Jenny and I spoke several weeks ago about how familiar I was growing with the individual animals who regularly grace me with their presence. Whether discussing raccoons or opossums or cats or armadillos or squirrels or whatever, the more I watch the various creatures that come through these parts, the more I am able to recognize them based on both physical and non-physical traits. I’ve been amazed, in fact, by the diversity of personalities I see.
There are those who care very little about my presence, those who distrust me completely but tolerate my presence so long as there’s food, and even those who totally freak out and can’t stand to be around me (I try not to take it personally). There are those who ask me for food, those who have no clue where it comes from even if they’re standing right there when I put it out, and those who are sure I’m trying to poison them with the edible trinkets. I could go on.
Whether it’s the newly discovered five-baby nursery of raccoons small enough to walk through the fence without effort or any number of their older and bigger cousins, or it’s the various baby and adult opossums coming through, or it’s the really big nine-banded armadillo who marches uncaringly through the world as though he owns everything, or some other part of the wildlife menagerie that is now so common here, I day by day grow more capable of recognizing the individuals and predicting successfully what to expect from them. It’s more than entertaining; it’s amazing.
I said all of that to introduce this little guy. He’s one of the many squirrels I’ve induced to visit me regularly. There are some of these “tree rats” who know I feed them and come to the fence and practically beg for something to eat. In fact, at least one of them has taken almonds directly out of my hand. There are others who will move away to a safe distance while I put treats on the ground. There are even some who totally freak out and run like idiots to whatever cover they can find. This video is of one that fits in the last group.
I can’t say I’ve recognized this squirrel’s gender. Some are obvious. Some are less obvious. Some, like this one, make it pretty much impossible to distinguish their gender since they always keep me at an angle that makes identification impossible. Despite not knowing which way it swings, I do know it sees me as a major threat. It reacts to my presence the same way all squirrels react to a cat or other predator. It’s amusing; the little bastard runs to the tree and begins barking at me as a warning that it sees me, isn’t fooled into a false sense of security, and is willing to warn its brethren. I, of course, am to be petrified by this display. All the barking and other squirrel noises, all the tail waving, and all the running up and down the tree to make certain I realize his advantage, and you can no doubt tell how absolutely terrified I must be. And sometimes he does this because he sees me through the window.
As I said, “I’m SOOOOO scared.”
Do let me in advance apologize for the quality of the sound. I did not realize until after I recorded this that I was holding the camera with one of my fingers over the microphone. Oh well. Just turn it up a bit to hear the little rebel as he tells me how it is.
[eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger)
; I repeat myself: the WMV sucks in both video and audio quality; oh well]