It has now been conclusively proven that the tenants in the attic of our house are red squirrels, as we suspected from the speed of their movements (at 6:30 am) and the fact that the outdoor areas around the house are full of chewed up hemlock cones. The proof consisted of temporarily catching one in a Havahart trap, which jammed, allowing the prisoner to escape.
Oh, and they prefer cashews to either Brazil nuts or almonds, a fact you can test for yourself by using Gorilla glue to fasten one nut of each type to the bait plate of the trap.
Update: Jan 8. We caught a red squirrel in the trap and released it in the park nearby, with a complimentary slice of bread as a consolation prize. She (you look underneath them) was attacking the bars of the cage with scary-looking teeth, and lost no time at all in pushing the trap flap open once the bar was lifted. Even better news: online sources tell me these little guys are solitary, so there might actually be a full night's sleep in my near future.
"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield