They stare you down, with their beady little eyes, and make you feel inferior.
They show a remarkable lack of reverence for the human race in general.
Squirrels.
The Squirrel or "Sciurus Carolinensis" (gray squirrel) ignores the unmistakable and long-standing hierarchy of humans and rodents.
According to http://www.squirrels.org, squirrels belong to the order "Rodentia," which comprises roughly 40 percent of all living mammals.
With this information any reasonable person can assume that a hostile takeover by angst-ridden rodents is inevitable.
There are over 365 species of squirrels. The Kaibab squirrel is a type of squirrel that has a black body and a white tail. The Kaibab squirrel is not to be confused with a squirrel kebab - a popular dish in many rural areas.
Speaking of cooked squirrel, the Web site also explains that squirrels often chew on tree branches to sharpen their teeth. And, on occasion, a squirrel may chew on a power line - causing many major power outages - and the unfortunate and untimely death of the squirrel.
May they rest in peace.
Apparently the male tree squirrel takes twice as long as the female to groom itself - and the squirrel can boast being the cleanest among the rodent family. Tough competition - up against a rat and a chinchilla. How else can we interpret this grooming information - squirrels, like Carly Simon's celebrated ballad, are vain.
In 1876, a pair of gray squirrels were introduced in Britain from America. Since that time, the squirrels have multiplied in exponential numbers and have thus taken over an entire county in southern England and have acquired a seat in Parliament.
Squirrel importation is, in all actuality, the reason why the British dislike us.
My father's arch nemesis is the squirrel. He is a perfectly respectable man by day and he takes on this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde mentality when the "bushy tailed rat" gets within four square miles of our house.
My father dislikes these tiny beasts with such a passion because they, apparently, scare off his birds and eat the coveted bird food.
Whether either of these is true is still being investigated, but the vendetta remains - squirrels were sent to this earth for one reason - to irritate my dad.
Sometimes I feel that I am in a western and the squirrel and I are in a gun-slinging showdown at high noon in Circle Park. The squirrel is in stirrups and we look into each other's eyes and know that one or both of us are not coming out of this alive.
I'm sorry squirrel, but this sidewalk ain't big enough for the both of us...

- Rosemary Nottoli is a senior in journalism. She can be reached at rnottoli@utk.edu.