This is more precious than it has any right to be.
May 11, 2011 8:42 AM   Subscribe

A toddler finds a dead squirrel. Cuteness ensues. [SLYT]
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists (178 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh. Oh no.
posted by penduluum at 8:44 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mother would have immediately taken me to the hospital for a pathologic screening if that were me.
posted by Think_Long at 8:44 AM on May 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


So adorable I threw up in my mouth a little bit.
posted by stifford at 8:44 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I'm definitely operating under a different understanding of the word "cute."
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:44 AM on May 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


"We gotta take a bath." No kidding!
posted by Kabanos at 8:45 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if I'd call it cute, but I definitely laughed a lot, especially at the part where daddy zooms in on mommy's boobs for no reason other than the fact that they were there.
posted by Gator at 8:48 AM on May 11, 2011 [29 favorites]


OH GOD STOP RUBBING IT ON YOURSELF
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:49 AM on May 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


I watch this video and experience an immediate visceral reaction of OH MY GOD STOP TOUCHING IT DISEASES EVERYWHERE OH GOD OH GOD.

And then I remember that when I was her age, I used to spend my weekends running around my village collecting dead and dying birds from the side of the road and playing catch with them. Never caught anything worse than.. well, a half-decomposed wood pigeon.

Adulthood is an uneasy business.
posted by fight or flight at 8:49 AM on May 11, 2011 [19 favorites]


yeah zoomboobs.
posted by cman at 8:50 AM on May 11, 2011


The few times that our Whippets have caught a squirrel have not left nearly as cute of a corpse. I'm kinda dreading the possibility that one of them will catch a squirrel in our daughter's presence.

Oh well I guess they'll have a cute home video to shock their daughter's dates with when she is a teenager.
posted by vuron at 8:51 AM on May 11, 2011


I just don't know how to feel about this. Cute? Absolutely. Sweet? Definitely. Creepy as all fuck? Yup. This kid's life is likely going to involve lots of lotion, baskets and firehoses in the future.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow, add a toddler and change the squirrel to a dead fish, and you've pretty much got last weekend at my house. This is why we keep the 50-gallon drum of sanitizer next to the front door.
posted by mittens at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I watch this video and experience an immediate visceral reaction of OH MY GOD STOP TOUCHING IT DISEASES EVERYWHERE OH GOD OH GOD.
Well, It was freshly killed by the dog, it's not like it had been just sitting out there like that. Probably it was fine, except for whatever grossness an ordinary squirrel might have.
posted by delmoi at 8:54 AM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I was freaked out at first, but then got the context-- their dog killed the squirrel, it's not like it was out in the sun, or putrefying or anything . . . and I think the parents handled it well, without FREAKING OUT zomg!!!!

Though I breathed a bit easier when he was saying "ok, time to go take a bath . . ."

Ok, yeah. Good idea.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:54 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]




Wow, add a toddler and change the squirrel to a dead fish, and you've pretty much got last weekend at my house.


I'd hate to be the first to tell you but Beatrix is coming so you may want to get ready.
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 AM on May 11, 2011


For me, it's not so much the fear of creepy-crawlies (though I do instinctively shudder to see her rub the carcass across her bare skin, however irrational that may be) as it is the repulsion I feel to see a dead creature used as a puppet and a plaything.

I'm not criticizing the girl for that, of course; she's interacting with it the way she would with a stuffed animal or a docile kitten, so from her point of view, it's the perfectly natural thing to do with this little furry critter that is suddenly passive.

I am with the mom here: No, Sean --- FUCK. Just... fuck fuck fuck TAKE IT... With respect."
posted by Elsa at 8:55 AM on May 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


All the assumptions that the squirrel is some nasty, decrepit disease vector...

Besides, this one's a squayell! They are completely different beasts!
posted by Khazk at 8:56 AM on May 11, 2011 [26 favorites]


Yeah, I was freaked out at first, but then got the context--

In retrospect, I probably should have included that in the post.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:56 AM on May 11, 2011


cman, I just googled "zoomboobs" and all I got was this. Guess I will ait for my twelve-year-old boy come home from school and explain it.
posted by emhutchinson at 8:57 AM on May 11, 2011


All the assumptions that the squirrel is some nasty, decrepit disease vector...

For me, it wasn't so much the squirrel as the nasty fleas and ticks (I assume are) rapidly escaping its poor wee body (possibly) onto the kid. But IANAV. Is there a wildlife expert in the house who can ascertain the Deceased Rodent Threat Level here?
posted by fight or flight at 9:00 AM on May 11, 2011


All the assumptions that the squirrel is some nasty, decrepit disease vector...

They may not be a nasty decrepit disease vector but they can sure be an annoyance vector sometimes.
posted by blucevalo at 9:00 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I shivered a bit while watching this video...
posted by dapperkoala at 9:01 AM on May 11, 2011


cman, I just googled "zoomboobs" and all I got was this. Guess I will ait for my twelve-year-old boy come home from school and explain it.
posted by emhutchinson


zoomboobs
posted by orme at 9:02 AM on May 11, 2011


You guys sure seem skittish about a mostly-naked girl rubbing a dead squirrel all over herself. If I didn't know better, I'd say some of you ain't even been to art school before.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:03 AM on May 11, 2011 [103 favorites]


NO, SEAN! FUCK!
posted by penduluum at 9:03 AM on May 11, 2011


I really enjoyed the glee with which she announced "It's a squirrel. It's DEAD!"
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:04 AM on May 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


"I got twoz animals! a dog... and a squirrel!"
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:08 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid I found a dead mole and brought it back home and put it in the garage... the next day it had burst open and stuff was kinda moving inside. I'm not sure what because I could not get too close as the smell was... well nothing since has ever smelt as bad as that did. An 'Oh that's cute!' reaction from the rest of the family was very much lacking in the aftermath.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:08 AM on May 11, 2011


Whoa! I just remembered a story my mom told me about my pre-memory childhood; apparently she was taking a nap and when she woke up, I was playing quietly in the bed next to her, happily petting a bunny.

The only problem was that we didn't have a bunny. What we had was a Siamese cat who managed to kill the rabbit outside moments earlier, and pull it into the house through a fairly high window, as an offering to Mom.

Apparently the rabbit looked perfectly normal, no blood or anything, just dead. And in my lap, with a very pleased cat sitting next to me, thrilled that someone was enjoying her hard work.

My mom shrugged, disposed of the bunny, washed my hands, and gave the cat a treat. The lesson being, it's not a big deal unless you make it a big deal.

[This has been another installment of Why My Mom is Awesome!]
posted by quin at 9:10 AM on May 11, 2011 [56 favorites]


Okay, I take it back, the Dead Squirrel Dance of Joy at the beginning ("Wheeee!") was indeed cute.
posted by Gator at 9:13 AM on May 11, 2011


UNCLEAN

posted by blue_beetle at 9:21 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please. My dogs have been slowly and meticulously dismembering a road-killed deer for the past two or three months now, depositing little gifts like chunks of half-chewed hide, hooves, and even a nearly-picked-clean skull on our front porch periodically. My kids think nothing of throwing chunks of dead things around and picking up assorted frogs, snakes, and dead baby birds for inspection. They get to wash their hands when they come inside, but the idea that wild-animals (be they living or carcass) will somehow cause INSTANT CATASTROPHIC ILLNESS and/or DISEASE (!) is just another trope invented by suburbanites whose fear of the outdoors is superseded only by their desire to tame and neuter it with machines and chemicals.
posted by Chrischris at 9:28 AM on May 11, 2011 [17 favorites]


dog seemed the be the most disturbed by the whole event
posted by turiya at 9:29 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I grew up on an island where most of the recreational activities around involved the water. Once, some neighbors were going fishing and took me along. I managed to catch a couple catfish. Maybe a perch or two. Little bitty things. And there was no getting them away from me to throw them back in the water. Instead, I stuffed them in a brown paper bag and took them home with me... unbeknownst to my parents, who immediately trooped me upstairs to the bathtub to wash off the salt and sand I'd collected over the day. Well, imagine my mother's horror when she came in to check on me in the bathtub and she discovered me in a soapy fish stew, with all my new friends floating belly up around me in the bathwater.
posted by jph at 9:29 AM on May 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


To see the difference that the metafilter registration quality gate gives one only has to look as how quickly the Youtube comments have went to hell in a handcart.

On that note, is there an expert in the house that can qualify, really, how much more gross/dangerous this is than petting a pet cat that lives outside? As a person that grew up in the country I could see myself letting my child do this without a qualm in the world. I do have a resounding memory of birds/baby birds/bird nests being identified as a vector for 'icky, bad' things by my mom though... any truth to that? Then again we kept chickens for eggs too... wtf.

... now if her hands had went into her mouth, I think I'd freak.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:30 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I winced...

... at the horror of 16:9 content stretched to 4:3. The squirrel part was fine.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:35 AM on May 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


The first time I tried mushrooms I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a rainy evening and some of my college roommates and I were getting ready for a party by fucking ourselves up. None of us had any experience with mushrooms so of course we ate too much and were completely fried before we even left the dorm.

The party was somewhere in the residential area of Westwood, but not knowing the exact address we stumbled around in the rain, giggling and pointing at all the funny shapes and colors. The others had walked on ahead when I spotted something blue and glowing and beautiful, shining like a treasure beneath a street lamp in the rain-filled gutter. I picked it up. But then I immediately forgot about it because at that moment my friend found the address so I ran to catch up and headed into the house.

It was dark and noisy inside, crowded with people dancing and drinking and smoking. I was too high to locate my friends so I stood by myself, grinning like an idiot. As I was enjoying the spectacle, a girl standing next to me asked me what I was holding in my hand. The thing had completely slipped my mind until then, but I recalled that it was blue and glowing and beautiful, so I held up my shining treasure for her to admire. We were both pretty surprised by my find.

"OH MY FUCKING GOD WHY DO YOU HAVE A DEAD SQUIRREL OH THAT IS SO DISGUSTING IT'S ALL WET WHY ARE YOU HOLDING THAT GET AWAY FROM ME YOU CREEP WHAT IS FUCKING WRONG WITH YOU???!!!"

We had to leave after that.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:39 AM on May 11, 2011 [50 favorites]


God, I just love Metafilter. My life is just so much more interesting because of it. Where else, in my absurdly normal, boring, everyday life, would I come upon a video of a cute little girl in her underpants cradling and stroking a dead squirrel lying across her arms?

And does anybody else get the Rolled Eyes Syndrome when you announce to family and friends, "You gotta see this link I saw today on Metafilter...."

PS. I so love that the parents were not freaked out by their half-nekkid child running barefoot in streets cradling a dead squirrel killed by their gentle-looking greyhound probably adopted from a racetrack.

Is this a cool family or WHAT.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:41 AM on May 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


And does anybody else get the Rolled Eyes Syndrome when you announce to family and friends, "You gotta see this link I saw today on Metafilter...."

Yes, I do.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:42 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's hard to get upset abput this after so many people seemed to want to treat Bin Laden's body this way.

"It's a Bin Laden! It's DEAD!"

With much less cuteness, of course . . . .
posted by birdhaus at 9:46 AM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Using a freshly killed squirrel for a loofah isn't any more or less gross than touching the handle of any door in a public area.

Plus kids need exposure to dirt and germs for a number of reasons. From exposure to mommy's dingle berries during birth in order to get a healthy gut flora started all the way to building up a healthy immune system through exposure.

I'm always surprised at just how squeamish and paranoid people have become about dirt and death. It's just part of life.

I think the parents in the clip handled this well.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:51 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The parents handled that gracefully and rationally. We need more of that.
posted by davebush at 9:54 AM on May 11, 2011


When my uncle was a kid, my (clean freak) grandmother was in the kitchen (probably scrubbing something), and overheard him saying "Nice kitty! nice kitty!" through the screen door.

They didn't have a cat. No one near them had a cat. Ok, time to investigate...

There he is, holding a skunk (how'd he catch it? NO IDEA), giving it scritches.

Grandma freaked out, of course.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


[SLYT] should be [NSFW]. I almost threw up.
posted by JJ86 at 9:57 AM on May 11, 2011


I don't know about you guys, but I'm a certified adult and I still have a hard time not bringing home and inspecting every dead animal I find.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:58 AM on May 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


A couple of things I find interesting. 1) the little girl knew that the squirrel was dead, and seemed to have a very healthy notion of what death is. 2) her parents were very good at how they handled it, and even the mother who seemed to be holding back a storm of freakout was pretty cool around the child.

Overall, it kind of skeeved me out a bit, but only because I couldn't imagine ever playing with an animal corpse like that, no matter what my age. The events themselves didn't really bother me.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on May 11, 2011


@JJ86 Seriously? I may be nitpicking but does that make a gay couple's wedding scene NSFW if it's observed by a religiously conservative viewer? I guess if the little girl's lack of apparel falls under your company's policy for nudity maybe... maybe.

Honestly I see this as no more NSFW than any other video that takes company-paid-for-employee-time away from company business. Much more SFW than some even.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:03 AM on May 11, 2011


Uh, do you really want to teach your toddler it's okay to pick up dead things? I think it sets a really bad precedent.

Where I think the parents were REALLY stupid (okay, the dad, as he had the camera) is uploading the video. Because I promise you there will be a perfect storm of people more than willing to tell him what crappy, crappy parents they think they are.

(PS....I don't mind the dead squirrel hilarity half as much as I hate listening to wimpy parents who seem unable to exercise appropriate authority to tell a small child what to do and then follow thru on it. Yeesh. )


oh, and get off my lawn. Take the dead squirrel with you.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:05 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite bumper sticker: "I like poetry, long walks on the beach, and poking dead things with a stick."

I suspect a lot of us do.
posted by HeyAllie at 10:06 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


What we need to see now is the post-bath video with the little girl, all raw and red and ouchy from how vehemently her poor mother loofahed her.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:07 AM on May 11, 2011


‘Alright roll in it!’
‘What?’
‘Roll in it, get the stink of death into your chaps, in your boots, in your guns and your hair’
Well most of us puked at first, but we got used to it and vultures followed us around hopefully!
We always ride into town with the wind behind us
The townspeople gag and wretch
‘My god what’s that stink?’
‘It’s the stink of death citizens. And I think personally the whole planet stinks of death’
posted by edgeways at 10:11 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody who thinks they are crappy parents is an idiot. Do people seriously imagine we could have survived 3,000,000 years as a species if every child that touched a freshly-killed animal died in agonising pain

Know what impressed me? That she put the squarl! down without much fuss and went to have her bath.
posted by criticalbill at 10:12 AM on May 11, 2011 [21 favorites]


I didn't see anywhere that the parents were encouraging playing with the dead thing. I think they were more trying to engage the little girl on her level rather than subjecting her to a full-on freak-out. It's obvious to me that the mother is holding in what my mother would have let out -- fearful yelling and anger, snatching at the squirrel to get it away from the child, probably a small amount of arm yanking and quite definitely a scared, screaming, confused, traumatized child being pushed forcefully into a bathtub wondering what the fuck just happened.

I think the parents handled it very well, and we don't know what kind of conversation they've had with the child after the bath. I'd assume, based on the video, that they had a calm collected conversation with her about how sometimes wild animals can have bugs and stuff on them which we don't want to get on us, and maybe a bit of a talk about death and how sometimes it's better not to treat dead things like they're stuffed toys.

I'd much rather have grown up with the parenting I saw in this video than the emotionally confusing explosions my parents would do in a similar situation.
posted by hippybear at 10:15 AM on May 11, 2011 [21 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies - it's pretty safe to assume they had a "that wasn't really a good thing to do" talk with the girl during her bath. Their restrained tone made it clear (to me at least) they didn't approve of what was happening - they just knew flipping out wasn't the best way to handle it.
posted by davebush at 10:15 AM on May 11, 2011


This put me in mind of something I saw a while ago, though the details are vague. It was a short video of a redneck couple, he was shooting squirrels for her so they could have taxidermied squirrels dressed up in wedding outfits at the wedding. She was handling the squirrel in much the same way.

Does anyone else recall this?
posted by annsunny at 10:18 AM on May 11, 2011


If they do, I hope they keep it to themselves.
posted by Gator at 10:21 AM on May 11, 2011


@annsunny
Reminds me of a little place in Torrington, Alberta.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:22 AM on May 11, 2011


annsunny: also reminds me of the janitor on Scrubs.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM on May 11, 2011


Poor little squayell.
posted by Mister_A at 10:25 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to admit that when I went to the original youtube video and read their explanation that the squirrel was "humanely killed" by their newly adopted and leashed greyhound I was rather amused.

(If that squirrel was stupid enough to let a leashed dog near it, well, probably for the best it won't be passing its genes on.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:28 AM on May 11, 2011


I like the line at the end. "Say hi to all your friends and relatives"

Something tells me this is going to get replayed at all the significant moments of this little girl's life, before all the significant people.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:30 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Something tells me this is going to get replayed at all the significant moments of this little girl's life, before all the significant people.

Or she's going to reach the age of 30 with a giant plush animal squirrel collection, all of them given as gifts for every occasion from this point on.
posted by hippybear at 10:32 AM on May 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


. . . he was shooting squirrels for her so they could have taxidermied squirrels dressed up in wedding outfits at the wedding.

This redneck?
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 10:41 AM on May 11, 2011


"And i will love it and hug it and call it George."
posted by symbioid at 10:43 AM on May 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why is everyone freaking out? In my day, we rubbed dead squirrels all over our bodies almost every day, and we liked it! When we ran out of squirrels, we didn't skip a beat, and started drinking our own urine.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:46 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ok, this child is adorable, and this is probably what my reaction would have been too, were it my own child (he's only 2 right now, so not QUITE as coherent as her... But not too far off). I would have been highly impressed if my wife showed so much restraint, but I somehow doubt she would have. :)

Having said that... I still shuddered a bit seeing her dancing the squayell around like a puppet, and rubbing it up against herself all soft and snuggly. I know it had JUST died, but I can't help but think that at the very least, there were fleas aplenty leaping and prancing in joy at the fresh new host being offered to them.
posted by antifuse at 10:46 AM on May 11, 2011


So this is how dexter got started.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:48 AM on May 11, 2011


Zoonosis and the prospect of emerging disease are truly terrifying for their potential for mass death, cultural extinction and hell, the ending of modern civilization

That said I don't know of anything nasty that squirrels specifically carry around, though they are mammals. Don't EVER EVER fuck with primates or bats unless you really know what you are doing. Contact a medical professional immediately if you ever see a child fucking with primates or bats.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:51 AM on May 11, 2011


Nah. Dexter got started by seeing his family slaughtered in front of him and then spending a day or three locked in the shipping container with their bodies and blood everywhere.

Now, if this little girl had broken the squirrel's neck herself and was blaming it on the dog... then I'd be worried.
posted by hippybear at 10:53 AM on May 11, 2011


And also - my first instinct is that a squirrel which is slow enough to be caught by a leashed dog (presuming it actually *was* leashed)? I would probably be wondering if it were diseased or rabid or otherwise sickly.
posted by antifuse at 10:56 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd be much more concerned about something like this happening than any sort of zoonotic (zoonosisish? zoonosis-esque? new zoonosis revue?) event happening from a girl handling a dead squirrel once.

You sort of have to be living with animals daily and sharing their space for a long amount of time for disease to mutate enough to infect you if it's carried by animals.
posted by hippybear at 10:57 AM on May 11, 2011


fearfulsymmetry: "... I could not get too close as the smell was... well nothing since has ever smelt as bad as that did...."

Oh shit - I worked at my church's radio station, and my friend worked at the hospital next door. We would hang out at lunch - it was cool.

One time there was this body of this guy from a boating accident that had been in the water for like a week or something. They found it and had him in the morgue in the hospital.

Keep in mind I wasn't even in or directly near the hospital (maybe a block away?) but I could smell the stench in the air even then. My friend said it was 10x worse inside, and I have no clue how anyone dealt with it. It as godawful, and I feel horrible for the patients inside that building. Seriously.

Rotting corpse stench SUCKS!
posted by symbioid at 10:59 AM on May 11, 2011


There are reasons why humans have an aversion to decaying things. This video recording is very Darwinian on so many levels.
posted by polymodus at 11:03 AM on May 11, 2011


Oh, please. The squayell had just died, there was no decay, it was probably still warm. They indulgently let her play with it for a couple of minutes, then made her put it down and take a bath, making it clear that she wouldn't be allowed to touch it again and that they would bury it.
posted by Gator at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


My kids are pretty much the dead bird undertakers of our neighborhood so this wasn't as horrifying to me as it might be to some, I am a frequent coffin-builder for ex-animals.
posted by padraigin at 11:08 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Zoonosis and the prospect of emerging disease are truly terrifying for their potential for mass death, cultural extinction and hell, the ending of modern civilization
I think you are seriously overestimating the risks here. That little girl could die in a car accident tomorrow. I think the prospects of this little girl somehow causing a global pandemic that wipes out civilization to be more then a little absurd.

The thing about pandemics is that diseases that are highly lethal are much more likely to not be able to pass on their genes because they kill their hosts. If you look at the flu pandemic of 1918 (or whatever year) it was actually caused in large part by all the corpses and injured people in hospitals caused by WWI. Since the people were in close proximity and already injured a disease that killed quickly was able to spread. SARS and Swine Flu didn't actually kill that many people.
posted by delmoi at 11:10 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are reasons why humans have an aversion to decaying things. This video recording is very Darwinian on so many levels.

It was not 'decaying'. In fact most of the squirrels cells were probably still alive.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


"This put me in mind of something I saw a while ago, though the details are vague. It was a short video of a redneck couple, he was shooting squirrels for her so they could have taxidermied squirrels dressed up in wedding outfits at the wedding. She was handling the squirrel in much the same way.

Does anyone else recall this?
"

Do you mean these guys? I'd be temped to make an FPP of their house if I didn't sort of know them through an ex of mine. They are awesome people, one of their first dates was making a bride and groom taxidermied squirrel for an art project.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:12 AM on May 11, 2011


It is, um, a little amusing that there is so much squick about this, but every one of us (ok... most of us) will be sticking bits of dead animal in our mouths sometime today. Animals that where raw and decaying (!!!!!) before they where cooked. Making a hamburger patty is about 20x more disgusting to me then this video.
posted by edgeways at 11:15 AM on May 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


How does letting the girl play with the dead squirrel any worse or better than not letting her play with it? Normally I would put on my homemade child psychology hat and spit absolutes (followed by 20 year old anecdotes), but I left it in my other pocket.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:15 AM on May 11, 2011


edgeways - that's one of the first things i thought of, too. this is way more respectful and wonderful to the memory of the animal than what a lot of people would end up doing in some cases (in fact, the first comment on my fb post on this was about eating dead squirrels)...

yeah - it's clearly not decaying which is why i'm not squicked out about it. :)
posted by symbioid at 11:19 AM on May 11, 2011


"I think you are seriously overestimating the risks here. That little girl could die in a car accident tomorrow. I think the prospects of this little girl somehow causing a global pandemic that wipes out civilization to be more then a little absurd. "

As fun as it might be to quote a single sentence outside of the context of the rest of the comment, the squickyness people in this thread have about dead animals in general is extremely healthy and something that is demonstrably essential to the maintenance of global civilization. I don't think we should be mocking it, even as relatively harmless and adorable as a dead squirrel is likely to be.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:20 AM on May 11, 2011


I'd be a bit worried about fleas.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:20 AM on May 11, 2011


Tactile
posted by Iron Rat at 11:21 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


ex-animals
He's passed on! This squirrel is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! He's pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-SQUIRREL!
With apologies to Monty Python
posted by WalterMitty at 11:36 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's obvious to me that the mother is holding in what my mother would have let out -- fearful yelling and anger, snatching at the squirrel to get it away from the child, probably a small amount of arm yanking and quite definitely a scared, screaming, confused, traumatized child being pushed forcefully into a bathtub wondering what the fuck just happened.

That's perfectly observed. My mother would also have flipped out about this, and I would have remembered it as a traumatizing event for the rest of my life. This is better. It still gives me the shudders, though.
posted by Elsa at 11:36 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb: the squickyness people in this thread have about dead animals in general is extremely healthy and something that is demonstrably essential to the maintenance of global civilization

Hm... I beg to differ. I think that, if anything, the squickyness is at least a sign that we have removed ourselves too far from the realities of life. In the long run I'd expect this girl to have a decent shot at being able to face life with curiosity rather than fear because her parents appear to avoid instilling needless paranoia in her. It's not like she was trying to eat rotting week old squirrel carcass or something. Not being scared and grossed out easily makes people more capable of dealing with a wider range of situations. A mind clouded by fear doesn't make good decisions and may find itself unable to act at all.

As far as fleas go... if you have a cat or dog they're probably dragging those in on a daily basis regardless of application of flea guard substances etc (those generally only affect flea fertility and don't kill them outright). Basic hygiene solves the problem.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:37 AM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Buncha killjoys here who have no business becoming parents.

I think it's great that the dad didn't freak out and make a "OMG YOU HAVE CANCERAIDS NOW" deal out of it. Take a bath, explain why she shouldn't touch dead animals, all better, no need to "OH SEAN FUCK."

You don't need to deal with something INSTANTLY when it could be more healthily dealt with over the next 15min. Everybody's happy, except for maybe mom who sounded like she wanted to take the yelling instant-fix tack. Given their disparate reactions, I'm guessing this girl will grow up to be the coolest woman with an eating disorder.
posted by rhizome at 11:40 AM on May 11, 2011


Ha! Some cursory sleuthing reveals that these people live not too far from me! (I thought the pool cage and lanai looked like a very Southwest Florida setup...)
posted by Gator at 11:41 AM on May 11, 2011


Buncha killjoys here who have no business becoming parents.

You wouldn't let your kid play with a carcass therefore you are not fit to raise children? Huh?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:45 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


And also - my first instinct is that a squirrel which is slow enough to be caught by a leashed dog (presuming it actually *was* leashed)? I would probably be wondering if it were diseased or rabid or otherwise sickly.

Eh, there's a lot of dogs and a lot of small things dogs are inclined to chomp on in the world. Now and then the dog gets the squirrel, just on sheer odds.

If there's a driving externality here it's as likely as anything the semi-domestication of wild suburban critters in noisy, food-rich, relatively predator-free environments.
posted by cortex at 11:47 AM on May 11, 2011


I think that, if anything, the squickyness is at least a sign that we have removed ourselves too far from the realities of life

Bunkadunk. Having grown up on a farm, quite familiar with the realities of life. I think the parents did a great job of handling it, but I'm just grossed out with the rubbing of a squirrel upon one's body. My boss lets his dog lick his face. That's gross, too.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:54 AM on May 11, 2011


You wouldn't let your kid play with a carcass therefore you are not fit to raise children? Huh?

No, obviously the kid picked it up herself. At that point it's the parents' duty not to use it to scar her.
posted by rhizome at 11:56 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would have been funnier if mom and dad suggested that they cook it for dinner. After all, it was a fresh kill, and it was in the deep south (note palm trees in background), and these are hard times. And my original Joy of Cooking does have a recipe.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:03 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was not 'decaying'. In fact most of the squirrels cells were probably still alive.

I never said the squirrel in the video was decaying, nor did I mean to say such a thing. Not sure how that was inferred.
posted by polymodus at 12:12 PM on May 11, 2011


Because you said, "There are reasons why humans have an aversion to decaying things. This video recording is very Darwinian on so many levels."
posted by Gator at 12:13 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because you said, "There are reasons why humans have an aversion to decaying things. This video recording is very Darwinian on so many levels."

Or, some people read between the lines too much.

1) Death is related to decay. They aren't the same.

2) It very Darwinian*. Look at the dead squirrel. Look at the human offspring. Look at the parent(s). Consider the counterintuitive behavior of humans, in the video and in the audience.

Hope we're on the same page now?

*And of course I use this term in a loose, general sense.
posted by polymodus at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2011


"...the squickyness is at least a sign that we have removed ourselves too far from the realities of life."

Wild small rodents transmit tuleremia, bartonella and still carry epidemic typhus in the United States. Yes, indeed germ theory of disease, public health measures, and a cultural squickiness about wild animals have removed us from the realities of life on a hostile Earth; I am extremely grateful. The adults' apparent response was exactly right, to (hopefully) watch to make sure nothing ended up in her mouth or eyes, wait for her to put it down, and get her to a bath with soap. Cultural squickyness is a valuable public health tool The whole thing is worth watching
posted by Blasdelb at 12:24 PM on May 11, 2011


Alvy Ampersand: Bunkadunk. Having grown up on a farm, quite familiar with the realities of life. I think the parents did a great job of handling it, but I'm just grossed out with the rubbing of a squirrel upon one's body. My boss lets his dog lick his face. That's gross, too.

Yet people brush their teeth with toothbrushes kept in a bathroom where they're all but guaranteed to be covered in colon bacteria, give and receive oral sex which transfers more of the same, absentmindedly pick their nose or teeth after touching door handles, keyboards and phones and opening letters from the mailbox, all of which are potential cesspools of germs, eat salads and other uncooked foods in restaurants without knowing who touched it, what they touched before and how thoroughly anything was rinsed, eat raw meat from both dead mammals and fish, eat burgers made from ground bits of "undesirable" meat that is so infested with bacteria that it had to be soaked in bleach prior to use, handle eggs that came out of a chicken's ass (cloaka, to be exact) and have at best been brushed a little before being boxed,... the list is endless.

That squirrel was probably cleaner and more sanitary then a lot of stuff we deal with unknowingly on a daily basis. If the event is tied in with some education of the child about general carefulness with dead things and concepts of hygiene then that's great. Still no need for squeamishness and imparting visceral fear of dirt and germs though. Almost everything is potentially "icky" but I'm pretty sure that whole concept didn't really exist in its current intensity prior to Victorian times.

(Don't get me wrong... there is nothing wrong with reasonable cleanliness and hygiene as it prevents disease and makes people smell better. And a minimal grossed out response is helpful to avoid things that are actually dangerous. I just don't get the excessive level and extend to which squeamishness has permeated our society.)
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:24 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Death is related to decay. They aren't the same.

If you didn't want people to think you meant the squirrel in the video was decaying, you shouldn't have mentioned decay in reference to the video, then.

And if you're not referring to the Darwin Awards or to the theory of evolution, I can't imagine what definition of "Darwinian" you're even using, at this point. That people have an evolutionary aversion to decaying things and these people's lack of said aversion (even though decay is nowhere present in the video, and they do in fact express aversion by wanting the kid to put it down and take a bath) means they're going to win the Darwin Award? Is that it?
posted by Gator at 12:29 PM on May 11, 2011


And FYI, if you really want to argue word choice (which is really a derail because I find the evolutionary and cultural/memetic aspects of the video of greater interest):

When the heart stops, cells immediately begin to self destruct through a process called autolysis.
So, in all technical respects, it actually is reasonable to call that squirrel in the video decaying. (I myself was purposely ambiguous in prior comments, because I didn't know, and nobody likes it when people put words in your mouth.)

Wikipedia (where else)
posted by polymodus at 12:30 PM on May 11, 2011


If you didn't want people to think you meant the squirrel in the video was decaying, you shouldn't have mentioned decay in reference to the video, then.


I didn't. Stop it please.
posted by polymodus at 12:30 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think playing with dead things is gross. Including freshly killed dead things. I don't really know why, nor does it pop up in my life with the frequency required to ponder that for too long. It just is, to me.

I would probably "freak" out if a child in my care picked up a freshly killed animal and started cavorting with it as if it were a stuffed animal. I am not a bad person, nor would my intention be to permanently scar the child. This is just what I would most likely do. I would hope I cause no permanent or long term emotional harm if I snatched it out of her hand and scolded her. It is merely a projection of my own fear for the well-being of someone I deeply care for. I would be sorry if I hurt the child psychologically though.

I don't think that the parents in the video are bad parents. I just wouldn't react that way myself.

I just don't get the "cute" inference. To me it's kinda cool/creepy/sad, in a surreal sense...
posted by Debaser626 at 12:31 PM on May 11, 2011


to the theory of evolution, I can't imagine what definition of "Darwinian" you're even using, at this point

Well, to clarify, the modern theory of evolution has moved beyond "Darwinian" evolution. That is why I felt the need to make an asterisk, in case some nitpicker comes along. Nothing more.
posted by polymodus at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2011


What is really sad? One day this child will be in the seventh grade and someone will find this video.

Something will ensue but I wouldn't call it hilarity.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure a middle ground can be found between Lysoling everything and thinking nothing of a child rubbing a dead mammal all over herself. Assuming that the parents have a standard American turn of that other century understanding of microbial epidemiology then it seems likely that a neo-Victorian squickiness was part of what lead them to do what I think we all agree was the correct course of action.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:39 PM on May 11, 2011


the squickyness people in this thread have about dead animals in general is extremely healthy and something that is demonstrably essential to the maintenance of global civilization.
Our civilization is built on not only touching but actually eating freshly killed animals. Of course this was right after skinning them and butchering them, all without the benefit of refrigeration.

Seriously, I think you're just way off in terms of how dangerous it is to "global civilization" to come in contact with freshly killed animals.
posted by delmoi at 12:46 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just can't help but wonder how many people freaking out about touching the 'dead thing' will be eating steak, burgers or chicken for dinner tonight.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:58 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The difference is that a hamburger does not have a face on it.
posted by HeyAllie at 1:02 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing about pandemics is that diseases that are highly lethal are much more likely to not be able to pass on their genes because they kill their hosts.

Also, they cause Madagascar to freak out severely.
posted by delfin at 1:02 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just can't help but wonder how many people freaking out about touching the 'dead thing' will be eating steak, burgers or chicken for dinner tonight.

I can see the irony in that, but in the end, it isn't inconsistent behavior.
posted by polymodus at 1:03 PM on May 11, 2011


I just can't help but wonder how many people freaking out about touching the 'dead thing' will be eating steak, burgers or chicken for dinner tonight.

Yes, but are they cuddling those steaks, and rubbing them all over their naked bodies? Many people would be icked out by a video of a toddler doing that, too. I have an aversion to handling raw meat in general, the texture of it grosses me out (chicken in particular). This has nothing to do with it being dead, and everything to do with it just feeling gross to me.
posted by antifuse at 1:16 PM on May 11, 2011


Yes, but are they cuddling those steaks, and rubbing them all over their naked bodies?

...Maybe?

I mean, I hadn't thought of it before, but I do really love me some steak...
posted by quin at 1:21 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Our civilization is built on not only touching but actually eating freshly killed animals.

I'm going to have to go and disagree with you there. Whether it be seafood or slaughtered lamb, the domestic US food processing and delivery industries have basically removed any inference to the origin of the foodstuffs they sell, from the removal of head, appendages and skin to even bone and connective tissue, rendering what appears to be conveniently packaged protein form which may or may not experienced live birth and an ignominious end.

It's considered exotic to even serve food that sixty or seventy years ago would've been commonplace at any American table like chicken feet, full-bodies shrimp, oxtail soup, head cheese, tripe and a myriad of other dishes that survive in ethnic enclaves or discovery-themed cooking shows.

At first glance, I waited impatiently for the father to do his duty and remove the squirrel carcass from the girl's grasp, but then again, here we are feeding our kids bunless hot dogs and lobster claws without any giving any consideration towards what the animals' provenance prior to slaughter or the time elapsed between then and now, not to mention the handling or the steps involved in the rendering process, so I guess I may want to examine my thoughts on that in comparison to the context of a fresh-killed suburban squirrel.

But never a Fenway rat.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:28 PM on May 11, 2011


jsavimbi that is pretty close to why I eat very little meat. Not, for the OMG we are eating animals (although I can respect that POV and have nothing against smart vegans), but for the degrees of separation between the animal and the consumption. Perhaps labeling it the "ease and mindlessness of consumption". If I know the farmer who owns the cow, if I know the hunter that has shot the deer I actually have little moral qualms about reasonable levels of meat consumption.
posted by edgeways at 1:48 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someday I'm going to post something actually worth arguing about and this place will explode.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:59 PM on May 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Dead squirrels make great pets. I have a closet full of them.

Seriously, I think the parents handled this really well and the idea that this is somehow NSFW is ... ummm... do you work for squirrels?
posted by neuromodulator at 2:00 PM on May 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


This made me remember one of my favorite quotes in Hitchcock's underrated "The Trouble With Harry":

Man: What do you got there?
Kid: A rabbit.
Man: What do you call him?
Kid: Dead.
posted by Drastic at 2:04 PM on May 11, 2011


I didn't find the video promotion, but found a synopsis of the upcoming show. My Big Redneck Wedding, season 4, episode 402. There seems to be a promotional video on amazon, but it's not the same clip.
posted by annsunny at 2:09 PM on May 11, 2011


I'm going to have to go and disagree with you there. Whether it be seafood or slaughtered lamb, the domestic US food processing and delivery industries have basically removed any inference to the origin of the foodstuffs they sell
That's true now, but it wasn't true in the past. That's why I said built. Throughout history, humans have been handling dead animals and everything was fine. The idea that touching a squirrel that's just been killed by a dog is going to cause a global pandemic is just insane. People still hunt and rednecks even eat squirrels!

It's not going to lead to the collapse of civilization, or even make people very sick to handle a animal that's just been killed.

Think about it, from a biological perspective, what's the difference between an animal that's just been killed and one that's still living? People don't get sick from touching cats, dogs, or farm animals or hamsters or anything else. Why would this squirrel be any different?
posted by delmoi at 2:23 PM on May 11, 2011


The idea that touching a squirrel that's just been killed by a dog is going to cause a global pandemic is just insane.

CAN'T BE TOO CAREFUL YOU KNOW
posted by rhizome at 2:28 PM on May 11, 2011


Not only rednecks eat squirrels.
posted by hippybear at 2:31 PM on May 11, 2011


"Our civilization is built on not only touching but actually eating freshly killed animals. Of course this was right after skinning them and butchering them, all without the benefit of refrigeration.

Seriously, I think you're just way off in terms of how dangerous it is to "global civilization" to come in contact with freshly killed animals.
"

And you can tell how well that worked out for us then. Just because we've gone a freakishly long time since the United States has experienced the incomprehensible horror of urban pandemic doesn't mean it cant happen. We have had tastes of it though, I'm sure most of the people in this thread know people who have died viciously terrible deaths as a result of improper handling of dead primates. That this footage (WARNING: REALLY FUCKING SQUICKY, seriously graphic cruelty towards pet animals) of an open air live market is as inherently squicky as it is, is one of the primary reasons we don't have them anymore, and that is one of the primary reasons pandemics don't come out of the west anymore.

"Think about it, from a biological perspective, what's the difference between an animal that's just been killed and one that's still living? People don't get sick from touching cats, dogs, or farm animals or hamsters or anything else. Why would this squirrel be any different?"

The difference is that squirrels are wild, or at least partly wild. A theoretical unconscious squirrel would be just as unwise.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:49 PM on May 11, 2011


That kid is probably in the hospital by now from squirrel disease.

And we know how patient zeroes are formed.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:50 PM on May 11, 2011


I just can't help but wonder how many people freaking out about touching the 'dead thing' will be eating steak, burgers or chicken for dinner tonight.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:58 PM on May 11 [1 favorite +] [!]


Thats awesome. You just quoted patient zero of the bubonic plague! Totally awesome.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:52 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just because we've gone a freakishly long time since the United States has experienced the incomprehensible horror of urban pandemic doesn't mean it cant happen.

Where were you during the 1980s and 1990s when it seemed like the entire male homosexual population of NYC and SF were dying? It hasn't been that long. It hasn't even been "babies who were born then are now of drinking age" long ago.
posted by hippybear at 3:15 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear, I was a toddler in the early 90s but I grew up in a gay neighborhood and the huge holes in the social fabric and the hearts of the village that raised me were impossible to miss. Maybe I should have made the next sentence after the one you quoted more explicit, does no one click links in the comments?
posted by Blasdelb at 3:30 PM on May 11, 2011


Sure it's a slippery slope, but couldn't it be slipperier? Only if we care enough.
posted by rhizome at 3:38 PM on May 11, 2011


No, obviously the kid picked it up herself. At that point it's the parents' duty not to use it to scar her.

Give me a break. Scar her? In what way? Who is advocating that the parents should have reacted to an extreme that she would be scarred, or damaged in some way? Using my imagination, I'm picturing a Clockwork Orange type episode, in which she is forced to watch the dead rodent zapped by a Tesla coil (with her clothes ON mother-mary-margaret-thank-you-very-much-I'm-sure!), then packed with an M80 and exploded, and finally forced to eat the remains mixed into her pudding. Maybe a milkshake. But that's just the father of 3 in me talking.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:40 PM on May 11, 2011


I don't get the freakout, unless we're all such insulated urbanites that we're totally removed from the realities of the world outside concrete. People trap and handle wild animals all the time. The duck you eat at Christmas had lice. That spendy mahi mahi on your plate had all manner of interesting parasites, including some neat ones that crawl right out of their gills sometimes. Your hipster chickens from which your precious backyard organic eggs come from have ticks.

Rabies transmission is exceedingly rare and requires a bite, normally from a dog or a bat. You are not going to get rabies from a dead wild squirrel.

The kid's attitude to the dead squirrel is completely normal. It is neat and interesting and because you don't get to do it very often, kind of fun and gleefully special. It's the rest of us who's reaction is totally fucked up because we live in an anti-bacterial world where food comes from a package in a store, or we somehow think that "organic" doesn't really mean "covered in shit and rot." The world is dirty and interesting and as my grandmother used to say, "God made dirt and dirt don't hurt."

No, I am not suggesting you all run out and shoot your 3-year-old a squirrel. But I think that was a fabulous teachable moment and the kid did a fantastic job teaching her parents what she knows about death.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:41 PM on May 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


does no one click links in the comments

Sorry.. I'm supposed to watch a video labeled "improper handling of dead primates" when not a single person I've known who ever died of AIDS had ever touched a monkey in their life? Either make it clear what you mean with your links, or don't take offense when people don't click through on your mystery meat.

Anyway, I've seen that video, back when it was new 2 years ago. I'll rewatch it now if it makes you feel better.

posted by hippybear at 3:46 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I don't see a single piece of evidence available anywhere online where a virus has passed from squirrel infection to human infection. And there was no blood contact between that little girl and the dead squirrel. It was likely dead from a broken neck delivered by the greyhound.

Being hyperbolic about disease coming from animals living in the US which don't come from parasites, such as hanta virus or bubonic plague, is fear-mongering and has nothing to do with the video we see in this FPP video, and is made abundantly clear in the TED video you've linked twice now.

posted by hippybear at 3:54 PM on May 11, 2011


Why are Americans so fearful of and angered by squirrels? They're tiny. So they steal the dog food and one of them looked at you once and you felt fearful because you are a big pansy, so what? It's not like they've come into your house and tried on all your underwear and drunk all the booze and taken your gun and shot a bunch of holes through the television and done a wee in your shampoo and spraypainted "FAGGETS" on the wall and passed out on your couch with their dicks slumbering against that one really nice framed picture of your mother, like I do.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:06 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes hippybear, and I don't know if you know this, but sometimes diseases kill people. Call it fear-mongering if you like, but I'm not looking to move to the suburbs just to have my child dissolve from a flesh-eating virus right in front of my video camera's lens. Maybe you do. Maybe you want to witness that first squayel-to-human disease vector while simultaneously recording it for posterity. To each their own.
posted by rhizome at 4:16 PM on May 11, 2011


So to those who grant kudos to the parents for their calmness, lest they freak the wee mite out:

So, what would be the recommended procedure should she be swinging a rattlesnake by the tail? I'm seriously asking.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:26 PM on May 11, 2011


Charles Baudelaire: The Poor Child's Toy

I would like to give you an idea for an innocent diversion. There are so few amusements that are not culpable!

When you go out in the morning, having decided to take a stroll along the outer boulevards, fill your pockets with little one-penny contrivances -- such as a flat paper puppet moved by a single string, blacksmiths striking an anvil, a cavalier riding a horse whose tail is a whistle -- and as you pass cabarets and trees, offer them as gifts to poor children you have never met before. You will see their eyes grow enormously wide. At first they won't dare to take them -- they will doubt their own good fortune. Then their hands will quickly grab the present, and they will flee, like cats that go far away from you to eat the morsel that you have given them, having learned to distrust man.

On the highway, behind the gate of a vast garden, at the end of which could be seen a lovely mansion, struck white by the sun, stood a beautiful, ruddy child, dressed in those countrified clothes that are so full of coquettish charm.

Luxury, a carefree air, and the habitual spectacle of wealth render these children so pretty that one might almost believe that they were made from a different substance than poor or middling children.

A splendid toy lay on the grass near the child, and it was as fresh as its master, polished, gilt, dressed in a purple robe, and covered with feathers and glass beads. But the child was not playing with his favorite toy, and this is what he was looking at:

On the other side of the gate, on the highway amidst the thistles and the nettles, there was another child, pale, puny, and sooty, one of those pariah-urchins whose beauty might be discovered by an impartial eye if, just as the eye of an art connoisseur divines an ideal painting underneath a coachmaker's varnish, it could wash away from him the repulsive patina of poverty.

Through the symbolic barriers separating two worlds -- the street and the mansion -- the poor child showed the rich child his own toy, which the rich child examined avidly, as though it were a rare and unfamiliar object. Now, this toy that the slovenly little child was exciting, prodding, and shaking in a square cage was a live rat! The child's parents, as an economical measure, undoubtedly, had drawn the toy from life itself.

And the two children laughed fraternally at one another, with teeth of an equal whiteness.

posted by ovvl at 4:34 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't anyone concerned about the dog getting germs? He had a dead squirrel in his freakin' mouth for chrissakes!!!
posted by Grumpy old geek at 4:39 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


When the heart stops, cells immediately begin to self destruct through a process called autolysis.

True, cardiac muscle cells die very quickly without blood/oxygen. Neurons do too. The reason in both cases is the unusually high rate of metabolism in those cell types. They burn through ATP stores in a matter of minutes, and once its gone they start to die. Most cell types in the body, however, aren't nearly as metabolically active, and thus die much more slowly. Many kinds of tissue (corneas, heart valves, skin, bone) and certain organs (kidney) can be transplanted from donors who are technically dead.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:41 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "So, what would be the recommended procedure should she be swinging a rattlesnake by the tail? I'm seriously asking."

If you pay attention to not making NO the thing your kids hears 900 times a day and save it for the big guns, it has a lot more impact. "Fifi, NO, put that down right now!" would very likely fly with this kid.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:43 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, what would be the recommended procedure should she be swinging a rattlesnake by the tail? I'm seriously asking.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:26 PM on May 11 [+] [!]


You tell her to be sure and bash the snake's head really hard against the concrete before letting go of it's tail, of course.

That child was in no danger of anything other than squicking out observers. It was a squirrel. A dead squirrel. There was no reason why the "wild animals can be dangerous, it's better not to touch them" talk couldn't wait after until bath-time.
posted by faineant at 4:50 PM on May 11, 2011


So, what would be the recommended procedure should she be swinging a rattlesnake by the tail? I'm seriously asking.

Well, I grew up killing and eating rattlesnakes on a regular basis, so I can actually answer this with a layman's authority.

I'm guessing the snake would be dead, otherwise the little girl would be coming to me screaming and crying from being bitten, which is horrific but not fatal unless left untreated. Rattlesnake venom is slow-moving through the body unless a major blood transport has been hit, so likely she'll be okay but a bit scarred (and scared).

But even a dead rattlesnake can still transfer venom via its fangs, and they often end up dead with their mouth open during rigor mortis. The important thing would be to get her to stop swinging it around as soon as possible and remove the head. Once that's not being swung around anymore, the worst she can do is bruise herself a bit with the mass of the snake as it strikes her body from the swinging.

Anyway, once that was settled, there'd be some nice (albeit a bit greasy) meat to have for dinner that night, and probably a lovely hatband in someone's future. And the rattles on a rattlesnake are a great thing to give a kid because they're so odd and groovy.

The chances of a child having a rattlesnake to swing around that the family dog has somehow managed to kill without getting bit itself in the process are pretty slim-to-none. Squirrels aren't venomous and aren't known to lie in wait and strike when threatened.

I'm not looking to move to the suburbs just to have my child dissolve from a flesh-eating virus right in front of my video camera's lens. Maybe you do. Maybe you want to witness that first squayel-to-human disease vector while simultaneously recording it for posterity. To each their own.

Again -- no blood contact = much less to worry about from any animal. Most of what a squirrel will deliver to a child would come via the fleas and other parasites which live on it, not from the squirrel itself. And unless you live in a high-plague area (such as New Mexico, where I basically spent the first 30 years of my life and where, as I linked up thread, the first case of bubonic plague was found for this year) the chances of a child contracting something by handling a dead animal which is freshly killed and has no body fluid leakage are.... pretty slim.
posted by hippybear at 5:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Having gone hunting for them, I was taught that wild rodents should always be handled with gloves, at least until you skin them.

After some searching,
Around 200 people a year get infected with tularemia a year in the United States, most of whom have no blood contact with the transmitting organism. Most rodents transmit tularemia and it turns out squirrels can too. Bartonella is also endemic in American wild small rodents and squirrels are the most likely cause of at least one outbreak in Nevada A different variety of squirrel, found in her area, is infamous for carrying epidemic typhus

Washing the girl with soap and water before she interacted with her face was exactly the right thing to do and the end of any rational concern there might have been, I don't think anyone in this thread has non-facetiously said otherwise.

Hippybear, if you add the bats and primates I was actually referencing to that list I'd be inclined to agree with you
posted by Blasdelb at 5:07 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Squirrels aren't venomous and aren't known to lie in wait and strike when threatened."

Around Dupont Circle in D.C. every Spring, around this time actually, there would be the occasional squirrel with enlarged testicles who would sit on a branch above a sidewalk perched on its hind-legs and chatter/hiss at passerby all of a sudden freaking the shit out of them. To a High School age me, this was hilarious, and almost every year when I would find them/him. The last time I saw one was on New Hampshire Avenue, north of the circle, outside of the Eastern Star Temple; when a particularly loud squirrel urinated at a particularly surprised tourist, got a little bit in his pants and shoes before running up the tree.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:26 PM on May 11, 2011


"blood contact with the transmitting organism" damnit that should read reservoir organism
posted by Blasdelb at 5:30 PM on May 11, 2011


Blasdelb: were are all these primates that you assert are living in the US for children to come in contact with? I'm unaware of many in this country other than humans. Now, bats... I will grant you. But primates?
posted by hippybear at 5:40 PM on May 11, 2011


You guys can maybe take this to mail if you're gonna have an extended aside.
posted by cortex at 5:44 PM on May 11, 2011


I don't think it's cute because the squirrel's all dead and I really like squirrels.
posted by Kloryne at 5:52 PM on May 11, 2011


Let's see if she feels this way later when her dog dies.
posted by bwg at 6:02 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rabies transmission is exceedingly rare and requires a bite, normally from a dog or a bat. You are not going to get rabies from a dead wild squirrel.

Rabies is transmitted by saliva, and dead animals can transmit rabies. All species of mammals are susceptible to rabies.
posted by biscotti at 6:23 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


My niece first encountered death when she was around 3 - a bird had been run over on the road in front of the house. She asked my mother what had happened, and my mother responded that the bird was dead - "Someone smashed it." Niece considered this new information and the discussion seemed to be over. Later, said niece accompanied my mother to visit my father's grave, something my mother does every month. She asked my mother why Grandpa was in the ground, so my mother replied that it was because he had died (years earlier from a stroke). A short silence followed, after which my niece asked, "Who smashed him?"
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:28 PM on May 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


DarlingBri: You are not going to get rabies from a dead wild squirrel.

... unless... OMG ZOMBIE SQUIRREL!!!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:29 PM on May 11, 2011


wow, what happened to this thread since I left?
posted by Think_Long at 6:43 PM on May 11, 2011


It decayed.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:53 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I did not read the whole thread so I don,t know if anyone brought up the plague issue or not.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:06 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


wow, what happened to this thread since I left?

That's how I've felt since I dropped it off this morning. Apparently not only is my cute-meter severely miscalibrated, but apparently my bean-thinking skills are not as impressive as I though.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:31 PM on May 11, 2011


It decayed.

And obviously, since we're all still here, we must be Darwinian.*
posted by Gator at 8:00 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


For cuteness, play the youtube video and hit 1. Continue pressing 1.

For more cuteness hit 0. Also try 0, 1, 0, 1. Etc.
posted by dgaicun at 8:49 PM on May 11, 2011


This is how 28 Days Later happens.

I think I encountered a squirrel with the rage virus once. You might think it's funny seeing a grown man get chased by a squirrel, but no one wants that kind of shame in their obituary.
posted by dgaicun at 8:57 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


My google-fu fails me, but I saw a Canadian arthouse movie once about a woman who communes with the dead (including a squirrel) by rubbing herself all over them.
posted by arcticseal at 11:30 PM on May 11, 2011


Kissed?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:37 PM on May 11, 2011


Starring Molly Parker as the central necrophile! The squirrel is a childhood coming-of-age moment in the movie's intro.

That was the first film I ever took a girl to on a date. YES SIR THAT WAS A SUCCESS.
posted by cortex at 11:42 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Canadian Cinema of the early-mid nineties is not a great choice for dating success. Unless your date has some sort of paraphilia, especially, but not necessarily, Maury Chaykin-related.

RIP, Mr. Chaykin.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:54 PM on May 11, 2011


Yes, Kissed is the one.
I took Mrs arcticseal to see it when we were dating, but luckily she's a bit of a movie buff and didn't let it stop her from marrying me :)
posted by arcticseal at 12:57 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy shit I remember seeing that movie on IFC in highschool.
posted by dgaicun at 1:03 AM on May 12, 2011


People don't get sick from touching cats, dogs, or farm animals or hamsters or anything else. Why would this squirrel be any different?

For what it's worth, I wouldn't want to touch a *live* squirrel either. And that's before I even heard about tularemia.
posted by antifuse at 5:59 AM on May 12, 2011


I would like to pet a live squirrel
posted by Greg Nog at 7:51 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I got stalked by a pigeon with a mohawk in Paris once. I found myself face to face with this bird from the wrong side of the tracks that was flapping in front of my face pecking at the other end of my hot dog.
I batted him away, he then spent the next hour eyeballing me and hounded me out of the park. That was one mean bird, next to him, I'll take the squirrel.
posted by arcticseal at 8:02 AM on May 12, 2011


I would also like to pet a live squirrel. Especially the super-cute one who rolls around in my big planters on his back like a little kitteh.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:04 AM on May 12, 2011


My SO showed me this video and asked me what I thought. I said, "I ... had no reaction whatsoever, really. Why?"

She stared at me for a little while and then said, "Oh, RIGHT! You grew up with CATS!"
posted by kyrademon at 9:58 AM on May 12, 2011


Do people seriously imagine we could have survived 3,000,000 years as a species if every child that touched a freshly-killed animal died in agonising pain

Most of us, as a species, have not survived.
posted by The World Famous at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2011


Sorry - let me elaborate beyond that little quip. In order for a species to survive, all that has to happen is for a critical number of organisms to survive long enough to reproduce generation after generation. For millions of years, humans regularly died of myriad diseases and other causes that simply are not a factor for modern humans, primarily due to the extremely recent advent of soap and medicine. It is idiotic to suggest that it is unreasonable to want children to avoid rubbing dead wild animals all over their bodies just because humanity forged ahead in spite of extremely high childhood death rates prior to the development of antibiotics, vaccines, soap, and other important things that keep our kids from dying. Our ancestors just 100 years or so ago saw children die of disease all the time. Not having at least one child in a family die as a regular thing is a very, very new development that really only exists in the industrialized world even today.
posted by The World Famous at 10:52 AM on May 12, 2011


Boy, I hope the squirrel didn't go to waste!
posted by Deathalicious at 6:38 AM on May 13, 2011


"It's a squayell, it's deayed." has become a tagline between my boyfriend and I. So horrifically awesome.
posted by sweetmarie at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I've been warning my dogs when I let them out to "watch out for the squayells". It's a pretty addictive pronunciation.
posted by quin at 9:18 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other news, I saw somebody post online about how their boss had rescued a baby squirrel and brought it into the office the next day on a leash. I pointed her to this video :)
posted by antifuse at 9:01 AM on May 16, 2011


I found this disturbing not so much because of the germ/squick factor as because of the little girl's blasé reaction to death. She didn't seem to see any difference between a living animal and a dead one, or between a dead squayell and a stuffed animal. I shivered at the glee in her voice when she blithely announced it was dead. I would expect a child to be emotionally upset at seeing the squayell killed, and/or interested, in a reverential way, in the workings of death.
posted by parrot_person at 2:50 PM on May 24, 2011


My guy just saw her on tv. He sent me a text with a shot of his tv screen and all he put as the message was: SQUAYELL!!

http://tosh.comedycentral.com/video-clips/video-breakdown---girl-plays-with-a-dead-squirrel
posted by sweetmarie at 2:38 PM on May 25, 2011


parrot_person: I would expect a child to be emotionally upset at seeing the squayell killed, and/or interested, in a reverential way, in the workings of death

Understanding of death the way you and I understand it is a developmental milestone. Your expectation is premature for her age group.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:29 PM on May 25, 2011


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