Monday, November 05, 2007

Squirrel - Wiewiórka

I went for a quick walk yesterday - nothing special just a wander through the park on my way to the shops. It was an interesting stroll as you could really tell that winter is on her way. All of the trees leaves have changed colour and all of the decidous trees bar the birches and willows have already shed their leaves.
In amongst the leaves I saw a very cute looking red squirrel. Not a rare sight around here as the disgusting tree-rats which plague Britain aren't over here yet. It had started to grey slightly in a few areas and I'll try to keep an eye out over the winter to see if they get much of a winter coat.
Being about half of the size of a tree-rat they are obviously not the same food value! Of course they have been valued for their pelts over the years. It is however the spiritual significance of the squirrel that I was pondering on yesterday.
When we think of primitive people and the animals they revered it is usually the big ones that come up - wolf, bear and deer. I think that the squirrel could well have had as much to teach as any of those. Its hoarding behaviour could well have led people to do likewise as squirrels are so bold they can easily be watched for a long while. The squirrel would also have led people to the very nut trees and that would have provided food for them - Could the squirrel have been seen as a totemic animal for winter preparation?
For more on winter preparation check out Torjus' Living Primitively and Pablo's Woodlife
and this old thread on BCUK.


Pablo said...

Great picture and great thoughts about the aquirrel.

sam_acw said...

Sadly the picture is a wikipedia special. I didn't have my camera with me when I saw it and even then it has no zoom ;-(

JohnW said...

They are a handsome looking squirrel. The tufted ears reminds me of the Aberts squirrel of the American West.

Many people here in the US hunt grey and fox squirrels for food and sport. When I was in high school my friends and I would go on squirrel hunts after class was out. We had a great time and developed wonderful comraderie. I miss those days in many ways.

sam_acw said...

In Poland there are only red squirrels which are small and probably nt much worth hunting.
In Britain we are "lucky" to have the grey squirrel or tree rat as it is also known. A fair bit of meat and definitely shootable vermin