Wednesday, May 9, 2007

West Nile Virus vs. Bubonic Plague

In Tucson, you always hear about this...
It's transmitted via mosquitoes and for the ten years I lived in Tucson, it kept getting closer and closer. Working it's way from southern states and finally landing in Tucson.

When Dave and I first moved in together, we lived in a townhouse. Outside our development, across the street was this huge open field next to an equally large wash (ditch in CA). People always take their dogs and/or kids out there and let them run off leash. One spring, I was out there with our (my) dogs, Maggie (the embarrassingly harmless rottweiler), Toto (the wire-haired terrier mutt that looks like, you guessed it), and Squirrel (the pretty, if stunted mutt with the short, strawberry-blond fur and the same colored eyes). The dogs had gone down in the wash amidst this waist-high (for me) grass. They couldn't see each other and so were completely, gleefully racing around the grass playing tag. I went down there with them and was running around too. My legs felt a little itchy but I just figured it was the grass. When I had the sense to look down, my legs were covered in mosquitoes. I ran out of the ditch, got the dogs out, ran home. At home, I showered, slathered in that goop that makes you less itchy and had a stiff drink.

The next day, they reported the first case of West Nile virus in a human confirmed in Tucson. I had another drink.

OK, fast forward. Now we live in Colorado. For the past two days, we've been hearing in the news that they have found one dead bird and several dead squirrels with confirmed cases of this...
It's transmitted via fleas. Does this make anyone else think the end of humankind will be perpetrated by insects hard to see with the human eye and even smaller bugs that are impossible to see?
Our problem here, in this house we're renting, is that for the past two months we've had squirrels chewing on our roof. Seriously, it's a horrible sound. Imagine sticking your fingers in your ears and chewing popcorn kernels. That's the sound. And just that loud, too.
We called the landlord and he checked the roof and checked the attic and said they haven't gotten into the house yet and there's nothing much we can do. I suggested getting one of those fake owls I see on other houses but he said it wouldn't work because the squirrels are so smart.
They are at it all day. They have woken us up at 3am the past two days in a row. The last thing we need is for Dave to be woken two hours before he starts his 13 hour day.
And since when are squirrels smarter then humans? Anything I see as roadkill on a regular basis, I don't know, I gotta assume we're smarter then they are (bad grammar, notwithstanding).
Any suggestions?
Contemplating cute squirrel homicide, Ruth!


Chris said...

Um, keep cats on the roof??

ellipsisknits said...

I've seen those owls with the horns chewed off (presumably by squirrels)
so he's probably right about them being ineffective.
I think my parents had success with traps and sealing off the roof-area, but that's probably more work than most lazy landlords are interested in. (ours just repainted our front door without opening it. You can imagine how neat and tidy that turned out)

uberstrickenfrau said...

Hmmm, I guess shooting in city limits is frowned upon. Don't they sell one of those high pitched death ray thingys that send excruciating pain into their ears when ever they get within ten feet of it and run as far and away as their little rodent feeties get them? I thought I saw something like that at a garden store.

Yarn Thing said...

I hear you...yesterday there was a squirrel on my porch when I drove up to my house and I kept honking my horn until the dang thing would run away! I am terrified!

Thank God I don't have any pets!