Due to the odd nature of the squirrel in my back yard, Iâ€™ve done a little research on the critters. I think Iâ€™ve found the explanation of its strange behavior:
After about 30 years of maturing, adult female squirrels return to the ground to nest, usually on the same lawn upon which they were birthed. All squirrels generally employ the same methods when making a nest. A mature nesting female hauls herself onto the lawn until she finds suitable soil on which to create a nest. After the location is found, the female then starts filling the nest one by one until it has deposited around 150 to 200 young. The whole process takes around thirty minutes to a little over an hour. After the nest is laid, the female then returns to the trees.
When the young awaken, these baby squirrels open their near-blind eyes and seek the trees. Only a very small proportion of them (usually .001%) will be successful, as many predators (including crows and feral chipmunks) wait to eat the steady stream of new born squirrels.
Apparently I interrupted an important event, forcing mother squirrel to return to the trees, find a new place to birth, and plot some untimely mutilation to my person. (As a side note, what, really, would be a â€˜timelyâ€™ mutilation to my person. Poor choice of words there, Rog.)
My research also dug up some other little know facts about squirrels. Indulge, along with me, this odd little obsession I have wandered into recently:
Squirrels belong to the order “Rodentia” which comprises forty percent of all present day mammal species, including filthy mobsters.
A baby squirrel weighs approximately one ounce at birth, and is about one inch long. They do not have hair or teeth, and are virtually blind for the first six to eight weeks.
Both male and female squirrels have beards, tails, and long black horns, 15-28 cm in length, which contain yearly growth rings. The squirrelâ€™s feet are well-suited for climbing steep, rocky slopes, sometimes with pitches of 60 degrees or more, with inner pads that provide traction and cloven hooves that can spread apart as needed. This adaptation led to squirrels eventually overcrowding the Peruvian alpaca in its natural environment. To keep from becoming extinct, the alpaca moved to lowlands in order to become domesticated. Squirrels eventually moved to North America in search of a more challenging climate.
During winter storms, or severe cold, the squirrel may not leave the nest for days. But, the tree squirrel does not hibernate. Instead it throws morally indecent parties; also known as â€˜ravesâ€™. An adult squirrel normally lives alone. But will, in severe cold, share its nest with other squirrels to conserve body heat. Once the temperature rises, the guests will be on their way.
Females can be very competitive and protective of their space and food sources. They will fight with one another in cage matches perpetrated outside of human territory. In these battles, squirrels will circle each other with their heads lowered, showing off their horns. These conflicts can occasionally lead to injury or even death, after which everyone else goes out for dessert.
Squirrels eyes are located high, and on each side of their head. This allows them a wide field of vision without turning their head, but makes for hours of frustration when buying spectacles.
In lower regions squirrels also use their fighting abilities to protect themselves and their offspring from predators, such as wolves, wolverines, cougars, lynx, and bears. Females must also defend their young from golden eagles. In the Stone Age, the prehistoric squirrel was known to slap around a wooly mammoth or two just for looking at it funny.
If a squirrel has taken up residence in your attic or crawl space, the only practical way to remove them is by trapping. A shotgun is more impractical, but a whole lot more fun.
When a squirrel senses danger, its first instinct is to stand motionless. If on the ground it will race to the closest tree, or other climbable object to escape. If it is in a tree, it will circle the trunk with its body pressed tightly to the bark. This is your last warning before it launches itself at you and smacks you around like a redheaded stepchild.
The squirrel’s erratic path while crossing a street is an attempt to confuse the oncoming vehicle… thereby causing it to change direction. This is obliviously the squirrels biggest, and often last mistake.