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Nuts in a dog-eat-dog world [Dec. 3rd, 2005|05:05 pm]
Golders Green
V. put out some food on a plate for our resident grey squirrel and we watched from the upstairs window as it picked up and examined various nuts and seeds, nibbling at some and taking others away to bury in the lawn. It took some of the food quite far afield to stash in the backyards of our neighbours. It would do this quite quickly before bounding back to the plate to see what other morsels were on offer.

Before very long, and while the first squirrel was a small distance away burying something, another squirrel started nosing around the lawn and approached the plate almost right away. (Grey squirrels have a keen sense of smell.) The first squirrel charged over and chased the newcomer away from the plate. Naturally enough the interloper gave the plate another try, and was chased away even more aggressively. In fact, the first squirrel made a decided effort to run the newcomer right out of the backyard altogether!

If this seems a little mean, it was made worse by the fact that the first squirrel was very plump and looked strong and robust, whereas the other one was small and kind of thin. The thin one was no coward, however, and was determined to stay in our yard -- but it was forced to sit nearby and watch as the fat one stayed beside the plate and ate to its heart's content. Once or twice fatty would stray from the vicinity of the plate to bury something, then skinny would make his move, but fatty had eyes in the back of his head and would tear back to chase skinny away once more.

V. was having none of this and marched downstairs to get another plate which she took out onto the lawn. Fatty and skinny scattered; even fatty was no match for V. Now we watched from upstairs again, with half the food on one plate and half on the other, as the two squirrels returned. The plates seemed to be so far apart that we figured skinny couldn't fail to get something to eat, but now fatty was even more determined and wouldn't let skinny near either plate.

Things got uglier still when a scuffle broke out between the two of them and one of the plates was upset and the food spilled onto the lawn.

Ultimately, however, skinny missed out entirely.

[User Picture]From: strawfellow
2005-12-04 10:33 am (UTC)
Wow - 1000 points to fatty for determination, but zero points for empathy.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-12-09 01:07 am (UTC)
In the squirrel world, Skinny's probably a liberal, or maybe even a teacher, so hoorah for Fatty!
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[User Picture]From: golders_green
2005-12-13 03:25 pm (UTC)


We've had a veritable menagerie out the back here today: at least three different squirrels, two magpies and a crow, with some pigeons up in the neighbour's tree just across the fence. V. put out two plates of food quite a distance apart, and nearly everyone seemed to be behaving a little better today. Fatty took only one plate for himself, but another squirrel kept chasing the magpies away from the second plate. There was also a tough-looking squirrel with rusty red patches down its back that went right up to fatty's plate and nosed around as bold as brass. Maybe fatty didn't know what to make of this audacity because he kept his cool. The crow, definitely the smartest and strongest of the creatures in the yard, had a look around and appeared to eat a couple of things, but perhaps it was hoping for meat of some kind. We'll see what we can do for next time.
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