Red Squirrels, Cape Breton

Although I have no time for the squirrels that eat my tulip bulbs and magnolia buds, I admit that I thought these little guys were sort of cute when I encountered them on the trail in another province altogether. If familiarity breeds contempt, maybe distance breeds tolerance.

Of course, I didn’t plant the trees whose buds they were cutely chewing through, chowing down, and spitting out.

2-photo collag eof red squirrels in Cape BretonI continue to be amazed at what close-ups reveal that I can’t see or don’t notice in the field: in this case, the long, hairy, and sharply clawed fingers and toes of this rodent.

Close-up of red squirrel hands and feet

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8 Responses to Red Squirrels, Cape Breton

  1. Alison Uhrbach says:

    Isabel, I’m pretty sure in these photos they are chewing on pine/spruce cones – they pull off the scales, and then eat the seeds which are tucked under the scales. Norway Spruce have the most nutritious seeds – but I’m not sure what yours are eating. They also will eat the tips of trees – but probably in the spring when they are soft and green (like squirrel salad) but really, that just prunes the tree so that it will grow thicker, so not a big problem? I agree, squirrels can be a big nuisance, but they are also fascinating to watch, and incredibly industrious.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – Ah, yes, that seems right when I look closer. I find it easier to enjoy them when they’re not being a nuisance in my yard.

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Squirrels are people too, Isabel.

  3. It’s a delight to see these cuties in such fine detail. The surrealist in me would like to spend the rest of the day (week, year) trying to replicate them in some medium.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Well, they do illustrate a point that Barbara has made in these pages – if you look long enough at anything (even a squirrel) it’s beautiful. Although I do think these red squirrels are objectively nicer looking than the black/grey variant in Ottawa. A little smaller, I think, they evoke something of “chipmunk.” And who doesn’t like a chipmunk?

  4. Jim Taylor says:

    I like the way they keep their backs — or spines — warm with their tails. I sympathize, because I find as long as I can keep my back warm, the rest of me doesn’t seem to suffer much from cold.
    Jim T

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