Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Nature of Easton: Vertically Inclined Urban Squirrels

By Christina Georgiou

Squirrels are not hard to spot in Easton and the greater Easton area--in fact, it would be kind of hard not to notice them.

The local variety is the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), probably the most common type in Pennsylvania, both in the wild and in urban environments, to which Eastern Grays are quite adaptable.

Most of the time they're sort of cute, but being they also have the tendency to be somewhat destructive, stealing food from birdfeeders, nesting in attics (either by finding their way in through small holes in siding or even chewing small holes to get in) and also chewing on wiring, and therefore becoming the source of the occasional power or cable TV failure, so they're also rightfully considered to be pests.

But they're also sort of amazing when it comes to their acrobatic abilities, not to mention quick.

We spotted three early Monday evening, playfully chasing each other, not in trees or along the sidewalk, but literally across the Pine Street wall of the Alpha Building.

They're quick little buggers, and one declined to be photographed at all, but one posed for us while still using City Hall's pebble strewn side entrance wall like a gym climbing amusement, and the other showed off on the Crayola back entrance railing. Apparently the painted brick of Crayola's Pine Street wall is no problem either, though we weren't fast enough to get a photo of that action.

This time of year, you'll find these tree-dwelling rodents gnawing on acorns and tree nuts, as well as "squirreling" them away for winter, but in late winter and early spring, they eat tree buds, while in summer, fruits, berries, and plants are their diet. They'll also eat bark from a variety of trees when necessary, and insects and other animal-based things are on the list, along with corn, fungi, and cultivated fruits and nuts when available.

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