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Rocky without Bullwinkle

March 4, 2009

The Nigel cat has caused our household much dismay from his culinary choices. It has enabled hands-on learning about our surrounding rodent population due to his plate du jour. The field mice and voles abound in our wild backyard. Cottontail rabbits also show up on rare occasion. Sometimes I only have half an animal to deduce what it might have been (the back half of the pack rat last summer had it’s challenges). He chooses his playmates and often brings them in for a home visit. Most find our home not to their liking. Some end up living with us for quite some time before getting caught  (those being the field mice). We have become quite good at capturing furry critters as they “run for their lives” around the house. We employ some sort of basket or container to plop over the top of them and then slide a magazine or flat object under and take outside. Last summer we encountered a critter I never even dreamed was living in the neighborhood. The Northern Flying Squirrel.

A total of 8 were encountered with one known survivor. This morning we had another. Nigel brought in an adult. At 6:30 am I was headed to the front door to let Mocha out and there it was, clinging to wood dividers around the glass panes. The squirrel  was much larger and had a tan/grey coat, different than the grey ones last summer. I carefully eased him/her off the door and into a basket, grabbed my boots and headed out back. As I approached the Douglas Fir trees the squirrel slipped out of the basket, climbed up my shoulder and jumped back towards the Ponderosa. Four bounds across the grass and it was sprinting up the tree. About 20 feet up it jumped and glided to the firs (about 40 feet away). It landed and vanished.

If I could have a perfect household, the cats would remain indoors. But that just isn’t possible right now. Nigel wears two bells on his collar and probably more to come. It won’t end until I keep him indoors. I never would have known about the squirrels without the cat. Damn cat!

For more Flying Squirrel info, check out: www.flyingsquirrels.com

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