COLUMN: Squirrels gorging on pumpkin are a danger to themselves


Dan Hahn

Dan Hahn is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Dan Hahn, Columnist

Anyone paying attention will notice roadkill numbers spike in the month of October. This is due to squirrels, emboldened with stomachs full of pumpkin, believing they will live forever. This time of year, squirrels get themselves killed in greater numbers due to the abundance of pumpkin to eat.

It is a fact that Illinois produces the most pumpkins out of any state in the union. Pumpkins are also known to be some of the heartiest and fastest growing plants found in a garden.

Additionally, the pumpkin seed is understood to contain a significantly high amount of protein considering the diversity of edible seeds available in a squirrel’s diet. 

A great source of vitamin A, pumpkins provide squirrels with an infusion of energy resulting in thicker and more lush fur, stronger claws, but also a sense of blind fearlessness in the face of danger.

Given all of this, it is quite easy to see that squirrels take unnecessary risks this time of year due to eating too much pumpkin.

It is my theory that squirrels high on vitamin A will throw themselves recklessly into traffic due to a decrease in inhibition, heightened awareness, and the belief that they are indestructible.

Pumpkins are also known to be some of the fastest growing of all gourds. One could surmise that squirrels eating pumpkin gain a noticeable increase in speed.

This theory needs further study, and scientists concerned with the autumnal epidemic of increased squirrel deaths need to investigate this phenomenon more in depth.

Finally, the pumpkin seed is an impressive protein source, so squirrels choosing to eat the seed will become stronger than the average squirrel.

 This increase in strength does not nullify their stupidity; however, nor their recklessness. Indeed, it enhances their brazen disregard for the laws of physics.

It is as if squirrels become falsely aware of their own immortality when their tiny stomachs are full of pumpkin, never to realize the illusion until it is too late.

A recent report cites a squirrel darting from one side of the street to another. Instead of waiting until traffic subsided, the squirrel darted in front of a speeding car at the last second for no discernible reason. One could assume it was seeking a thrill. 

Squirrels all over the country engage in this activity and perish tragically because of it. Do squirrels have a death wish? Is the pumpkin fueling this madness? I think the answer is obvious.

I’m familiar of another report of a squirrel 30 feet up, jumping limb to limb between trees over a four-lane highway. Get this, blind folded! Supposedly, identical stories have been pouring into newsrooms all over Illinois. 

Sans pumpkin, squirrels are already believed to be nature’s very own daredevils. But the month of October and the overabundance of decorative pumpkins to feast luxuriously upon–without limit–certainly push squirrels into a frenzied and reckless state.

Please keep this in mind, and humanely deter the squirrels’ seasonal pursuit of pumpkins with all due haste and vigilance.

Dan Hahn is an English composition/rhetoric student. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.