Friday, September 25, 2015

EURASIAN RED SQUIRREL Living With Both Ordinariness and Wonder

Smaller and shier than Grey Squirrel, Eurasian Red Squirrel prefers living alone in the pine forests of Europe. After searching meticulously for food, He takes his pine cone to a secure branch for safety. Holding the cone in his front paws, Eurasian Red Squirrel rotates it while biting off the scales to get at the pine seeds.

People have admired Eurasian Red Squirrel for centuries. According to the Norse of Scandinavia, Ratatosk lived in the Tree of Life. He carried messages to Eagle, perched at the top, and to Snake, coiled around the roots. For his efforts, Ratatosk enjoyed the special protection of Thor, the God of Thunder.

Medieval Christians tell the story of Eurasian Red Squirrel in the Garden of Eden. He had a long thin tail like Rat’s. One day, while sitting in a nearby tree, He witnessed Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. Eurasian Red Squirrel was so horrified by the sight, that He covered his eyes. As a reward for his faithfulness, God gave Eurasian Red Squirrel a thick bushy tail.

Humble little Eurasian Red Squirrel lives in the trees, watching the people below. From his vantage point, Eurasian Red Squirrel can touch the Heavens. He is the intermediary between two worlds – the world of the ordinary and the world of wonder. You can relish the ordinary life and have time to pause for wonder.

Eurasian Red Squirrel’s Teachings Include:
“Squirrel can represent easy and free communication.” Copyright: “Beasts of Albion”, Miranda Gray.

“Red Squirrel Dreaming is a grounding force that relieves stress and anxiety caused by an unsubstantiated fear.” Copyright: “Animal Messengers”, Scott Alexander King.
Eurasian Red Squirrel
Eurasian Red Squirrel’s Wisdom Includes:
Making Mischief
Pivot of Worlds
Learning Wisdom
Feeling of Recognition and Belonging

Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is only distantly related to the Red Squirrel of North America (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

Conservation Note: Eurasian Red Squirrel is protected in the United Kingdom. The Forestry Commission (U.K.) has erected rope bridges to help Eurasian Red Squirrel to cross busy roads.

Monday, September 21, 2015

GRAY!GREY SQUIRREL: Living in the Past, Present, and Future

Agile and alert, Grey Squirrel remains active throughout the year. Chattering on tree branches, Grey Squirrel amuses people who watch her antics. What people do not know is that Grey Squirrel was a creature of the virgin forests of North America. She is one of the few Mammals who adapted to cities.

Grey Squirrel needs to eat every day even in the winter. Active at dawn, She searches for fruits and nuts or whatever is in season. In spring, She eats plant shoots. In winter, Grey Squirrel eats tree bark and nuts that She stored in the fall. She locates her stored nuts by smell. Any acorns that Grey Squirrel does not find will grow into trees for future squirrel homes.

Grey Squirrel is very expressive. She chatters and flicks her bushy tail to indicate her many moods. Relaxed, She lays on a thick tree branch with her tail hanging down. When Grey Squirrel is angry, her body becomes ramrod straight, and her tail flaps wildly. Her high voiced “Chee! Chee!” means “I AM annoyed with you!”

Grey Squirrel lives in the past, present, and future. In the summer, She also gathers nuts and acorns for the future. In the winter, Grey Squirrel looks for the nuts that She stored in the past. In the present, whatever season it is, She gathers nuts and acorns to eat today. Grey Squirrel lives in a tree sprouted from a nut that She buried and forgot about. Like Grey Squirrel, you can live in the past, present, and future.
grey squirrel
Grey Squirrel’s Teachings Include:
“As far as our noblest hardwood forests are concerned, the animals, especially squirrels and jays, are our greatest and almost only benefactors. It is to them that we owe this gift. It is not in vain that the squirrels live in or about every forest tree, or hollow lot, and every wall and heap of stones.” -- Henry David Thoreau, American Essayist.

Conservation Note: People brought Grey Squirrel to the United Kingdom and South Africa, where She does not belong. Consult the local animal authorities on how to control the Grey Squirrel population.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


When people think “Squirrel”, they generally think of the tree-dwelling variety. Squirrels, however, come in three main groups–Tree Squirrels, Ground Squirrels, and Flying Squirrels. The defining characteristic of a Squirrel, a Squirrel is their bushy tail. Their family name Sciuridae means “shade-tailed”.

Tree Squirrels have the bushiest tails. Tree Squirrels use their tails for balancing and steering when They jump from branch to branch. Active during the day, Tree Squirrels chase each other through the trees, look for nuts, and work on their nests (dreys). They bury nuts and seeds in the ground for future use. Any nuts one Tree Squirrel does not eat, another Tree Squirrel will eat.

Ground Squirrels include Chipmunks, Prairie Dogs and Marmots. Ground Squirrels rarely climb trees. Instead, They often live in colonies in a complex system of burrows. A Prairie Dog town contains thousand of residents living in sleeping quarters, with their own nurseries and latrines. Extremely adaptable, Ground Squirrels will live near people.
flying squirrel
The third kind of Squirrel is Flying Squirrel, who glides through the air using a flap of skin between his front and rear limbs. Pushing off from a tree branch, He stretches out his arms and legs and glides to another branch. Unlike other Squirrels, Flying Squirrels is active at night.

Squirrel Family teaches cooperation. Some forms of Squirrel cooperation are obvious such as building a Prairie Dog town. Tree Squirrels warn other Squirrels of approaching enemies. A more subtler form is Tree Squirrels burying nuts not only for Themselves but also for other Squirrels. Squirrels cooperate with each other in a variety of ways. Learn how to cooperate with others from Squirrel Family.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Understanding Animal Messengers

My new post at Witches and Pagans explores when a tarantula comes in response for your request for help. Read it here: understanding messages from animals

Friday, September 04, 2015

DILOPHOSAURUS: Keep Asking Questions

Arthur Weasley, via Wikimedia Commons

A relative of Ceratosaurus, Dilophosaurus was a primitive meat-eating Dinosaur from the Early Jurassic (about 200 million years ago). Discovered in the 1940s and later named in 1970 by Dr. Samuel Welles, Dilophosaurus became famous in the movie “Jurassic Park” (1993, Steven Spielberg). What made Her well-known was her two semi-circular crests on her head, which lead to her name “double-crested lizard.”

When She was discovered, Dilophosaurus was one of three fossil specimens. Since these were some of the most complete fossils of anyone in Her Family, much was learned about Her and Her Family, the Ceratosaurs. Despite this wealth of information, no one really knows why Dilophosaurus had a crest or what it was used for.

Who was Dilophosaurus? This speedy bi-pedal hunter was the consummate predator. With her four-fingered hand, opposable first finger and powerful claws, Dilophosaurus could grab her victim, pin him down, bite his neck and then pluck off his flesh. With her hollow bones and slender build, She was one of the fastest and deadliest Dinosaurs of her day.

The story of Dilophosaurus is one of exploration and further study. When She was first found, no one knew who she was. In 1954, She was first called Megalosaurus (who was one of the early Theropods). However, unsatisfied to what her identity was, Dr. Welles kept studying Her. By 1964, he knew that Dilophosaurus was someone else. Finally, in 1970, Dr. Welles renamed Her after her true nature.

Dilophosaurus invites curiosity and exploration. For one thing, there is no evidence that She spit poison as depicted in “Jurassic Park.” More questions await Her. Perhaps someone will figure out what her crests are for. Never be satisfied with the status quo, always be curious. Keep asking questions is what Dilophosaurus teaches.