Monday, May 7, 2012

The Grey Squirrel Demands Equal Time

So the grey squirrel has filed a compliant with the ‘Critter Rights Commission’, claiming that he isn’t getting equal time before the camera. And arguing that he should have as much exposure as the black squirrel; that there shouldn’t be favouritism.

Can you believe this character? My initial reaction was ‘no’. No way, buddy. Take a hike. Beat it. Vamoose. But I quickly backpedaled when he threatened to gang up with all the other grey squirrels in the neighbourhood and tear apart my garden. Leaf by leaf. Flower bud by flower bud. Who knew that squirrels could be so riotous?

And so here we are with a coerced photoshoot of the nasty friendly grey squirrel.



The eastern grey squirrel, a prolific animal that is highly adaptable wherever it resides, is native to the eastern and Midwestern United States, and to the southerly portions of the eastern provinces of Canada, which is where I live.



Squirrels gather food in small caches for later recovery. Some of the caches are temporary, particularly those that were created near a site with a sudden abundance of food – like my bird feeders.



The food in temporary caches is typically retrieved within hours or a few days to be reburied in a more secure location. The permanent caches, which can number in the several thousands per squirrel per season, may not be retrieved until months later.



The squirrels have very accurate spatial memory for the locations of these caches, and use distant and nearby landmarks to retrieve them. Smell is used once the squirrel is within a few centimeters of the cache.



Squirrels sometimes pretend to bury something if they think they are being watched. They dig a hole as usual and mime the placement and burial of food, but actually hide the object in their mouth and bury it somewhere else. I have witnessed this habit and find it quite fascinating.



They are active during the day, particularly at dawn and dusk, and feed on seeds, nuts, buds, insects, bird eggs and fungi, depending on the time of year.



The playful and attractive grey squirrel is very popular with the public, and often a welcome sight in urban landscapes, but is also considered a serious pest in certain areas.

14 comments:

  1. Now I know why it's called "squirelling" things away! But he is a cutie as well.It's such a treat seeing your close-up photos.

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    1. As pesky as they can be, I really enjoy watching them. They're so entertaining.

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  2. Imagine that! They pretend to hide things if they think they are being watched. That strikes me as being a highly intelligent thing to do. I promise to avert my eyes when I see them digging. Don't want to make them too stressed!

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    1. Ha ha...yes, we should all avert our eyes, so they don't feel stressed. If only the other squirrels would do that as well.

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  3. "Critter Rights Commission" -- LOL!

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  4. Yes, they can be an enjoyment to watch but they also can be a pest. Hmmm... they are a lot like people lol.

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    1. Ha ha ha...that's good! Yes, a lot like people!

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  5. Squirrels are cheap entertainment! We often have gangs of young squirrels who run through the yard and up the trees playing together.

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    1. Very cheap entertainment. At least until they start devouring all the bird food. Either way, I enjoy them.

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  6. Dear Martha,
    They are in the pest category for us. We think that they have sent squirrely letters to their relatives and they all live just behind our house (sometimes IN it.) Don't ask.

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    1. Oh my, Kay! Yes, looks like they are being pests for you. That's really awful.

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  7. I love them even if most people don't. This time of year they're nowhere to be seen, probably because the foxes have kits and are on a constant hunt, so the squirrels have to hide - at least I hope they're hiding....

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    1. I love them, too. They are just trying to survive like everyone else. I enjoy their silly tactics; they're fun to watch.

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