Squirrel Trap

Building a squirrel trap? Ah, teenagers in summer.  They have eager minds looking for new ways to explore the world around them, to enrich their communities, and they love to fill the hours by helping around the house.  At least, that’s what we’d like to think a group of teenagers on the East coast were thinking when they decided to build a squirrel trap out of nothing more than a rock in their backyard.  Most likely, they were bored.

Their squirrel trap was simple to build – pry up a rock from the stone walkway in the backyard, dig a shallow hole underneath, prop up the rock and tie a string to the props.  Place a nut underneath and wait.

It wasn’t long before a greedy squirrel bounded up and stopped, sniffing the surrounding area.  Was this too good to be true, a nut just sitting there for the taking?!  The group of teenagers held their breath, waiting to see if this could possibly work.  Cautiously, the squirrel circles the nut, keeping most of its body free and clear of the overhanging rock, ready to run at a moment’s notice.  What was that noise?!  It leaps to the side, ears pricked, tail twitching, ready to run to safety.  Waiting, watching, the nut is still sitting there looking oh, so very good.  The squirrel must make sure it’s safe, but that free and easily obtainable food is . . . just . . . sitting there.  Whiskers quivering, it tries to overcome the temptation, but in the end, must succumb.  One more cautious circling of the precious treat, and he creeps ever so carefully into the shallow pit.

As soon as his tail clears the rock, SNAP!  The teenagers laugh and whoop!  They can’t believe it actually worked!  Everyone runs to get a better view, noisily clamoring down the stairs, slamming open the door and running outside, jostling each other.  Now what?

Creeping up to the rock, one brave teenage boy grabs a small length of twine, winds the ends around his hands, and carefully eases the twine under the squirrel trap. His friends are literally giggling with delight.  The moment he lifts an end of the rock, the squirrel leaps into air and runs to safety, a fuzzy brown blur.  The group’s giggles turn into raucous laughter.  “No way!”  “I didn’t even see it, where’d it go?”  “It’s like a squirrel ninja!”

Were they trying to learn more about the natural world?  Were they just trying to rid the neighborhood and home of a pest?  Or, were they very simply, bored and wanted to see if they could trap a squirrel?  Their parents have to wonder what they will think of next, and can only hope they won’t hurt themselves or get into any trouble.

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