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Archive for the 'Animals' Category

19 Feb

Backyard squirrel #3

yard-squirrel-082-mbv

I can recognize this male because of his scarred right eye. There is lumpy scar tissue around the top of the eye, giving him a somewhat sad expression. If you view him from the left side, however, he looks like any other squirrel. It’s a bit disconcerting, really. :) I haven’t settled on a serious nickname for him. Sometimes I refer to him as “Sad” or “SadEye”, but that’s because I can’t think of anything else. At any rate, he’s a fairly aggressive, territorial male as far as the other squirrels go, often chasing others out of “his” yard when he’s here eating out of the dishes. He is constantly after the female squirrels (it’s mating season), running behind them all day long in the eager hope that he can get some lovin’. I think he might be one of the older squirrels, but as usual, impossible to tell. The male squirrels definitely tend to have more visible injuries or scars, likely from mating-season squabbles with other males. He’s not afraid of me, but is rather reserved, although he is one of those that will come to door and peer in to see if I’m there to hand out a treat. He prefers walnuts and almonds, and has an impatient/bold personality. He also will only take one almond at a time to bury, whilst many of the others might take multiples.

18 Feb

Backyard squirrel #2

I call this black squirrel “Stubby.” In case it’s not obvious, he only has half a tail. Or maybe 5/8’s of a tail. It makes him very recognizable even from a distance. Perhaps he caught it in a mousetrap or something. He is very nervous and kind of “crawls” towards me until I toss him something.

Side note: Maybe I should make a blog sub-category of ‘backyard squirrels” or something. Then again, once I’m done posting the initial rash of squirrel pics and stories, I probably won’t post too many more after that. Meh. I don’t know.

17 Feb

The door has opened!!

Occasionally, a squirrel or two is sitting on the lawn in sight of the glass door and happy to see me. Most aren’t that comfortable with me (which is a good thing) and will, instead, hover back on the fences or whatever, waiting to see if I’m going to put stuff in dishes. As I said, there’s a few who are quite bold/brave, but more on them later.

It’s hard to take an in-focus picture of a running squirrel….

17 Feb

Backyard squirrel #1

I don’t typically name backyard wild animals, because they’re not like cats or dogs where you become all cozy and cuddly with them - not to mention, it’s often hard to tell them apart - but some of the critters I do eventually tend to associate with a casual moniker. For instance, I think of this black squirrel as “ScarHead” or “ScarTop”, for obvious reasons.

I have no idea if he sustained his injury while fighting with other squirrels, or because he had some parasites or something, but it looked ugly. Initially it was even worse than in the top picture. I’ve read that squirrels can get fly larva parasites under their skin, which create big bumps. When the larva matures it burrows out, leaving an open sore spot. They don’t really hurt the squirrels, but I’m sure it’s irritating. Anyway, perhaps something like that happened to this fellow.

After a couple months, the injury was largely healed, and at this point I can barely tell it was there. By now, however, I can recognize him by other means - personality, certain color tones/spots on his head, etc.

16 Feb

Rainy days and squirrels

It’s been raining. And raining. Which is good, since we’re in the middle of a bad drought. The backyard squirrels still come to the sliding glass door between heavy downpours. I could talk all day about the squirrels in our yard … one day I’ll blog about it in depth. Maybe.

But in brief, after a couple months of patience, many will now quickly come when I call or when they hear the door slide open. There’s maybe 7 or 9 of them that visit either every day or every other day. I spoil them I suppose, and a few will take food from my hand now, but I’m also careful about making sure they stay wild. In other words, they do just fine if I skip giving them anything etc. :P

The squirrels eat a little of what I hand out - I’m very particular about what I give them, with a large variety of nuts and some fruit - but mostly they love to bury everything. Their favorite nuts to bury appears to be almonds (shelled or unshelled), unshelled walnuts, and unshelled peanuts, in that order. Some will watch and dig up what one squirrel buried, only to rebury it. Their “I must bury” obsession never seems to end. They’re very busy creatures that give me hours of amusement from just watching them through the windows.

I still put out birdseed, too. There’s at least 8 mourning doves and quite a few bluebirds that caw-caw-caw for their daily peanuts. Gazillions of pictures have been snapped…I think I’ll start posting some of them, now. May as well…what’s the point of taking a photo if you never share it?

18 Jun

What not to feed ground squirrels

ground squirrel eating a twinkie

I mean, c’mon…I know that twinkie-like cakes can be tasty treats for the human sweet tooth, but we can at least brush our teeth and go to the dentist. I’m not sure what surprised me more - seeing someone toss it to the squirrels, or see a squirrel actually eating it. It’s not exactly a nut or fruit, after all.

I may have posted this a long time ago, but if I did, that ancient blog entry is long gone, and since I was browsing old pics, here it is again. I believe this was on the Monterey coastline…semi-tame ground squirrels near the beach trail benches.

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