Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cohabitation

A few days ago I heard noises apparently coming from a cupboard in my kitchen, and at first I thought it might be a mouse or some other rodent. But it turned out to be a squirrel on the outside of the house. I scared it off and wondered what exactly it was doing, the noise it made sounded like digging or scratching.

Today I surprised her inside my porch and she screeched and carried on for some time about that, then I saw that she had a youngster with her and he was actually between her and me so I guess she was trying to distract me and at the same time instruct him to move to a safer location.

Eventually the two squirrels retreated into a tree and the noise died down.

Then I saw the nest that she had built on top of a cupboard in the porch. Half leaves, half pink insulation, I now know what all that digging and scratching was about. She had found or made a hole into the wall and was helping herself to nesting material.


I thought that I did not want squirrels living in the porch so I started scraping the nest off the cupboard. Turns out the youngster was in the nest and he totally freaked. He tried to hide behind the cupboard. He thought I couldn't see him, but his bum was hanging down below the cupboard, inches from my face.

Then the mother appeared, with a large furry bundle in her mouth and wrapped over her shoulder, a small tail hanging down like a man's tie. She took in the scene, the nest scattered on the floor, the youngster screeching behind the cupboard and me standing there with a file in hand that I had been using to destroy the nest.

She turned and ran with her little bundle. I followed her out and watched her leap into a tree and then from tree to tree until she disappeared into the forest with her little bundle.

At that point I began to rethink the whole thing. Here she is, one youngster trapped in the porch and the other in her mouth; for some reason she has abandoned or had to abandon her old nest for this new one in my porch, but things are not working out too well and now she can't rescue one youngster without abandoning the other.

I thought, is there a good reason why I don't want that nest in my porch?

Well, I don't want her digging holes in the insulation, but obviously that is already a done deal, and I don't want her digging around in my food (and clothing). But I don't think there is anything in the porch that she can damage. If one of them were to try to get into the house proper that would be another thing, but for now, there really is no good reason to keep her out of the porch. And she knows I'm right there and aware of her, not about to move away.

So I rebuilt the nest. Some time later I saw two of them up on the cupboard watching me, then later none. I'm not sure whether she has decided it's too risky or not, but I have seen her return to the nest. I don't know if the youngsters are there, they are staying quietly under cover if they are.


I snapped some pictures of her and the nest, I think the repeated flash has scared or annoyed her away for now. The one youngster seems bold and independent enough to fend for himself, the other I am not sure about, all I saw of him was his bum and tail wrapped around the mother's neck like a lopsided stole.

3 comments:

Barbara Anne said...

Cute neighbors but as DH says along with you, they're cute rodents but rodents just the same. It's sweet you're trying to be a kind land-lady!

Wonder what Mama will do? I'll stay tuned for the answer.

And here I thought you'd been swept off of your feet ...!

Hugs!

Wisewebwoman said...

Ah, that is so sweet, Annie, good karma is coming your way.
I was plagued with them in Toronto, got under the roof of the garage. they are rodents but quite cute until they start their trail of destruction...
XO
WWW

Annie said...

I think they have moved out, the nest appears to be empty now. However all day I have been hearing that squirrel gnawing on something, but every time I go to check she escapes and I could not find any clues as to what she was doing. Until just now. This time I successfully sneaked up on her and caught her in the act: gnawing on a set of deer antlers hung in the porch!

Hmmm, I wonder how much the owners of this house value those antlers, am I supposed to protect them from antler-gnawing squirrels?