The squirrels in Mears Park in St. Paul, Minn, like these on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, are fat, bold, and accustomed to being fed by people. They have been chewing through wires on the Christmas lights, so Mears Park isn’t lit up as usual this holiday season. (Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press via AP)

The squirrels in Mears Park in St. Paul, Minn, like these on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, are fat, bold, and accustomed to being fed by people. They have been chewing through wires on the Christmas lights, so Mears Park isn’t lit up as usual this holiday season. (Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press via AP)

Squirrels force US city to scale back holiday lights in public park

Group responsible for St. Paul display says blame the ‘tree rats’

A troop of fat, hungry squirrels has put the kibosh on a downtown St. Paul park’s holiday lights display.

Friends of Mears Park in the Minnesota city had to forego the usual display this year because squirrels chewed through the lights’ wires last year and the vendor refused to put up with the headache and cost again this year, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.

The wires, it turns out, were coated with polylactic acid, a derivative of corn sugar, an appealing appetizer for squirrels spoiled by park visitors who won’t stop feeding them, said Ann LaBore, co-chair of the friends group.

“They try and lead them around the park,” she said. “One guy was trying to get one to jump on him. It’s a little disturbing.”

Instead of the traditional display, the friends group is using a projector to create a kaleidoscope of snowflakes and base lights that bathe the trees in green and blue. LaBore said she’s gotten complaints that the display is far too anemic this year.

Blame the “tree rats,” La Bore said.

“People look down from their condos or apartments and they want to see the twinkly lights,” she said. “Well, we can’t have twinkly lights. It was probably this or nothing.”

—The Associated Press

RELATED: Acorn-ucopia of food fattens squirrels

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