I recently watched a squirrel attempting to carry something fairly large and bulky up a tree. I put peanuts out for them every morning, but his burden definitely wasn’t a peanut. It looked like an oversize coffee cup from a takeout place. The squirrel tried repeatedly to run up the tree, sometimes making it almost halfway up, but invariably dropping his treasure. He’d scramble down, grab the cup and try again.
I knew he’d never reach his goal, whatever high branch it was, so I went out to pick up the cup, mentally grumbling about whichever neighbor had left trash out for the squirrels.
When I got to the bottom of the tree, I discovered an empty peanut butter container. Not only that, I recognized it as stolen from my recycling box! I’d left the box lid loose enough that the furry thief had been able to loot the contents.
I’d washed out the jar before disposing of it, but it had a fluted bottom and I hadn’t been able to remove all traces of peanut butter. It was plastic, and the squirrel had chewed a two-inch hole in the side. Apparently other squirrels on the ground were trying to steal his trophy or perhaps he wanted to finish devouring it at his leisure in a tree. In either case, he considered me the thief and roundly scolded me.
I now have a new recycling container, with a tight-fitting lid that I’m careful about closing securely. I still hear little feet scrambling around occasionally, so I know my squirrel thief is waiting for its chance to grab another treasure.
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