Friday, November 18, 2011

Today: Animals

We have far too many chipmunks that make our yard their home.  And it isn't easy getting rid of them.  We can't shoot them, because you can't use firearms of ANY kind in the city limits--and that includes BB guns--and our neighbors actually feed the little rodents, so we have to be careful that they don't find out we ARE trying to eliminate them.  K doesn't want to use poison, because we still have neighbors who allow their cats to roam and he is afraid we might kill THEM inadvertently, so we try and deal the best we can.  While observing the chipmunks, it has come to my attention that one branch of their family tree has short tails.  I'm not sure if it is a genetic mutation or if one of the adults chews the tails off of the babies, but they do have short tails.*  This doesn't even make me give a second glance to the tailless ones any longer, as I have gotten used to seeing them regularly.  However, I DID do a second, third, and even FOURTH glance at this the other day:

Yes, we now have a tailless grey squirrel in our yard.  I am assuming he found himself caught in a trap or got taken down by a cat and was left without his tail.  Either way, he doesn't seem any worse off without it than any of the other squirrels WITH tails are.  The only problem is that I think he may be considered undesirable by the rest of the squirrel clan:  I watched one of our other guys chasing him out of the yard the other day.  It will be interesting to see if he is with us all winter.


I have always loved dogs with loose skin.  Bloodhounds, basset hounds, shar peis, all at the top of my 'would love to have' list.  However, since working in vet clinics, The Youngest has curbed my desire for loose-skin dogs.  She said that they have the tendency to smell bad--the skin folds hold moisture and bacteria and give off an odor--and are very prone to getting bad skin infections.  That kind off turned off my wanting one of these dogs in my home.  However, I can't help but think they are the cutest things ever.  And then I saw this picture:

This little pup is a shar pei/basset hound mix and about the most adorable thing I have ever seen!  He doesn't seem to have quite as many wrinkles as either breed does on its own, but it isn't fully grown yet.  It would be interesting to see how well his skin fits when he is an adult.  Still, I could hug that face for DAYS and not get enough of this little guy!

*The reason I consider the 'chewing off of the tails' scenario is the female cat The Mother had when I was in high school.  For some reason, the cat would chew off all of the whiskers of her babies--and she KEPT them chewed off as long as they were with her.  Weird.


Anonymous said...

I've seen squirrels with missing tails, and I assume one of the cats that roam around here was responsible. Or maybe even a dog. I don't think a squirrel without a tail has much of a chance since it needs a tail for balance when jumping on tree limbs and walking on phone lines. So its avenues of escape are limited. Maybe the other squirrels chase the tailless ones away because they attract predators? Or the other squirrels know that the tailless one isn't long for this world?

Anonymous said...

Oh, forgot about the dog! They're cute, but I suspected the folds of skin would be smelly. They look like stuffed animals, don't they?

cmk said...

I'm very surprised at how well the tailless squirrel gets around--he is the only one that has actually gone to sit in the open feeder so far this year. I do think he probably stays far away from the phone lines, though. He maneuvers the top of the fence with no difficulty and there are enough trees for him to climb--and he doesn't need to go too far up to be camouflaged--that I think he'll be okay for a little while yet. But, I certainly wouldn't be surprised if he isn't around in the spring.

You very well might have a point about the other squirrels worrying that he could attract predators. I never thought of that!

Just the pic of the dog DOES make you think of a stuffed animal. I love how the two breeds compliment each other in the final result. :) I wonder if this will become the newest designer breed--it is cute enough to qualify.

And as an aside: The Youngest said that shar peis have the strangest fur/skin she has ever encountered. It has a waxy/oily feeling that is hard to wash off of the hands. She said it is really, really weird.

Anonymous said...

It must make them virtually waterproof!

cmk said...

I never thought of that! :)

meleah rebeccah said...

Chipmunks & squirrels are a problem for us too. They are militant, organized, and OUT OF CONTROL!


cmk said...

If the dog stayed that cute as he grew, I'd have a dozen of them! :)

I KNOW the chipmunks are trying to take us down--and they are doing it by tunneling underground so that the house, everything in it, and us will just fall out of existence! Then they can have the lot for their own.