Sunday, April 15, 2012

Curious Happenings in the Life of a Chipmunk

Yesterday morning I observed a curious behavior of Willow, our chipmunk down below the family room, a crawl space she considers her palace. The day was bright and so was Willow. Brisk as a bee, she made a number of runs to the ground feeder, stuffing her mouth until her cheeks nearly burst with her greed. When she thought she had had enough, she hopped to the edge of the water pan, her darting tongue making ripples across the otherwise smooth surface. I have no idea how she does this with her cheeks so full. She deposited the seeds in the Palace and returned to its gate.

  Now it was time for her toilette. She sat on her haunches and, like a cat, licked her paws and rubbed them over her head, ears, and face. She nibbled loose debris from her legs and sides, scattering granules of this or that in every direction.

  Then she did the most curious thing. There are patches of moss at the edge of the sidewalk beyond the family room. She used her sharp teeth to slice open a section just a bit longer than her body. She lifted the edge of the moss, and slide beneath it, like into a blanket, or rather like a towel. She rubbed her body against the underside of the moss, which was free of dirt. She continued this exercise for the time it took to work her fur completely. Then she hopped over to the gate of the Palace, and dove out of sight.

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