Tag Archives: squirrels

Squirrel Antics

Sparky 5

Sparky 5

You remember the Squirrels in the Sun-Roof problem I was having? We tried a few things to get rid of the little rodents, but nothing worked, so it was time to call in the professionals.

Only, no-one would come!

Pest control wouldn’t deal with squirrels, but it took many calls to find this out. They don’t get rid of them.

Well, it was never our intention, to “off” them! We just wanted them removed and relocated. So we tried the SPCA and Nature Conservation. No-one was remotely interested in helping us get squirrels out of our roof.

So there we were, happy little squirrels clog dancing overhead every night, and nothing we could do about it.

Till one day when the dog food was getting low and I asked my husband to bring in a bag from the garage. He did so, but remarked that it had been chewed – by the squirrels!

We were feeding them!

We removed all the dog food from the garage, and so far – Touch Wood – it has been quiet overhead!

So, like they say* in that Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come” apparently the following also applies:-

If you feed them, they will come!

Conversely, if you stop feeding them, they will go away!

 

*post script: They actually say, “If you build it, he will come.” For more memorable, misquoted lines, try here.

 

Squirrels in the Sun-Roof

Sparky 2

Sparky 2

 

When my kids were young they read a whole set of marvellous animal books, in the Lucy Daniels’ Animal Ark series.

I enjoyed reading these too. (Young at heart; what can I say!)

The stories were titled: Hamster in the Hamper, Puppies in the Pantry etc

So that explains my title; Squirrels in the Sun-Roof. (Why Sun-Roof you ask? Well it had to begin with ‘S’, and the sun does beat down relentlessly on the roof all summer!)

But unfortunately, the actual story is not as enchanting!

I love seeing squirrels in the garden, and have done a series of posts on them pottering round my lawn.

However, now they are in my roof!

Not so much fun!

They wake me up in the wee hours, clog dancing on the wafer-thin ceiling; dropping their apparently extremely heavy food and generally making enough noise to wake the dead. Certainly, it carries through my earplugs, which claim to keep out 35 decibels!

I am beginning to understand Mike the Author when he would comment (rant) on my squirrel posts, and Tom’s Nature Blog has given me some advice on how to discourage them with strobe lights.

As these lights are jolly hard to find, (and expensive), my husband has fixed up a couple of desk lamps, set on timers. He also went out and hacked off a few convenient (to the squirrel) branches on the syringa and loquat trees.

Last night, I did not hear the squirrels at all.

Of course, I may have been too darn tired to wake; even from the dead!

 

Sparky Shakes a . . . Tail!

Sparky 1

Sparky 1

You’ve heard the expression “shake a leg“? Sparky shakes a tail!

Sparky the squirrel suddenly appeared out of the bushes and posed for a moment on the fence.

Sparky 2

Sparky 2

For once, when I reached for my trusty camera, it was there! (Not attached to my laptop in the process of transferring photos, as has happened in the past.)

Sparky 3

Sparky 3

He shook his tail about for a moment or two, and I quickly snapped a few photos from way back inside the lounge.

Sparky 4

Sparky 4

Then, with one final flip of the tail, Sparky was gone.

Luckily for him, my dogs Little Monkey and Mr Spaghetti Legs never even knew he was there!

 

Sparky the Squirrel Crosses Over to the Dark Side

Sparky

Sparky – Grey

You’ve heard of grey squirrels and the more elusive red squirrel, but have you ever heard of a black squirrel?

Sparky the squirrel is out in force again, scurrying up and down trees and dashing hell-for-leather across the road right in front of cars. (Definitely chancing his luck, as most drivers are busy rushing to their next appointment, driving far too fast, not stopping at stop signs, and certainly not noticing a small dark thing playing chicken with their tyres!)

A few weeks ago I saw a new little Sparky in my garden. He was a youngster; smaller and thinner than his elders, with a thin scratty tail.

However, his most arresting feature was none of the above, but his colour! He was the darkest squirrel I’ve ever seen. Such a dark grey that he was almost black.

I thought perhaps he was just a bit of a freak, or maybe he was so young that this was a sort of ‘baby’ coat and he would change to a paler grey when he grew up. But I have since seen squirrels all over the place and several of these have also had very dark grey coats.

As you can imagine, all this Sparky activity on our walks is very exciting for Little Monkey and Mr Spaghetti Legs. Maybe you’d think that a darker squirrel might have some kind of camouflage advantage? Not so, since it is the movement that the dogs pick up on and surprisingly, they see the dark squirrel scampering around just as easily as the paler grey ones: especially, I have to say, LM, who is a supreme hunter with the best eyesight of any dog I’ve ever met.

So why has Sparky developed a dark coat? What advantage is it to him?

My first thought was along the lines of those moths (no idea where) that were whitish in colour. Entomologists thought they’d discovered a new species when they found similar moths, but black in colour. Further study revealed that they were the same species! The trees in the area that the moths habitually ‘sat’ on used have pale bark, and the pale moths blended in perfectly. With heavy pollution the tree trunks had turned black. A white moth was now easily visible and picked off the bark by birds etc. Any moth slightly darker had better survival odds. They made more dark moths and in no time you had a ‘new species’ of black moth.

However, I doubt that the squirrels have changed their coats in a season so that they can blend in on dark tree trunks! Perhaps there was one unusually dark-coated individual, who just happened to be successful and prolific and made lots of dark little kits? I have no idea.

I just know that Sparky crossing over to the Dark Side makes for a very pretty squirrel.

post script: At the time of going to press I have no available pictures of the elusive Dark Sparky! I very rarely take my camera on our dog walks, as I need both hands for managing LM! But I will try to take a photo of him one of these days.

post post script: A male squirrel is called a buck, a female is a doe, babies are kits or pups and their nest is a drey.