Monday, October 06, 2008

Squirrel in the Toilet

I was on the my phone with a client the other day, when I heard some animated discussion coming from my downstairs home office. Two accounting contractors were there working on a project. They called to me, and I explained that I could not come right now, as I was on the phone.

Then I heard my husband, recently retired, saying something like -- "I've never seen that happen before....I will take care of it." I figured some piece of equipment had broken and he, the engineer, was coming to the rescue.

When my call ended, I went to investigate. No it wasn't the copier, the computer or the fax machine. It was a squirrel, dead in the toilet. Steve had removed it, but all concerned were a bit stunned. What on earth was a dead squirrel doing in our toilet?

We offered various theories. The cleaning lady had the deck door open when she came on Tuesday. Maybe he got in then. But why was there no damage or even evidence of his presence until now? Or maybe he got in that very Thursday morning when Steve was putting the trash out.

That night, when all got quiet, I went online and typed in squirrel and toilet. Turns out this is not such a rare occurence.

But here's the interesting part. They come in through the roof vents. Apparently toilets have roof vents. I never knew that, but then I am not a plumber. Squirrels like to investigate roof vents. So when a squirrel (usually a young, dumb one) is sticking his/her noses down a vent and a toilet flushes -- they are sucked down the vent and into the toilet somehow. Apparently, some squirrels survive the experience and emerge from the water angry and confused. So, while I pity the poor deal squirrel, I am glad that he did not escape into the house -- can you imagine the mess!

So, now we have someone coming out to "cap" the vents for the toilets. Wire mesh is required to keep the nosy little characters out. While we are at it, we are also capping the chimney and cleaning the gutters.

My husband did not share my trauma. His theory is that since he has lived 65 years and never before had a squirrel in the toilet, he will not likely see another in his lifetime. But we will never find out because soon we will have vent covers.