Monday, March 22, 2010
Copper Says It's Spring!
Copper, in case you've forgotten, is Eler Beth's pet flying squirrel.
One day in early October we noticed that he was spending more and more time in his little log (now dubbed his "winter home"). This is a little wooden "home", about 8 inches long and 12" in circumference, open at only one end. He started dragging some of his pine bedding into it. Sometimes I would break a small leafy branch off a tree at the creek and put it in his cage, and he began pulling some of the leaves into his home, too. Then Eler Beth started putting her own hair that she'd cleaned out of her brush or comb into his cage and he'd use that too. Pretty soon he had it the way he wanted it. He'd come out to get something to eat or drink, or we'd tempt him out with a pecan (his favorite) which he'd take from our hands and then take into his winter home with him. When he did that he'd come right back out and ask for another one ... and another ... and another .... This was new because he generally would only need or want one. So we assumed he was storing up for winter.
I guess they do semi-hibernate, or at least spend a lot more time inside their "nests" in the wild. Sometimes we wouldn't be aware of him coming out all day or for days on end, prompting us to pull a bit of his bedding out to make sure he was okay. When we did this he'd very quickly either come out looking for a 'cahn (pecan), or he'd irritably stick his head out and glare at us and then pull his bedding back in. How dare we!!
Back in February he started coming out more often and sometimes sitting up on his look-out house, sleeping in his "summer home" (the furry one) or eating inside his other log, hollow with two or three escape hatches. Something had fooled him into thinking it was spring, but only temporarily, because he then went back into his winter nest for most of every day. (Take note, Debbie, that I used "every day" correctly!!)
This past weekend he told us in no uncertain terms that it really is Spring! He's spending more and more time out of his nest and has been sleeping in his summer home. Eler Beth has started bringing in buds off the trees for him to eat, and he eats them like they are a delicacy. Some people freeze buds for their flyers so they can give them a "treat" all during the year. I guess we'll have to do that too.
The robins are out building their nests, trees and shrubs are budding, and flowers are poking out of the ground and even blooming. But there is nothing to compare to the confirmation of spring by your very own flying squirrel!