Something amusing courtesy of my spouse. It serves as a reminder that just because an animal is a cute and fluffy herbivore, that doesn’t mean it can’t and won’t defend itself.
I grew up on ranches/farms in Texas and had to deal with dangerous animals, stallions, bulls, rattlesnakes, etc. but the worst ass-kicking I ever got from an animal was dealt out by a rabbit.
I was transferring a buck from one cage to another when he suddenly slipped. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck but he rotated in his skin and brought his hind legs to bear. He deployed his tiny but razor-sharp hind claws and before I could drop him raked those claws dozens of time across my forearms, slicing them to ribbons. His legs moved so fast they disappeared into a blur like some kind of biological Cuisinart.
Animals in the wild live in a war zone in which their lives stand constantly in danger. They come equipped with both the weapons and behaviors to survive in such conditions. That’s something to remember before you try to pet the next wild fuzzy thing you see.
6 thoughts on “Kung-Fu Squirrels”
And if they don’t pull the Cuisinart act, they’re probably rabid.
Peter Cotton Rat.
It’s not just the wild ones…
When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog along to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten.
– Robert Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
When I was about eleven, I picked up a feral kitten that was about the size of my hand. The whole brood had let me get up close to them as they sipped rain water from an over-turned hub cap. Same thing happened, it turned around in its skin and went into full flay-mode with its hinds likes before I could drop it. My father found my explanation of what happened to my hand pretty hilarious.
Over the years, we had dozens of pets, from the usual cats and dogs to gerbils, snakes, birds, fish, chinchillas, and rabbits. Neither my wife nor I were allowed pets as children, so we were especially indulgent about this with our kids.
As time went on, and the various furry family members died off, we gradually reduced the numbers to near zero, mostly because my wife is allergic to nearly all of them, and the kids moved out and weren’t here to do the various chores related to caring for them.
At any rate, last spring, a feral mama kitty had her litter in the raspberry bushes behind our house. We started seeing them after a few weeks, and I fell in love with them, much to the amusement of my family. There are four kittens, pretty much grown now, who visit twice a day for food and water, and the mom and dad come by a few times a week.
I talk to them, and they are reasonably unafraid when I come out to refill the food and water bowls, but I wouldn’t dream of trying to pick one up. These are truly feral cats, and our previous mouse problems when the weather turned cold have magically, or felinely, disappeared this year. They like the canned food, and especially the fresh, unfrozen water, but I know they’re still out there hunting on a daily basis.
At least when I feed them, they don’t go after the birds my wife likes to feed from her hanging feeders. But the bird feeders, and the endless attempts by the neighborhood squirrels to get into them, are another, utterly hilarious, story altogether.
I like kitties, but I would just as soon stick my hand in the lawnmower as try to grab one of these little darlings.
When I was a boy (OMG) I shot plenty of squirrels with missing—nuts. Most of the time when you see squirrels “playing,” unless they’re young, they’re probably actually engaged in a fierce Darwinian sexual battle. They’re literally trying to bite each other’s nuts off fighting over territory.
They were great fun to hunt, but eventually I grew weary of cleaning and eating them. If you have to eat squirrel, make up a dark roux and cook them in a gumbo.
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