Thursday, April 23, 2009
Baby California Ground Squirrels, Spermophilus beecheyi. The Latin roots for Spermophilus mean "seed loving." "beecheyi" is named after Frederick William Beechey (1796 – 1856), an officer and geographer in the British Navy.
Momma squirrel's been busy. She's been eating at the bird feeder all Winter long and managed to have a bumper crop of baby squirrels (6 or 7 as far as I can tell). That would explain why Mr. Snake was hanging around the other day (Western Rattler). They claim that some adult ground squirrels are partially immune to snake venom and will aggressively defend the burrow to chase off snakes. The baby ground squirrels, however, are not immune. Notably, the squirrels are still there and the rattlesnake is gone so perhaps there was some of this. Squirrels: 1; Snake: 0.
The baby squirrels are also absolutely adorable and fun to watch. However, they have started chewing on the ice plant and I suspect the peaches and figs are next. Do you suppose putting out more bird seed would help or will I end up with the Squirrel Motel? Perhaps, by keeping the rattler away, they're earning they're keep...