Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Bushy's home, for a while
I set him out on the deck and after I walked away he was away with his own kind. That lasted for about five days...
About five days ago, around dusk, I found the dog acting weird underneath the deck. After a while, when she wouldn't give it up we went under there to inspect. Sure enough, there was Bushy Tail.
He was sick.
He was dehydrated and needed to come in for a bit. The first day he barely moved at all. Over the last few days he has improved enormously and once again the garage is way too small for him.
Today I took him out on the deck and he took off into the yard and over the fence.
Once you start trying to find one small squirrel out in the yard it's then that you realize there are a lot of small squirrels out there and they all look about the same.
It doesn't take very long for your eye to improve however and you start to notice the subtleties pretty quick. Still, without any glaring features to i.d. Bushy, it's hard to tell who's who. Really the only true way to know is proximity. Squirrels don't like to get very close to people but Bushy jumped onto my shoulder from a tree limb one evening. He knows us better than we know him.
Squirrels are mechanical masterpieces. Their hind ankles will pivot past ninety degrees so that they can go from sitting to hanging down without needing to reposition their feet. When they walk it sounds like more than one four footed creature because their toes are so long that they strike the ground after the palms/heels do, so every foot fall is doubled. It sounds like drumming when they move.
Their front feet don't have thumbs either. Their thumb is just like the first knuckle of our thumb. Only one joint. So when they hold something they press it between the two joints of their pseudo thumbs, where there are only pads. They have the full digit on their rear feet, so their rear foot is much more like our hand than our feet. They are built to climb. I think they lost the thumbs because they either interfered with climbing and it may have been getting caught up on things or it's entirely mechanical and affords more strength to the forearms so they can pull up easier.
When I started going to the gym years ago I noticed the real body builder types, the big guys, never wrapped their thumbs around the bar. It was always on the same side with the fingers close to the palm, "open grip". I asked a guy one day why he used that grip and he told me that the thumb over the bar works against you. After that I tried it and I've used it ever since.
I don't know if that's why squirrels don't have full thumbs or not but it makes me wonder. ..