Squirrel!


You’ve not seen anything in life until you’ve seen a squirrel dragging a hunk of bread nearly half its size up a tree.

Image shows a squirrel perched in a tree with an enormous hunk of bread

Okay, I may be exaggerating the size of the bread a bit, but still, it was at least the size of a softball. And that squirrel wasn’t letting go for anything.

I love wild critters, and the way some of them have adapted to urban life. I love the mallards along the stream behind the ballfields who shamelessly demand food, and the crows who remember neighborly acts and never forget (although they may, eventually, forgive) a slight. I adore the adorable things they do. And I admire their moxie.

I imagine most of you have got stories. Do share!

Comments

  1. derek lactin says

    Once I had a squirrel steal an entire ice cream cone (single scoop) from me and run up a tree with it.

  2. dorfl says

    It’s not really my story but: a friend had been feeding crumbs to a raven for a while when it snatched her entire sandwich and flew off with the closest a beak can manage to a smirk.

  3. Space Monster says

    At my workplace there’s a large herd of deer that come onto the grounds for water and to eat the landscaping. They are very unafraid of humans and wander around freely. Every spring I enjoy seeing all the new fawns.

    My workplace does put out the obligatory “Don’t feed the animals” signs and emails. But I once had a shift where I had to start around 1 am and as I walking to my building, away from any lights, I came across a security guard surrounded by deer. She was feeding them from a big bag of leaves.

    Another funny deer story involved some landscaping done prior to an open house event. A few days before the event the landscapers planted a whole bunch of marigolds all over the campus. The very next day, all the flowers had been nipped off. But the really funny part was later listening to someone rant about how nonsensical it was that the gardeners had cut off all the flowers after they planted them!

  4. Menyambal says

    I watched a city squirrel take an empty Starbucks cup up a tree, one time. He was trying to get the caramel out of the bottom. He was holding the cup to his mouth with both arms, and chittering with frustration. It looked like he was jonesing for caffeine.

  5. Trebuchet says

    Another funny deer story involved some landscaping done prior to an open house event. A few days before the event the landscapers planted a whole bunch of marigolds all over the campus. The very next day, all the flowers had been nipped off. But the really funny part was later listening to someone rant about how nonsensical it was that the gardeners had cut off all the flowers after they planted them!

    The flower-nipping may actually have been slugs or snails rather than deer. We’ve seen that happen repeatedly. The first night, the flowers go. The next night or two, the leaves, leaving just a stem.

    The urban squirrels around here are Eastern Gray Squirrels, which are (sorry Dana) an imported pest. The native Douglas Squirrels have a tough time competing, being half the size. The Gray’s are totally cute, of course.

    • Space Monster says

      The flower-nipping may actually have been slugs or snails rather than deer. We’ve seen that happen repeatedly. The first night, the flowers go. The next night or two, the leaves, leaving just a stem.

      Only the flowers went and I didn’t notice any slug/snail trails. Given the sheer number of deer here, how they bed down on the main lawn of the facility and how they gobble up the fallen jacaranda blossoms, I’m really leaning towards the deer being the culprits.

  6. Mobius says

    My dogs are always warning me of the approach of killer ninja squirrels.

    Good dogs.

  7. Lithified Detritus says

    We used to have an old grapevine in the backyard. We never used the grapes, just left them for the birds and critters. On late winter day Mrs. D called me to the kitchen window. She had opened the back door to see a large and very drunk possum working its way along the grapevine. It gave her a bleary look as if to say “Please don’t slam that door again, lady.” It then slowly waddled off.

  8. tiko says

    If I have a couple of fat balls left over after refilling the holders I put them loose in the seed bowls,the squirrels nick them, yes the whole fat ball. The lil’ divils know they’re being cheeky because when they pick them up they look around (as if to check no ones watching) and then scurry off.

  9. Trebuchet says

    We had a raccoon give birth in our floor a few years back. I am NOT fond of raccoons.

  10. Lithified Detritus says

    Tiko @8

    If I have a couple of fat balls left over after refilling the holders

    Can you elaborate? I have no idea what you are referring to here. Is it just me?

  11. tiko says

    @10 Lithified Detritus

    A fat ball is bird food made of suet’s fats and seeds squashed together in a ball, you can get holders for them which hang on a tree branch and hold about 4 or 5 fat balls.
    Birds love them especially in winter and as I have witnessed cheeky squirrels too.

  12. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    When I was in college in Minneapolis I had a squirrel damn near run me over. I was cutting across the grassy area between rows of buildings and it was running straight at me. I ended up having to move out of its way; it never changed its course.

    I also encountered a deer a couple miles from downtown Minneapolis. I was riding my bike home from work and it went bounding through a couple yards and then into an intersection. A car on the way through stopped and we looked at each other and the driver says “that was a deer.” Yup. No clue how it could have come to be there.

  13. Onamission5 says

    A former coworker once was knocked off his bike into traffic by a low flying park duck. (he was scuffed, but otherwise okay) The “Hey, Jim? Look out! Duck!” jokes wrote themselves for a while. Poor Jim. (not his real name)

    The new house we’re in has an abundance of small wildlife compared to our old house. No ducks, heh, but so far I have seen groundhogs, little golden coated bunnies, small birds galore, and wild turkeys. The cats, strangely enough, totally ignored the turkeys as if they were invisible or something when first moved in. Then one of those turkeys took her poults for a walk with her a few weeks ago, and one of our cats decided that baby turkeys looked like funtime chew toys. Mama turkey watched him stalk her young out of the corner of her eye until kitty decided to charge, at which time she also charged and very nearly pecked him atop his head fast as a rattlesnake strike, but he dodged at the last second and dashed into the house as fast as his legs could take him. Giant attack birds what fresh hell is this! Kitty didn’t go back outside for three days. He’s still jumpy around sudden movements.

    Something rather large moving through our yard made the dog bark fiercely several nights ago. We have green space behind our house along with a stream, so I am thinking maybe bear. I am hoping not bear but it is a possibility.

    Down the way from us, some folks are hosting a small flock of Canadian geese on their lawn, complete with fuzzy geese babies. They all line up like feathered lawn mowers when they graze, heads bobbing almost in time with each other. It’s adorable.

    • Lithified Detritus says

      A few weeks ago I was driving through a residential area and saw someone crash her bike due to a low-flying goose. A cycling hazard that had not been obvious to me previously.

      • Lofty says

        I’ve been buzzed by a duck, cycling down a tree enclosed laneway at speed, the duck was flying up the other way. Naturally, I ducked, missed by a feathers width.

      • Onamission5 says

        Who’d have thought, you know? Generally when biking one looks up to watch for obstacles like low hanging tree branches, not low flying birds!

  14. says

    As a quondam England-dweller I’ve never really been able to warm to Sciurus carolinensis since they have been replacing our own (and lovelier far) red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris).
    The little grey buggers have invaded my apartment twice and during one raid ate my favourite cactus!!

    Below I’ve shared the horror. There are even pictures if you have the stomach to follow the links:-

    “…see an animal which really looks like it’s been designed by a committee, look not among the ruminants nor the ungulates but among the rodents. Look, indeed, at that horrid and hypocritical vermin the Gray Squirrel….” —Raving Nutkin.

    “The other week I … I can hardly bring myself to tell you about it … but …but …the other week I–I, I suffered an armed home invasion.
    Oh the horror of it; the absolute (or at least relative) horror and the stress and the sturm and of course the drang of it all—you see it was an evil, violent squirrel that invaded my space, and, yes, it was armed—and legged and tailed too and viciously fluffy!…”—The Invasion Of The Body Squirrelers.

  15. Blueaussi says

    Squirrels are the enemy! They chew up and root out my tender new plants in the spring! They steal the pecans before they’re even ripe; and the bastards take one bite and throw the rest away! They ravage bird feeders, and steal tomatoes…TOMATOES!

    Once I noticed a squirrel running along the fence in my backyard with something in its mouth. One of the dogs barked and startled it, and it dropped what it was carrying. I went to see what it was, and it was a baby, a baby squirrel, all fuzzy and big-eyed. I picked it up, and we stared at each other. It blinked for a moment, then grabbed its tail, and pulled it up to cover its face. ARGH! I held in my hands the spawn of the enemy, and it was…cute.

    I put it in a box, climbed up the massive live oak tree its mother had disappeared into, and put the box in a broad, leafy crotch. I watched from the kitchen: and sure enough, its mother came back and got it.

    • Onamission5 says

      Squirrels are so cute, and your story is about the baby squirrel covering its face with its tail is adorable! Have you ever taken a good look at their toes, though? Their toes, while fascinating for their utility, are so creepy. Nothing should have that many pads on its feet.

    • Trebuchet says

      When you start thinking they’re cute, just mentally shave the tail. What you’ve got then is a rat. And that’s what it really is. A tree rat.

      Speaking of wildlife, I just looked out the window and saw at least 12 birds, of several different species, lined up on the neighbor’s fence. Waiting me for me to go out and fill the feeder. Which I just did yesterday!

  16. rq says

    OH YE GADS as I’ve been mentioning I’m in Canada with the choir and squirrels are a rarity in Latvia, but they’re not in Canada… One of the sopranos goes TOTALLY nuts over EVERY SINGLE squirrel she sees. So we were up in the Laurentians and it was mostly red squirrels, with a few grey ones here and there, and then we went to Ottawa to do a concert, and standing in the parking lot, someone mentioned a squirrel. Chorister was quite blase, until she realized that a black squirrel was being discussed…. and she went nuts, because
    it’s a black squirrel and definitely one of the most uncommon types of squirrel ever seen!