animal wisdom earth wisdom negotiation wisdom of animals Oct 04, 2022
Squirrel on tree branch

There’s something about squirrels. Maybe it’s their cute, expressive tails. Maybe the way they sit on their haunches and quietly munch an acorn (or other goodie - many stolen). They come in lots of different colors and sizes, and some can even fly (remember Rocky, the Flying Squirrel, and his moose friend?). I love squirrels.

We don’t have any living on our property - not enough trees, and the ones we do have aren’t old enough to house squirrel homes. So we get our squirrel fix elsewhere.

Like yesterday, on the road. We were making our way down a local paved road with our honkin’ big pickup truck (not as big as some, but definitely larger than a Volkswagen) when what did I see sauntering out from the brush on the right side? “Squirrel, squirrel, SQUIRREL!” I squeaked, sounding like some scratchy record stuck on groove number 4. 

We dodged, squirrel dodged, squirrel ran back and forth in front of us a few times, tail waving and then realized we really weren’t going to be able to stop in time for it to continue its saunter, and I think it hunkered down. It happened pretty fast. When we looked in the rear view mirror, no lump of squirrel on the road. That was the good news and the bad news.

If we avoided a squish, then where did friend squirrel go? Was it hanging off the bottom of the pickup, a la Indiana Jones? Or did it get blown into the weeds? We’ll never know. We choose to believe squirrel lived to cross the road another day, and next time it will be a bit more determined in its efforts to reach the opposite side of the pavement. Sauntering is off the menu (unless the squirrel wants to be on it).

This time of year the squirrels are packing away food for the winter. Their favorite hunting grounds are any tree that produces nuts, and your bird feeder. Depending upon what type of squirrel it is, they may bury their stash (how do they know where it is when there’s a foot of snow on the ground?) or put it into a tree, where they’ll build a cozy nest. Food, nest, and a TV set. Sounds pretty sweet. 

Another place they like to hang out during the winter is - your attic. So make sure any tree branches don’t get anywhere near your roof, because that’s prime squirrel freeway, and they are very clever at figuring ways into nice warm spaces. Even better than a tree, your attic is a prime spot for food storage and nesting material.

Unfortunately, when they get bored, they chew, so that could be a little dangerous. They are non-partisan chewers. Wood, wires, the dress form you’ve got stored up there, it’s all fair game. Remember the cat that chewed the electrical wire in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”? You could have the squirrel version, and an associated electrical fire, going on in your attic. So - they’re cute, but they, like you, don’t want to succumb to smoke inhalation.

If you want to help them out, eliminate any squirrel freeways and build them a shelter outside in a tree. I’m pretty sure they’ll take you up on it, especially if they can get access to Animal Planet. 


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