I haven’t seen our bunnies since I returned from Germany. They’re probably pouting about the cage we put over my chard. So I got all excited when I heard a rustling sound while my husband and I were sitting on the front porch.
It wasn’t a bunny. It was a squirrel, having a big fight with this:
The pic is a little blurry, but yep, that’s Hershey’s chocolate syrup. I know it’s not from our recycling because I only go for the Special Dark syrup.
Here you can see the holes he’d already punctured in it.
He then scrambled up the silver maple tree with the bottle still in his mouth …
… and climbed higher, higher …
… until he dropped it!
He tried and failed at least once more before we gave him some privacy. Since I haven’t seen a Hershey’s bottle anyway near that tree, I hope he finally managed to tuck it into a high fork and gorge himself silly.
I’m also hoping chocolate isn’t lethal to squirrels; the Intertoobs tell me it’s not, but what do they know? I kinda like the little critters, even though they’re pesky rodents who tore up our last rainbow flag. My grandma used to feed them, and it was some of her best entertainment; there’s not much else to do when you’re 85 or 90, outliving most of your friends in a dying North Dakotan town where you only get two TV channels on a good day. I’d like to think of this squirrely chocolate treat as carrying on her tradition in some small way.
This nutty little guy is not the first squirrel on record for liking chocolate. Two years ago, a squirrel in Helsinki had his 15 minutes of fame for stealing Kinder Surprise Eggs (milk chocolate eggs with a toy inside them) from a supermarket. It was smart enough to unwrap the foil from the egg, eat the chocolate, and then abscond with the toy. Finnish authorities eventually banned the squirrel from the store, citing food safety concerns.
If that sounds paranoid, consider that Kinder Surprise Eggs are banned entirely in the U.S. – evidently because they violate a 1938 law that prohibits mixing confections and non-food items. I’m baffled at this; I don’t see any difference between the toys in Kinder Eggs and the trinkets that came in every Crackerjack box of my childhood. In fact, the Kinder toys are easier to isolate from the food because they’re always inside the chocolate egg and also enclosed in a yellow plastic egg! And what about fortune cookies??!
The chocoloate is really quite abysmal, but the toys are fun enough that during my early months in Germany, some other grad students and I used to buy Kinder Eggs just to see what toy we’d get. If your toy consisted of a bunch of tiny pieces that required assembly, you know you’d scored. My kids love them so much they soaked their dad for eight or ten of ‘em over the month we were in Berlin.
I’m sure there’s be a massive market for Kinder Eggs in the U.S. – if only our regulators weren’t quite so squirrely.