Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Rats - Bad PR?

Rats’ tails aren’t the most attractive things and truth-be-told their scaly-looking tails are a bit reminiscent of snakeskin. I’ve always heard that squirrels
are just rats with fluffy tails. Rats just need a better public relations campaign.

Our home backs up to a natural area and therefore we have quite the variety of wildlife. Squirrels are regular visitors to our patio and we enjoy watching them play. A few springs ago, a tiny female squirrel arrived. She wasn’t the quickest at gathering food. She ate by sitting up really tall and holding her food like she was drinking the last sips from a bottle, not the typical squirrel squat. She was picked on by other squirrels and she wasn’t thriving. Her tail was missing fur and she had a battle scar over her left eye. Ever the softies, we began to leave her a few peanuts in hopes she would survive. As the year progressed, she began to thrive.

The next year, we were visited by her and her offspring. They all had her goofy way of eating, so we assumed they were her babies. We still left her just a few peanuts each day.

Last year, we didn’t see her as there was a neighborhood cat frequenting our yard and we were undertaking a massive yard project. Rats have a lifespan of 1-2 years in the wild and 2-5 years in captivity. Squirrels can actually live up to 10 years, but the average lifespan is less than one year. We assumed she went to squirrel heaven.

This week, we heard a knock at our glass door. To our amazement, girl squirrel has returned! We know it is her because of her ear notches and battle scar. She is looking a bit scruffy, but she is still frisky. We resumed sneaking her a few peanuts once a day.

In these uncertain times, it is reassuring to maintain connections.  Even small things like the resilience of a little squirrel can bring us joy and comfort.  Look for hope, it surrounds us.

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