Vandalism By Squirrels With Aroused Teeth

June 20, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Humans and other animals | Leave a comment
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Baby American red squirrel, photographed 20 June 2010 by Dan Leveille.

Baby American red squirrel, photographed 20 June 2010 by Dan Leveille.

Every one feels aroused and lustful at times.

Sometimes one part of your body feels aroused, and sometimes another.

But have your teeth ever felt aroused?

No?

Well, that proves that you are not a tree squirrel.

Previous posts on this blog have wondered what drives tree squirrels into a frenzy of arboreal vandalism several times each year.  The most recent of those posts was here.

At last, we have an answer.

A local citizen’s association sponsored a walk through a local park, with a park ranger to show us how to identify the type of each tree, and to explain its ecological role and prospects.

The ranger provided the long-sought explanation of what drove the tree squirrels to their periodic frenzies of vandalism.

The squirrels are not teething, but are driven by something close to teething.

A squirrel’s teeth would become over-long unless the squirrel gnawed on something hard.

Wikipedia confirms and expands upon this explanation: tree squirrel’s’ “characteristic gnawing trait also aids in maintaining sharp teeth, and because their teeth grow continuously, prevents [the] over-growth [of their teeth].”

In short, tree squirrels have aroused teeth!

Vandalism by tree squirrels isn’t confined to trees. Tree squirrels occasionally chew on electrical wiring, sometimes in the attic of a house, or strung between poles outside.

Their non-arboreal vandalism probably has the same explanation as their vandalism of trees.


The topic of this blog posting obliges me to end it on a more personal note.

As is clear from my picture, I am a prairie dog.

Prairie Dog, the poliblog, 2012-06-23 .

Prairie Dog, the poliblog, 2012-06-23 .

While researching squirrel teeth for this post, a relevant Wikipedia article contained this bombshell: “Prairie dogs … are a type of ground squirrel …”

Imagine my astonishment! This post has been about my own distant cousins!

Of course, prairie dogs differ from tree squirrels in important ways. That is why I have been careful throughout to call them tree squirrels.

Now, about those differences.

Prairie dogs hate black-footed ferrets. Not only are those sharp toothed nasty- dispositioned fiends of the right size to creep into our burrows, they do not read advice columnists, and therefore have no sense of boundaries.

Roy, a ferret, photgraphed by Alfredo Gutiérrez .

Roy, a ferret, photgraphed by Alfredo Gutiérrez .

A picture of a ferret's teeth, photographed by Erlendaakre, 26 September 2008.

A picture of a ferret’s teeth, photographed by Erlendaakre, 26 September 2008.

A ferret in the middle of a war dance jump. Photographed in 2005 by Inkrat773.

A ferret in the middle of a war dance jump. Photographed in 2005 by Inkrat773.

Tree squirrels do not have nightmares about black-footed ferrets.

On the other hand, prairie dogs are much bigger than tree squirrels, because our weight is not limited by the strength of the branches of the most numerous trees. So our paws are much bigger, too, and that is what enabled me to write this blog. With a small stubby strap-on on each front paw, two-pawed typing is possible on a keyboard. It is very similar to two-fingered typing by a person. With a strap-on, I can even swipe a touch screen. (A bare paw doesn’t work on a touch screen. A bare paw produces too complicated an imprint for a computer that is looking for the simple dot-like pattern of a finger tip.)

The paw of a tree squirrel is too narrow to serve as the stable mount for a strap-on.

Those are some of the differences.

But still, they are cousins.

So I have three wishes for them:
– teeth that are sharp and not over-long,
– the discernment to distinguish an insulated electrical wire from a twig,
– and the understanding that although random changes of direction do help when escaping from a pursuing animal, they do not help when evading a car.

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