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25 Feb

Squirrel taking almonds

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This is that most friendly male squirrel, who apparently loves almonds more than chasing female squirrels. Actually, perhaps he’s not sexually mature yet. Don’t know. While his claws look sharp, I have yet to receive a single scratch from him or any of them. I wouldn’t generally advise anyone to finger-feed squirrels, because they can’t see directly in front of their nose very well. As you can see in the top pic, when they make a grab for it, they seem to gauge the distance then close their eyes during the actual lunge, so if you move during that micro-second you might get a nip. You’ll notice I hold the almond by the very end so there’s a bit of room for aim-error. I do the same thing w/peanuts. Everything else I toss on the ground at my feet. Occasionally if they seem too eager/hyper that day I won’t finger-feed at all.

Even with auto-focus, it’s difficult to hold a camera in one hand to get a good photo of the squirrel. Half the time the pictures come out blurry, haha.

25 Feb

Brave squirrel or wimpy cat?

… or maybe a bit of both? …

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Baby-kitty likes to sit in the sun, but the squirrels want their almonds. Lucky for the squirrels, Baby is a first-class wimp peace-lover. Don’t worry, the squirrels still run from all the other neighbor cats. Baby’s just special. I can leave the door open all day and Baby doesn’t go outside, too. Same with the bedrooms (he won’t step past their doorways). He’s well-trained.

19 Feb

Backyard squirrel #4

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This is the squirrel that was the first one to be brave enough to come close to me. I thought it was a female for a long time, but recently realized it was a male. I have a feeling it’s a fairly young male, which may account for his ability to be less scared of humans … less time to have had shoes tossed at him or something. He’s the one that will trot to the living room table to be hand-given an almond or walnut in a shell, as well as jump onto the shelf where I store the bags of nuts to try and rummage for them on his own. Very friendly, intelligent, and extremely gentle … he’ll wrap a paw around a finger while reaching for the nut with his mouth, and has yet to scratch/puncture me with his claws. At first he liked peanuts in the shell, but once I started buying almonds he fixated on those almost exclusively. If I hand him a peanut he’ll take it but then drop it on the floor and stare at me as if to say “What are you trying to pull by giving me that thing?”

If he’s close by and hears the door open, he’ll hop the fence and come running. And sometimes, if he’s on the fence and sees me walking around in the kitchen through the windows, he’ll come to the door to see if I’m in the mood to give him an almond. Which is really cute. It always makes me think of that old Mervyn’s store commercial, where the woman is standing by the window saying “Open, Open, Open.”

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That’s it for introducing the more in-your-face squirrels. From now on it’ll be general pictures of any squirrel I happen to acquire a cute photo of. Problem is, I have so many photos it’s hard to choose.

19 Feb

Backyard squirrel #3

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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

The cat that thinks it’s a bird

Yup, it’s a cat sitting in an abandoned bird (or squirrels, not sure) nest. Made me laugh. :)
Sorry it’s an overly poor quality pic - it was almost dark outside and I had to push the ISO to 1600 and brighten the image in a photo editor.

One of the houses next door to us is a rental, and the people living there has changed once already, since we bought our house. The new folk are quiet and thus tolerable (heh), and they are cat people, which makes them automatically cool. The only problem is they have at least 3 cats, and they’re all outdoor ones, which means I find a lot more cat-poop in the dirt/tanbark areas of our yard. Drives me crazy, and is one argument for indoor-only cats. At least (most) pet dogs can’t jump six foot fences to poo in prodigious quantities in neighbors yards….

Also, the cats (naturally) like to annoy the squirrels/birds, so I tend to shoo the cats out of our yard when I happen to see them. Not that these cats are much danger to the squirrels - they’re small cats, maybe 6-8 pounds, and we’ve seen the squirrels actually jump at the cats in a threatening manner and make the cats back off. But since I prefer the squirrels to neighbor kitties, I’d rather the kitties learn that our yard can’t be their playground -at least during the day.

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.

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