Poor Rock Squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus)

When I moved here I wanted to compost even though it is dumb to compost in bear country.  Clever me decided to run my kitchen scraps through the blender on liquify, then dig a hole under my pinyon pine next to my house.  Pour it in, cover it up with dirt, and no bears.  True, I didn’t see any bears digging it up.

Twenty or more years ago a machine cut a 36 foot semicircle out of my hillside to create the flat spot where my trailerstead lives.  For whatever reason the cut has not eroded much, but it has become a condo high rise for burrows.  I only see cotton tails but not sure what else lives in the couple dozen entry holes of varying sizes.  I saw a cottontail digging furiously to make a new hole this past summer.  I also saw just one Rock Squirrel with a hole close to the top.

One day I noticed the Rock Squirrel had gained a lot of weight and was having trouble getting up to his burrow.  I started laughing because it looked silly… but… I started watching him closer.  Her?  Expectant Mom?

Keep in mind that Rock Squirrels are a foot and a half long and weigh a pound and a half when fighting trim.   They have nasty rat teeth, too.  They are the hummer of squirrels.  They are also a Happy Meal for Brer Coyote and Brer Hawk and Brer Rattlesnake… I’ m sure you get the idea.

Still, I caught this squirrel digging up my liquified compost and snacking on it.  He carefully covered it back up after he was done and I couldn’t tell it had been robbed.  He barely gave me a chance to finish burying it for him before he was at it.

I went on strike and quit putting liquid compost out.  But Rocky disappeared soon afterwards.  I suspect he was too heavy to run from his predators.  I mean, Rocky can live ten years and I’d only known him 8 months or so.

His condo is still empty and I hope for a new tenant one of these days.  I also hope I didn’t feed him to death, but it might have happened that way.





About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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