Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vive Le Sciurus Carolinensis!

We live in a relatively rural area. I say "relatively" because it's not as sparsely populated as Maza, North Dakota (pop. 5), but it's 30% less crowded than Chubbuck, Idaho. (What? You never heard of Chubbuck?!)

Access to the Mother Nature was one of the things that attracted us to our present location. Our current house backs up to some woods and a farm. As a result, we periodically get visitors like bears, deer, and foxes, which is always something of an event. In our house, it is implicitly understood that if someone spies one of these Very Cool Animals, a call is sounded, and we all immediately drop what we're doing to watch at a window.

We also have gray squirrels. Lots of gray squirrels. Short of trapping and relocating these furry roaches, I don't have an efficient way to count them accurately. However, I think that a good estimate would be scores and scores of squirrels.

Now in their naievete and unbridled enthusiasm for all living things, my children have not yet figured out that the squirrels are just squirrels; they're not one of the Very Cool Animals. At least a dozen times a day I receive this urgent breathless summons, "Come!!! Quickly!!! There's a... squirrel!" So I drop the dishes I'm doing, wipe my hands, and run like a madwoman to the window, just in time to see a whole -- what is the word for a group of squirrels? pack? herd? cabal? -- whatever of squirrels dumping out all the bird feeders.

These yard monkeys are ingenious really. One of them climbs a tree and tips a feeder. Then they all descend upon the spill to enjoy a nosh while they plot global domination and how to force me into putting out more peanuts.

Those of you familiar only with scrawny urban squirrels are no doubt scoffing. How could a flibbety-wibbety wisp of fluff possibly accomplish such wholesale destruction and forced servitude? Simple. These are super squirrels. They are fat and sleek and highly muscled from their rigorous PT regimen, which includes leftover waffle-lifting, aerial drops on my roof, and paw-to-beak combat against small birds. I've even witnessed them breaking out their squirrel-jitsu moves on merlins and emerging victorious! Do you know what merlins are? They are small raptors with hooked beaks and razor sharp talons that are designed to eat squirrels, and in my yard, they don't stand a chance!

So forget Planet of the Apes. I'm fairly certain that in the end, Sciurus carolinensis is going to rule the world. In fact, I'm setting out a peace offering of peanuts right now because it's never too early to begin appeasing our future overlords.

This image of a covert meeting of
Sciurus Carolinensis, Winter Squadron,
was taken from a safe distance using a telephoto lens.
Those inexperienced in repelling squirrel attacks
should not try this at home.


Jodi said... [Reply]

That is one scary photo! lol

Julie said... [Reply]

I know right?! And my lens wasn't even wide enough to get the whole crew. There were at least half a dozen more out there that day!

John said... [Reply]

Notice the precision formation in the photo - this is obviously the crack squirrel drill squad.

This is the same group that I see at the top of tall trees with day old waffles.

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