I know you think I made a spelling boo-boo, but I did not. Today’s post is a tale about tails on the trail, and no, it’s not a sequel to the post about “Stubby” that hapless squirrel who’s missing half his furry tail.
But first, let’s back up a bit. It was truly a glorious morning, coolish temps in the 60s and low humidity and a sheer pleasure to be out and about. I’m savoring these few cooler days as heat and humidity return the end of the week and then it is a stormy weekend.
I’m happy to report that my furry pals, a/k/a the squirrels, are slowly returning to the Park’s perimeter path again. A fellow walker, (who, like me, always carries a Ziploc bag of peanuts on his hip), had a suggestion in response to my query “have squirrels been begging for peanuts from you?” He said “no, not really” but, when I said I worried that the squirrels were fearful of the predator birds circling overhead, he suggested they were likely getting their food source from pinecones and the berry bushes scattered around Council Point Park.
While some of my old-time furry friends are coming around once again, I’m dismayed that I’ve yet to see Parker, my favorite Park squirrel. I hope it is just that he’s relocated to a nearby neighborhood, or he’s just not roaming around at ground level the same time that I am there. The other squirrels don’t dog me for peanuts by climbing up onto my shoe or trying to scale my leg – nope, Parker is rather unique in that respect.
Here’s Parker’s picture – if you see him, tell him I’m looking for him.
And, then there are the youngsters, those young squirrels that I refer to as the “new kids on the block” – it’s not that these young squirrels have an attitude, but instead, they don’t associate me as a benefactor, a kindly soul who can tender peanuts to them. They don’t understand that concept yet and they are very skittish. If they are sniffing around on the perimeter path and I arrive, they run the other way. They don’t recognize me and instead, scramble off the trail to hightail it up the nearest tree ….
… or into a hidey hole where I can’t find them (or so they think).
If I toss out peanuts, they don’t even sniff them, but walk right on by. Clearly they’ve failed “Acting Squirrelly 101” and, as much as I’d like to interact with them, I refuse to crack a peanut in my teeth and nibble on that redskin morsel to demonstrate to these young rascals how to enjoy a peanut.
Fox squirrels have litters twice a year, in March and July. The March litter are helpless, dependent on their parents for nourishment, until approximately 3½ months old. So this slew of youngsters are from the March litter and on their own basically.
So, how do I know them from their parents? Why, by their tails … their bodies are very slender and their tails are long and skinny and they don’t flick those tails very much.
This morning I saw only the youngsters and they ran the other way when I sprinkled out a half-dozen peanuts onto the pathway. Other walkers, who came upon me muttering “one day you’ll learn” as I walked away, told me I’d lost my touch. Maybe so, or they are playing hard to get.