Squirrels Gone Wild

Forgoing acorns, they bite the Big Apple

Photo by Caleb Martin on Unsplash

Squirrels have quickly gone from our country’s most unusual airline service animal to the biggest menace to society since murder hornets.

In the Queens, NY neighborhood of Rego Park, they have been attacking residents and, rudely, biting them. Even if these people had coated themselves in a mixture of suet and sunflower seeds, it’s unusual behavior for squirrels. Naturalists are baffled—even David Attenborough has wisely stayed above the fray. I thought I’d clear things up , based on a lifetime of backyard squirrel observation. Bird feeders have been my Gombe.

I have two theories. The first is a simple one, you’ve probably already come up with it yourself. These are New York City squirrels. They have an attitude. But these squirrels live in Queens, so they they have a big acorn on their shoulders.

Manhattan is the most glamorous borough, Brooklyn, the hippest, the Bronx, the toughest, and Staten Island is where the Wu-Tang Clan is from.

Queens, maybe because its many charms are frequently overlooked, has become the most pugnacious borough, in any of the 138 languages spoken there. Archie Bunker lived in Queens. As did our former president and current governor. Why should the squirrels behave differently from any of the other locals?

Also, Queens has the best food, and the squirrels are getting what, seeds? Seeds they have to scrounge from feeders meant for birds? What makes birds so special? Do they plant acorns that grow into mighty oaks? No. They sit in the oak trees and flit about. Hardly a constructive use of time. You think they thank the squirrels for their leafy habitat? Pffft.

I won’t even get into birds’ relaxed sanitary behavior, but it’s the reason many of us wear hats in the city.

Is there an Audubon Society for squirrels? I’m not aware of any popular rodent clubs. Or, for that matter, rodent watchers, except involuntarily in the subways. At least Pizza Rat got something good to eat.

It may be a better question to ask why the squirrels haven’t been acting like this previously. They have a lot of beefs.

In due time, they’ll probably chill out and constrain themselves to just insulting dogs from the safety of a high branch. This is what squirrels enjoy doing all over the country, and it’s not difficult to imagine that Queens squirrels have a special knack for it.

At least they’ll be using their words this time.

Jim’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Funny Times, HumorOutcasts.com, McSweeneys Internet Tendency, and on WBFO public radio.

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