Fixit: Squirrels chew outdoor chairs

  • Article by: KAREN YOUSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 5, 2009 - 6:05 PM

Q Squirrels are eating my plastic outdoor furniture. I don't think we've spilled any food to attract them. They chew on the legs, the arms and the backs of the chairs. Because they are chewing in multiple places, I don't think they are doing it because they taste salt from where we've had our hands or where our skin has touched the chairs. I also caught them chewing on my plastic pots outside. Why are they chewing the plastic? Are they missing something in their diet?

A Squirrels, like other rodents, have teeth that grow constantly. Unless they chew to wear them down, the teeth will grow into their jaws. That creates an irresistible desire to gnaw.

Typically, they chew on tree bark or branches, but squirrels will chew anything. Preventing this may take some experimenting. You can try spray repellents for rabbits or squirrels, available at garden and hardware stores. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous place to make sure such chemicals don't discolor or otherwise damage your chairs. Covering the chairs with netting or plastic when not in use may work. But, depending on the number of chairs and their location, this may not be practical or visually acceptable.

Russian Sept. 11 memorial

Q Is it true that Russians gave us the memorial of Sept. 11 called the Teardrop Memorial?

A Yes. Variously known as the Tear of Grief, the Teardrop Memorial and the Memorial at Harbor View Park -- as well as by its official name, To the Struggle Against World Terrorism -- this monument to the victims of Sept. 11 was built by Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli on the waterfront of Bayonne Harbor, N.J., and publicly dedicated on Sept. 11, 2006. It was, in the words of Vladimir Putin, "a gift from the Russian people."

The monument is a 100-foot-tall bronze tower with a jagged split down the middle and a 40-foot-long stainless steel teardrop suspended in the gap. It stands on an 11-sided slab of black marble carved with the names of every person who died in the Sept. 11 attack, as well as the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The brightly lit memorial is visible at night from the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, the Staten Island Ferry and other locations around the Hudson River.

Though not well known in the United States, Tsereteli is renowned for his work in Russia, as well as public sculptures he has erected worldwide. He reportedly spent $12 million of his own money to complete the Bayonne Harbor monument.

From about.com.urbanlegends

Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-7032, or e-mail fixit@startribune.com. Past columns are available at www.startribune.com/fixit. Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies.

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