Unnerving squirrels

Walking merrily along the creek this morning, I admired the red fish in the shallow water, and listened to a chickadee serenade. A hissed warning sounded after each chickadee verse. Was there a snake? The hissing came from a squirrel on a branch above trying to scare me away.

Why? Squirrels aren't usually concerned when I do my slow photography walks along the creek. This one was trying to alarm me. On the other side of the creek, a creature rustled. Was it a rat? No, a bedraggled squirrel with a wet tail tried to pull itself up the bank. It's movements were odd. I stared despite the other squirrel's hissing. The bedraggled squirrel seemed entangled. No, it just couldn't use its back legs. Not at all. It was using its front legs to do a phys. ed. rope climb up the exposed roots along the bank. Sad, I moved on.

Took some flower photos, then tried to get a close-up of a spider. A rustling approached under the weeds of the bank. A squirrel dragged itself out of the weeds and tried to climb a tree using just its front legs. Again? Another? I don't know how that earlier bedraggled squirrel could have made its way up the roots and somehow across the creek. This must be another squirrel with useless back legs. This one isn't wet. Its tail is in better shape. Still, its back legs don't work. It's too close for comfort, and an unlikely coincidence.

I am unnerved. These aren't Disney squirrels teaching Young Wart about nature and love. These squirrels seem both related and damaged. Are they working together to protect a family or species? Too many questions. I'll try to get some distance at work.

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

Poor little critters. The future does not bode well for them. I suspect that they might have some sort of birth defect. One of our cats once had a litter of kittens, six or seven, and most of them had badly malformed legs. The vet counseled us to have several of them put to sleep because they'd never be able to walk. A friend adopted two whose legs were not quite as bad. Their lives were pampered, but nonetheless, shortened by their handicaps.


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