The squirrels who live along the boardwalk in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, are a delight to the residents who frequent the area. Residents, from children to seniors, enjoy watching and feeding the squirrels and the little red rodents take advantage of their generosity.
Squirrels who live near the river are tame and will take peanuts from one's hand. At least they did. This past week, those same squirrels were skittish. When they saw peanuts, they approached but would not come close enough to take them. This was strange behaviour for these usually brave creatures.
We left some peanuts for them and continued our walk. Near the turn around, where few squirrels lived before, there was a scurry, at least ten of them, running through the woods, some approaching walkers who offered them food.
As usual, people stopped, talking about the animals, sharing stories of their antics. "These squirrels are more friendly than the ones we encountered earlier," I said.
A man nearby added, "That's because two young fellas shot two squirrels with BB guns back there. The lads were caught though," he said.
Could it be that the squirrels by the river had not forgotten the incident and did not trust people as a result?
Meanwhile, the squirrels at the end of the trail were tame enough to touch. Sat on one of the light posts, one young squirrel ate the peanuts left for him and allowed people to touch him, which we had never seen before. Let's hope nobody has to go to Emergency!
My husband put two peanuts on the ground, a double nut peanut and a single. One squirrel chased off his buddy and took the larger shell, leaving the single nut for the other. Size matters to squirrels!
The cute red rodents along the boardwalk are fascinating creatures who are appreciated by the adoring public. It will be interesting to see if two misguided young people will cause a permanent change to how one group of squirrels react to people.