I think they have a calendar

We have squirrel problems. I know I’ve mentioned this. I even wrote a story about one particular furred lunatic in Yarn Harlot.  That one stole fleece and yarn, and generally had a wool fetish that was a wonder to behold.  Anything I put out there to dry, he was off with – right up until Rams and Presbytera invented the squirrel deterrent system way back in 2007.  (I still use that. Works a treat – although it could also be that the squirrel in question has passed from this earth to his eternal wool laden reward. Squirrels still try to get into my yarn and wool, but not with the fearless aggression of the squirrel of 2007-2009. That little arsehole was legend.)

The trouble doesn’t end with the yarn though, and I dare say that out of everything the squirrels have screwed with over the years, the wool and yarn (while being the most enraging and deeply personal of the attacks) has been the least expensive. These insensitive members of the order rodentia have ruined wiring, chewed multiple holes in our roof so that they can nest in our attic, stripped shingles off the porch for no reason other than their own entertainment, and have taken to crapping in just about the most offensive spots in my garden.  They are completely unafraid of all humans, simply can’t be scared off of any part of the urban landscape and while you’d expect their wool fetish to endear them to me, It doesn’t.  Far from feeling a sense of camaraderie or understanding for a little mammal just trying to keep warm in the harsh Canadian winter, I have always felt that the squirrels attacks on my person and property were personal.

Joe, who hates squirrels as much as I do, does occasionally try to talk me down. The squirrels are, he maintains, simply trying to do what we do.  They just want to have a nice home, keep warm, get enough to eat, have a nice family… they’re just being… squirrels. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing loving or generous in his heart for them. He just thinks that when a squirrel rips a hole in your roof and gives birth in your insulation, that they’re running on instinct, not making a personal attack on us based on who we are as people. This doesn’t stop him from calling them names while we write the cheque to the roofer, but you dig where I’m going. (For the record, if I was a roofer, I would LOVE squirrels.  I would have a squirrel stencil on the side of my new car that the squirrels bought for me when they chewed through another twelve roofs. I would feed them bon-bons off my porch and sit around with my electrician friends toasting chewed through wiring in attics and making plans to go to the Bahamas together. I would be talking about how we could encourage Toronto’s squirrel population. In short, if I were a Toronto roofer, the only animal I would love more than squirrels is freakin’ raccoons.)

Up until now, I’ve felt a little bit like Joe was right.  I mean, I like wool, they like wool, I like to be warm, they like to be warm… their existence probably isn’t the attack on my personhood that it feels like.  I shouldn’t take it so personally, you know what I mean? Sure.  Then yesterday morning I headed outside to go on the last official training ride of this year.  The bike rally rolls out on Sunday, and I think we’re ready.  I had my bike tuned up a couple of weeks ago, because really, there’s nothing worse than a broken bike on the road, and you want to make sure that everything is in good working order, but on the other hand, you don’t want to make any last minute changes to the bike.

I pulled my bike out of the little roofed bike spot in the back, and put my hand on the seat to turn it.

eatenseat 2014-07-21

THE %^&*&^%$#ing SQUIRRELS HAVE EATEN MY BIKE SEAT. Took a big freaking chunk out of it, and they ate my seat-bag too.  Just gnawed it the freak up, and scratched the hell out of the inner tube that was in there, and let me be clear, that’s all that was in there. Bike repair stuff.  Not bike repair stuff smeared with peanut butter, and my seat wasn’t sprayed with the pheromones of another squirrel in heat, and there is no reason, my friends, no damned reason at all for a squirrel to EAT YOUR BICYCLE SEAT.  That’s not squirrels being squirrels. That’s not instinct.  There’s nothing in wreaking my bike that supports the betterment of that squirrels life, unless we include his personal satisfaction.

eatenseatbag 2014-07-21

That, my friends, was personal.  More than that, it was rather mean, and disturbingly prescient. My bike has been outside all summer. All spring and summer. Every day.  There’s been ample opportunity to eat my freakin’ seat if the urge was there. Did they? No- no, they waited. Biding their time, lingering by the bike and whispering to each other “Wait… not yet. Be patient. We must not eat the seat until no time at all remains to break in another saddle before the rally. Restraint, my brethren.  Soon we eat the seat.”

Freakin’ squirrels.

185 thoughts on “I think they have a calendar

  1. that’s just rude, even for a stoooopid rodent. if i see a squirrel today, i shall mentally slap his smug little squirrel face.

  2. Have you missed the red marker they used to circle the date on the calendar? Rotten squirrels. We’ve had to chase them out of our attic as well. Once though, when our bedroom was open, before it had a screen, a squirrel jumped on to the bed and woke my late-sleeping husband. Very effectively. Startled them both to bits.

    • There’s an easy fix to rid yourself of the squirrels-you just need Peppermint Oil from the Health Food Store, NOT Peppermint Extract. I had this problem at an old home, -I soaked some rags with the Peppermint Oil, stuffed the hole-the squirrels came back, started chirping to each other, very angry, but ran away. This needs to be refreshed regularly, and no, it does not work on mice. How do I know-I found the cotton balls I had soaked in it in the mouse nests that they built in the car engine area. Love your blog, wish I could knit 25% as well as you do-

      • cindy-i don’t know what kind of mice you have, but the mice i have evacuated when i put out the peppermint oil.

  3. They’re tuned into your rising anxiety over the ride, that’s how they knew. That’s why they targeted your bike. That, and your being correct that they are making it personal.

    Around here the squirrel chew car parts, and if you leave your windows open they eat your upholstery.

  4. My grandfather was a squirrel opponent from way back. They ate his tomatoes, you see. Well – didn’t really eat them – just took one or two well-placed bites, ruining them for human consumption. Maddening! BUT – he was also a very kind and compassionate man. So – he would live-trap them, and then take them across town on the other side of the Interstate highway to a big park, with oak trees and walnut trees (theory being that distance, combined with a plentiful supply of food, would keep them from returning). Many were the times we talked of spray painting a dot on their tails so we could see if the next squirrel in the yard was a recidivist, or simply a new squirrel, wandered over from another nearby yard.
    This I will say – you might enjoy their reaction to being in the cage. They are really quite angry and will chitter and run about in a way that one might feel is their just reward for such terrible behavior. They remain unharmed, and the trap can be used again and again.

    Really though -it does seem that they attack your personal belongings with an eery passion…..

    • I do spray paint their hind ends before I haul them away. Tomatoes, strawberries, apples, cherries, plums…they look luscious but I’ve only had a handful in ten years.

    • We live catch them and haul them to different areas … one is work, but it may not be far enough away. So far they just dig holes in the flower beds / flower pots / yards. They plant hundreds of oak trees each year (the neighbors have oaks), and try to destroy the squirrel proof bird feeders while trashing the 1 feeder that isn’t officially squirrel proof.

      If you do start live catch, it may take a while to put a dent in the population, especially since there is a new generation just out of the nest!

      Good luck on the bicycle fixing and let us know how you will be protecting the bike. Big bag of impervious material over the seat and carrier ?

      M in NC

    • My father and I live in Minneapolis, MN. He trapped squirrels in a similar manner and drove across the Mississippi River to release them in a public park in St. Paul. (Historically, MInneapolis and St. Paul have been tremendous rivals.) One time, my father encountered a man who lived in St. Paul who did also trapped the squirrels at his house. This man took the squirrels over the Mighty Mississippi to release them in Minneapolis. Obviously there was no net loss of squirrels in either city.

  5. I think it’s time to make a match between all those cherries you get from your tree and a slingshot and go to war. No more Ms. Nice Knitter, because they have crossed the line, and how. (Relatedly, I’ve been riding my bike really seriously for about 6 months now, and have my first organized ride–100K in a single day, where you give them money and they feed you along the way–and just finding time to do some training for that has been a struggle. A deep curtsy to you for training *and* leading a team for the bike rally this year. OMG.)

  6. Oh for the love of wool! Oh, I am so sorry but… I had to laugh! I know, I know, it’s not a laughing matter but oh – the image of you when you discovered this… I know you must be beside yourself but – thanks for the laugh. I needed that.

  7. I feel the same about London’s urban foxes – they’ve eaten my Birkenstocks, my daughter’s flip flops and keep trying to tunnel under my vegetables. Arseholes indeed!

  8. Thanks for a much-needed laugh. We have squirrels here but they don’t seem to bother us much. Steel roof probably helps a lot. Also ample food and nesting sites, I live in the middle of a wood. We had squirrels IN the house at our other place a few years back, and we had squirrels IN the family cottage – a fact I discovered for myself when entering the kitchen after a couple hours’ absence. Something small and brown flew past inches in front of my face and I shrieked, the squirrel shrieked – it wasn’t pretty. Of course, these events took place in rural areas, where you pretty much allow for squirrels, and not in a backyard in Toronto – where I would be mighty ticked if the little buggers started attacking my personal property.

  9. If I were you, I’d watch my back , or butt. There may be a particularly attractive scent there that just happened to transfer to the bike seat. Now there’s a scary thought – random squirrels secretly want to bite your butt!

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  11. I’m going to catch a lot of grief for this one, but here it goes.
    POISON
    I put it in the roof, and when they eat it they die.

    BIG CAT
    Don’t poison the squirrel, Let the cat be the assassin.

    TRAPS
    Relocate the suckers.

    • I’ll go one better than Cynthia. Drown the little ba$+ard$. We used to trap them and then give them the Red Cross swimming test by immersing the trap in a trash can full of water for several hours. Funny, but not a single squirrel ever passed the test.

      • If you can believe it, they’re a protected species here in Toronto. Apparently some tourists who visit the Ontario legislature just LOOOVVE the squirrels that run around those grounds, and therefore the rest of us have to tolerate them.

      • Since no one else seems to want to say it, I believe comments promoting cruelty to animals is inappropriate anywhere but especially on a knitting blog. Wildllife have a right to exist with humans without being poisoned or drowned.

        • Spoken like an animal lover who’s never suffered property damage from RODENTS. Cute but not pets, and only cute until they hit your stash or bicycle seat.

          • WTF seriously there are lots of ways to deal with pesky wildlife who have just as much right to live on this planet than poison or drowning in a garbage can.UGh.

          • i live in a community that wants to ‘cull’ the deer herd by hiring usda marksmen to shoot them. even though the deer have eaten my garden, i’d rather have the deer than have them get shot. the only thing squirrels have ever done for me is eat the birdseed and i forgive them for that. have you tried duct tape to repair the seat?

          • As it happens I live in an area teeming with large and small wildlife and have dealt with those that love fibre by storing stash in plastic tubs inside metal trunks. I prefer outwitting animals to killing them. Of course I sympathise with Steph having her bike seat damaged just before the ride but don’t think it calls for animal cruelty.

      • We live on the We(s)t coast of Canada and once the nasty grey squirrels moved into our area, we were told 1. get a dog (not an option at the moment), 2. shoot them (not an option since it is somewhat illegal to shoot things inside city limits, and 3. trap and kill them. On Vancouver Island they are an invasive species who are destroying native bird species. I joyfully trap them and also do the Red Cross swimming test on them. (I won’t even give you my count so far). We do have quite a few neighbours who also have been trapping and killing these critters plus one brave guy who has been successfully picking them off with an air rifle.

  12. We have enormous squirrels here in SW Minnesota. Our rat terrier hates them as much as you do, but we feed them corn in the winter to keep the dog entertained and exercised!!! He runs from window to window in his hunt for squirrels. And, like the dogs in “Up”, he tries to find them when we yell “squirrel”!!

  13. Those. Squirrels. Must. DIE.
    (or be transported somewhere woody without people so that they have to learn to live by their wits and instinct, instead of inflicting pain on people).

    Dear gods, eating a saddle? Right before a huge event? That’s just so many colors of wrong there. {{hug}}

  14. On a positive note, I am thankful that they didn’t do this damage the night before the rally. While it stinks to have so little time to adjust to a new seat, I fear it would be worse if it happened on the eve of the Rally.

  15. My Mom had a (or some) squirrels get into a giant bag of peanuts she had in her garage (for the blue jays) and “store” them in nooks and crannies of her car engine. Mind you, this was over a single 24 hour period. When she went to start up her car, it sounded like those rolling bingo or lotto barrels. When she took it in to the garage, the mechanics all gathered around her car and had a good laugh.

    I have a little squirrel-gardener who digs up and steals some of my flower bulbs but also plants flower bulbs from other gardens. Some years I have daffodils right in the middle of my lawns. Other years I get a whole crop of beautiful blue iris. I rather enjoy what he does.

    Your bike does seem to be crossing some line though. I’d say having a squirrel-hating dog helps but the squirrels come right up to my sliding glass door to look in at the dog and make him lose his mind.

  16. I have a good friend with a raccoon/bicycle problem. A raccoon repeatedly breaks into her shed, and uses her bicycle seat as a latrine…

    As a fellow cyclist though, given the position of the squirrel chew, I’d leave it and ride on that seat, since that’s the seat that’s broken in for your seat. I wonder if they make kevlar seat covers and bags…

  17. WOW! I’ve seen rats do that kind of damage but had no idea that squirrels were similarly inclined. Maybe you could negotiate a cease fire; offer a little wool in exchange for a non-aggression pact?

  18. I commiserate with you on the squirrels, but I’ll see you and raise you raccoons. That said, how about a gel seat for your bike? It may smell weird enough to put the little blighters off wanting to chew on it, it’ll provide some much-needed cushioning for the upcoming long ride and, as an added bonus, will slide over the now-nibbled seat, both making it more comfy whilst providing cosmetic camouflage for the aforementioned squirrel-damage. (Starts thinking that a) that sentence would have sent her English teacher around the nearest bend and b) that it needs to be entered in some, “Longest Ever Sentence” contest.)

  19. Spraying our garbage bags with insecticide keeps raccoons, cats, and squirrels out of the stuff we put put at our curbside for sanitation pickup. The dear critters’ sensitive olfactory systems find the smell highly offensive, and stay away, despite all the “yummy” stuff inside. Look for something that’s not toxic to you, with a smell you can tolerate. You may already have something good around the house. Maybe some insect repellants work, too.
    …Have any of you tried this?

  20. Are you SURE it’s not mice? Looks awfully mouse-y, but then I’m just looking for a reason to blame them. Mice will make a nest anywhere, including trespassing into an individual’s garage, eating a hole into that person’s stored luggage, and add insult to injury by shredding two $20 bills accidentally left in a zippered pocket – for their nesting material.

  21. I have a friend who has had two cars almost junked by squirrels. The first car did have to go, when the squirrels chewed through the wiring harness and another can’t be had.
    The second car may be on it’s way, as the little B****ards chewed through the gas lines. the freaking gas lines!

  22. Ohhh that’s poor timing. I had that happen too, though I think crows were to blame for ripping my bike seat apart. I like the gel seat suggestion above – I have one now and love it. Not sure if it helps deter animals since I now keep my bike in a garage, but it sure is comfortable to ride on.

  23. We removed all tree branches within squirrel jumping distance and solved the problem. No branches touching the house anywhere.

    • I don’t know about YH’s house and it’s proximity to tree branches, but I’ve seen our Montana squirrels jump many feet from tree to roof. I’d have to cut the trees down in order to prevent squirrels from reaching the roof!
      On the other hand, the newly-installed (at mind-boggling expense) metal roof seems to be deterring them nicely. 🙂

  24. I do get the squirrel thing. When we had an energy audit a couple months ago, the woman who crawled up into our non-attic said there were at least 8 squirrel nests up there. I do wonder why they are not dying of insulation cancer, but they look healthy and fine to me. They also eat most of the bird food we put out but so far, nothing personal like your bike.
    That’s beyond rude. What would have made a squirrel do that? All I can think of is extreme hunger. sigh
    So when you calm down and have a lucid moment maybe some Duct tape can be place on your seat so you can use the same one. It comes in colors now, but don’t get the brand called Duck Tape as it’s worthless.
    As for your repair kit, I’m speechless.
    Hugs, big hugs

  25. Oh my. My husband is napping in his recliner next to me, and I can’t laugh out loud and nearly hurt myself containing my hysteria over this! Not that I don’t sympathize; my son left early this morning so now I have to break out the .22 to start shooting the ground squirrels that have moved in and taken over OUR property this year, eating half my garden and leaving burrows and holes throughout our landscaping and pastures. I hate to shoot mammals, but they leave me no option. Sorry you live in town and cannot resort to gunpowder….

    • I’m surprised squirrels are eating the garden and burrowing in holes. Our squirrels make their homes up in tree branches. The animals that eat our garden and make burrows are ground hogs AKA wood chucks.

      • When I lived in Toronto, the squirrels did a lot of damage in the garden. What they went for were bulbs (especially tulip bulbs), and any hanging fruits/vegetables in the garden (peaches, cherries, and apricots, but also cucumbers and zucchini). The worst bit was that they wouldn’t take one or two pieces of fruit and eat them up, oh no. What they did was to nibble just enough of each one so that they’d rot on the tree, vine, or bush. Absolutely infuriating.
        I have to say, though, that law or no law, I’d never have been able to resort to poison or guns. I just couldn’t. Even though they’ve taken over the city, I can’t help but feel that, well, the thing is that the city was built on a ravine, and the wildlife was there and forced to adapt and… call me a bleeding-heart liberal and I’ll accept that, but I’m just not capable of killing an animal, especially one in its own habitat.
        However, live, humane traps and relocating them? Yes. Absolutely. Problem is? That works fine for raccoons, but there are just too many squirrels. It’s hopeless.

    • A friend’s husband would bait the squirrels with peanut in the driveway, and shoot them from the basement window, BUT he would skin them and keep them in the freezer for cookouts and Brunswick stew. Seriously.
      Put up a sign in the yard that says “squirrel meat for sale” and use the money to buy that new seat!

  26. Now that I have my own veggie garden, I can properly appreciate my old neighbour’s enraged hatred of squirrels. He had a BB gun he’d use on them if he caught them in the act, and he gleefully greased the pole to the bird feeder he had in the backyard. Not that that ever actually curbed their nefarious deeds. ..

    This year, they’ve been chewing on everything, killing several plants that I’ve been growing from seed, and they don’t even EAT the plants they’ve been chewing on – they just leave the sad decapitated plants lying around!! It makes my blood boil!

    so yes, squirrels are evil, and full of malicious intent, right there with you on that one.

  27. Join the club. My bike seat has a chunk out of it courtesy of our Kingston squirrels. That happened a couple of years ago. This year, they’ve developed a new trick. They’ve chewed through our kitchen screen (and the screens of four of our neighbours) and entered in search of bread (awesome Fred’s Bread from Tara Foods, in our case). And butter, to go with the bread. We just installed wire screens instead of the fibreglass ones that came with the house, and I’ve invented my own squirrel deterrent system, consisting of limestone rocks on the window sill. Hoping it works…

  28. I was recently in Toronto and the squirrels there are particularly freaky. Is there some sort of squirrel experiment happening — sort of like planet of the squirrels? Be very cautious, this could be only the beginning!

  29. Squirrels (aka tree rats) are a huge problem in my area of Montreal. They’ve destroyed my patio furniture, kids’ pool, plants and flowers, multiple garbage cans… I had to build a 4.5 foot tall covered cage around my vegetable garden to kep them out. Yesterday I saw one up in the tree trying to eat a badminton shuttle. Not quite as bad as the year they popped the top off the solar-powered garden lights and stole the bulbs (do they also want light in their attic nests??) as well as our little resin flower box ornaments.
    I’d like to think I’m too kind-hearted to wish them harm but I truly wouldn’t mind if they just quietly dissapeared.
    Sorry they got to your bike though and I hope you find a replacement saddle comfortable enough so you don’t have to worry about breaking it in during the rally.

  30. I shot a squirrel out of a tree the other day, with the water on full blast, coming out of the nozzle on the hose…it felt pretty good, honestly. The little *@(# tried to steal my bird feeder the next day, found it about 30 feet from the tree. The feeder has been re-engineered, now complete with a steel rod running through it and the top. We spent part of yesterday watching the squirrel curse at us through the window…hah!!!

  31. Oh, the little scoundrel. Whatever kind of rodent it was, it’s a rotter. It could have been a mouse, as someone suggested, but porcupines love to chew anything that has a salty taste; they are absolute salt freaks. Your bike seat may have a bit of dried sweat on it. I’ve heard of porkies biting big chunks out of car tires in the winter to get the road salt. In my neighbourhood in Mississauga we’ve had trouble with the evil little red squirrels. Last year they were crazy to get in everyone’s attics. And they love to chew wiring. So it could have been one of those. Anyway, a pox on it, whatever it was. I hope it got an awful stomachache.

  32. Northern Minnesota squirrel on a 3rd floor apartment balcony gnawed gouges in the decking, ate up and down and around all the seams on the plastic cover over a gas bbq AND then i discovered he gnawed on the bbq handles AND ate thru the gas ignition wires! squirrels are now on THE list right under oklahoma scorpions.

  33. From someone who doesn’t bike seriously, will this cause problems on the ride or is it just absolutely annoying? (Absolutely annoying would still be a legit source of fury.)

  34. We twice have had our urban squirrel problem go away. The first time a large blacksnake moved into our big oak tree in the backyard. Don’t know where s/he came from, but s/he stayed long enough to clear out both the squirrels and the rats (long story), then moved on.
    Fast forward a few years and the squirrels re-populated. Then a new neighbor moved in next door with a large outdoor cat who roams freely between her yard and ours. Gradually, the squirrels moved out (or were eaten, not sure which). Either way, it has been bliss for several years. Tomatoes ripen to maturity. Attic and crawl space remain unpopulated. Heaven!

    • Snakes and cats! This is the solution. The problem really is that these creatures no longer have any natural predators. Here in the suburbs of Washington DC we are actually seeing a rise in coyote sightings. I think they are getting the word that there are a lot of good things to eat. But don’t get me started on the deer. In our yard. Every. Single. Day (and we live about 1/2 mile outside the Beltway- not in the country)

    • About that shed … Had a sturdy wooden shed at my previous home. All winter, I watched a sweet little red squirrel sun herself on the shed roof.

      Spring came. Yep: She’d gnawed her way in through the wood door, lined nuts up on all the exposed beams, stashed more in flower pots, tool boxes, buckets, the mower engine …

      She wasn’t “sunning” herself on those bright winter days, she was diligently guarding her stash!

  35. This did not happen to me I read it on line. A lady put walnuts in water in a plastic garbage can. She was going to dye yarn. She put it on a screened in porch and went on vacation.. The squirrels chewed through the screen and then the garbage can. The brown dye ran everywhere. The squirrels walked in it all over everything in the room including the ceiling. It is a permanent dye.

  36. and the anti-spam thingy on this site told me to “click or touch the pants”.

    I think that’s what the squirrel had in mind.

  37. A seat cover may be the best answer, IF you can create (knit?) a little patch that is smooth smooth smooth. Riding the rally on a new seat could be hellish.

  38. We have had squirrels chew through our brake line so neatly it looked like a knife. Seriously, I thought I was living in a crime novel. We have had squirrels eat through a telephone line. I make my living on the telephone – I spent almost as much in extra minutes for my cell phone as I made on the calls!
    They are cute and furry and destructive little vandals.

    (And that’s not a musical note. It’s a treble clef.)

  39. We just came back from camping in Vermont. Squirrels took our scrubbie sponge, ate the foam off of the handle of our dustpan and, while were were sitting around having our morning tea, one toddled by carrying a wiffle ball it hocked from someone else’s campsite. They’re evil.

  40. For future reference, there are a number of natural deterrents that are available to dissuade squirrels. Some are quite fragrant – using lemon and eucalyptus oils. Google search will bring many results.

    We have tree squirrels, which are a protected species, so encouraging new behavior is the only way to deal with them.

  41. Many squirrel horror stories here. So I can sympathise. As an uptake to the speculation that a kevlar seat would be good, they actually make large steel mesh gloves for those people with fancy chef knife skills so that they don’t inadverdently include their index finger in your entree. I can tell you that one slid over your seat while store would definitely keep them away. They won’t chew through metal – flashing, steel wool, chain mesh. (don’t ask me how I learned). It’s about the only thing they won’t mess with. Raccoons only seem to be responsive to anti-personnel ieds.

    • I watched them chew through a flashing protected bird feeder. Their mouths were dripping blood and they kept on chewing until mission accomplished. Maybe Arkansas squirrels are just tough.

  42. I completely sympathize – although the vermin that hound me on Long Island are racoons. Not only do they destroy things, mate on my roof and generally laugh at all my attempts to rid my property of them, but they mess with my sleep and torture my poor dog by doing a jig on the roof over my knitting spot in the evenings. Nature vs. man….

  43. Are you sure it wasn’t a rat? Like maybe a rat just moved into the area and had a hankerin’ for some yummy bike seat?

    Sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!! On the upside…at least there was caffeine in your coffee this morning. : )

  44. I made the mistake of taking a drink before reading your post. I spit it out I was laughing so hard. Not at you, with you. I totally understand because there is no way you are going to be able to fully break in a new seat by Sunday. If can’t patch and do end up having to buy a new seat for the ride remember it is for a good cause, because your backside will be protesting the whole way. Two words: Steel Wool. They don’t like the taste.
    Good Luck

  45. I had formerly thought that squirrels were cute e.g. fraceful with their tails following on after their body movement, I am beginning to see why they are a pest.
    Come to live in New Zealand:
    Pros: no squirrels, summer lasts more than 53 days, many millions of sheep producing wool and thus yarn (though most is of carpet quality).
    Cons: no family (that is a biggie)

    I was surprised you went right out and bought a new saddle which looked so comparable to the previous one, I thought we were going to hear how the seat gradually unravelled through the ride!

  46. Now, I’m not trying to one-up you, Harlot, and I kinda like squirrels even though they’re eating all the bird seed, but, we had a big Norfolk rat living under an evergreen this past winter/spring. When it found a mate, I signed its death warrant. Not pleasant, and way worse than a squirrel, IMHO. So, what about stuffing the hole with yarn and covering it with a bit of duct tape until after the ride?

  47. We’ve had tree squirrels in the roof, on the roof, etc. You hear them moving in the winter sometimes. Last winter we had a pine marten in the yard. I wish he or she would come back and have a family here. The ground squirrels are running us over and eating/tunneling everything. Owls are welcome too.

  48. I am not a skilled biker, but I have some experience with fabric. I think any cover, gel or fabric, is going to slip with the strain of riding. We do not want YH to get road rash or otherwise injure herself. Duct tape will get gummy and sticky with the heat. New saddle is the correct answer.

  49. Pardon my French but I think they’re just shits and they do things just to be shits. They completely dug up my POTTED plants one summer and all that was at the bottom was ROCKS!! It looked like a dog did it. Instinct my ass.

  50. Get wheels with a built-in squirrel-cages and put those little pests to work. Idle paws are the devil’s tools.

  51. Have you tried the noise maker thingy? I don’t know what the heck they are called but they work like a champ. Ours is a small metal box that emits a sharp and very annoying noise that, fortunately, hurts their precious ears. We had wood rats and ground squirrels in our vacation house and as soon as we got one of these at the hardware store it kept them out. We forgot to turn it on when we left one week and they had a party that rivaled the after Oscar parties. It was horrible, rat feces everywhere, dead squirrel in the toilet…they gorged themselves on the dog biscuits. I had to clean the entire house with bleach.
    Anyway, now we live in what used to be the vacation house and that machine is on every day in the attic, basement and barn. Wouldn’t live without it.
    Best of luck in the ride. Squirrel or not squirrel, you and your team are fantastic.

  52. It’s obvious that the infamous ‘rat bastard’ left a Will dictating what his children and grandchildren had to do to get the inheritance…. his well hidden stash of YH Wool.

  53. Dang! I’ve had squirrels in my yard my whole life and have never had a one do any damage to anything besides the bird feeder. I guess I should consider myself lucky

  54. This past winter my neighbor had two plastic containers of cookie dough out on her deck. The stupid squirrels ate right through the covers of both and helped themselves to the cookie dough.

    My current problem is with baby bunnies. I planted zinnia seeds in the garden and they have been digging in the bed and eating them to the ground. They also ate everything but the stem on a jalapeno pepper plant in our garden. Hope they got a burning mouth from it.

    We have had quite the wildlife troubles in our own yard. Last year it was a skunk under our enclosed porch which stunk the house up. We have had raccoons, woodchucks, deer in the yard eating plants and bushes, ground squirrels or some such rodent digging a giant warren of holes in our lawn, mice–yikes! And we live in the middle of a city.

  55. Here in sunny southern Arizona we have ground squirrels who just love the bird goodies we put out for our feathered friends. This year hasn’t been as big a nuisance, but I sure do miss Maggie-cat who kept us nearly rodent free for years, even if she did deposit mouse guts on hubby’s motorcycle seat.

  56. My husband calls squirrels, “tree rats”. Is there anywhere to rent a live and hungrey owl for your backyard.?

  57. It is the salt from your sweat that drove the squirrels to chomp on your bike seat. They do it to prepare for winter.

    Still, it sucks and I was sorry to hear about.

  58. The evil squirrels in our backyard hang upside down by their toes to try to reach the birdseed in our “squirrel-proof” bird feeder. I detest squirrels.

  59. I hate squirrels. My dogs hate squirrels (and kill them if they can catch them) They have eaten through new out door chair cushions, eaten the webbing off a chair, chewed into our attic, and are ruthless in their attacks on our bird feeders. I hate them but I can’t get rid of them. They. Are. Everywhere.

  60. Ugh, I feel your pain and this is written while laughing so hard I have tears. They are little buggers for sure. Where I live and I don’t condone this, those little buggers meet “lead”, as in bullet. There is actually an official season when you can hunt them. I’m not sure that I’d want to eat them but the lead might help your situation.

    Personally, I think that squirrel told all his friends about your awesome house and you are just their pet project.

    Hang in there!!
    Michele

  61. Looks more like rats or mice to me. I’ve had pet squirrels that lived 10 years and even in their cage you couldn’t tell where they had gone to the bathroom. Very small pellets. Also have a yard full of squirrels and have never had the kind of damage you describe. Now the robber squirrel – yep they like soft stuff for their drays.

  62. Ah….I feed the squirrels around here. We’re in a neighborhood in the country and have a gazillion trees of all kinds, including oaks. But I put out black oil sunflower seeds and raw peanuts in the shell for them and the birds. My dog would chase them if she could, but my cat couldn’t care less. I know because one got onto my screened porch on day when I was out there reading and my cat was laying by the door with his feet tucked under him. He watched, but didn’t even start to untuck his feet. I think he thinks it’s just another pet. One dog, one cat and one thing with a fluffy tail.

  63. The devils do their dirty work above and under the ground here in SE Arizona. A historic ranch house we ride to once or twice a week has a concrete porch floor sinking from squirrel tunnels underneath and a chewed up visitors sing in book inside.

    Have you ever tried a Terry Liberator saddle? Sandy and I have used them for years and found them very comfortable from the first ride; no breaking in has been needed in our experience.

  64. Squirrels are thick where I live; many folks shoot and eat them. Seems fair after they strip everyone’s peach and apricot trees of fruit.

  65. Where I live, it is field mice and rats. The largest of the mice (and they are actually cute looking, unlike the squirrels, with big black eyes and clean fur coats of gray, white, and light brown) have a squirrel-sized body.

    They have a thing for electrical wiring and even risk electrocution to nibble it. They also ate a hole throught the wooden subfloor of my toolshed so they could nest in the cushions from outdoor furniture stored there. Not only were there holes with stuffing hanging out of them on many of the cushions, but EVERY single fabric tie on EVERY single cushion had been chewed off and taken who knows where.

    My solution was a bit more expensive than your squirrel guard. I tore down the toolshed and replaced it with a permanent building with a cement foundation. No more chewed cushions. As for the electrical wire eaters, we just throw rodent bait in the crawlspace every few months and pay the electrician every year or two.

  66. Been there, done that, got the squirrel teeshirt! The little bugger ate ATE my entire saddle! The bubbler ends off the flower pot watering systems, (hint fire hose blasting on new transplants), AND gnawed the dog bowl into itty bitty pieces.
    Mind you all this lovely noshing was done under a massive walnut tree, by a irrigation ditch, garden, and fruit orchard!!!
    You have my sympathy.

  67. Sorry you’re having squirrel problems again. I grew up in Chicago, which has lots of squirrels. My family never had any problems with them — except for the one who learned my mom’s dog HATED squirrels and found all kinds of ways to torment the poor dog!

    Squirrels and other rodents gnaw on things because their teeth grow constantly and need to be kept worn down. This is why you have to give pet rodents (hamsters, guinea pigs, etc.) stuff to chew on, or else you’re facing vet bills to get their teeth clipped.

    Contrary to an earlier entry, moth balls will not keep field mice away. My stepmom once packed some clothing away in her garage, with plenty of moth balls. Why she put moth balls in with clothing largely made of cotton and synthetics, I’ll never know. She was plenty upset when the seasons changed and she retrieved the clothes only to find mice had made a nest in them!
    PS: My “real-people-checker” said to touch the World, but it looks more like something grown in a Petri dish!

  68. Dastardly little bastards. The time has come to hunt them down and poo in their yard and make holes in their roof (shaking fist in the air)!!!!!

  69. Aw Steph 🙁 I’ll attest to the fact that squirrels are little assholes. And yeah, they’re out to get you. They’re rats with fluffy tails. Never forget that.

  70. Oh my…this made me laugh. We have them here on the west coast too, and they are always running through my flower boxes and tipping them over and snapping off the buds. Last summer they insisted on chewing on the leaves of my jade tree.
    I hope you catch the one that chewed your bike seat and maybe you can fashion a squirrel yarn……I mean they make it out of possum, don’t they?

  71. Squirrel traps can be ordered online and baited with peanut butter. The traps do not harm the squirrel, although they must be released promptly. They need to be released 7 or more miles away or they will find their way back. I believe it is illegal to trap them without a license, at least it is where I live. But sometimes desperation leads a person to it…not that you or I would do such a thing.

  72. The club soda that I was drinking squirted out of my nose from laughing so hard. That is a low blow with the seat though…

  73. I want to set up squirrel feeding stations with treats that are laced with squirrel contraception. My husband (the scientist) tells me the squirrels will be replaced with something worse. I despise logical arguments against my Squirrel Annihilation plans.

  74. Those little tree rats need to take a long walk on a short limb over the Niagara River just above the falls. Lake Ontario wouldn’t do, they’d just somehow get back to shore.

  75. I don’t know what to do about squirrels, but we have to buy this herbal mixture every fall to put under the hoods of our cars, because the rats get in there in cold weather. It’s not completely effective. They once chewed through the ignition cable just after I bought the car. Every fall, I know they have been in there when I smell this gross cooking smell after I have been driving a little bit. They have left chewed up chicken bones and other leavings behind, which warm up….anyway. I am sorry. You need a dog. A barky annoying beagle.

  76. I almost ran over one driving to work today. Now I wish I had. At the moment I was scared it was running straight under my front wheel.

  77. If Alfred Hitchock lived in Canada, it would’ve been “Squirrels” instead of “Birds”!

    But really, maybe these guys are trying to tell you something, Stephanie. In all the years you’ve lived with them AND done the rally, they NOW choose to eat your bike seat? Saturn went direct & reveals potentially weak structures. Squirrels symbolize resourcefulness. Maybe they’re looking out for you?

  78. I say, “Ride in the face of those pesky vermin!” and use that saddle anyway. You’ve broken it in, it’s a part of you now (literally) so don’t let them force you onto a new saddle at this stage! xxx (ps I would however store your bike inside your house until the rally is over just to be safe…..) Good luck!

  79. I am absolutely certain that I provided you with a voodoo squirrel-doll. You even put it on your blog in 2006 after you delightful visit. But you didn’t actually use it, did ya? Your put it in the “nice things other knitters have given me” box, (which is both kind and flattering) but you didn’t actually burn a black candle under a new moon and think thoughts of owls, stray cats, and hawks while you focused all of your energy into stabbing it viciously with black-tipped pins, did ya? Dig it out and use it,my friend. That’s what it’s there for.

  80. This is a duct tape fix at most for the saddle and if you get a new one there really shouldn’t be a break-in period if you are able to get and identical saddle. Bike bags are easy to replace.

    Yes, the squirrel is annoying, and it’s timing is pretty spot on but you will rise above and have a wonderful rally.

    Hopefully the weather will have moderated by next Sunday. Ragbrai is this week and those poor souls are experiencing record high temps. Been there, done that, very happy to be not on the ride this year.

  81. OMG I just sprayed coffee all over my keyboard! I’m sorry but that is freakin hysterical! I think that the squirrels definitely have it in for you. Sorry I laughed so hard but we’ve had a whole bunch of issues with wild life eating and destroying our property and gardens. My husband has had similar issues with his bike seat, which definitely got better after he got a gel seat. the rotten rodents chewed the first one but it must have tasted awful because they never tried it again. We have also had our bird feeders taken away or destroyed by bears. This year the bear is so bad that we have to bring the feeder in every night and put it back out in the morning. We’ve even had a bear on our front porch. Which since our house is very close to a relatively busy road, our bear is really odd. Our squirrels are just as cheeky, (all puns intended.) We had to store our bird seed in a metal trash can and bungee down the lid to keep them out of the bird seed. That worked great until one of the little buggers figured out that if it chewed the bungee cord in half it could get into the bird seed! We’ve had squirrels chew the top off our lawn mower gas tank, plastic flower pots, hummingbird feeders, car wiring, and numerous bird feeders. They are certainly persistent! I hope you figure out your seat dilemma and have a wonderful squirrel free ride. Thanks for the laugh!

    • Wildlife officials finally told people to stop putting out bird feeders because the bears don’t care what time of day it is and they were getting really too close for comfort or safety. And there has been a problem with rabid rodents-so they said stop all bird feeders.

  82. My grandmother also hated squirrels, they got in the bird feeder or at least scared the birds away. My brother was probably 12 before he knew that damn squirrel was two words.

  83. Good heavens, I think the keyboard manufacturers must have paid you to write this – there are too many reports of people spraying their keyboards while reading this.

    In a sort of rural location in Ohio –

    The car dealer says something gnawed the wires on one of our vehicles.

    We haven’t figured out what is eating our garage door. It started with something gnawing on the (some sort of wood composite) door and the wood trim around the opening. Hubby put 10″ aluminum flashing all along the bottom, which seemed to stop it for a while. Now, whatever it is, has actually torn the metal in two spots, and seems to be digging in the gravel outside the door. Hubby has been trying various sprays, including hot pepper sauce. I suggested he spray it with Raid bug spray, and we’ll have to see if the taste is a deterrent.

  84. We don’t have squirrels any more since Fishers (Martes pennanti) have returned to the woods of RI. But at least a squirrel wouldn’t eat the checkens!

  85. All I can say is that those Toronto squirrels have a different attitude. Gray and red squirrels seem to know that they are pretty close to the bottom of the food chain and act accordingly. I noticed that the black squirrels in TO act like they are near the top…very bold and actually a bit alarming!

  86. Sounds very familiar. We have had squirrels in our roof. It is always something around here. The fox seems to always get a chicken, the raccoon gets into the trash by tearing a hole into the garage, ants invade my home every spring….. It is very frustrating when they do damage to your favorite things. So sorry!

  87. I am imagining the squirrels congregating in a small circle rubbing their little paws and sounding “MuuuHaHa”. Too funny.

  88. Wow. I didn’t know squirrels could be so destructive. I have a great number of woods where I live so the squirrels don’t cause any trouble. I would think eating the bike seat and bag meant they are hungry. But then, I’m an animal lover. While you can’t replace the seat, can you replace the bag?
    Think of the hole in the seat as being a way of them wishing you good luck. After having a piece gnawed out of the seat by a squirrel, I think you’ve reached the limit on weird things happening on the bike trip. So the trip should be nice and uneventful.

  89. Oh, I would be so totally torked off if some blasted squirrel chewed up my saddle! Saddles are EXPENSIVE as heck, and – as you so rightly stated – they take Months and Miles to break in properly.

    For now, I think a little wad of stuffing or upholstery foam with a duct tape patch will have to do. No time to break in a new seat.

    Then? Then you get an air gun (BB Rifle) and go after some tree rats. If shooting isn’t your thing, borrow somebody’s barn cat or hunting dog to do the job for you.

  90. I would suspect it smells sweaty and salty, and that’s what it was craving. The summer it was so infernally hot here, we had squirrels eating anything. Wood handles, plastic, laying in the birdbath, etc. They were desperate and creative. (And lots of them didn’t make it through summer, with the result of fewer squirrels!)

    I suggest you try cayenne pepper, flakes or powder. They hate it and will avoid anything with a hint of it. And while you’re sprinkling (or spraying a solution of it), I hope you’ll call it “canine pepper”, which is what my mother always called it in her squirrel battles. We tried to not laugh, but it was hard.

  91. Saddle cover anyone? um…try a sheep skin! New saddle bag needed which is much easier to replace.

    I must admit, I love my bikes and they are inside where no freaken anything can get to them.

  92. I hate squirrels and I am willing to eat them (antibiotic and hormone free, after all!). Fortunately for me but not for them we have a couple of free range cats, coyotes, foxes and fisher cats in the neighborhood so although I do have a couple I see every day they are not too numerous. It’s the chipmunks that nested under the shed last year that drove me insane. Still, I can’t exactly complain if I keep a pesticide and herbicide free yard with cover for birds. Asked for it, didn’t I?

  93. Oh squirrels … responsible for stripping our cherry tree every year just when I think the cherries are ripe. Our two cats ignore them, though their nephew next door has been known to eat them — it takes him a day or so and he wanders round with a squirrel tail sticking out of his mouth, and then digests for another day or two. I just wish he would get them all.
    On a more cheery note – having looked at the Instagram pic of your smart new saddle, I noticed a very close and I hope encouraging resemblance to Concorde — no doubt indicating that you will fly along above the speed of sound …

    • That article is great! The university where I work was darkened by a P.O.C.B.S. last year so I know exactly what the author is talking about.

  94. Ah, late on your protection payments, eh? I don’t refer to my local squirrel population as ‘the Mafia’ for nothing. As long as there is food in our (squirrel destruction-proof but not entirely squirrel feeding proof) feeders, they don’t destroy our stuff, but let it lapse and I might as well kiss any object I’ve ever cared about goodbye.

    They do plant potatoes in new and exciting locations every year for me, though (somebody must have a compost bin they can get at), so at least there’s that.

  95. Stephanie, I feel so badly for you. The gel seat cover sounds like a good idea, as long as it doesn’t alter the feel of it too much. We’ll be rooting for you all this weekend (and this week to get through all the last minute issues – not crises, just issues).

  96. All the best with the rally!
    Reading all the stories in the comments makes me think that I should be having some trouble with the squirrels around here (Edmonton) but I don’t. So far, they are respectful. Maybe it is a space issue… any biologists out there?

  97. Freakin’ squirrels indeed. I have no love for them either. The Nova Scotia brand are much smaller, but no less destructive. They’ve taken up residence in our shed. Not amused.

    Swift peddling for the rally! Good luck to all!

  98. Ok this is how you get rid of squirrels . If you know someone with a Westie, or a Cairn or a Jack Russell Terrier or any other ratter type of dog borrow that dog. We have Archie, our kids Westie here …quite a lot. Now we have had squirrels, raccoons, rodents you name it here. These little terrorists are hardwired to hunt down and despatch said vermin. And they do. It is their mission and passion to do this. Archie patrols our yard constantly for interlopers. Ours is a no fly, no cross zone. He will get locked onto critters in a tree for hours and you have to literally pick him up and bring him in sometimes. We haven’t seen a squirrel for months. Last night a squirrel poked his nose over the fence, quiet as a mouse. No scolding, no chattering nada. Walked on his tippy toes with bated breath for about five feet on the top of our fence, and was gone. Rodent problem solved. Invite a friend over with a ratter and enjoy the show.

  99. This post arrived on the same day our local newspaper (The Columbian, Vancouver WA) published an article about a woman who rehabilitates squirrels and chipmunks. She spends $15,000 (US) annually. You have reinforced my opinion that her work is INSANE.

  100. Wow! We have squirrels in Massachusetts, but I have never heard anyone say that they cause any damage.
    We’ve had chipmunks take one bite out of every strawberry in the garden. We’ve had groundhogs (woodchucks) level the garden. But squirrels, dont do anything around here. We must have enough natural food source and habitat materials that they arent desparate.

  101. Oh no! What a rude surprise. Maybe a little bit of stuffing and duct tape would make your seat usable for the race so you don’t need to break in a new one. I recently went to the Grand Canyon and hiked into the bottom and the squirrels there are incredibly aggressive for food. If you lay your pack down and don’t keep an eye on it, a squirrel will run over, break inside and steal your food. A squirrel stole my electrolyte drink mix in less than a millisecond when I leaned down to get my water bottle! They are nasty little buggers.

  102. This is the crux of the middle east problem in a nutshell (so to speak). Two groups needing the same resources to live, both convinced that the other group has it out for them personally, escalating measures that interfere with both sides being able to meet their basic needs.

    Maybe you sweated on the seat during a training ride and left some salt there.

  103. I have not tried this, but I heard a horticulturalist say that it works wonderfully to keep deer out of the garden and it doesn’t need to be applied often. It says it repels squirrels, so I thought I’d offer it up…maybe it would work on non-garden surfaces too
    http://www.plantskydd.com/repellent.html
    I might get some myself–I have squirrels that love tomatoes and delight in taking an almost ripe tomato off the vine, eating 2 bites and leaving it on my deck railing to taunt me.

  104. I agree with the commenters who said salt is the problem. Rodents will eat backpack straps and such for the salt. Maybe wash the seat after rides, or use a quick release lever on your seat post and take it inside?

    Good luck and have fun on the Rally!

  105. Is there any, ANY possible way this could be seen as the squirrel wishing you Good Luck–the equivalent of a rodent high-five–considering that his options are limited??!? Just wonderin’…

  106. Here in St. Paul, MN, the squirrels can get a little more personal. One year I had a tree trimmed and remarked upon the guy trimmer’s colorful, detailed tattoo — a squirrel going up his outer shin. He demurely (if a big, muscled guy can do ‘demure’, he sure did), pushed up his long shorts on his other leg, but the inner thigh. Here was a detailed tattooed large squirrel going down that leg with a couple of, uh, “walnuts” in it’s mouth. These tattoos were badges of honor / humor to show how he’d survived a squirrel leaping from a tree, getting into his tree trimming bucket, and going up inside one of his pant legs and coming down inside the other! —and nothing damaged or hurt. I’d say you got off easy, Steph! (check that little zippered pouch next time you get on your bike, though, just in case)

  107. The average lifespan of the squirrel is about 6 years. I checked. I’m just nerdy that way. This bike eating squirrel is probably the offspring of the fleece stealing one. I’m pretty sure there is a “How-To” guide in their cozy home in your attic that they write in from one generation to the next, explaining in detail how to piss you off!

  108. In my old house I had squirrels living in the attic space the last couple of years I was there. They had chewed holes in the soffits so when they’d come out to do their outside business, they’d pop out of the roof upside down. The cats loved it so much I almost hated to get rid of them. (We did it humanely–waited until they moved out for the summer and then fixed the holes)

  109. I’m not sure about squirrels (aka rats with good PR), but mice are definitely deterred by mint. Living across from a farm as we do, we occasionally have a mouse during the winter, but I find they leave my yarn alone as long as it smells minty-fresh. I just tie up some mint leaves in cheesecloth and tuck a couple of those in amongst the yarn, along with some cheesecloth bags of cedar shavings, and we’re golden. I know squirrels are, on the whole, ballsier than mice, but it can’t hurt to try.

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  111. …BB gun. Turned their evil little hides into furry socks and small lunches for those who eat meat. I have lots of recipe for….squirrel! I have found them in my garden and they actually chewed on one of my tomatoes!!

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