Sometimes you can get away with being destructive and annoying, as long as you’re cute, have a fluffy tail . . . and good PR. Squirrels are like that. They are members of the rodent family, but they are from the better-looking side.
We tend to treat everyone – including wild animals – differently when they’re adorable.
We see squirrels in our yards and trees, in our parks, on running paths, near our picnic tables, and we don’t freak out. We’re amused by their lightning-fast antics. Some people even toss them a scrap of food and encourage them to come closer.
It’s true that given a chance, they’ll raid your bird feeder and dig holes in places you wish they wouldn’t. They sometimes get in your attic and have families up there, which is generally frowned upon.
But they’re frisky and furtive and they mainly keep their distance. When they do come close, we’re not particularly threatened (unless your mother has warned you that “wild animals that act docile are probably rabid!”)
But put a rat the same size in the same locations and we’d be screaming our lungs out (and I, for one, would be googling the nearest exterminator). We wouldn’t be encouraging them with food or thinking they’re precious.
It’s all in the packaging.
People can be like that. They can look good on the outside and behave according to others’ expectations. They can be industrious and well-behaved, even entertaining. But maybe they’re not really like that on the inside.
Maybe we’re all rats; some of us just have better PR.
What do you think?