There's something squirrel-y going on around here ... literally. But it doesn't involve cuteness. Or nuts.
( ... That's what she said. Heh heh.)
We have a creek running through our yard. And even though it's technically on our property, it's owned by the city, so people treat it like a public park. They're drawn to it. I have considered, more than once, constructing a huge "GET OFF MY LAWN" sign. (I'm gonna make such a fabulous old lady.) It kind of irks me when people hang out there, especially when they leave trash, but whatever. Aside from a few minor annoyances (and one seriously strange incident that freaks me out to this day), I love it. It's a beautiful, tranquil place, and the kids have spent many summertime hours splashing happily in its shallow waters and playing on its banks.
The other morning I was taking our two dogs out to pee and decided to walk down by the creek. Josie, our lab, kept her nose to the ground, sniffing intently. I didn't think anything of it - the area is full of deer, squirrels, raccoons, possums, birds, all kinds of good wildlife for a dog to smell. But then she stopped short at one of the trees. And when I looked, I saw something weird lying there.
A black squirrel ... wrapped in paper.
Was it sleeping? I nudged it with my toe. It felt soft, not stiff. I reached down and gingerly peeled back part of the paper to look at its body (when I did, the paper - which was damp with dew - ripped a little bit, like you see in the picture below).
I took the dogs inside (much to Josie's dismay) and returned with my rubber gloves on. Because I take care of my yard, y'all, and the last thing I want is a stinking squirrel corpse rotting away right where I mow.
I examined it a little more closely. I'm not easily grossed out, and my curiosity was getting the best of me. The poor squirrel had been fully wrapped up in the paper - like, deliberately. The paper was clean and intact (except for where I'd ripped it), not like a random piece of trash it had gotten tangled up in. The squirrel itself was still pliable, which meant it hadn't been dead for long, and the bugs hadn't even started in on it. I picked it up and looked at the underside. There was no bloating, no swelling, no visible trauma whatsoever. It looked like a perfectly healthy, normal squirrel.
Until I looked at its face and realized ...
... both of its eyes were completely gone.
That's when the creepy factor increased from "ew" to "NOPE" and I squealed like a sissy and threw it across the creek and into the woods.
So to recap: freshly dead black squirrel, wrapped in clean paper, laid beside a tree in my yard, looking normal except for the fact that it was EYELESS.
Pardon my language here, folks, but I think the only appropriate thing to say about this is what the actual fuck?
I have literally zero plausible explanations as to why this scenario occurred. Did the squirrel pluck out its own eyeballs, wrap itself up and lay down at the base of the tree in protest of forest politics? Is there some weird squirrel-sacrificing cult practicing their dark magic in my back yard? Either way: it's more than a bit unnerving.
Any ideas, you guys? Because I'm at a loss.
Just to end this post on a brighter note, I've made a memorial photo. It may not be of THE squirrel, but it's one of the many who hang out on our deck, so who knows? It could be him. In happier days, when he, like, still had eyes and wasn't dead and stuff.
Yeah, that's better.