Monthly Archives: August 2012

Do Squirrels need to carry photo id?

Squirrels at the birdseed

Here at the edge of the wood we notice individuals seem to recognize each other. The shy ones know the bold ones and seem to steer clear. The social ones belly up to the feeder together. The very cautious ones skip along the perimeter, and sniff the camera with interest. It turns out squirrels can identify each other through five distinct body scents. According to the research of Dr. Jill M. Mateo new scents get more attention than old. So to answer the question, no squirrels do not need photo id to participate in their society.

What do squirrels do with those tails?

Squirrel sniffing impatienceHere at the feeder we notice many lovely tails. What do the squirrels use such long tails for? Research has indicated the longer the tail the more airborne feats of daring, thus flying squirrels have the longest and ground squirrels the shortest. We see the tail as an emotional barometer. Fear means a tail compact to the body, flight means a tail extended and ready for action. The displeasure tail is one that whips quickly from side to side, often accomplanied by a stare that could kill. But a happy tail is upright and fluffy like a flag waving gently in the breeze. Here we have a squirrel using superior tail balance to swoop down and sniff the impatiens.

If you were a bird would you mind being called a cat?

Catbird and squirrel among the vibrum

Here at the feeder the gray catbirds are most curious about us humans. They will perch closely, make eye contact and mew until the seed appears. They are sassy birds that have the gift of imitation like their cousins the mockingbird, and a song box capable of singing two notes at once. The squirrels are intrigued by this, maybe even a little jealous. Here are two neighbors sharing the feeder among the small yellow camille flowers, the snowball viburnum and the red blooming azaleas.

What is it about the Peanut?

Squirrel, Elephant, Peanut

What is it about the peanut that has charmed so many species? Here at the edge of the wood there is always a great happy commotion when a fresh batch of roasted peanuts arrive. The peanut is helping to revolutionize treatment for malnutrition across the globe, especially among children. Do elephants love peanuts? Not really, it’s just an old circus myth. Elephants would much rather be at The Elephant Sanctuary eating hay and fruit than any circus any day. Here we see one of the smallest members of the squirrel family, the chipmunk, showing us how to get it done. The next time you are at the grocery store and the clerk asks you, “Paper or Plastic?” turn down both down and make like a chipmunk.