October 15, 2005

Squirrels! -- an Althouse obsession.

I love squirrels out in yard. They're entertaining, scampering around, looking for love in the spring, furiously burying acorns in the fall. Yesterday, I walked right next to one that was burying an acorn, and I was impressed by the efficient technique and the impressive musculature of the upper back and forelegs under sleek gray fur. When podcasting, I am easily distracted by the skittering of a squirrel across my roof. And, as you know, I've had this ongoing mystery about whether a squirrel has been in my house. I'm not as nervous about that as I once was. There have been no more stray cracked shells on the carpet.

But now, there's this! (Via Metafilter.) Squirrels on crack! Crack dealers/users bury rocks of crack in people's yards and the squirrels dig them up and come back for more.
"I was chatting with my neighbour who told me that crack users and dealers sometimes use my front garden to hide bits of their stash.

"An hour earlier I'd seen a squirrel wandering round the garden, digging in the flowerbeds.

"It looked like it knew what it was looking for.

"It was ill-looking and its eyes looked bloodshot but it kept on desperately digging.

"It was almost as if it was trying to find hidden crack rocks."

Is this for real? This Guardian article notes: "According to internet legend, crack squirrels have terrorised residents in New York and Washington." Yes, it does sound awfully urban legendary. But still...


SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Icepick said...

Do they make squirrel-sized crack pipes? And do squirrels prefer matchs or lighters? Do the squirrels that dig up the rocks deal to other squirrels?

sonicfrog said...

Ann, you might want to submit this story to the guys at snopes.com. They vette stories like this to determine if they are true, false, or something in between.

PS. Is it OK to link to you on my blog? I always ask as a courtesy.

PSS. I love law stuff. In my next life I WILL be a lawyer. I'm too lazy and distracted to do it in this one.

Ann Althouse said...

Sonic: I did check Snopes. They had the same news story from England, but no analysis. They need to get on this one!

And you don't need to ask before linking, but sure it's okay.

Wave Maker said...

Squirrels are nothing more than a half-step above rats -- and more destructive to a dwelling. If I have to rid one more from my attic this winter, I'll consider moving to Arizona where I need only to worry about the occasional Armadillo.

Dave said...

Non crack-addicted squirrels terrorize me in NYC because every time I walk my dog and she sees one of them, my arm is nearly pulled out of my socket.


APF said...

I agree that this sounds like an obvious urban legend... but is it wrong if I want it to be true? Crack-free squirrels are a reality-based community I don't want to be a part of.

Undecided said...

Your post might have been alternately entitled, "The Joy of Squirrels." Perhaps a book for you to write someday?

Why would a squirrel resort to ingesting crack? Next you will tell me (I don't want to hear it) that Alvin and the Chipmunks are on crack.

Many squirrels reside at the beach where I live. They are great acrobats, being able to climb trees with ease, and I often see them scurrying along the perimeter wall from my living room window.

One day, upon seeing a squirrel outside, I said non-seriously to my neighbor, "If only I had a bb gun." My friend, thinking I was serious, was incensed. I'm incensed by hunters too. The "Joy of Hunting" is really a malicious and foul thing to do. Why do people do it? Why do we let them? Why did I spoil your lovely post by bringing up the subject of hunters? Because those killers have to be stopped; they are bad people doing bad things. What kind of sport is murder!

sonicfrog said...

Of coarse there are worse things than squirrels on crack. There are squirrels that give you lectures on diets, drugs, and coffee and such...


Anonymous said...

Squirrels on crack. Flesh that out and you might have a screen play.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Recently, a co-worker had some visitors from Scotland. The 9 or 10 year-old visitor made the observation that "there are a lot of squirrels here".

We already knew America had a lot of nuts but were surprised to learn it had more squirrels than in Europe!

Nels said...

When I was growing up my family cared for an orphaned squirrel for a few weeks. My grandma had done the hard work of getting him through infancy, but as we lived near a forest she gave him to us to release into the wild once he was ready.

Our small house exaggerated his strength and speed: he literally ran up the walls, jumping from the top of one painting to the next. If I were standing he'd race up one side of me, go over the top of my head, and then scramble down the other side. (It was an interesting sensation, but a little uncomfortable as his nails would dig into me.)

Once he was old enough we let him go in the woods, but I don't think he went too far as every so often he'd show up at the house, running around on the screen windows to get our attention. We'd go out and feed him, and one time he even brought with him a friend (or maybe more than just a friend?)

After the next winter he stopped coming, and we hoped that he had just grown up and moved on, but chances are he hadn't survived through the cold.

XWL said...

Squirrels are destructive disease ridden vermin (and in the case of the area I live in, potentially bubonic plague carrying vermin) who are basically rats with better PR.

If their digestive systems are like rats (which with a little bit of googling couldn't resolve one way or the other) they are incapable of burping or vomitting.

A fist sized (in relative terms to the squirrel) rock of baking soda (the other main ingredient in a crack rock besides the cocaine) would likely be explosively deadly for the greedy little mammals.

Any observed odd behavior would more likely be the result of nibbling on rotten fruit (nature's alcohol), a pastime many animals have been seen doing.

Ernst Blofeld said...

Perhaps the squirrels have started breaking into houses to steal stuff and support their crack habit. Have you check to see if your TV is still there?

Webmaster said...

Squirrels are good for:
a) target practice
b) uuuhhh... target practice.