Thursday, January 14, 2010

School for squirrels

Some of us like them; some don't: squirrels. They knock themselves out trying to get into our bird feeders; they hide nuts in our potted plants and later dig them (and the plants) up; they seem to wait for us to drive near them before dashing into the street. That's not all. Sometimes they frolic back and forth in front of our car, seeming to invite us to hit them.

Today came a story of a different kind of squirrel behavior vis a vis a driver. He approached a place where 4 squirrels played near the street, and seemingly, when he was close enough to them to make things exciting, three decided to cross to the other side. They made it safely, thanks only to the careful driver.

The fourth squirrel made no move to cross, instead sitting near the curb with her/his front feet up in prairie dog position. Once the car had passed, s/he joined the 3 already on the other side.

This squirrel was wholly different. Obviously, to the driver, s/he had been trained to wait when cars were nearby, then cross the street after they were past. The question was, did experience or a squirrel mom teach this life-saving lesson? Seriously.

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