Mowing my lawn the other day, I watched a pair of squirrels devour the almost ripe tomatoes in my neighbor's garden. I spent much of that day watching squirrels. They are amazing creatures, absolutely resilient, and even though they look like giant furry rats with tails, people pretty much leave them alone as they chase their nuts.
Squirrels have an infallible memory and each day they spend all their time digging up the nuts they hid last year. One morning, a squirrel kept trying to dig up a large planter on my deck. I kept running outside to try stopping him, and failing that, I watched as he extracted a big nut from under the roots of my mint.
Suddenly, I had new respect for this diligent rodent as he raced around digging up about a dozen nuts buried in my yard. What a memory! I wondered if I should let him into my house to see if he could help me find my car keys, which hadn't surfaced in two days.
Squirrels remember where they hide their nuts because their brains have a map of their territory showing various landmarks. When they bury a nut, that map records the position of that nut from whatever landmarks are on their brain maps. I think this year I'm going to have some fun with my resident squirrels and cut down one of the giant oak trees in my yard and see how long it takes for them to find their stash. That should be entertaining.
I wonder if squirrels get Alzheimer's and, if they do, how do they find their nuts? Maybe they do get Alzheimer's
I think that this fall, after the babies are born, there'll be a smaller population of squirrels because I've run over about five in the past month. No matter what I do or how hard I try, they seem to run right toward my car as soon as I leave my driveway. I get very upset when I flatten a squirrel. All day the life of that squirrel flashes thought my mind and it's like I'm living his life all day long. The other day, I bought a bag of walnuts because I had such a powerful craving.
Red squirrels are much smaller and really cute, unless you've planted pansies. They'll give your pansies a buzz cut every time one tries to blossom. I set up a "Have a Heart" trap and found out that red squirrels are the Einstein of the squirrel kingdom. I set up the trap with all kinds of chips, seeds and nuts. The next morning I found the trap's door closed and everything inside had been eaten but no squirrel. He was sitting on my picnic table finishing up a potato chip. I brought the trap back and told the guy at the store, "You gotta make a trap for smart squirrels."
"I know," he said, "This is the third trap returned this week!"
"Got any BB guns? I asked.