If dishing nourishment is a good deed, then we’re kind on a daily basis to a certain wild squirrel who squats in our back yard. She answers to the name Ernie (that’s short for Ernestine, a hasty amendment after we observed that Ernie was in fact female).
Ernie is a cheeky little rodent. She bides her time near our glass sliding door, perched on her hind legs like a tiny human and trying desperately to peer in. If the door is open a gap, she’ll instantly poke her nose in. She climbs the screen like an agile little monkey and, when scolded, will do a sort of lateral creep onto the brick wall of the house, where she clings remarkably well, craning her neck to peer into our dining room. See, Ernie is convinced there’s all kinds of nonstop fun happening in the building where the free nuts come from. Ernie, by the way, favours raw almonds.
It’s springtime, so many of the wild creatures are enjoying a little seasonal nooky. But with Ernie, we can’t really tell if she’s carrying a litter, or just packing on the pounds thanks to all the treats we give her.
But it’s not a one-way feeding street by any means. In return for the squirrel num-nums, Ernie provides our family – not to mention any company we happen to have over – with endless entertainment. She bounces around the yard, clambers up and down trees, comes close to the door for a visit, hoists herself up and makes eye contact that is, quite frankly, a little eerie. Just think of it as being in the front row of a circus act, one with bold – and quite acrobatic – furry animals.
My concerns about possible fallout from our generosity are twofold. First, I’m forever fretting that our naughty rodent friend will rip a hole in the screen with her agile yet sharp little claws. And two, on the slippery slope of squirrel-human relating, I want to know – will I manage to keep a respectable distance between me and the nutty squirrel lady on My Crazy Obsession?