Friday squirrel report

I have discovered that the last litter of squirrels includes three offspring, whose genders remain indeterminate. But they’re all feeding voraciously: I can hardly put out enough seeds to keep them from eating more. And they’ve learned how to open the seeds more quickly, as well as to appreciate peanuts and corn (which they previously eschewed).

They also interact in strange ways when they’re together. This video, taken yesterday, shows both nomming and interacting. I can’t figure out whether they’re playing, being affectionate, or even feeling the first stirrings of amour.

This one is now fond of both acorns and dried corn (they eat only the inside of the corn).

Acorn

It’s especially cute when they drink from their bowl, almost like little cats:

Water

Another catlike behavior they’re evincing is getting my attention by running up and down the screen in my office, which makes a horrible racket.  Two of them will do this at once when I’m trying to work, and I see no other reason for it than to get my attention—much like a cat knocking stuff off the bedside table when it wants its early morning noms.

Here’s what they do:

On screen

After a while I have to go feed them in the lab, and, of course, they’re waiting for me on the windowsill.

They have faith in me, just as religious people have faith that God will provide.  Professor Ceiling cat is their deity!

36 Comments

  1. Nick
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    What was once eschewed is now S-chewed, where S = squirrel. Sorry…

  2. Steve Barnes
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Lovely work with the video camera, I must say.

  3. Paul S
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    The difference is that you do exist and you do provide noms.

  4. Posted October 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m cool with you being a squirrel god, so long as you don’t symbolically sacrifice yourself to your “altar” ego in order to absolve the squirrels of crimes that you yourself tricked them into committing.

    b&

    • daveau
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I cannot get the picture of JAC as a squirrel god out of my head. Too funny!

      • Posted October 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        At least he’s one of those providential squirrel gods, and not the jealous retributive type….

        b&

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          A kind god that won’t smite the squirrels.

          • Posted October 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Indeed, Jerry is the one that’s been smitten….

            b&

            • Diane G.
              Posted October 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

              Good one! :)

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted October 26, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

            Even if the Worshipful Lord of the Squirrels, Professor Ceiling Cat (*) were to take it in mind to do some smiting of the squirrels, do you think that he’d actually be able to catch the little blighters? I not that the Lord of the Squirrels is only claiming to provide provisions, and not omnipotence.
            (*) It’s starting to sound like an introduction at a “black tie” dinner. Perhaps there should be a “Host to Botflies” and “Tempter of Drosophila” in there too.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen juvenile chipmunks behave this way as well. My guess is they are still immature enough that they play with each other but they are getting closer to the stage where they will become territorial & drive one another away.

    I think the rattling behaviour is pretty cute – they’ve clearly been conditioned (or you have). :)

  6. Kevin
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Pero El Gato Professor Del Techo es verdad. El dio de le gente, no.

  7. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    “I have discovered that the last litter of squirrels includes three offspring,”.

    Now I understand why biologists mark their specimens. Counting squirrels must be like herding cats!

    “getting my attention by running up and down the screen”.

    That’s the nom of the game.

  8. Posted October 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Rodentia!

    I dislike rodentia. Squirrels in my yard add nothing…except damage to potted plants. People give them walnuts, which they cannot open, so they dig holes, attempting to bury them.

    Destructive, destructive, destructive. And they attempt to piss on you from on high.

    Happily, I am not alone:
    http://deadsquirrel.com/

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Of course they attempt to piss on you, what with that attitude and all.

      I love my chipmunks – so much that I suspect the little sneaks are getting into the open air intake of my car and dragging in leaves into the vents to make a nest. I just spent $64 getting it cleaned out but I still won’t kill them – it’s not their fault someone engineered the intake not to have a guard on it.

      • jesse
        Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I have had chipmunks chew wires in my car. Mice too. I find gobs of hickory nuts on the engine, under the hood, etc. They have chewed the insulation on the underside of the car hood to shreds. Worst case was finding they had chewed my fuel line at the gas tank. To put in a $40 part it cost another $375 for the tow and dropping the gas tank which is labor intensive. The car alarm wires have been chewed also so now the alarm goes off at weird times, and it would cost hundreds to get it fixed (or not).
        They sure are cute but oh those little teeth.

        I took a squirrel to town five miles once, under my hood, without knowing. All I could hear was the squirrel making noise even at 60mph but didn’t make the connection until I pulled into the grocery lot and opened my hood. Out jumped gray squirrel.

        • jesse
          Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          I should add that the total car repairs over 19 yrs. due to rodent damage is over a thousand U.S. dollars.

          • jesse
            Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            I should also add that when you only have one car and are 50 mi. from the nearest car repair shop, rodent damage is no small thing.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Wow! Right now I’m trying to research where the stupid air & ventilation intakes are in my car so I can block them when I store it and also so I can figure out some way to fashion a guard at least on the air intake. I’ve put the air on recirculate for when it’s parked for now to prevent them getting into some areas.

            • jesse
              Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

              They can get in thru various places. 1/4″ is all a mouse needs to get in. I had one nesting in the body of my car, apparently freely going in and out.
              Also, with mice, they make a urine trail and it’s a signal to other mice, so once they get into a place, other mice will come later, maybe months later.
              They also get in lawn mowers twice a year, stuff them with dry grasses and it takes a long time to take apart the mower and clean it out… or else you get a fire.
              I forgot to mention that the car wires for opening the sliding side doors have also been chewed and they do not quite work right either.
              I lived in the city/suburbs for 35 yrs. and never thought I could kill anything.
              19 yrs. in the country with five mice a day getting into your house during some seasons teaches you a new outlook. A quick kill (sorry, it’s never a nice word) in a mousetrap and then being placed outside for the roaming neighbor’s cat or for one of the ten racoons that come by each nite is no worse than being caught by an owl or any of the many other animals that eat rodents. They are not an endangered species. I do not of course condone suffering or getting joy from it.
              Also, when you live in heavy lyme disease country, lots of mice in your house is not acceptable. Lyme disease ruined my joints permanently, cost me several thousand dollars in medicines. The deer tick is so incredibly small it’s easy to miss.

            • jesse
              Posted October 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

              Also, BTW if you would like a good laugh read Gwen’s article from earlier this wk. regarding spider recall for Toyotas. It’s a hoot.
              http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/10/happy-arachtober-there-are-spiders-in-your-car/

              I got bit once by a yellow sac spider when I sat down on my toilet. No kidding. As an animal lover and learned biologist with entomology training I swore spiders would never bite anyone, but lo and behold, if you sit on their legs and trap them they ARE going to bite! : ) Not too painful but a pretty good 5″ itchy welt on the back of my thigh for a few days.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

                Yes I read the spiders in the car thing. I just checked my car & I’m sure it’s a mouse being a pest, not the chipmunks as they won’t be able to fit in the air intakes.

                Here is a scary spider toilet video! Eeep! If I saw all those spiders there though, I’d go outside!

              • jesse
                Posted October 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

                Spider video — too funny. Thanks.

    • Posted October 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Well, o2generate, you have proved definitively that you not only NOT a gentleman and a scholar, but in fact bear a strong resemblance to an incontinent puppy.

      After seeing you micturating on my rug, I have no choice but to compel you to go outside this website when nature calls.

  9. Jim Thomerson
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I have, at the moment, no pets, nor do I have a bird feeder. I grew up on a ranch, and understand that if you feed an animal, it owns you, and you are enslaved to feed it on schedule. I have some pot plants, and having to water them periodically is about all the enslavement I can stand.

    • Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      That’s an…interestingly ambiguous description of your vegetable tenants.

      Are they marijuana plants, or are they merely plants that you keep in pots?

      I ask because the term, “pot plant,” usually refers to marijuana, but not many people come out and say that they grow them. “Potted plant,” on the other hand, usually refers to a plant growing in a pot.

      b&

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Funny I didn’t think the mary jane reference. Maybe because of the lack of enthusiasm for the plants.

        • Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          I don’t have any, either; it’s just that the only time I’ve heard that particular phrase is in reference to marijuana, generally on the news when describing a raid.

          b&

        • Diane G.
          Posted October 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Funny, I didn’t think of anything else.

      • js
        Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        In Australian English the common term for any plant in a pot is ‘pot plant’.
        Pot also means marijuana but the connection is not usually made.
        I can’t think what the term wold be for ‘pot’ in a pot though.

        There is a town near me called Nimbin.
        The last time I was there, four people on the main street asked me if I wanted some pot.
        Every year they have a festival called ‘Mardigrass’ which celebrates everything related to marijuana.
        They even have a joint rolling competition.
        The police generally turn a blind eye to the whole thing.
        Not sure why.

        • Posted October 26, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

          Thanks for the explanation. I suspected as much.

          …and, if you visit the States, unless you’re in Colorado or Washington or maybe parts of California, you would be especially wise to be aware of the American meaning of the phrase. And even in those states that have legalized marijuana, you’d still probably cause confusion, though at least you wouldn’t wind up getting kidnapped by uniformed burly armed men.

          Cheers,

          b&

  10. Marella
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow those little guys have enormous floofy tails! What on earth do they need a tail like that for?

    • cornbread_r2
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      My guess would be: 1) for balance (like a rudder) when scrabbling among tree branches and 2) for warmth.

      • js
        Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        I was also wondering why the fluffy tails.
        I thought perhaps predators would attack them instead of the body.

  11. Diane G.
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I love the way the little guy briefly looks at you (JAC) in the vid!

  12. rainbowwarriorlizzie
    Posted October 26, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on THE ORNITHOLGOLICAL STUDY OF BIRDS & THEIR HABITAT.


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