Cheeky Rodents….

Dear Readers, yesterday I finally got around to planting up my crocuses and grape hyacinths, and this morning it looked as if every single pot had at least borne the weight of a squirrel. What are they like, honestly? It’s absolutely true that if you design a garden to be attractive to wildlife, you can’t really dictate who will turn up, but when I looked out of the window there was not one, not two, but three squirrels, two of whom appeared to be bonking. I was a bit surprised, but as the mating season is usually between December and February they were only a little bit early. Gestation is 38 to 46 days, so maybe we’ll have some Christmas babies. I’m sure that the plentiful food supply in gardens (including bulbs clearly) helps with their breeding success. Females often breed again in late summer, mating in June/July and producing babies in August/September, just when all the hazelnuts, acorns and beech mast is coming out.

Of course I have replanted my bulbs (which were in pretty deep in the first place I thought). And it’s difficult to be annoyed for long. Plus I’m not sure that they’re actually eating the bulbs – I know that they prefer tulips, and I generally don’t plant those as they aren’t a lot of good for pollinators, pretty as they are.

And then they were back to their usual tricks, i.e. hanging by their tippy-toes to get at the premium sunflower seeds. They are clearly the most acrobatic animals in the garden.

And for anyone who didn’t see it last time, have a look at the videos in this post – they are from the spring of 2020, when we were locked down and spending a lot of time in the garden. If you scroll past the good news on butterflies, you’ll see all sorts of squirrel shenanigans.


10 thoughts on “Cheeky Rodents….

  1. Claire

    Thank you for the squirrels news and videos. This is amazing ( for someone not living in Britain, I suppose). Every time I am in London, I enjoy watching them (tourist!). Here we only have red squirrels, I love them but they are quite shy…( rightly so, I think). Which means that I often see one or two, running up a tree trunk or sitting quietly 10 meters above me. I have read that Siberian chipmunk ( invasive species) live in the woods around here but have not seen any up until now. They seem to be less successful than parakeets.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      I have a sneaking regard for the grey squirrels, and I suspect that if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t have an influx of red squirrels, but no squirrels at all – the greys are much more adaptable. And yes, interesting about the chipmunks – I wonder why they aren’t more successful? Whenever I go to Canada I’m tripping over them, and there are lots of grey squirrels there as well, so a lot of competition.

  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    Talking of rodents… Not only do we have a squirrel popping into the garden to seek out little morsels left on the ground by the birds (since we now have what can only be described as ‘caged’ feeders, which are designed to be squirrel proof and, so far, they seem to be working) but we’ve had a little mouse running around the house. It had the corner off one of the flour packets the other night and almost got through another, thicker, Homepride one. A humane trap (called “Motel Mouse” 🤔) was duly ordered and placed into position yesterday. This morning the little chap or chapess is awaiting transport ‘more than a mile away’. It’s drizzling outside so, at least for now, it’s nice and dry and has plenty of food (peanut butter and some bird seed) to keep it going.

      1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

        Firstly, I think I forgot to mention that it turned out that there were two little chaps or chappesses, or one of each in the box…(Result!) One was on top of the other and we wonder whether the one underneath was alive or had been suffocated! Anyway, I asked Jude where she took them and it was not more than a mile away for sure, but the area was quite ‘rural’ and there are 2 properties between there and us and one down the road, so 🤞🤞

  3. Ann Bronkhorst

    Lovely word, shenanigans. And your squirrels, last year and this, are certainly full of beans, or do I mean bulbs? Pity you can’t tag them to see if they are returning year on year.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Don’t think I haven’t considered it, Anne, but I think they would be a bit of a handful. I think that a female breeds in the whitebeam most years, and then the young disperse, though judging by the brouhaha in the garden, not very far.


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