Monday, October 7, 2013

Fuzzy wuzzy was a...?

When I was living in Germany, I shared my apartment with something small and fuzzy. I never actually saw the creature, but he lived in my ceiling and spent his time dashing about. Occasionally he did acrobatics. He also brought nuts or seeds back to his home, because sometimes I would hear something small and hard rolling around up there.

Based on how he sounded when he ran and the fact that I only ever heard one creature, it was determined that I had a Siebenschläfer living over my head.

This is a Siebenschläfer

So is this.

The name literally means "seven-sleeper" because the creature usually hibernates during the fall and winter. In English, it's a "fat dormouse". You can see that it looks like a cross between a squirrel and a mouse. And in Germany, they're a protected species - you can't set traps to kill them. Live trapping is acceptable.

I never saw the creature I named Siebe, but he never seemed to bring any friends home either. And during the coldest months of winter, he was pretty quiet. Unfortunately he didn't move out to his summer home in some tree come June and I admit that I was happy to sleep somewhere without audible reminders that rodents live among us.

Now I'm in a nice apartment in the United States. And guess who lives in my wall? No fat dormice here, but there's one and possible more than one squirrel in residence behind my shower. They make a lot of noise. And they get around a bit - sometimes they scurry around in my bedroom ceiling, and sometimes I hear them behind the stove. I've checked for holes they could use to get into my cupboards or apartment and haven't found any yet, but it doesn't stop them from being very disruptive. When they're especially loud, it sounds like I have a furry friend in my bathtub or kitchen cupboards. Very unsettling.

To add insult to injury, these little wretches have neither shame nor fear. Behold:

That's right, the squirrel is climbing on my screen door. While I was on the other side taking pictures. He also tries to munch on my basil plant when I put it outside for some sunshine. I shouted abuse at him and rescued it, but now it's drooping for lack of light.

Apparently I'm a Disney princess and the woodland creatures just can't help but get close. They've been quiet recently, though, and I can only hope they're planning to hibernate for the winter. In a tree somewhere. Fingers crossed.

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