An Edmonton woman got a shock this week when she popped the hood of her car: a squirrel’s massive hoard.
Ariel Durkin said she made the discovery when she was checking her engine’s oil levels on Wednesday.
“I was in shock at first.” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on, and then I thought. ‘I have to film this, this is hilarious!'”
Inside, Durkin found what appeared to be the winter stash of a neighbourhood red squirrel.
“There was probably over a thousand pine cones.”
“They were around the engine, down below, as well. You really had to yank at them to get them out,” Durkin said.
LISTEN BELOW: Edmonton woman finds squirrel’s secret stash inside her car
And that’s not all she discovered:
“I found a peanut. I don’t know where he found that. I found some old, rotten crab apples, because we have apple trees around. And I found some rocks, and one rock was shoved between some engine parts. So, I don’t know if that was dangerous, but I got it out.”
Durkin said the squirrel was not pleased to see her emptying out his hoard.
“He was chirping, and sitting on that little spot,” she said. “I think he was upset. He put a lot of work into it. They were really, really crammed in there.”
And, Durkin said, it’s not like the car has been sitting idle all summer.
“It hasn’t been sitting at all! I drive it every day. Sometimes I go a day between,” she said. “I had my break fluid checked at Subaru a couple of months ago. Unless they neglected to tell me I had a stash growing, I guess he’s only had a couple of months to work on this.”
She said the squirrel is a bit a character.
“This squirrel, he’s lived there for a few years, ever since we moved in,” Durkin said. “And when we moved in, he wasn’t too happy.”
“He would throw pine cones at us, and he would aim for the head-shot. So he definitely has a personality, and had something to say.”
At first she was annoyed, but Durkin said she had a change of heart later that night.
She dug all the pine cones out of the snow where she’d dropped them, and put them in a box for him to find.
“He had probably worked very, very hard to fill my engine, or under my hood with pine cones for the winter,” she said. “And then I thought, ‘What’s he going to do during winter?’ So I decided to put them all in a box for him. I don’t know if he’ll find the box, but I put it beside the fence where he normally hangs out.”
Durkin said next autumn, she’ll have to check under the hood more often.