Squirrels Chew City Park Christmas Decorations, Sponsor Won’t Replace Lights

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A Minnesota town’s Christmas light display has been reduced this year because of a bunch of mischievous squirrels.

Mears Park in St. Paul usually has an annual holiday event where it is decorated with festive lights. However, squirrels in the park began chewing on the wires of the lights in 2020. The seller refused to pay for new lights that would replace the usual display at a cost of $27,400.

“Our vendor reuses the lights, and they can’t afford to turn them on only to have the squirrels destroy them again,” said Lee Ann LaBore, co-chair of Friends of Mears Park. “I don’t blame them.”

LaBore told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that park squirrels are often overfed by park visitors, who feed them junk food and try to trick them. She even said she saw a few people trying to entice squirrels to jump on them, calling it “a little disturbing.” The behavior peaked when squirrels ate light wires last year.

“It was a constant battle,” said volunteer John Mannillo. “We had to come in and fix the lights every week. We would come in and there were two or three trees. It got to the point where there would be so many trees, the installer would be ‘don’t do it.’

Fortunately, the annual exhibition is once again located in the park, although it looks a little different. The remaining lights are still exposed but are spread out more than usual. The park also has a projector that creates large snowflake animations. Despite their best efforts, those who live near the park are unhappy that the usual grandeur of the park’s vacation offerings is not on display.

“I get stuff on Facebook, and it’s pretty negative, and I get it,” LaBore said. “People are watching from their condos or apartments and they want to see the twinkling lights. Well, we can’t have twinkling lights. It was probably this or nothing. isn’t as pretty from above to above.”

The squirrels at Mears Park in St. Paul, Minnesota are big, bold and used to being fed by humans. They chewed wires on the Christmas lights, so Mears Park isn’t lit as usual this holiday season.
Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press via AP

It turns out the wires were coated in polylactic acid, a derivative of corn sugar, an appetizing snack for squirrels spoiled by park visitors who keep feeding them.

Blame the “tree rats,” LaBore said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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