Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friend or foe..?
A squirrel wanted to kill me yesterday.
I know what you're thinking...how is that possible? I would subscribe to your train of thought too, if it hadn't been me that stared straight into the eyes of the evil creature.
Despite belonging to the rodent family, squirrels do have a huge "cutesy" factor. It was one of the things I was most excited about when I arrived in London, the allure of seeing a real-live squirrel!
And it was pretty exciting to see them scampering between trees in St James' Park. Even more exciting was a subsequent trip to the park with nuts in my arsenal. Oh how the squirrels love Brazil nuts.
Feeding them is apparently illegal, perhaps because everyone would want to steal one after they've been involved in such a experience with a squirrel.
Yes they appear to be damn cute, and have such personality. It takes a few minutes to gain the confidence of one little squirrel before it'll come up and take the nut out of your hand. But then....they run away, bury it with surprising speed, and come running back for more.
And how do I know Brazil nuts are a particular favourite? Well I've assumed as much because Brazil nuts are the only type of nut the little rodents just have to eat there and then, rather than burying them.
So yes they're adorable, right? Maybe. Not so sure now.
Let me tell you another story. It's 5:45am. I'm running in the park, barely awake. I run down a slight hill, rounding a bend very close to the inside of the corner, just preparing to scoot around a wooden rubbish bin when I feel something watching me.
I raise my eyes and stare straight into the beady eyeballs of a squirrel less than a metre from my face.
It was just watching me..sitting calmly on top of the rubbish bin, staring. Time wound down to slow motion...(my heart goes...douf...douf...douf...)the squirrel and I size each other up in a mili-second...and it becomes clear I wasn't the one coming out on top - the furry creature hadn't even flinched.
If my life was a movie...the following events would have unfolded like so;
Suddenly, to my horror, the squirrel pounces on my face emitting a blood-curdling screech. My reflexes were no match for its speed and agility. I try to pry it off, but it's claws are embedded in my flesh. I can't see...not because it's covering my eyes. But because it's used its lighting-fast paws, normally used to dig holes for nuts, to, instead, scratch my eyes out.
Of course it didn't happen like that, I'm still able to see in order to type.
However, my face-to-face silent confrontation with a squirrel has really made me think twice about whether they're actually all that adorable.
Think about this when you look at the above picture.
What are its eyes saying? Is it; oh I'm so innocent and twitchy, if you make a sudden movement I'll scamper up my tree? Or; look at me I'm so cute...come closer, closer...and when you do it breaks from it's spell-binding gaze and attacks, all while you're led on the false-sense of security that squirrels are harmless.
On a final-note, in 2005 squirrels in Russia squirrels killed a stray dog.
Proof this story is not a conveniently made up allegation can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4489792.stm
So, still adorable?