The flying squirrel

The kitties were on alert. We got up to see what they were looking at. The little critter had climbed up the beam and was on one of the boards near the ceiling. My sister thought it was a mouse. I thought it was a small rat. It had big bright eyes and sat up to eat something it had found up there. We let it sit, as there was no way we could get it down. However, it came down on its own and the cats immediately went after it. It ran down the hall, so my sister ran to close the cats into the bedrooms. By then we could see that this was not a mouse, but a small squirrel. At one point it was going to go under the door but changed its mind when it saw a cat on the other side. We each grabbed towels so we could catch it. It ran from corner to corner of the hall as we tried to get it. At one point it ran up my leg and top and into my hair. I hunched over and tried to get to the door, but it jumped down before I made it. Finally it ran into a corner and I caught it in a towel. It was amazingly calm. Both its tail and head were sticking out as I got to the door and let it outside. It immediately ran up a tree and then to the bird feeder.

IMG_0844We both sat down to watch this little squirrel and noticed that it was different from the black, gray, and red squirrels that come around. This little guy had thin strips of flesh and fur along its sides and its tail was flatter and less bushy. It was a flying squirrel! Neither one of us had ever seen one before. It was very agile as it ran up the tree, jumped to the bird feeder, and gobbled down the seed. As it moved from branch to branch, it really did seem to fly as it spread its ‘wings’.IMG_0840

IMG_0003Unfortunately, there is a sad end to the story. Probably the reason the squirrel was in the house in the first place was that Ginger the cat had brought it in. In the wee hours of the morning, I awoke to hear a bit of a struggle and then a gnawing. Ginger had caught and killed our little visitor. We were both very sad but Ginger is an animal and the squirrel had evidently let down his guard. I am grateful for the opportunity to have come close to it, one of the many critters on this lovely piece of land.

And as a side note, my sister recently told me that Ginger had caught another flying squirrel, but it got away. It is good to know that there is a small family of them and one day we will see more.

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