The Bushy Tail Mafia

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Finals time at school right now. Enjoy a little piece about the Bushy Tail Mafia.

Have you ever met the squirrels over at Sacramento State or the ones at the state capitol (referred to as capitol squirrels)? They aren't so much tame as they are ballsy. I mean these guys got no fear of people when it comes to food. Undaunted by our size, they rely on their adorable outfits, rambunctious play, and adorably chittery sounds to lure us in and feed them.

And they know we will. It's a sweet racket they have going here. Absent are the Forest Rangers and signs reminding us the lesson we all know well: DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. I do feed them happily... everyone does. Feeding the squirrels is the adorable bridge we're all jumping off.

Still, I try to be better about it than most. I avoid handing them cookies or bits of bleached white bread, rather I raid a few kumquats from the campus tree and give those to them. Some accept and curiously nibble them. Others toss them aside and go in hunt of an undergrad with a supply double stuff oreos (but for those, hell, I'll chitter on my hind legs for ya').

*insert dirty joke*

Anyways, I am finding that they're becomming aggressive in their begging. Bold. Intelligent. I think they are actually planning.

Take my last encounter with them as an example; after getting to the campus far too early, I decided to kill some time by laying on the grass and throwing a few kumquats to the furry fiends. I made a few chittering sounds, the speaking squirrel equivalent to adding "o" at the end of English words in an attempt to "speak" Spanish. It seemed to work though as one squirrel perked up and then came over me in gleeful bounds and hops. All very adorable. Cooing at them ensued.

I tossed him a kumquat to which he analyzed, turned over a few times, and began to eat in a furious nibble. Once finished he looked at me, "Have any more?" he seemd to say. I held one out to him. He cautiously looked at me. Looked at the kumquat. Looked at me. Then again at the kumquat. Carefully he moved, a pace at a time, then reached out and snatched it from my fingers.

A proud look on his face, he made a triumphant squeak.

I watched him complacently and then took notice of his friend bounding up to my left. I thought I'd give him one too. I turned to the small pile of kumquats on my right and then stopped. Three more squirrels sat staring at the small kumquat pile. I reached out for the kumquats and they all began to squeak at me.

Nervousness set in. Looking back to my left, the squirrel now had a friend. I turned my head. Another behind me.


The first squirrel was a decoy. He'd sent out the call. I'd been set up. I was surrounded.

I turned back to the pile of kumquats which the squirrels were already running from, each with a little orange globe in their mouths. They had planned this little raid and were successfully pulling it off. It was like the velocoraptor scene in the first Jurassic Park movie. But cuter.

I got up and abandoned the fruit. I figured they might call others, and I couldn’t recall when I last had a rabies shot. I was totally outnumbered and they were smarter than me when it came to getting snackies.

It's only a matter of time. Screw the computers taking over. It's gonna be squirrels.

Image from


  1. This kind of sounds like an experience I had a number of years ago. We went on vacation, taking my mother-in-law along, while a contractor did some work on her house. While we were gone, someone left a basement window open, and a chipmunk got into the house. Mom, not being a particularly animal friendly sort, demanded that we get her furry friend out NOW. Too light to set off havahart traps, the little guy had to be disposed of inhumanely (rat trap). almost killed me in the process with guilt, but he was gone. Fro about six months after that, I had the distinct feeling that the entire chipmunk population was planning on offing me with "acorn 47's". They just kept watching and waiting. We still refer to it as "The Great Chipmunk Uprising of '94".

    On another note, how's the moving process going? I really hope you were exaggerating about your new neighborhood, and your problems at the old place.

  2. Too cute, and very funny. Reminded me of many afternoons spent at Stanely Park in Vancouver.

    I live on the edge of a forest and we have a chipmunk that is a little to bold. My children are messy eaters, cereal ends up on the floor and if the door is left open, even a tiny bit, our chipmunk invites himself in and eats left over cereal off the floor. He is very cute.

  3. We had crazy, huge squirrels where I went to college, too.

    This - I made ... chittering sounds, the speaking squirrel equivalent to adding "o" at the end of english words in an attempt to "speak" Spanish - is the best sentence ever!! Thanks for putting a smile on my face!

  4. Yeah, on my college campus, there are epic squirrel fights!

  5. this reminds me of our holiday in Pangkor, Malaysia. We stayed at a resort right on the beach and MONKEYS, not squirrels, were the mafia there. They lurk around the resort and there were signs on our door to keep it closed at all times. We let our guard down for a couple of minutes and a couple of monkeys sauntered in boldly, and grabbed a Cadbury chocolate bar on the counter, but not the apple!
    Somebody shrieked at the sight of the "thieves" and they ran off.
    Then at the beach, we'd left our camera on the deck chair while we had a dip in the clear waters, and a monkey sneaked up and was about to get away with our Sony Cybershot!! Thank God the hubs was near enough to shoo it away,so it turned around after giving us an angry glare and left empty-handed.
    These guys turned bold and unafraid of humans because they were being fed too regularly by some tourists....

  6. we have squirrels around our house and they are scary. I gave some old Cherrios to one cute little thing and after he ate them he started advancing on me. I was out of Cherrios.. he kept coming.. I ran into the house. It would have been embarrassing to have been attacked by a squirrel over Cherrios.
    My friend has them knocking on her window for food.

  7. I was once besieged by a swan who'd had too many handouts. Given that swans are quite large, I had no choice but to retreat. Quickly! But squirrels?! What is the world coming to? Ha ha.

  8. I had a similar experience at a park one day only it was ducks who were advancing in a threatening way--and we weren't even feeding them! It was actually kind of scary, and my friend and I hastily decided to picnic elsewhere.

    Great story G.! I hope the move is coming along better!

  9. I really enjoyed reading that! As a squirrel rehabber, I know that they're adorable little Disney creatures--when they are young. But, when they grow older they become little terrorists and I'm happy to let them go.

    Supposedly, they don't eat citrus (that's what the experts tell me in rehab classes)--but you prove what I have long suspected: They eat almost anything because they're always hungry

  10. Sher - I'm pretty sure that squirrels eat citrus. At least they appear to eat the peels of our Meyer lemons. Some mornings we find just a lemon hanging from the tree, without its peel. Don't know what other critter would do that, and with 4 walnut trees our yard is teaming with squirrels.

    Great story Garrett!

  11. I go to UNC down in Chapel Hill, NC and we have a serious squirrel problem. Those little rascals have absolutely no shame or fear. So, though it's kind of gross and a bit on the mean side, it's always satisfying to see one of our resident hawks holding a squirrel body in its talons. (What? It's the food chain)

  12. you're a great story teller. love it i was right there in the park with you it was written so well. thanks for the laugh! :)

  13. I understand the feeling of being suddenly and shockingly overwhelmed by wildlife - I live near the ocean and the seagulls are abundant and seriously aggressive. And they poop on you.

    The inexperienced tourist who thinks it's cute to throw a couple of Doritoes at the birds quickly learns that the flock of voracious scavengers that quickly descends does NOT endear you to your neighbors on the sand.

    I go to Davis. Needless to say, this haunts my dreams


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