My Life with Squirrels

Today Cathy sent me alink to this amazing photo of an albino squirrel near Jamaica pond taken by cottenmanifesto and posted at Loving Nature While Living in the City. Apparently its existence dominated the lunch conversation at her work today.

The life of a squirrel can be a precarious one, as I witnessed earlier this evening when I walked out of my office and was met by a red-tailed hawk standing on the sidewalk, talons firmly around a squirrel it had just killed. After a few moments, it flew away, leaving a small pool of blood on the concrete where it has been standing.

I didn't realize until reading Kevin's blog this week that bikes can also present a fatal hazard to squirrels, as this photo demonstrates:

These incidents reminded me of the rather conflicted relationship I've had with squirrels over the years. I got to know them quite intimately when I llved in Allston, or more precisely, when we lived together in Allson, since they occupied the walls and attic space around my room most of the time I was there. It wasn't an amicable relationship, I'm afraid; they kept me up at night, gnawned on wires, and chewed through my belongings stored in the attic, so finally I had to begin trapping them so that pest control could pick them up. Ultimately, it was the landlord's fault since he wouldn't fix all the holes in the house, and I resented being forced into this antagonistic relationship with animals that under normal circumstances I'm confident I could get along with quite well.

But these are the lessons we learn, living together in the city, and I hope to have more pleasant encounters with my neighbor squirrels in the future.

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