Squirrel Taxonomy

 

I know it’s advised in the driver’s manual to NOT swerve or slam on the brakes to avoid hitting wildlife, but … and I should probably give this warning to anyone who might ever find themselves riding in my car, I will most definitely without a doubt swerve and slam on the brakes to avoid hitting an animal – specifically squirrels.   I will  careen into curbs, medians, or oncoming cars, and I will foolishly risk totaling my car, maiming myself, and potentially injuring any passengers or innocent bystanders who happen to be in the area.  My carelessness could cause a 10 car pile up, with vehicles exploding and human bodies and carnage being strewn across the road – and I would still, priorities in tact, first attend to the squirrel.  I know this is entirely illogical and also probably a crime, but it is the most likely outcome to the “squirrel jumping in front of my car” scenario.

In fact, if I even saw a squirrel get hit by a car, I’d needlessly swerve off the road to help it.  As I did the other day.  Contrary to what it appears, I’m actually very pragmatic about the biological fact of death, and I’m not especially emotional about it.  Nor am I very squeamish about normally squeamish death type things – like blood, disease, coffins,exposed internal organs or maggot infested rotting carcasses for example.  Those are natural, necessary parts to a beautiful cycle of life.  However, hurt, panic stricken small furry things desperately struggling to pull their hurt bodies off the road are another thing entirely, That makes me burst into tears immediately.    Therefore, swerving off the road for hurt animals is not a rare occurrence for me.   I happened to have many necessary supplies on hand, and luckily, the squirrel did not seem to be hurt too badly.  I considered that being manhandled and stuck in a box was probably just as traumatic as what he had already been through, but  I wrapped him up in a towel, put him in a box, and drove him to the audubon society for further manhandling anyway.

Because the rest of this story was so uplifting, we’ll end on a low note.  The squirrel ended up being an eastern fox squirrel, which is considered an invasive species.  Therefore, after all that, he had to be euthanized anyway.

Unlike most people I spoke with, and to my utmost gratitude, the guy at the audubon society didn’t seem at all surprised / confused / or in any way put off by the fact that I was so concerned with a squirrel.  I sometimes donate a percentage of painting sales to organizations I like (because I rarely have money to do it otherwise.)  So a percentage of this new one will be donated to them.

"Stampede"
"Stampede" mixed media and acrylic on wood with resin
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