(Single-click images for expanded view.)
Lots more photos here.
Yoga. (1/4 normal speed; silent.)
(2nd more comprehensive squirrel video coming soon!)
Bonus: Cardinal visit. (1/2 normal speed; ~1/2000sec exposure; silent.)
Interaction with the squirrels in my neighborhood has been and remains delightful. While certainly nowhere near
domesticated pet level, there is nevertheless a certain "intimacy of interaction" that is notable: My face can be literally within inches of theirs, I can hear them chewing, smell the crushed peanuts over the mild aroma of their fur, and feel the surprising warmth and softness of the pads of their little paws resting on my finger.
And I am touched that several consider me much less of a threat than other squirrels down below, towards whom they glare and vigorously
chitter their teeth. (In fact, I occasionally lean over the ledge with them, peering down and chittering too — in the spirit of general emotional support ;-)
The squirrels most definitely have individual
personalities, the main characteristic of which (that I readily notice anyway) being their level of calm in the presence of humans. In addition to individual differences, there are most definitely gender differences as well, with the females, on average, being significantly more relaxed than the males.
In the graphs below, I have attempted to roughly capture both the individual differences and the gender skew. As shown, while wide individual differences definitely exist, the calmest individuals are almost invariably females.
I wish I could say that I really
made friends with the squirrels, but unfortunately I fear that might be pushing it...
I grew up with Golden Retrievers; I know what true animal friends are.
The squirrels do not really reach that status even when very relaxed: They essentially never visit unless they want food, the instant the food is gone or they become satiated they leave without a pause or backward glance, they do not appear to make much
personal eye contact, they seem essentially neutral re human touch (via spoon or little brush — I did not risk my bare fingers for that...), etc. (Additional admission.)
Indeed, I am not certain of the extent to which they ever really associated the spoon containing peanuts with me at all, vs. the spoon being the food source and I being simply a
non-threatening bystander. (One particular squirrel and I enaged at one point in a tug-of-war with the spoon. :-)
That said, I still find the trust, of the ones that have such, touching — and their behavior and
poses overall quite delightful.
[Video and photos copyright © David Durlach. They may be used under Creative Commons by Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0 ), with the additional request that, if presented online, they link back to this page.]