1. Hello, I'm a city squirrel Sue
I got this short name because I’m fast and nippy. Names such as Cleopatra or Eleanor are for a different kind of girls, though. I live in a city park, but most of my cousins live in a forest near the village. I often visit them in the summer, because it became terribly hot in the city. Since many big trees have been cut, there is no more deep shade, so I can’t go out for most of the day. I am seriously thinking of buying an air conditioner. And our park used to be the most beautiful in the summer. It was so vivid…
2. I adore the greenery of my park
Children used to play in the shade of the trees, old people used to relax on the benches and there used to be plenty of food, at least for us, squirrels. I don’t like the new look of the park at all, but what can I do. It’s still my home. Cousins invited me to come to them, but I couldn’t do that. I got used to people – to Mary, the ice cream seller, John, the guy who arranges beautiful roses and bushes, to couples in love, cheerful kids… But I have to admit that there are fewer and fewer people in the park, just like trees. There are no more children running through the grass and playing with a ball, no more couples lying on the grass. Unfortunately, some people took care of making so many concrete paths, lanes, walls and even completely concreted parts. I wish they haven’t done that. They didn’t have to make that much effort and spend all that money on us, squirrels. John is already doing a great job! And if shoes get a little dirty, it’s not the end of the world, right?
3. Oh, I'm so quick and nimble!
As I've already said, we are very quick and skilled. We jump so fast from one branch to another that people often don’t even notice us. We get a lot of help from our beautiful, lavish tail in keeping the balance. We spend most of our time on the trees, but we go down sometimes and run through the grass, past the John’s beautiful roses or walk the path which is sometimes very unpleasant for our gentle skin. Lawn is far more comfortable. Whenever we’re awake, we collect food and carry it to our storage, because we always want to be ready for the winter.
Of course, we have a quick snack along the way – hey, we have to be sure of what are we keeping for winter! We dry mushrooms and little pieces of fruit for days – especially strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. We also collect pinecones, hazelnuts, walnuts, acorns, dog roses, flowers, insects, snails, caterpillars, even carrions which makes us very useful. Maybe you won’t like this, but we collect bird eggs sometimes because they are very nutritious, usually in spring when we need a lots of energy with (and for) our babies.
I reluctantly confess that sometimes we bite tree bark a little, so it may happen that the tree gets dry :(. That’s why woodmen don’t like us, but we are doing that only when there is no food, as a result of droughts or long winters. Sometimes a year is really rough and there is very little food. But we, female squirrels, have the ability to put off our maternity for some better, happier days. 🙂
4. My social life
I don’t know what is your opinion on squirrels after this, but we are not really that bad. And we are pretty friendly. Many people love us and keep us as family members. Some call that ‘being a pet’ but I prefer ‘being a family member’. Actually, I don’t understand how someone can be a pet of a building, house, hen house… Where is the familiarity in that and where are the sincere feelings? With people who honestly love us, we live freely, on the tree in their garden, we come on their balcony to have a little talk and a quick snack. They even let us in the house to play with them, to jump from one shoulder to another while they are watching one of those soaps that make them breathless and motionless until the commercials, so they don’t miss a look of a main actor's face or a sigh of an actress. But they do not keep us in the cages, behind the bars. Well, who would like to be in prison?
5. I'm very popular
There are many species of squirrels, and all of us are adorable. Many authors wrote about us, such as Felix Saltena in his stories about Perri and her playmate Porro. They were published in 1938, and screened later in 1957. Those who are adults now must have watched the movie or read about this cute squirrel. That's a wonderful way of discovering the world and the squirrels! We were favorite models for many painters and photographers, such as Holger Bücker, the man I was posing to. Am I a great actress or a model? Do I have a face that camera simply loves?
Oh, thank you for thinking I’m cute! But would you love me if I told you that I’m a rodent, just like a mouse, rat, beaver, porcupine, hamster, rabbit, porpoise, capybara, marmot…? In my opinion, we should be thankful to people who presented us in the best way by giving us good features in books, movies and TV commercials. That makes people like us. Do you like rats? Or do they freak you out?
6. My teeth are always busy, always nibbling on something
The things that connect us with other rodents are our teeth. I know that many people would envy us for having teeth that constantly grow and for regeneration of our four front teeth, or just because people don’t really like going to the dentist. But it’s better that way, believe me. Just imagine how much food you would have to eat to keep the appropriate teeth length. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able close your mouth! 🙁 And then you should spend many hours in the gym – you would have to burn all those calories! In that case, the Olympics would be pointless – everyone would be fit!
7. We're pretty and diverse species
As I said before, there are many species of squirrels. We live everywhere, except in Australia and Madagascar (because Madagascar is occupied by penguins). There are red, ordinary squirrels, like me, there are grey, southern flying, Siberian, Canadian squirrels and many others. We are not all of the same species, but all of us are rodents. Even degu is wrongly named a Chilean squirrel. Although he is a charming rodent, he is not a squirrel! But that is not the only time people made mistakes due to the rush or ignorance. Mistakes happen, but you’re lucky to have me, the cheerful Sue to keep you informed! 🙂
8. Don't you want to be my friend?
As people live on different sides of the world, so do we and we differ from each other in fur color, size, adorable wisps on our ears, our diet and possible predators. Differences exist, but we are similar in most cases. The predators of which we suffer the most are martens, wild cats, weasels, red foxes (of course there are exceptions, like nice and cute fox Lilly), dogs, cats, owls, hawks… But there are always those who want to be our friends and who are huge fans of our Facebook page Animal’s Look. Anyway, we hide in the tree crowns from those who are dangerous.
9. Coziest home is my home
Probably the most important thing is that squirrels can’t catch rabies, so we can’t infect anyone, even those foxes that are not Animal’s Look's fans! I think that it’s an important fact because health and hygiene should be in the first place. That’s why it’s important to be careful when choosing your company, to keep your house clean, to be careful with preparing your food…My house is very neat. It’s located in the old oak cavity, right next to Mary’s ice cream. My oak is making her a shade!
Neighbour Moe has a house in the pine tree cavity, Pete lives in the fir, and the Smiths' magnificent cavity is in the elm tree. Actually I have just a comfortable bed in my house. Oh, it’s so cozy, you’d surely like it! Mattress is not even close to one I have! If only you could lay down on my comfy bed made of moss, dried grass, feathers, branches and leaves, your sleeping problems would be over! All the tension and stress would disappear, and you would feel rested!
10. I'm a little gatherer and my stashes are ready
As for food, I have a couple of storages. I fill them with healthy food from early spring to late autumn. I get up early in the morning, I collect and eat, I rest on my cozy bed in the afternoon, because I don’t really like heat, and I go out in the evening and collect and eat again. I can do everything very fast because I have five very motile fingers on both hands, just like you. I am really curious, I like peeking everywhere, so I find many beautiful things. But I need to know how to store that food so it doesn’t go bad. That’s my thing! With no refrigerator and freezer – what an energy and money saving! 🙂
11. Beautiful but endangered
Unfortunately, many of us don't live to celebrate our the first birthday, because of freezing winters. And when the next winter comes, so many squirrels suffer again. We have many problems because of people’s carelessness, too – they destroy our natural habitat by lumbering, so we become homeless and foodless. They often kill us because of our beautiful fur, but we suffer because of reckless settlement of Grey North American squirrel in Europe. My friend Sam says that he was happy in beautiful Central Park on Manhattan, and he doesn’t understand why people moved him to the Hyde Park in London.
That makes him very sad because his friends are left there, and he can’t make friends here, because London squirrels say that they are endangered because of newcomers who eat their nuts and transmit Squirrel parapoxvirus, a dangerous virus, fatal for red squirrels (such as myself) in Europe. Well, now you know it – making friends on Facebook isn’t that bad, right? In that case, the computer is the only one that can catch a virus. 🙂
11. Until next time!
There, that was a short story about me and my squirrels. I hope you liked it. We have very good senses – our sight and hearing are good and we can snuff anything, even whether someone likes us or not. So if you want, you can write to me and send photos of your family members (or pets) on our fun page Animal’s look, but if you don’t feel like typing or you don’t know how to start a letter, or if you still don’t have a new family member, it’s fine – I will feel your love! Until the next time, I’m sending you hugs and kisses. High five!
Love, your loyal squirrel friend Sue
Photographer: Holger Bücker
(fan of our Facebook page Animal's Look)