Squirrel wrecks couple's home while away on holiday and insurance won't pay

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/07/squirrel-wrecks-couples-home.html

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I’ve heard the squirrels are bigger assholes up there…

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My mom had a squirrel running loose inside the walls at least 3 times before we figured out how they got in. Chewed away the rubber flanges next to the plumbing gas pipe on the roof, and dropped into the attic. Little fuckers.

Still, hav-a-hart live traps work well if you use peanut butter.

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A representative from Mercury told news outlets that the contract “explicitly stated” the insurance does not cover damages by rodents. The couple was told if a raccoon destroyed the house, the damages would have been covered.

I’d have gone with either:

“Well, I’m not a biologist, it could be a raccoon. I let it go, so who knows. Can you prove it was a squirrel?”

“It WAS a raccoon. The squirrel was just crashing at his place.”

Though I am a bit surprised that 1) the squirrel could tear up that much shit and 2) it couldn’t climb out how it got in. They are good climbers.

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When I was a kid a squirrel gave birth to a whole litter of baby squirrels in our attic crawl space. We could hear alllll the little feet running back and forth all night. The day we opened the crawl space door and all the baby squirrels came bursting down the ladder…was the best day of our dog’s life!

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To visualize this fully, I need your dog’s breed or suspected mix, please.

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Yappy lil’ mutt type. No squirrel-murder was done, it was just so! very! exciting!

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I read the headline, was skeptical as to how much damage a squirrel could do, and expected I’d be surprised. But I’m not actually reading about much damage here. Some scratched baseboards? Scratched floor? Maybe a damaged couch? That doesn’t sound bad - not exactly “wrecked.” Even the picture of the baseboard doesn’t show much damage and suggests the damage was only done on the lower edge where it’s not particularly visible. I guess if one needed things absolutely pristine, the baseboards could be (cheaply) replaced and the floor refinished (that could get expensive), but… I think they’re making a big deal out of relatively little (no pun intended), particularly as they’re insisting that it needs to be “professionally cleaned.” Obviously these people have never had pets.

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I could see it. A squirrel nesting in your house for a month is poop, and fleas, and whatever germs a squirrel carries. Plus the story mentioned the tap being on and running for however long, and that brings the possibility of flooding…

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I lived in the woods of Texas, squirrels, mice, crows, woodpeckers, raccoons all did damage to my house. I just chalked it up with living in nature, she can be a bitch some times. Still they were a lot nicer than some of the [people] I dealt with in Oakland CA.

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Fox urine. You can purchase it in crystallized form. Squirrels are apparently biologically programmed to avoid it.

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If it “fell down the chimney” that means they didn’t have a chimney cap on it. Stupid.
oh and the damper would have been left open as well. Stupid.

Now would be a good time to go listen to Squirrel Cop episode of This American Life.

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Let me guess; there are no “hoodlums” in the entirety of the great state of Texas?

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There’s no mention of flooding, when all the other damage is explicitly detailed, so I don’t think that happened, but yeah, they’re insisting on a professional cleaning because of some squirrel poop. But jesus, it’s not like a bunch of liquid sewage ended up in the house. They’d only bought the house in December and had spent some time there before going on vacation, so the squirrel was there for a week or two, tops. In terms of cleaning, it won’t take that much to deal with it - some extra sweeping, vacuuming and a bit of bleach. I’ve dealt with far worse.

These people seem fairly helpless and entitled to me. They bought a new, pristine house and expected it to stay that way, and sure, it sucks that it got messed up so quickly, but it’s like they don’t know what to do if it isn’t perfect (but expect someone else to deal with it, despite clearly having the resources to deal with it themselves).

That one is pretty easy. “Is your house full of raccoon shit? No? QED”

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So should we scatter 10 pounds or so of fox urine crystals throughout the house whenever planning on being away for any length of time? Better safe than sorry, I suppose, although this might result in both options simultaneously.

I thought the same. “Totally wrecked?” I think not. When we bought our old farm house, there was evidence of a squirrel at some point being locked in a room (and one, sadly, trapped in a wall), and they can do a fair bit of damage. This was not that.

Bingo. If I could afford a new house in a posh neighborhood and found $2000 worth of damage upon my return from VACATION, I don’t think starting a go fund me campaign would even cross my mind. Yeesh.

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if anything would fall under “act of nature,” this sure seems like one. live and learn, i would say.

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And, you would be wrong. Just that they were spread apart and you encounter them less than in the city.

If squirrels can get on your roof from surrounding trees & if you have safe access, secure a coarse metal screen over the main plumbing vent with duct tape or what have you. A squirrel climbed down ours and died resulting in a $400 plumbing expense to remove.

This must be uncommon though, because the plumber was skeptical when I told him what I suspected, and he took pictures to show his buddies when he eventually fished it out.

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I often am; nevertheless, that doesn’t make the phrasing of your initial comment any less suspect.

Please do continue to enjoy TX.

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