7. Let Nature Take its Course
Over the years, my back yard attracted several grey squirrels. Then one winter’s day, I noticed that a new squirrel family had moved into one of the birdhouses. Before long, in early spring, three young red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) were poking their heads out to explore the world. Squirrels have a few enemies, apart from humans. Owls, foxes, coyotes and cats – including the big black one that roams the neighborhood – are all natural predators. By fall, only one feisty, territorial red squirrel remained. The other squirrels had either disappeared or had been chased away.
8. Keep Smiling
When a friend despaired watching the squirrels chew off young branches last summer, probably to build a large nest (called a drey), I encouraged her to keep smiling. Those same squirrels, being omnivores in nature, might eat harmful insects, too. Besides, it could be worse. At least they were regular old North American squirrels, not Indian giant squirrels (Ratufa indica), which can grow a metre (over three feet) in length. They also were keeping her son’s dog exercised and provided a good conversation starter for new neighbors. “I like squirrels”, I mumbled. Really, I do. So now, I’m curious. Is there a skunk appreciation day, too?