The One Where The Squirrels Had The Last Laugh


Squirrel 3 Wm


It’s a busy week, this one. One final push to get the study to a point where I can move back in.

Whilst we hammer and wax polish I thought you might enjoy this little escapade from the very early days of the blog. We haven’t had a good critter tale in a while:




It was not our finest hour.

A pair of squirrels have taken to working the bird table together. Mike decided that co-ordinated action was required. A sort of pincer movement.

Timing was critical. The squirrels have figured out exactly how long it takes us to get from the kitchen, through the back lobby, out on to the path and into operational range. They nibble away until the last possible second before leaping off the feeder and into a yew bush located conveniently close to hand. Or paw.

The strategy went something like this:

Mike was to run out of the front door with a large jug of water. I was to follow, out of the kitchen door, with the water pistol.

Unfortunately I discovered the flaw in the plan a split second too late. As I burst out of the kitchen door weapon raised FBI style I realised that both of the squirrels, disturbed by Mike’s exit, were now heading straight for me..

They swerved off in opposite directions..

Mike’s water, of course, did not.  All two litres of it hit me squarely in the chest.

The situation deteriorated rapidly. I still held in my hands the fully charged pistol. And Mike was in range. When we got back indoors via our respective routes we were both dripping water on the kitchen floor, although me rather more than him.

No prizes for guessing we will NOT be trying that again.

As far as I know the squirrels escaped entirely unscathed. The thought I cannot shake off is the imagined sight of them, rolling about on the ground underneath the rhododendrons, having to hold on to their sides because they are laughing so much.


First published November 2012 as ‘Another Fine Mess’  (with minor editing)


2017-10-24T19:32:48+00:00March 3rd, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Sue March 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Oh joy. We have thick snow in North Yorkshire and our tame pheasant (Percy) who has damaged foot right claw on left foot curled right back. Had not seen him for a little while, but this morning when I went to get the paper from across the road. I spied his foot prints and following them I called Percy and their he was snow
    ploughing towards me. I wish I had had a camera with me.


    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Go for it Percy. I have a soft spot for pheasants. Our own Ptolemy has been nibbling hellebore buds but I still love to have him around. Thunderstorms here the last couple of nights. Flash. Boom. Squawk.

  2. Sue Garrett March 3, 2015 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I just knew what was coming but it was still funny

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      I should have known it before I got wet.

  3. Linda aka Crafty Gardener March 3, 2015 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Such a funny story and one you will both laugh about for years to come. Can’t you just imagine those 2 squirrels sitting in a tree with a big grin on their faces

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately, yes!

  4. Vera March 3, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    How funny, although you wouldn’t have thought at the moment that cold water hit you! For myself, I have never had this happen to me, but on several occasions I had almost ‘got’ various working people (normally men, usually Lester, but sometimes, lately late Builder Jim) with my bowls of washing up water that I hurl out of the front door, usually without looking who is outside, and who could, therefore, get a dowsing! And that include chickens, dogs, and geese!

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      I bet the geese would make even more of a fuss than the men.. they’re like that.

  5. Alain March 3, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I am afraid they have us figured out much better than we have them! They must have had a good laugh.

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      Squirrels are a lot more intelligent than we might think. They’ve sussed out how to get around the Twirl a Squirrel and they know exactly the range of the water pistol. Whatever we do, it’s only a matter of time before they’ve beaten it.

  6. AnnetteM March 3, 2015 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Very funny story – I can just imagine it!

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      I don’t believe the squirrels suffered a drop of water between them. It certainly wasn’t long before they were back.

  7. Cheryl West March 3, 2015 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    In spite of having TWO twirl-a-sqirrels (thanks to you) I am still chasing the critters. I am seriously considering the water pistol approach but only when I am the sole water bearer.

    • Cheryl West March 3, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      I meant the twirling does really help but I have three relentless squirrels who have way more energy than I do. Another feeder with a spring loaded grasp bar, allegedly squirrel proof , has been conqured by them as well. They just hang upside down and scoop out the seed.

      • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 10:03 pm - Reply

        They’ve destroyed all of our supposedly ‘squirrel proof’ feeders too. The twirl a squirrel does help, the trick is to zap them with the water pistol at the end of the third twirl, just before it stops. Good plan to be the sole water bearer though. 🙂

  8. Chloris March 3, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    A wonderful story. But what I want to know is did you both laugh at the time when you were soaking wet?
    Sobering to think that you can be outwitted by squirrels. I bet they talk of it still. Every squirrel in Devon has probably heard the tale. All your local squirrels dine out on it. Minstrel squirrels probably sing songs about it. Stand up comic squirrels make jokes about it. You’ ll go down in squirrel history. Do you realise that every time you set foot outside there are sniggering squirrels?

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      I seem to remember there was a bit of laughter, not just from the squirrels.
      Lucky they don’t have the internet though isn’t it. We’d have gone viral. They don’t.. do they?

  9. Mark and Gaz March 3, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Haha that was good fun to read Jessica! So crafty they are aren’t they?

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Very crafty. And they enjoy the game.

  10. justjilluk March 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Still laughing!

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply


  11. Chrissy Z. @ The Brave Wanderer March 3, 2015 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Haha, how cute! I guess they are smart little guys those squirrels!
    Happy Tuesday!

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Chrissy, welcome on board.
      They are really smart. And an ongoing battle. I dread to think how many we have living in the middle of a wood but I’ve certainly seen four at one go on the bird table. No chance for the birds.

  12. Meag at TBL March 3, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    I love this. we all need a good story, right? Thanks for the laugh!
    xxcheers, Meag

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Meag, thanks and welcome to rusty duck.
      You’re so right.

  13. Alison March 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Oh No! I have to admit I did chuckle at the picture you conjured up. I’ve had troubles here with squirrels lately too.

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      They never give up do they. Not when they’ve found a source of food.

  14. Jacqueline March 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    It seems to me that the squirrels always win Jessica !!! I even think that your spinning squirrel probably enjoyed himself ! XXXX

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      Somehow you can see it in their eyes, the fun of the chase. When I run after them down the garden I’m sure they deliberately hold a bit back, so I’m only ever JUST behind them.

  15. Brian Skeys March 3, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Should you decide to use this strategy again in the future make sure you are carrying the water jug!

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      Wise advice Brian. 🙂

  16. Lindsay March 3, 2015 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Read this, it was like I was right alongside you. Must not have been funny in the moment but hilarious thinking about it afterwards.

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:19 pm - Reply

      You live and learn. Beware husbands with clever ideas. Especially those armed with large jugs of water.

  17. Freda March 3, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Brilliant – you will have entered squirrel lore for ever! I was relating your story to my husband who says add chilli to the bird seed – the birds can’t taste it and it doesn’t harm them and the squirrels hate it. What do you think? We have red squirrels, much smaller and less voracious so we don’t mind them on the bird feeders. (Still chuckling…)

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm - Reply

      I’m so envious of your red squirrels.
      We’ve tried the chilli. It did make them stop and think for a second, then go straight back to nibbling the nuts!

  18. Julie March 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Oh thats funny Jessica! We had an elderly neighbour who was a fast hand with a water pistol but usually aimed at a rescued cat of my daughters.

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      We keep ours in the lobby, filled with water so we can pick it up on the run. I can usually get the squirrel at least once in the pursuit but they always leg it up a tall pine tree out of reach!

  19. frayed at the edge March 3, 2015 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Perhaps they were secretly filming you, and you went viral on Squirrel-Tube!!

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      That would be awful wouldn’t it. Especially with wet hair. And a wet shirt. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  20. Sarah March 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    A wonderful story, you didn’t realise at the time that there would be so many more to come…..
    Sarah x

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      Stories and squirrels! Thanks Sarah.

  21. Rosie March 3, 2015 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Still very funny – I love the image of the squirrels rolling around with laughter under the rhododendron bushes – good luck with the study:)

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      I’m quite sure they were, it’s just the sort of thing they’d do.

  22. Julieanne March 3, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply


    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:48 pm - Reply

      Especially for squirrels. 🙂

  23. sustainablemum March 3, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    I wasn’t reading here when you first published that, perhaps the squirrels did get the last laugh!

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:53 pm - Reply

      They bring all their friends and relations back regularly, perhaps they’re still hoping for more?

  24. elaine March 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    It could only happen to you.

    • Jessica March 3, 2015 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      More than happy to share..

  25. Amy at love made my home March 3, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Oh too funny!!! It is great to hear some earlier stories. I assume that this was pre twirler! xx

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 12:06 am - Reply

      Yes, pre-twirler. Nowadays they’d be too busy spinning to see us coming 🙂

  26. CherryPie March 4, 2015 at 12:29 am - Reply

    LOL, I can just picture the two of you and (more prominent in my mind) the squirrels laughing at the whole escapade 😉

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      I’m sure one day someone will invent the ultimate squirrel deterrant. Revenge will be sweet.

  27. Kris P March 4, 2015 at 2:09 am - Reply

    You got the last laugh with that spinning feeder. It’s hard to outwit squirrels and easy to get tied up in knots trying to do so. At one point, I was frustrated enough to buy a book entitled “Outwitting Squirrels,” only to ready many tales in which the squirrels won. I’ve declared peace with our squirrels at this point, although not yet with the horrid raccoons.

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      Outwitting Squirrels sounds an optimistic title if ever there was one. It doesn’t stop us trying though. I should have seen the writing on the wall when we found that the bird table has bullet holes in it. And our predecessor wasn’t after the birds.

  28. Beth @ PlantPostings March 4, 2015 at 3:51 am - Reply

    Ha! That is quite a tale to tell! I can see it happening from your wonderful description. I’m so glad you re-posted it because I must have missed it the first time around. :0)

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Beth. The squirrels still taunt us, up to four at a time now… At least they provide us with entertainment on the twirler.

  29. woolythymes March 4, 2015 at 4:02 am - Reply

    the squirrels always win at my house, too.

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      I think they win everywhere Steph. It’ll be either them or the mice that take over the world.

  30. Amy March 4, 2015 at 5:20 am - Reply

    They must have been just waiting for you and Mike to try that one… 😉

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      I’m sure that’s why they turn up in numbers. They know we can’t chase them all.

  31. Jo March 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    So funny. Those squirrels do cause some problems for you.

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      They certainly do. But it keeps us fit!

  32. Suffolk Pebbles March 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    although I know one shouldn’t laugh at another’s misfortunes, well ……..lovely image of the squirrel – you must have been quick to get it.

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      They show no fear. Pictures are easy to get because they sit there for ages, as though willing someone to come out to play and chase them off.

  33. Angie March 4, 2015 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    I’ll bet they will be telling the funny tale to their descendants for years to come Jessica. This story put a smile on my face, it’s the kind of thing that happens to me.

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 11:09 pm - Reply

      I was so annoyed with Mike at the time, but it was one of those delayed reaction things and once the water is out of the jug there’s no stopping it. I wouldn’t recommend trying it at home!

  34. hoehoegrow March 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    I would pay good money to watch a video if that, were it possible ! Humans 0 squirrels 1

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      Well thankfully, unless the squirrels know something I don’t (always possible of course) there is no video!

  35. Polly March 4, 2015 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    oh that is so funny, you’ve got to admire they’re cleverness haven’t you. They’ll be dining out on that for years!

    • Jessica March 4, 2015 at 11:13 pm - Reply

      I have to admit a grudging respect. I just wish they didn’t enjoy it quite so much!

  36. hb March 4, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Since the little monsters got most of our Avocados here this winter, I’m not laughing. Grrrrrr!

    • Jessica March 5, 2015 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      Oh, that’s not fair. Monsters indeed.

  37. Anna March 5, 2015 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I imagine that you must have had a good laugh about it at the time and since Jessica 🙂 You have reassured me about our sanity. I’m so relieved to find out that somebody else has deployed a water pistol against a squirrel. Himself also yelps at them loudly which sometimes does the trick.

    • Jessica March 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      Yes, OH here growls at them through the window. Interestingly, I’ve found the magic words are “Right, that’s it!”. For some reason at that point they almost always depart.

  38. ginaferrari March 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    ThAt was so funny!

    • Jessica March 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      Mike knows better than to suggest we try it again.

  39. welshhillsagain March 5, 2015 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    We have a squirrel that survived Ian’s one attempt to use an airgun. He has a slight nick in his ear and he comes daily to the birdfeeders and laughs at us!

    • Jessica March 5, 2015 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      And still it comes back! That says a lot about the character of a squirrel.

  40. casa mariposa March 5, 2015 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    You provided dinner and a show! How thoughtful of you. 🙂 I have a platform feeder that the squirrels regularly raid. They’re hungry, too. If I keep the platform feeder full, they’re less likely to bother the other feeder.

    • Jessica March 5, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      I might try that. Perhaps ours might go for the easier pickings too, especially combined with the twirler on the bird feeder.

  41. Annie March 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    No problems with squirrels here … the five whippets do have their uses. As deterrents I hasten to add, they don’t actually go into combat. Unless there’s a cat.

    • Jessica March 7, 2015 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      It would be a foolhardy cat indeed that wandered into your garden.. I need a whippet to chase the squirrels, I can barely keep up.

  42. snowbird March 8, 2015 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Oh goodness!!! How I wish I could have witnessed that first hand! What a lark!xxx

    • Jessica March 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      Definitely no witnesses allowed 😉

  43. debsgarden March 9, 2015 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Great critter story, and the laughs continue on to this day. Thanks for the fun!

    • Jessica March 9, 2015 at 9:38 am - Reply

      And will no doubt continue into the future, whatever I do. The squirrel never gives up!

  44. Em March 10, 2015 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    I do wish I’d been there….watching from the safety of the window obviously!

    • Jessica March 10, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      If you’d been here Em you could have blocked the squirrels’ exit down the greenhouse steps. 🙂

  45. Charlie@Seattle Trekker March 22, 2015 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Loved the story about your squirrels…I fight with both a squirrel and a rabbit, my wife has named them both and is satisfied that I am not fast enough to catch them so she rarely responds to my rants. They and I have both gotten a bit lazy, they won’t run unless I do and they have gotten to the point where neither will take notice as they are chewing away unless I make it half way across the garden which takes a bit of effort…I am hoping to see the photos of your finished study, I am really jealous of such a gorgeous space.

    • Jessica March 22, 2015 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      The critters have the measure of us Charlie. They only move as much as is sufficient to keep out of our way. I can no longer shoo them off by yelling out of the window.. I have to physically go outside now and even then they only move off a short distance.
      I should do an update on the study, which is not going quite according to plan. I have partially moved back in.. my stuff is in, just not me yet!

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