On this beautiful Sunday morning, en route to the supermarket, we came across several squirrels cross the road carrying fairly large nuts. They definitely had netted themselves a major score. Such a sight had us chuckling because of that “Post It” notes commercial where the squirrels use the stickies to help them remember where they had stashed their nuts. It’s a pretty funny ad! Anyway, squirrels are a constant part of our lives. In our yard, there is this one particular squirrel that loves to hang upside down from our trees and is quiet bold coming right up to our back kitchen door. That squirrel has so fear and no shame.
Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa. National geographic likes to note that Squirrels are familiar to almost everyone. But spend any amount of time in ANY Manhattan park and you will see that European, Asian and South American tourists in particular, just cannot get enough of those bushy-tailed, cute-as-a-button rodent. The squirrel is this completely foreign animal to them—or at least, the New York City squirrel. Every morning, I walk through Madison park and inevitably I come across a tourist or two who are giggling nonstop at the incredibly bold squirrel that just tried to perch itself on the tourists shoulder. The squirrels get that they are rock stars and truly pose for photos. No joke. Everything and everyone in NYC realizes all is for sale in one way or another.
Tourists will feed the squirrels, snap their fingers at them, chase them and generally seek them out. Even the jaded New Yorker gets a kick out of them occasionally, although we have seen how brazen these squirrelly critters can get. This one time, a squirrel was so angry that it was not being fed by this New Yorker busily chatting away on a business call in the park, that the squirrel flew at him and stole the businessman’s newspaper away. Seriously! Squirrels also often entertain the masses by getting into catfights. Those nuts are very precious commodities, or perhaps they are fighting over the post-it location. Who knows.
One very early morning I was walking about after exercising and was walking across a grassy field and I could not believe my eyes. Before me, were about 100 squirrels lined up in a semi-circle all facing in the same direction. It was one of the spookiest, weirdest and funniest moments I had experiences. Unfortunately, I did not have my phone with me to snap a photo of this very odd occurrence. But it did happen! I felt as if I had walked into a scene from Men in Black. It could very well have been that the squirrels were orchestrating a takeover of planet earth. Hmm? Could be?!? For those thinking of going south; there is such a thing as squirrel stew. But that just seems unnecessarily cruel and generally icky.
Next time you are visiting the Big Apple, go head and snap those photos keeping in mind that that squirrel may be gathering and sending intelligence to their planet so that they may take over one day. One final word of caution. Note that many New York City rats can be the size of squirrels. So, always make sure you know what it is that you are trying to pose with while in New York City.