I love watching animals everywhere, in the park, in the forest, in the garden, and even from my window. What I like the most is watching the squirrels nimbly jumping and climbing up the branches of trees.
My walk to the park resulted in close encounters with not only one squirrel, but so many that they were really hard to count. I was well prepared for this meeting and had seeds and walnuts with me.
Squirrels are not picky eaters and are omnivorous. They eat mushrooms, insects, nuts, seeds, and even small animals. There is such a general stereotype that these animals only eat nuts which is not true. I wrote about that in one of my previous posts.
Feeding wild animals should be done sensibly. I have seen many places in parks, around lakes and ponds with signs warning against improper feeding. Feeding birds, for example, may result in malnutrition. If we feed wild animals in the wrong way, it can disrupt their natural instinct for hunting and searching for food.
With all this in mind, I threw some nuts and seeds on the lawn and immediately ravens, magpies, pigeons, female blackbirds and even a red robin appeared. Of course, the squirrels came too. When I put walnuts on the ground, they disappeared so quickly that it was hard to notice when the squirrels grabbed them.
I put a cracked walnut in my hand and I was ready to give it to a squirrel. A squirrel, attracted by the scent of the nut, immediately ran to me and we both had a real dilemma. She stood for a moment close to my outstretched hand holding the walnut. She wasn't sure if she could freely take it from me. For a moment I doubted whether it was a good idea, because wild animals can carry various kinds of diseases.
Animals can also become aggressive and can bite or scratch. Feeding wild animals is associated with the transmission of various pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, that the animals can give to us and that we can spread to them too.
In that moment, I put the split nut on the ground and the squirrel immediately grabbed it in its paws and ran towards the bushes. It was a wonderful moment that cannot be described in words.
The squirrels quickly felt that I had more treats in my bag and while I was shifting from one hand to the other holding my camera for a moment, I felt one of these animals climb up my trouser leg. At that moment I leaned over to see what she was doing, the squirrel quickly jumped off and scurried away.
So remember, never touch a wild animal, no matter how cute or friendly it seems. Animals don`t need the food from us to survive, but in heavy winter time we can help by feeding and watching them while keeping a safe distance. I am sure it will make your day. You never know what a dude you will find.