Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tree rat sex

Gray squirrels are not common in our area of Maine (we have the terribly cute, feisty, chattering red kind), so I have to observe them in Massachusetts. They probably don't deserve the odium that most city-dwellers heap on them, being reasonably cute, terribly athletic, and fascinating to dogs. After all, their sins are minor: solving the barriers to bird feeding stations, and chewing their way into attics. Perhaps there are more.

Anyway, I spent a lovely few minutes at the end of an even lovelier day watching three of them in the oaks behind our house. Two seemed to be a couple. There was playing and chasing around tree trunks, which I soon understood to be fore-play; a couple of  tentative humpings; then a prolonged coupling, or what appeared to be, since the sun was going down in my face and the sight lines were not clean. Some rest followed, on quite separate branches, and that was followed by what I can only describe as snacking. They both climbed high into the tree, far out into the smallest and tenderest branches, and with their clever hands broke them off and ate the new buds. Twigs were discarded like cigarette butts.

The third squirrel? Just moved mysteriously through the trees like they always do.

Nothing earth-shattering here, just squirrel sex and noshing, but I had never seen either before, and it was a damn sight better way to spend time than surfing news sites for news of the odious marathon monster.

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