I spent this weekend, from Passover to this evening, at the home of some close friends of mine in the country. Among the more interesting aspects of country life is dealing with animals. Sometime one deals with them from afar, such as when one looks out to see the birds happily eating at the bird feeder, drinking more sugar water than even I have been known to do, or seeing deer or other larger animals like that, again from the safety of being inside looking out on creation. At times, though, creation comes to you. Most of the time this happens, at least where I was, it is because of some cat who lets small creatures out to play with and then doesn’t always manage to catch again.
So it was today with a baby squirrel. We first figured the baby squirrel was in the house because there were some sunflower seeds, presumably taken from the bird food, that were scattered on top of my computer bag, and it made no sense for the cat to be eating that for food given its more refined diet. At any rate, once we surmised that there was a small rodent of some kind inside the house, it remained to locate the squirrel and try to get it outside. That is when today’s great squirrel games commenced and it lasted a lot longer than it should have.
Why was this? For one, squirrels are not particularly bright animals. This squirrel was smart enough to be able to evade the cat who chased it for a long while all over the downstairs portion of the house, including where I happened to sit next to the fireplace by the window, where the squirrel even ran over me a couple of times (and thankfully did not bite either time). Unfortunately, the squirrel repeated avoided running outside open doors, to the point where it would run under an open door and stay inside and refuse to go out into safety in the great wide open. And no one knows why, except for maybe the squirrel.
It is possible to think of various motives as to why a little squirrel would not immediately rush out into the great outdoors, after all. Perhaps, even with the danger of a cat, there is sufficient food and amusement that makes it enjoyable to be indoors around people because the squirrel would likely be able to see that we are not aggressive or threatening in the same way that a cat is, that we do not play with it for sport or have any desire to see it dead. It is hard to know how much of such things are obviously understood by small woodland animals. Suffice it to say that in my observation of squirrels, they quickly come to the understanding that human beings are not dangerous predators to them, which is not always a good thing.