Monday, October 20, 2008

Speaking of cute...



...this cheered up the breakfast table yesterday.

15 comments:

CaroleBristol said...

We loved that cover shot too.

I'd never seen a red squirrel before until we went to Burgundy in the Summer.

We saw a few over there.

Cute little things.

We get loads of grey tree rats in our garden, the dogs go mad for them.

Blimpy said...

We have them in our village, but I only saw my first one four days ago!

Before that I'd only ever seen one way up north in the Highlands.

Isn't there some sort of squirrel disease doing the rounds that reds are impervious to?

DarceysDad said...

I didn't realise they were that unusual to so many people. Greys are indeed everywhere: our pair are working full-time stocking up for winter, and driving the cat mental in the process. We see reds relatively often whenever we visit friends in Cumbria. We used to see them when we visited friends in the New Forest too, but they moved to California some years ago, so we don't go down there now.

DarceysDad said...

Um, just read that back ... obviously it was our friends who went west, not the squirrels!

treefrogdemon said...

Blimpy, I think it's the opposite - the greys are impervious, but spread the disease to the reds who AREN'T...We have no greys here, and I think there are reds in my wood but I've never seen one.

Chris said...

If you make the journey to see the Gormley statues (and I agree with the comments elsewhere that they are well worth it - just make sure you don't get there at high tide when they disappear), travel a little further up the coast to Formby, where there is a red squirrel sanctuary.

And the good news is that the reds have apparently been developing an immunity to the grey-borne disease. Clever little buggers!

gremlinfc said...

Darceysdad- am confused ; who moved to California , your friends or the red squirrels? I am imagining lots of little suitcases and much scurrying around to get the right squirrel plane.

TracyK said...

When we were living in canterbury, I saw a white, presumably albino, squirrel run across the road. When I lived in Finchley, our kitten was terrified of the greys who would chatter at her from the fence. Virtually laughing, they were.

ToffeeBoy said...

I agree that reds are much cuter and that greys are big bullies, but surely they're just doing their Darwinian thing and trying to survive like everything else?

In another world, I'm a keen birdwatcher and I do resent the magpies and starlings cleaning out my feeders at the expense of the finches and tits but, again, they really have just as much right to the spoils.

If we, as the dominant species in these parts, favour the cute species over the ones that we demonise, and interfere with the evolutionary process, aren't we just playing God? I know I'm on very dangerous ground here (eugenics/nazi-ism isn't a million miles away from this) and that the human race has a responsibility to put right the wrongs caused by our use and abuse of the planet but species don't choose to be the way they are and I'm just a bit worried about the whole grey/red squirrel thing.

Let's hear it for those grey tree rats!

treefrogdemon said...

But grey squirrels don't belong over here, TB...they were introduced, and it seems pretty clear that the reds' decline is because of them, in one way or another.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ tfd - I know, and I would mourn the passing of any species (particularly one as undeniably cute as the Red Squirrel) but species have been moving around the planet for millions of years, replacing others and sometimes, in turn, being replaced themselves). And although most instances of this don't involve direct human action, many do.

Common garden snails, for example, were introduced to this country by the Romans and (for all I know) displaced a native species of snail which is now extinct. And no doubt hundreds of other species which we now think of as indigenous to this country were introduced so long ago that we now think of them as ... well ... indigenous to this country.

When we 'prefer' the incoming species, we don't seem to mind so much (q.v. Collared Doves/Wood Pigeons). And, yes, I know that Collared Doves weren't actually introduced to this country by humans but it's almost certain that it was the effects of the war in Europe which precipitated their arrival here in the late 1940s.

Sorry to go on about it but this is a passion of mine. Who's to say where animals belong anyway?

treefrogdemon said...

TB, this is something my conscience has wrestled with many a time and oft. I do agree that creatures should be left to get on with it, however cute or not. For instance I really think that giant pandas have evolved themselves into a corner...However, red squirrels evolved to fit a squirrel-shaped space in the UK and American squirrels to fit their own space. It just seems so UNFAIR that the one is now forcing out the other. Yes, I do like the red ones better; but when I'm in the States I love watching the squirrels there. No, it isn't logical.

I tell you one thing that worries me though: have you heard about the tiny insect that's going to be imported to rid us of Japanese knotweed??? And when the knotweed is all gone, what are they going to eat then?

ToffeeBoy said...

@ tfd - I just can't believe that people are still doing things like the knotweed thingy - it's utter madness...

treefrogdemon said...

They need to remember two simple words, TB: Cane. Toads.

alimunday said...

Lots of red squirrels in the woods around Keswick if you're feeling intrepid.

Lots of grey squirrels in my back garden. Can't help but like them.