I understand that there are 365 species of them, and I believe they are all in my back yard.
As I was preparing my column on the beauties of spring and the bulbs peeking out from the flower beds, I heard a loud backyard ruckus, loud enough to call the police.
I pulled up the window blind and saw an overabundance of squirrels in my yard. They were absolutely crazy, in their movement and their search for, I suppose, food. I had never seen that kind of food activity in the spring.
It’s as if they’d heard about the economy, the flu or a tornado.
Anyway, I have an oak tree and a few other trees, which I don’t know what they are. During the last ice storm, I lost a tree, thank goodness!
There are acorns everywhere and multiple families of squirrels who have moved onto my property.
I was so worried about the number of “Rodentia” in my backyard, I decided to do some research. I believe squirrels.org had the best info.
“The tree squirrel is a very special animal. It is one of very few wild animals that have adapted to humans and learned to coexist with man. It can live on both natural foods and hand outs.”
“The squirrel is an acrobatic wonder to young and old. Its large tail makes it the most recognized mammal on Earth. It amazes us with daring high wire acts, as it races through the tree branches.”
Coexist, I don’t think so. For that reason, I searched a little further because I needed to know why the population is so heavy this year.
“The males will chase females, as well as chase off other suitors. This ritual of chasing occurs through the trees at top speed.”
That has to be what they are doing.
This morning, at 5 a.m., I think every neighbor let their dog out at the same exact moment. As expected, the dogs barked at the billions of squirrels in my back yard.
Why am I so lucky?
“A female squirrel will choose the strongest male during mating season, but is unlikely to breed with that male again. This is nature’s way of reducing inbreeding, and to preserve the species.”
I don’t believe that one bit.
Of course, that is how my luck goes. As if I need strong, healthy squirrels.
“The male tree squirrel takes twice as long as the female to groom itself”.
Ha, in every household, too!
Having had four girls and four boys and knowing what they both needed to do, to get ready in the morning, well ... some of my boys were very slow.
So Jared, Adam, Josh, and Jeremy, altogether with your 11 kids, I certainly hope you are much faster at grooming today.
Back to the squirrels. I do not need a grooming or mating reserve in my back yard either.
I’m getting worked up. My heart is racing, and blood pressure is up. May I conclude with a poem?
Squirrels can make a yard a clutter.
And noise like thunder and hail,
You’re welcome to view my back yard zoo
Follow the signs, “Squirrels for Sale”
Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.