Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Who Let the Squirrels Out?

It started with birding, but quickly morphed into photos of any and all wildlife within the perimeter of our property.  The variety is actually quite astounding!  Wes used his telephoto lens to capture action shots of birds, bugs, cats, and plants through the Spring and Summer months.  Our favorite animals to observe were definitely the squirrels, though.  They are so cute, agile, and quirky.  There's nothing like seeing one hop from tree branch to roof like a superhero, observing a hungry pregnant squirrel going at a freshly picked orange, or enjoying the sight of young squirrels (quite possibly her pups) playing raucously early in the morning.  Wes insisted on making rainbow colored ladders for the squirrels to play on using scrap wood in the garage, which I thought was sort of ridiculous.  We made them anyway and they look cute, whether the squirrels actually make use of them or not.  On the hot days, Wes would turn on the sprinklers to spritz the grass and make it cooler for them, since we noticed that they like to lie in the grass to cool off.  For fun, we would leave oranges around to see if they would take them.  The squirrels provided a daily perk to look forward to and their surprising behaviors never ceased to amaze us.  Sometimes, it just comes down to noticing the simple things in times like this.  If we weren't home so much, we may never have known of this circle of life occurring right in our yard. 

In April, we were laughing at this one squirrel that kept stealing bites of our oranges.  It just seemed to quirky, and it also was a good indication to us that the oranges were ripe and sweet enough to eat.

We later noticed that this one squirrel had nipples (if you zoom in, you can see them!), which means that she was either pregnant or nursing!  Maybe we shouldn't have given her so much shit for eating the oranges.

For a pregnant lady, she was very nimble.  Goals.

See her nipple?

One day in May or June, four smaller-sized squirrels emerged and made it a habit to play in the trees almost every day, early in the morning.  Sometimes they were so loud that you could hear them through the window!  We figured that they were siblings, based on some research.  And if that is the case... these may just be the babies that the mom squirrel had!

We noticed that they climbed with less agility and seemed to hesitate before making big jumps, but they were so interesting to observe because it was like you could see their motor planning at work.  They would pause, move a little, pause again, run in circles, and then take a leap.  I guess they were the epitome of "squirrelly."

These babies were daredevils.  We saw them follow each other, one after the next, all the way up this fifty-foot palm tree.  It was crazy!  Then, they had to turn around and come back down, facing the ground.  We held our breaths as each of them made its way safely back to the lower trees, but it was definitely a long process.  It was awesome to see them try this out and test their limits.

Wes noticed that the squirrels had only one tree that they used to get down into our yard to reach the grass, so he wanted to make some new routes for them.  He cut down some scrap wood and I painted them the colors of the rainbow--they looked super cute.  Not sure if the squirrels would use them though.

And so they will grow and move on, maybe have kids of their own and raise them on fresh oranges and wood pieces... we'll see what next season brings!

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