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The Territory Trespasser

Based on true events

The robins were aware of Samantha’s mild nature, the nearby skunks knew that she was a patient little rodent, and the snakes did not fear her scoldings, for she was as good as any beast or bird that God made. But when a certain other squirrel ventured into Samantha’s peaceful territory while she was yet within, she surprised and shocked all the other folk of fur and feather. On that day, all who saw her were struck speechless by her astonishing behaviour. The moment she beheld  that bold intruder, she dashed away towards him; a streak of red fury. With a terrified squeal, he rushed to the nearest tree and shot  up its trunk like a lightening bolt with Samantha charging behind him. He had nearly reached its topmost boughs when he suddenly turned aside upon a branch, leapt, and landed neatly in a nearby tree. But Samantha did not even hesitate in her mad pursuit, and she too crossed the trees with equal nimbleness of foot and was again hot on his heels. Now, the fugitive squirrel was scuttling down the new trunk, and just before coming to its root-capped base, bounded back to the first tree. Then up, up, up he went, switched trees, then down, down, down. Again and again he repeated this loop with the infuriated Samantha nearly on his tail. Samantha, though, would not give in. No, she would not permit this trespasser to roam her precious land. No, he must go, he can not stay, he must leave her dominion-except if he wished to suffer the consequences. But the intruder seemed reluctant to leave her happy land.

Suddenly, half way up one of the trees, in his desperation, the trespasser turned sharply upon a bough and scampered down it, only to find a deadly drop at its tip. He turned and rose up upon his hind legs. There Samantha confronted him, she too with her fore-paws raised. He could see a fearsome red flame leap into her dark eyes. For a moment they stood tense, preparing themselves for a violent fight and a mortal struggle. Finally, Samantha thought she had wasted time enough and launched herself at her enemy, but he was swifter than she. At the very same moment, he bounded gracefully over his attacker and landing behind Samantha, rushed further up the tree, onto a swaying bough and bounded into yet a third tree which was, thankfully for him, beyond her territory. Samantha had followed him to the very edge of her land, but there halted and chattered menacingly at him and stamped her paws, declared to all the world that she was victor.

A familiar resident of forest and city, the American Red Squirrel is one of our cheekiest animal friends. A rodent of red fur and white belly, it is an amusing visitor to any yard. It has a varied diet of seeds, nuts, eggs, nestlings, and even the highly poisonous Amanita mushroom. Don’t be shocked to hear of its devouring of bird young and eggs, for this is merely Mother Nature’s way of holding bird populations in check.  In fact, many other animals, herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores alike take advantage of these nutritious meals. The American Red Squirrel has an Old World cousin, the Eurasian Red Squirrel, which has tufted ears, a decoration which our squirrel is missing.

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