Meet my nemesis. This is an eastern fox squirrel, an introduced species in California and one that seems to thrive in suburban backyards like mine. From what I’ve read, they are nearly as ecologically flexible as rats and I am getting to hate them almost as much as I hate the rats that occasionally appear. The larger native Western Gray Squirrels are rare around here. I’ve seen only one in my garden, and that was two years ago. I’ve posted photos similar to this of the fox squirrels in my garden, as they look at me from atop the pergola. Lately, I’ve aimed a high powered water gun at them and more often than not, the gun hits the target, drenching the squirrel in a cascade of water. I’m not sure that it’s deterring their presence, though. They are extremely destructive even chewing and apparently consuming (there is no telltale debris) my resin Adirondack chairs. Most recently they have discovered that they can jump onto one of the hummingbird feeders and have destroyed the bee guards on it. A few days ago one of them knocked a potted Jade Plant off a table, shattering the pot and breaking off several large branches. Usually the squirrels run when I open the door and I aim the bright red plastic water soaker at them. This day, I had my camera already in my hand, standing in the open patio doorway and hoping to photograph a male Lesser Goldfinch in its bright yellow plumage. Instead, this face stared defiantly back at me, not even flinching. It knew I was unarmed.