Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Squirrels are not well socialized.

There's this charming little squirrel I've named Spot (because he bears a light-colored spot on his back; clever, I know) who is not terribly afraid of people; in fact, when we toss seeds onto the back patio (in response to his begging), he doesn't run away but instead waits while his siblings dash off to safety. In fact, Spot seems as if he wants to come inside. Lately, I always close the garage door behind me when I enter.

This scene takes place several times a day: Spot climbs to the top of this fencepost, right outside the kitchen window, and looks cute and globular in an attempt to get more handouts. It usually works. Most often, he trundles up to the back door, a sliding-glass affair, and peers in as if to say, "Hungry out here. The seed is gone. More please!" When the dumb humans fail to heed his call, he finds other ways to get our attention, such as this. He also climbs the wall and gets on top of the back-yard floodlights, so as to reach eye-level and peer inside. "Ahem. Hungry!" Clever boy.

Because I'm an optimist and a fool, today I decided to try something new. Holding an almond in my outstretched fingers, I opened the patio door, knelt down, and made the universal tongue-smacking-feeding-time sound at Spot. He nervously hopped around, looking at me, at one point uttering a chittering sound with his teeth. I think it translates roughly as, "Stupid human. Just drop the almond and no one gets hurt!" Of course I didn't listen.

Eventually he decided to take the almond. Now, don't think Disney-princess interaction here, imagine something more along the lines of Cujo. Yup, charming little Spot leaped onto the back of my hand and then jumped away, skittering around a bit until coming to rest a foot or two away from my now-scratched-up hand. "Warned you, buddy. Now drop it."

I tossed him the almond and closed the door.

Moral of the story? In the immortal words of Guy Fleegman, "Of course they're cute now. But in a second they're going to turn mean and ugly somehow and then there are going to be a million more of them!"

Yeah, maybe I won't continue my efforts to hand-train ungrateful little Spot.

Tags: urban wildlife

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