel in the Stovepipe Adventure

Posted by sodaklady on August 1, 2008


We have a couple of squirrels in our neighborhood and they have given us lots of entertainment ever since they showed up last summer.

Yesterday Cori came home from work, went downstairs and came running back up the stairs doing a bit of a freak-out.  A squirrel was squeaking from inside the stovepipe.

Now first off, I thought squirrels were smarter than that; strange, but smarter than that. Secondly, I thought Richard had put a wire cover on the top of the chimney after we had to get a bird out of it a couple of years ago.

The box we used to rescue the bird was still in the garage so we dug it out, checked it for spiders and put a little bird seed in it as enticement.  This box is taped shut but with a hole cut in it to fit over the end of the stovepipe where it comes out of the wall.  We carefully removed a section of the pipe, shown a flashlight into the pipe and saw a scared little squirrel looking back from its sooty depths.  With the box fit snugly over the end of the pipe, we settled down to wait quietly.

I was giving a couple of the cats some attention (they were very interested in the occupied stovepipe), and Cori was listening near the stove when a thought struck her: a squirrel is not a bird. Maybe you don’t know much about either so I will explain.  If a scared bird goes into a box, there’s a good chance you can move the box and cover the hole before it gets its wits around the circumstances and escapes.  A squirrel is very highly strung, much like Hammie in Over The Hedge, which made us wonder if it would be possible to remove the box before the squirrel flew back into the pipe where he felt safe.  We decided we needed a plan B.

Plan B came from Cori, some elaborate contraption involving the pet carrier, a small box with a slit in the top for a sliding panel, and lots of duct tape.  Even if this didn’t seem a bit of an extreme invention, we were stymied by the highly unlikely fact that we couldn’t find any duct tape!  On to Plan C.

Plan C seemed like the thing we should have done in the first place if we weren’t a family of self-sufficient, I’d-rather-do-it-myself types: call animal control.  But animal control was gone for the day!  Uh, o.k.  On to Plan D.

Plan D seemed quite logical, allowing the squirrel safe exit from the pipe while giving us an easy means to trap him and remove him from the house. We had brought in a huge, heavy drop cloth to put around the stove area to protect the carpet and I thought it would be great to just create a bag-like escape route with it.  When the squirrel was in the bag, we’d just squeeze the top shut and carry it all outside.  We thought we should put a small box at the bottom of this tube with food and water. In theory, this was a good plan; in reality, it was tougher to carry out. The drop cloth is very large and very heavy, creating something too unwieldy for the two of us.  Plan D needed modification.

We have several old sheets which come in handy for any number of purposes but they were very thin and I imagined the ruckus that squirrel would cause when he felt his trap being moved.  No, we needed something a little more substantial. Wheels turned in my head, envisioning what the perfect item would look like, and it looked pretty much like something we had at hand…a sleeping bag. We have some old, cheap ones that we got when the kids were little so it wouldn’t matter if they got nasty inside from soot and creosote.  

The sleeping bag slide escape for the squirrel

The sleeping bag slide escape for the squirrel

And ladies and gentlemen, this worked beautifully. A half hour of waiting found our unexpected house guest “in the bag”.  We carried it outside and laid it near a tree, gave it a little shake and out he ran.  He zipped straight up the tree and only stopped long enough to give us a look that may have said, “Thanks for the help.  Gotta go now since I’m really late for supper.”


3 Responses to “The Squirrel in the Stovepipe Adventure”

  1. Gerald said

    Aren’t you guys ingenious?!! What a great idea. Now, you are prepared for future surprise visitors.

    In past years, our cats have brought into the house live birds, bats, mice, and shrews. I wish we had created such good “traps” as you did. We usually just had to get close enough to throw a large towel over the critter. However, one time, our son managed to intice a wild bird to perch on the handle of a broom, while he carried it to an open door, where it flew a way (I wouldn’t have believed it, if it hadn’t happened at our house).

  2. Yehuda said

    Great story.


  3. I enjoyed your story. It is similar to a recent event on Bowen Island.

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