A few weeks ago Bruce and I spent the weekend camping at Andrew Molera State Park on the central California coast. While there were many highlights to the trip, one of the most memorable happened while chilling at our campsite at the end of our first day. A fire had broken out across the plains from us, so we popped a squat in our REI trail chairs (or as my pal Justine calls them, “chastity chairs”) and watched as the aerial firefighters battled the blaze. With a glass each of Pinot Grigio, fresh salsa, and a bag of chips, we thought it couldn’t get any better. And then the ground squirrels showed up.
It was funny when the first squirrel leaned on Bruce’s shoe to get a better look at our inventory. Even more hilarious when another brazenly walked up his resting leg to try to reach the bag of tortilla chips. It was only when one squirrel turned into many that I got the creeps. I imagined a little squirrel army quietly preparing its battle formations before they charged up our bodies to eat out our eyes!
Ok, a little dramatic, but when you’re in the middle of nowhere and a crew of squirrels start climbing your jeans it’s easy to let your imagination get the best of you.
Despite being a tad anxiety provoking, the curious squirrels were equally adorable. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t fantasized that one of the ground squirrels became our friend and and let us take him home. Yes, I would be lying.
That’s not to say I don’t know very well that it’s rare for a wild animal to become fully domesticated. Unfortunately many people still think it’s possible and buy “exotic” animals like tigers, snakes, bears, and chimps, only to end up in the hospital while their “pet” is euthanized.
Animal Planet recently premiered the second season of Fatal Attractions, a show that looks at the grim realities of living with a wild animal. Sensationalist? A little, but if that’s what it takes to convince people not to raise a tiger and alligator in a Harlem apartment, so be it.
Images: Sonia Zjawinski