I was deep asleep last night when Kim jostled me from my dreams. I opened my eyes to find her standing at the foot of the bed, shaking my feet. “J.D.,” she whispered. “Do you hear that?”
“Is it a bear?” I asked. I don’t like bears. They scare me.
“No,” she said. “Listen. Something is in the walls of the RV.”
“Hunh?” I groaned. I was groggy and wanted to go back to sleep.
“Listen,” she said. I listened. Nearby, some critter was chittering. I could hear the scrabble of its little claws.
“It’s just a squirrel,” I said. I turned over and pulled up the covers.
“But it’s in the walls,” Kim said. “Get up. Come see.” I got up. I went to see. And to hear. Sure enough, there was a squirrel in the walls of the RV. Sleepy though I was, I had the presence of mind to grab my phone. I wanted to film this.
Stepping outside, it was instantly clear how the squirrel had managed to get inside the motorhome. He’d chewed his way through the refrigerator ventilation screen, leaving a pile of plastic on the ground.
“Ugh,” I said. “This isn’t good.”
When I was a boy, one of our cats managed to climb into the walls of my family’s trailer house. It died there, and stank. Dad had to tear off the paneling to pull out the rotting corpse. More recently, while I was still working at the family box company, a skunk died under that very same trailer house (which was then the office for the business). I had to crawl under the trailer to retrieve the smelly critter.
“How do we get the squirrel out of there?” Kim asked. Fortunately, just a few days before, Derek had shown me how to remove the vent to look behind the fridge. I pulled off the screen, but I couldn’t see the squirrel. I decided to lure him outside with that favorite food of all squirrels: peanuts.
Attempting to lure the squirrel with peanuts
After tossing some nots on the ground, I went inside to try to scare the squirrel out of his hiding place. Kim stayed outside to film the action. Our plan worked. Sort of.
The culprit reveals himself!
The squirrel moved to the open vent and — eventually — hopped down. But he wasn’t interested in the nuts. His goal was to enter the open doorway to the RV!
I managed to snap one photo with my digital camera while insite the motorhome, but it was a good one. Here’s the little devil jumping down:
Lucky snapshot as the squirrel jumps down
Our furry friend spent the next twenty minutes in a nearby tree, cursing us loudly as only a scorned squirrel can curse. Kim rigged a makeshift anti-squirrel device, then we drove to town to buy metal “fabric”, with which we reinforced the fridge vent. We hope it’s now squirrel-proof.
Our makeshift squirrel-proofing
We had hoped to spend our day lounging around camp, reading books and riding bikes. Instead, we spent the first few hours dealing with our rodent problem. In the past, this would have bugged me. Now, though, I’ve learned to expect (and embrace) the unexpected. The squirrel problem had to be solved, and there was no use fretting about it.
Besides, this little adventure wasn’t without its advantages. On our drive home from Jackson, we decided to take the poor Mini Cooper down yet another rough dirt road near the back entrance to Grand Teton National Park. We’re glad we did.
Within a few minutes of turning on the dirt road, we spotted a moose grazing by the side of a creek. A few miles further on, we pulled over to join a throng of folks watching another moose wading through a river and munching on grass and leaves. Thanks to the squirrel, we got to see some moose.
Look! A moose! (Taken with a zoomed-in iPhone, so poor quality)