Tuesday, April 14, 2009

shy wildlife

When we bought our house about 5 years ago the previous owners warned us about Cookie, a neighborhood squirrel. She was easily recognizable because she had a stumpy tail and was almost tame. (They had been feeding her for a couple of years and she had clearly become accustomed to it.) She'd be waiting by the back door when we went outside, keep me company while gardening and would follow us around the yard with an expectant look in her eye. She even knew the sound of Mike's car and would meet him in the driveway after he came home from work.

Mike, of course, bought her bags of unsalted peanuts and quickly earned himself the nickname of "The Squirrel Whisperer." Cookie quickly learned to come when we called her name, to take a peanut from our hand and, in exchange, let us watch her closely as she ate - our clever little outside pet.

The last time we saw Cookie two years ago, it was winter and she was heavily pregnant. She sat on our back steps, ate a few nuts and then was gone. We never saw her again but we suspect at least one of her litter survived...

Meet Stewey.


Robert said...

Cats, squirrels, large men. Is there any mammal you don't befriend?

JimK said...

My wife's parents have a whole posse of semi-tames. All raised by one we called "Notch" due to her distinctive notched tail. Every couple of years we'd see her preggers, and at least one of the new group to come around the next year would also have a notch. I guess the notch was genetic and not due to an accident.

12 years later and there are still notched kids coming up to my in-laws back door for peanuts. Now some of them have red bellies, also a mark on one particularly bold male from a few years back. We like to think Notch and Redbelly had themselves a good old time. :)

Kent said...

Cute little guy.

We feed a whole assortment of squirrels, possums, raccoons, ducks, deer, etc. I know you're not supposed to feed them, but they look so hungry. Especially in the winter.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Blast, woman!

Do you know how dangerous those vermin are?

And to name it after that War Criminal, Stewie Griffin is beyond the pale.

Wai said...

I wouldn't mind having a pet squirrel. It would help lure the other ones in. Then BLAM! squirrel fricasee.

GORDON said...

I've raised a half-dozen raccoons over the years--some for a long while and some not nearly long enough.

They've all greatly enriched our existence, even if Rocky, the last one, never did get house-trained completely.

He left a puddle on the dining room table that my wife saw before I did, but not before it caused a small bubble in the veneer.

Rocky was banned to the great outdoors where he eventually wandered off--but he came in for Oreos and to watch TV with me on the couch for another year before he finally grew into a 20-pound boar 'coon, and quit coming around--something to do with females, I suspect.

It's still great fun to sit a guest (particularly a lady) at that seat during a dinner party, see them innocently rub their finger over the slight swelling in the veneer and ask what caused it.

"Oh, that's where Rocky pissed," always produces great reactions.