Thursday, October 01, 2009

red squirrel

[click photo to enlarge]
Meet Nick. (So named because of his right ear.) I have no illusions about keeping wild animals as pets, though I was once party to the domestication of these fluffy rodents at a local park.

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Years ago, I discovered that a worker at a field house fed the squirrels every day. They became so friendly, I frequently enjoyed hand-feeding them, myself. I could sit on a park bench, put an almond on my shoulder, and a squirrel would walk right up, take the nut, and eat it right there, next to me. They took them from my hands all the time. I'll bet if I was patient enough, and had no regard for common sense, I could have even held one of these squirrels.

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They were red squirrels of course. Gray squirrels are more skittish, and black squirrels are very rare in these parts.

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Yes, I said almonds. That seemed to be their favorite. I used to make bulk purchases of almonds in the shell, and hang around with these guys. (Since I worked night shift back then, I didn't have much of a social life.)

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Then I got married, became a dad, switched to days, and became much more sensible. These days, I don't try to train or domesticate them, though I occasionally leave mixed nuts out on the deck. My wife and kids try to recognize and remember who's whom, and they even give them names. This is the first time I've named any of the local squirrels.

9 comments:

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Craver: My Grey and Black Squirrels have stripped the Ohio Buckeye Tree. They come back every once in a while to dig up ones they hid in the ground. They never get them all so I have little trees next year.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Working in wildlife for all these years, I have often been very tempted to make a pet of some wild animal but I long ago decided that it was not fair on them and do not even feed them. SOme of the buck and things like squirrels become so tame and dependent on us humans sometimes.

donsands said...

Nice photo.

I guess Red Suirrels are nicer than the grey ones. They tear up my wife's flowers and are actually mean little semi-rodents. I used to trap them and cart them away to the park. But to no avail. I must have trapped 20, and a opossum. There's a nasty creature for you.

Also, there was this one squirrel I trapped that was incredible. He would come at you in the cage. I mean he would jump and bite on the cage; so much so his fur was torn and he was bleeding. I also found one in my furnace.

Have a great weekend Craver. And especially a focused and blessed Lord's Day.

Craver Vii said...

Fishing Guy, the family was so delighted with seeing squirrels a foot away from our kitchen window, that they replenished the squirrel feeder quite a bit. Not only do I tend to agree with Joan's statements about this, but it also caused them to start hiding stuff in my front lawn. ... and NOBODY messes with my front lawn! I would have implemented sanctions, but the family kinda did that on their own.

Good point Joan. Sometimes we need to make decisions with our head and not our heart. I compare it to giving sweets to children... if we care about them (and ourselves), we must exercise moderation.

That squirrel from hell is a frightening image, Sandman. Makes me want to stock up on silver bullets or something.

A "focused" Lord's day? What a thoughtful way to pray. Having my hands in several things, and being concerned with various needs, means that Sundays have become so busy that I'm operating in super-efficient mode. I need to keep Christ at the center of it all. Shalom.

mommanator said...

I think I have only ever seen a black squirrel once and dont remember the red ones! have I lived a sheltered life or what? I have a friend who absolutely hates them as they throw whatever at him and also gobble up his many plants. I however give him anything squirrel I can find, bad me

nAncY said...

good name
it suits him

lime said...

aw, i have some happy memories of doing the same with chipmunks at my grandparents' cabin. in fact, i could hold a peanut in the shell between my teeth and have the chipmunk come take it from me.

that's a fantastic picture too!

Craver Vii said...

That seems to be the main issue that causes people to love them or hate them, Mommanator. That is to say, whether they act like rats and destroy our stuff or show up cute and fluffy, disappearing without a trace.

I haven't seen Nick since I took the picture nAncY, but I'm sure the rest of the family will keep looking for him.

You are braver than I, Lime! I don't think I would have tried the teeth thing. Chipmunks are cute, but they move so fast, I have never gotten a good photo of one... I'll keep trying though. Thanks for the compliment on my pic.

Shammickite said...

My back yard is full of the pesky creatures, always stealing the bird seed that is meant for the birds. But the horse chestnut trees are dropping their fruits now, so the squirrels are stocking up for winter, I just wish they wouldn't try to dig up my lawn to bury their dinner.