One Man's Alaska

The squirrel and me

June 27, 2007

I'll post a picture of my little squirrel friend here shortly, but in the meantime the story is that we're trying to get to a point where we trust each other.

I put out some Cheerioes for him every day, and he does his part in eating them all. Some days he only comes by once, other days, like yesterday, he'll come by four times. When there aren't any Cheerios out on the rail he comes up to the window to see if I'm sitting there working. If he sees me he proceeds to throw a fit, doing everything but pounding on the window with his little paw and calling me names.

Today during my lunch I stepped outside to eat my macaroni and cheese on the porch. I didn't know he was out there, on the ground below the porch, and when he heard me step out he scattered up the tree as fast and loud as he could, then turned to face me and threw a fit.

And then, as I stood there eating my lunch, he did the strangest thing.

He flittered down off the tree, came to the bottom of the stairs, stood up and looked at me, came up another stair, stood up, and so on, until he was finally at the top stair, with his front paws on the deck, standing up and looking at me.

I stayed pretty motionless during all this and looked at him, wondering what he would do next, when suddenly he turned and bolted down the stairs and up the tree in less than a second. I tried to talk to him in a calm, low voice (good practice for the moose and bears here) but he wasn't going to come down again. So I got a few Cheerios off the deck railing and threw them to the bottom of the stairs, then crouched down at the top of the stairs.

This time he came down off the tree and part of the way up the stairs, then went down again. Then he found one of the Cheerios and sat there and ate it, as calmly as you can imagine, then flew up the tree again.

Wondering what he would do next I stood up, moved back a little and leaned against another area of railing, and sure enough he came flying up to the top of the stairs. But, fighting his little internal battle of trust v. fear, he ran down the stairs and up the tree again.

After a few moments I came inside, and by the time I came in, walked to the kitchen to set my plate down, and turn around he was up on the railing eating the rest of the Cheerios.

I'm curious if the previous tenants used to feed him by hand. Outside of a few squirrels I met in college he's the most trusting squirrel I've ever met, though we still have a ways to go in our relationship. :)

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