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The Squirrel Who Died Of Natural Causes

Our hero in happier times. (image via ncpedia)

On Friday, I pulled out of my driveway and headed down the street. As I reached the edge of the driveway of a house across the street, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye and hit the brakes. It was a squirrel, right at the edge of the road, at the corner of that driveway. I stopped in time to avoid hitting it, then looked to see where it went.

The squirrel hadn’t gone anywhere. He was dead. I didn’t hit him with my car, there wasn’t a mark on him. He was already long gone by the time I spotted him.

Now, I didn’t get out and check for a pulse. I don’t know if the squirrel had rigor mortis, I didn’t check his lividity or temperature. Some things you just know. Squirrels aren’t usually that still.

A Historic First

Ozzie will cross the street no more (image via wikimedia)

I know that most of you don’t come here to hear about dead squirrels. But I bring this particular squirrel up because he is unique among squirrels. You see, his sort usually passes on due to some misadventure.

Predators eliminate some squirrels. Cars get their share. Sometimes a squirrel hits a bare electrical wire. I imagine that, once in a while, a squirrel loses his footing in a tree and perishes in a tragic accident.

None of those things happened to this squirrel. This particular tree rodent, we’ll call him Ozzie, did not meet a violent end. It appears he just was walking along and gave up the ghost. He was literally dead on his feet. He looked like he could dart across the road at any moment, but he didn’t. He is the first squirrel ever to die of natural causes.

When I spotted him, Ozzie was standing there as if he were about to cross the street. That was on Friday. It is now Monday. He is still there, right at the edge of my neighbor’s driveway.

So What’s My Point?

Ozzie has stood, motionless, at the corner of that driveway for days. I know the people who live in that house have seen him there. Their kids have played in the driveway. They have run past Ozzie. He has not run away. He clearly is dead. But they have not moved him to his final resting place.

How can they do this? It isn’t a matter of being humane, poor Ozzie is already gone. But it would only be right for them to remove him and put him somewhere more appropriate than the end of their driveway. But there he stood this morning as I left for work, on post like a sentry, but unable to act on anything.

I’m considering just going over and addressing the matter myself. Ozzie deserves better. He is not going to bury himself.

Sure, he spent his life as a simple nut gatherer, but that was his role. He filled that role well. He was in the midst of filling his role when he was struck down by a squirrel aneurism or squirrel cardiac arrest. Because he passed away in the driveway of people who choose to ignore his demise, this squirrel has been denied a simple measure of dignity.

There are other things I could do. I could slip a note into their mailbox. “Nice squirrel”, I’d write, “please help him go home.” That would be a nice way to go about it. I could also put a little sign over Ozzie with a message to local vultures. That’d be a little more humiliating to the neighbors. I really don’t want to embarrass them, but for Ozzie, I’ll do it. It is just the right thing to do.

Ozzie the squirrel led a full life. Perhaps my neighbors will find it in their heart to honor his life and achievements. He deserves better than this posthumous job as a watch squirrel.

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34 Comments on “The Squirrel Who Died Of Natural Causes”

  1. Maybe the kids are keeping it as a pet. Dead squirrels are cheaper to feed than a dog or a cat. Most of the time.

  2. Katybeth says:

    I’m almost speechless..WTH (are aberrations on your policy list–something tells me you may not like them) WTH! I would bury the squirrel and invite the kids in the neighborhood to the funeral..kids love to bury stuff. Perhaps your son will play for the occasion. I would drape him with a cloth with a large nut tree on it…if you need more suggestions get back to me.

  3. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Are you positive he’s dead? I think he may still have a pulse. If so, maybe you should try some CPR on him and bring him around.
    However, If you find your efforts are in vain then the proper burial procedure for a squirrel is a vacuum sealed Pringle’s potato chip can with soft cotton at it’s feet and head.
    A suitable burial plot no deeper than 9 inches x 5″ wide x 13″ long is appropriate. The cross used as a headstone should be made of crushed peanut shells. The burial site should be a few feet in from where he died. Approximately 18 inches to the left of your neighbors mailbox. A one gun salute would be nice right after the 2 am ceremony.

  4. Todd Pack says:

    I’m less disturbed by the dead squirrel than by the fact you apparently don’t have any vultures or other wildlife in your neighborhood to dispose of the remains. Is that a kind of canary-in-the-coal-mine scenario?

    • Jane says:

      I share your concern; after all, if the vultures become extinct the world will become over-run with maggots.

      Sorry, I seem to going off in one of my directions again.

  5. Sonja L. Smith says:

    I would suggest that your son play an excerpt from his concert band repertoire entitled “Dies Irae”. He just might remember it.

    • omawarisan says:

      Hello Madame Director of Bands. I’m sure he remembers a lot of what he played with you.

      Remind me to tell you next time we talk about something you taught him that he still does

  6. Lenore Diane says:

    What if the joke is on you? What if what you see is a stuffed animal? Like Todd mentioned, I’m surprise no carnivorous birds have come calling.

  7. Debbie says:

    Poor Ozzie! I’ve never heard of a squirrel dying of natural causes. Like you said, most get run over, eaten by predators, electrocuted, etc. But for one to die standing in his tracks, why this sounds like something for your local newspaper. And shame on those neighbors for not doing the kind thing and calling the city to dispose of Ozzie, or burying him themselves!

  8. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    Ugh, think the poor guy was frightened to death as he tried to cross right before a UPS truck rushing some kid’s Christmas present to their door?

    I did see a squirrel fall while crossing a power-line one time. It was like a cartoon, he got up, shook it off, and scurried away. They’re resilient little creatures.

  9. Move it to their front door, ring the doorbell and run like hell.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How about putting it in a gift wrapped box and sending it to your neighbors via UPS.

  11. Barb says:

    Running over stuff just ruins my day. I’ve got a feral cat that I allow in the garage on cold days and the little booger crawls under my hood. (And the car engine isn’t even warm). He’s gonna ruin my morning some day. I hope you solve your problem, so I’ll know what to do with him when that day arrives.

  12. Laura says:

    Hmmm. It’s interesting that you’re both a) insistent that the squirrel died of natural causes and wasn’t, say, poisoned, and b) anxious about disposing of the body as quickly as possible.

    • omawarisan says:

      So you’re thinking that Ozzie might have known too much and I poisoned him to keep quiet. That’s silly. Let’s have a glass of wine to celebrate how silly that is. Have THIS glass.

  13. Betty says:

    Dead squirrel=good squirrel

  14. Am I the only one who’s reminded of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot Sketch? Fun post, Oma!

    Wendy

  15. Blogdramedy says:

    Poor Ozzie. May he rest in peace…some day.

    Side note: your neighbors are weird.

  16. planetross says:

    What? There are no birds in your neighbourhood!
    Ozzie would be “carrion luggage” if he were in these parts.

    note: maybe the neighbours are using it as a landmark, “when you see the dead squirrel, that’s our place.”

  17. You’ve seen the neighbor kids, but have you seen their parents?


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