Colonial girl with squirrel

To be fair to squirrels, humans often have a hand in their weird behavior. Let’s go over some of their history in the USA.

Colonial Squirrels: Beloved Pets

Colonial Americans lived among many wild animals and tamed both deer and squirrels for pets. Even Ben Franklin, living in England just prior to the Revolutionary War, felt he could best show his gratitude to his host family by having his wife ship some American grey squirrels to them as pets. The squirrels were a hit. One of them was particularly beloved, and when it was killed by a dog in 1772 Franklin wrote a sad ode in its honor.

“…Daily wert thou fed with the choicest Viands
By the fair Hand
Of an indulgent Mistress.
But, discontented, thou wouldst have more freedom.
Too soon, alas! didst thou obtain it…”

Tame squirrel enthusiasm waned, however, as sharp claws and teeth, plus a tendency to steal food and bury it all over the house, revealed squirrels as less than desirable pets.

And don’t get any ideas. Today, it’s illegal to have a squirrel as a pet in the State of California.

Squirrels and Technology: a Bad Combination

Cruzio has another objection to squirrels: they like to chew on fiberoptic cables. Their teeth grow rapidly and they must chew to keep the teeth short and sharp. As bad as landslides and storms are for telecommunications infrastructure, squirrels give those trials a run for their money. Squirrels have gnawed outage-causing cuts into fiber cables in Santa Cruz several times in the last decade. It’s one reason that Cruzio has to have doubly- and triply-redundant connections.

(Other animals, like rabbits and rats, also chew. Why do communications companies focus on squirrels? Because they climb utility poles, so cables hung on poles are susceptible. That’s one reason Cruzio likes to build underground when we can!)