Thursday, June 05, 2008

Smart Squirrel, Dumb Squirrel, Lucky Squirrel

Last fall, we had the most amazing mast fall I have ever seen. The ground was fairly covered in acorns underneath the many, many oaks of PFHQ.

It was alot like walking on marbles.

All this extra nutrition seems to have boosted the reproductive success of the PF squirrels. Every oak seems to have two or three chasing each other around ... which would be fine with me if they would stay there and not stage commando raids on my garden and blueberries.

I don't eat squirrel, or I would have a very simple remedy for this problem.

Here's a squirrel (AKA garden destroying tree rats) with good DNA. He's choosing to drink from a shallow dish, which even though it's technically cardinal bath water, is shallow enough that a careless slip will not cause him to drown.

In the grand scheme of things, he stands a good chance of not drowning in a drinking accident, thus increasing the odds that his clever genes will go forward.

Not so the squirrel in the picture below ...

This squirrel ignored the nice shallow bowl and chose to drink from the 40 gallon outside aquarium that is sheltering my frogsbit plants and duckweed while my pond water is on vacation somewhere in the troposphere.

This old aquarium is like a FEMA trailer for minnows, plants, tadpoles, and crawfish that had to evacuate the pond as it dried up. Everybody in it is waiting for summer's tropical rains to refill the pond.

Apparently the green water in it is pretty tasty to squirrels as more than one has met his doom in it.

I was walking by the tank a few days ago and could hear movement in it that could not be made by minnow or crawfish.
I peered in and sure enough, a tired squirrel was swimming around among the duckweed and frogsbit.
I looked around for something suitably long enough to fish him out.

If you've never been bitten by a squirrel, let me tell you it hurts and their long incisors will meet as they pass through your hand. (We had a pet squirrel when I was a kid)

One of my D-frame dip nets was nearby so I slipped it under the little tree rat and lifted him up and out of the aquarium.

He sniffed, snorted, and immediately ran up the nearby cabbage palm tree where he proceeded to bless me out in squirrel profanity.

There's never an owl around when you need one.


lej619 said...

You have a good sole FC!! and he might not of been blessing you out,he might of been blessing you for saving his little life!? maybe he'll think twice before going to the garden and eating the free food.

I think some animals remember the kindness of there human friends. I have gotten a number of cats/dogs from the pound and they seem much more greatful then those that don't come from there. So
this little guy might remeber you the next time he thinks of going to the garden for that free buffet you so nicely put out.

My son brought home a baby tree rat and we raised it and let it go in the back yard and he would come up to the back door asking for food. he's was really cute.

Anonymous said...

Gee whiz, you'd think a little appreciation would be in order.

Anonymous said...

I just read my comment and need to clarify --- appreciation FROM THE SQUIRREL.

I didn't mean to sound like YOU were the rude one. It was the squirrel.

Sorry about that.

Mark said...

Ingrate! But I couldn't have let the little rat drown either. Sounds like you need a squirrel ladder in the the aquarium.

robin andrea said...

Nice save, fc, and you do have a very good heart. A squirrel ladder sounds like a great idea.

Susan said...

Hi, FC. Have you noticed that though you post to your blog very early each morning, it's not viewable until hours later? I think this is a new occurrence. Hmmmmm.

Thanks for saving the tree rat. You will reap something good in return.

Anonymous said...

You have been on a real run lately, what with the little tortoise, minnows, squirrel. I think the little feller was probably giving himself a good talking to telling himself he'll never be so stupid as to do that again!

Anonymous said...

An air force Base in California was decomissioned years ago and is now thick with residential units. On one side is an extensive levee. The goal to dredge in water and landfill to create a wetlands. Unfortunately, the squirrels burrow in and out of the rocks and soil enough that it has weakened the levee, prompting the whole thing to proceed at a little different pace.
Despite such "influence" I am still a great fan of the critters.

Deb said...

For some reason, my place here is relatively squirrel-free. Once in a while I'll see a red squirrel, but a gray squirrel is a rarity.

I'm just lucky, I guess.

SwampAngel65 said...

I'm surprised at you, FC...not eating squirrel! I'll confess that I don't think I could ever eat it, but my sister LOVES it. I mean, she says it's her favorite meal EVER! She supposedly makes a killer squirrel stew. Seriously!

You want the recipe? ;)

Anonymous said...

Squirrels are going to force the Wife and I to build full-on hoop houses instead of simple raised beds for vegetables. Everything around here has to be squirrel proofed. I hate them.

I've eaten squirrel once, and it really was good. My Dad and his parents were no strangers to it, to be sure, but I tried it in New Orleans when I lived there.

Krina said...


I saw your blog and I thought you might be interested in some information about organic farming and living.

The Rodale Institute(, a leader in organic living and thinking, is reaching out to community members to provide them with research and information.

Please go to or e-mail me back at if you want more info!

Jacki said...

The world seems to be divided into squirrel-haters and squirrel-lovers. You can guess where my allegiances lie, since my garden is beneath a screened-in porch :)

pablo said...

Cracker compassion?

edifice rex said...

I was bitten (mauled) by a squirrel once also. Very painful; you're correct about that. A childhood friend had one as a pet. I still have the scars. I don't have much compassion for them but still do feel bad to see one run over or something.

Miz S said...

The poor little guy! He was probably complaining because you stopped to take a picture before you fished him out.

Jacki said...

Your wildlife pictures have inspired a few of my own! :) I'd love to have to help ID-ing the little guy if you don't mind!

Paintsmh said...

I am fairly certain my brother has mentioned something about liking squirrel... would you like me to ship him down?

Suze said...

I love the little critters, but that is because wildlife is so scarce here in Concrete South Florida. I'm very grateful for the squirrels - they add some ambiance to my backyard. I willingly feed them all the time - and hope more come. You can send me some of yours, but they would be VERY homesick for your beautiful area of Florida as opposed to this area.

SophieMae said...

Drat! Remind me not to open two comment boxes at once.

I have to agree with DS on the squirrel issue. The only good one... Whenever we see a flattened RK'ed one, he mutters, 'good squirrel'.

Your bird pics yesterday! As I watched the SWKI load, I couldn't contain an audible gasp of pleasure. GREAT job! I haven't seen quite as many this year - so HOT out there - but I'm still hoping to catch another shot at a young'un screaming FEED ME!

Doug Taron said...

I don't have many problems with squirrels, even though both gray and fox squirrel are abundant around these parts. Just don't get me started about rabbits.

Floridacracker said...

Trying to make up for my past.
Our childhood pet squirrel lived 15 years in a huge outdoor pen.

It never occurred to me that you meant me.
I assume the best.

But then they would survive.

Perhaps a hypocritical heart. I can't stand by and watch, but I don't mourn long when I find a dead one in my tanks.
One less marauder.

I set the time back after Blogger introduced scheduled posting. For awhile, it seemed to be operating on Blogger time, not mine.
I get immediate publishing, but the time is false.
Today's post was very late due to life.

It sure sounded like he was ticked off to me.

If you like them, send a SASHT (Self addressed stamped havahart trap) and I will mail you a few.

The family I grew up next to were rabid squirrel hunters and would actually eat the brains.
Totally turned me off to eating the little buggers.

I'll email a response and strategy.

I've been a fan of the Rodale Institute since 1979.
Good stuff.

I think it's a red shouldered hawk.

Not as much as you might expect.

My parents love em and feed them peanuts and corn.
I like them in the oaks,but not in my blueberries,corn, etc.
We share squirrel scars.

Miz S,
That camera is always with me... except for today when I saw a swallowtail kite dipping into a pond for a drink.

I hear he's a pretty good shot.

Look for the UPS guy soon.
That's United Pestysquirrel Service. I'm shipping you a couple dozen.

Your tree shots were very good as I recall. I see mine so often, they must be nesting nearby.
Wonderful birds for sure.

Floridacracker said...

Fox squirrel envy dude.
We have some, but they are a rare sight.

cedrorum said...

We had some of those tree rats on the entrance road to the park I worked at. These guys liked to see if they could run under the tires on our car on our way to our cabin.

Floridacracker said...

I love it when they do the indecisive zigzag in the middle of the road.

Anonymous said...

But they're so cute!

But thank you for saving that one. I appreciate it, even if he doesn't. Or doesn't seem to.

Floridacracker said...

I know darn it!
That cute factor is so powerful.