Squirrel Whisperer

This is Peanut. He was sort of freaked out about the Nikon, but not so freaked out that he was going to pass up a peanut.
This is Peanut. He was sort of freaked out about the Nikon, but not so freaked out that he was going to pass up a peanut.

Quick note today. I just managed to snap this photo and wanted to show it to you.

The squirrels and I have a complex relationship of both attraction and conflict. I’ve trained two of them to eat from my hand: Peanut, the fat red one. And Mushroom, the silver and white one. They are both males, which proves I haven’t lost my appeal at 45. Yes, if I am handing out food, the boys will still be putty in my hands! Peanut is so greedy, he will put his tiny squirrel fingers on my fingers to pull my hand to him and get that peanut faster.

The problem with our relationship is that they also believe that the bird feeders are for them too. Peanut will pull the lid off the larger feeder and curl up inside it, and munch seeds. Mushroom has a sweet tooth, and prefers the hummingbird feeder. He will put one of the plastic flower tubes in his mouth, tip the feeder, and gulp, gulp, gulp.

I can see them from my work desk at home, and I come busting out of the house, yelling, “Get off the hummingbird feeder you brat! And you! Quit spilling cracked corn all over the grass!”

They hop a couple feet away and look at me, “Did you bring peanuts?”

My cousin called me the Squirrel Whisperer. I’ve been asked if I have taught them to pick up lentils and fold laundry yet, like in a Disney film. Not YET.

28 thoughts on “Squirrel Whisperer

  1. That made me laugh. All men are putty if you feed them. We had one in California that stopped me in the driveway, insisted I turn around and go back in the door for his peanuts. That was until I caught him opening the slider screen himself and coming in to help himself. Yes, they eat the birdseed, hummer food and will eventually start on your patio furniture. My friend, Alys at Gardening Nirvana found out how right I was about that. She had to recover what they left of hers. I’ve never been bold enough to feed them by hand though. How you managed to capture that on camera at the same time is amazing.

    1. Glad you caught my joke, Marlene, about men and food! 🙂 I certainly know the rascals will eat stuff not meant for eating, since they ate pieces of the plastic hummer feeder and I replaced it with a metal one. Luckily, I have metal lawn furniture too. Ha ha! Take that you squirrels!

      1. Smart woman. We lost an entire sofa glider with canopy to those little guys. I found polyfill all over the neighborhood for months. Watched them carry a heavy canvas laundry bag I’d put out to air, up a tree. I think they laughed at me when they got to the top. I didn’t get wonderful photos though. 🙂

  2. That is so cute! We don’t have squirrels here – we don’t have any native animals to speak of, only birds. When I lived in the UK there were some around and they were wonderful to watch. I love that you can feed them – and now I am waiting for the shots that show them folding the laundry – now that would be something! 🙂

  3. Lovely!!!!!! I wish I could have squirrels near my place…. but I live in the center of a big city -Barcelona- and to enjoy them I have to go to the country. Those animals are very nice I’ve seen them in many large parks And could feed them by myself.The photo is very cute..

    1. Thanks Rosa. I received your address by the way. THank you! You really aren’t missing too much by not having the squirrels at your house. They can be pests. But I am just a big softie and love them even when they are trouble.

  4. I can totally relate. My parents have a cabin in the Sierras. They are always dealing with animals eating the bird food that aren’t the birds. It’s amazing the acrobatics the squirrels perform to get to the seed!

  5. Glad to see you still “have the touch.” 🙂 The grey squirrels and ground squirrels at our house are constantly going after the bird feeder but they can’t quite get to it. They don’t even try for the humming bird feeder. The ground squirrels like our garden and we had a heck of a time squirrel proofing it. I’ve been catching them in a have-a-heart trap and carting them off to the wilderness where they have to work for a living. 🙂 –Curt

  6. The vision of Peanut curled up inside the feeder is a crack up.
    And I’m afraid I’m going to change your name from Squirrel Whisperer to Ms. Frankenstein, as I fear you have created monsters!

  7. I enjoyed this post and your photograph of the red squirrel with his paws being there to pull the peanut to his face. My favorite animals are squirrels, birds, chipmunks, deer and don’t mind the other wild critters, either! I wondered if you have ever tried those shiny silver circles you attach under bird feeders, which sometimes squirrels cannot balance on and they tip and turn. The birds don’t mind it, but it makes it hard for squirrels to take naps in the feeders!
    My good friend, Jenny, likes the birds, squirrels and chipmunks but discourages the deer. I don’t say too much,since she has a pretty hefty bill already feeding the animals she does. I do wish to share her humane treatment of a skunk family that had babies under her deck. She called around and found a man who is an expert at capturing the animals and putting them in a wooden box and lets them out in the countryside. Poor Daddy skunk may have come back to find Mommy and babies, gone! It cost her a ‘pretty penny’ for this service and glad her husband didn’t poison the skunk family!
    You have such a warm and kind soul. Thanks for sharing your touches with nature. Soon, we will be hearing about the magical transformation of animals into little helpers, right? Smiles!

    1. Thank you for your long and lovely message. If you see the video I posted later, the post called Squirrel Proof, you will see that I have, indeed, tried a circle (I call it an umbrella) on the bird feeder. It has stopped the napping inside the feeder, you are right. However, those little furry devils still find a way to get the seeds from the tray around the outside.

      My mother was the same as your friend: liked all the animals except the deer. The deer were really a menace, and ate not only her garden plants that were intended to be people food, but also all the other plants too.

  8. I did not know wild squirrels could be tamed. How in the world did you do that, Crystal? We have a lot of them here but the only time I got close way with a baby squirrel who was not yet afraid of strangers. It was magical.

    1. Prayson, I learned it from my mother. It takes patience, and close attention to the animal, so you can learn what scares them and what does not scare them. Peanut took only about 2 or 3 months until he came to me. Interestingly, he is comforted by my regular speaking voice and my normal confident brisk movements. When I whisper or move very slowly, he gets suspicious and runs away.

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