Sunday, May 03, 2009


(this one--or one that looks just like her)

If you have been hanging around hanging around here at all, you know how I love my squirrels. They delight and entertain me. Squirrel food has it's own entry in the budget.

In Victoria, the guards at Parliament trained Dennis to eat from their hands. They'd whistle and he would come running to take peanuts in the shell from the gloved hand of the guard. So I said to myself, "I wonder if I could teach my squirrels to do that."

Several times I have parked myself next to the rail where I feed them and called them to come and get it. One of the reds came very close--so close that she came up and sniffed the shell of the nut, but wouldn't take it from my hand. Other days, she wouldn't even come that close.

This morning, I walked out with the bag of peanuts in my arm and one peanut in my hand. The squirrel sat at the end of the railing close to the door where I go to the deck. She didn't run when I walked out so I turned sideways with my arm fully extended, sidled up to her, and stuck the peanut in her mouth. She took it, turned, and ran to jump in the trees while she ate her treasure.

I walked down to the feeding area and waited. I held out another peanut. She scrambled around in the trees and ran at my feet. Every time I moved to bring the nut closer to her, she spooked. I stopped moving and held the nut out at the level of the rail. She came to the rail and took the nut from my hand and jumped in the trees to eat it.

One more time, she finished her nut. This time she came directly to the rail, ran up to my extended hand, and took the peanut. This time when she leapt into the trees, I put out several handsful, as is my custom, and came in the house because it started to rain harder.

We did all right, we two. It took us less than 6 weeks--and I was gone for a full week in there. No more than 6 sessions, I am sure. I'll try for a repeat tomorrow.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I love that squirrel food is its own entry in the budget!

vchelle said...

Awesome! I didn't even know that squirrels would even consider eating from a human's hand. Like I always say, the thing that is the same in all living things is that we can feel them as they can feel us... I love this post!

SE'LAH... said...

WONDERFUL! How sweet. Great post. I used to feed the squirrels in my backyard so that they wouldn't eat my birdfood. But this is way cooler.

rebecca said...

The squirrel whisperer.

Joan said...

WOW! I am so glad that your perseverance paid off! I knew you could do it! Trust is an amazing thing.