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Do Pop-Tarts Grow on Trees?

No matter what the engineers do, the squirrels still manage to gnaw their way through the garbage bins in my alley.

The city keeps coming up with new garbage bins that thwart the squirrels’ previous strategy, but the squirrels just keep coming up with new and better ideas. They used to chew through the lid. So the engineers made the lid twice as thick. Now the squirrels enter from behind.

There is a lot at stake for the squirrels; I’m pretty sure they care more about getting what’s inside the bin than the designers care about keeping them out.

Incentives work.

Squirrels — like humans — are generalists who thrive in a wide range of environments because of their ability to adapt. What I witnessed this morning made me realize two things:

1) when you live in the Levitt backyard, there is a lot of adaptation required; and 2) not all squirrel adaptations are as productive as finding a way into the garbage bin.

Earlier today, I watched as a squirrel emerged from our garbage can with a Pop-Tart in his mouth. He carried it in his mouth across the yard into the garden, dug a hole, and buried it.

With any luck, he will forget where he left it and in a few years we will have more Pop-Tarts than we can eat growing in our garden.