Did You Know That Squirrels Hiss?
It is my own guess that I may not be as acquainted with nature as once perceived. I mean, growing up on the tropical island of Puerto Rico, being exposed to many creatures was the norm. However, living in the United States mainland is a different story. I wish to share a peculiar experience with one of the most common animals seen both in the city and beyond: The squirrel. You may find that my naivete is rather hilarious and not-up-with-the-times, but it is my wish to share it nonetheless.
Having moved in to a newly-purchased home in Racine, Wisconsin, sorting out through the belongings was very much a discovery trip than an organizational chore. The previous homeowner had left a few items behind in the garage, which I intended to use as storage as we all do, right? Long behold, there was a small metal trap... cage... thing... of sorts. Maybe it was something that the previous owner used for hunting or whatnot. Not knowing exactly what to do with such a device, I placed it on the grass in the back yard adjacent to the garage. The night was closing in and it was time to head inside the house.
Waking up the day after and somewhat dreading the continuance of the physical labor, I looked outside the kitchen window facing the yard. Sipping on my caffeine, I noticed that there was... unusual activity inside of the metal trap cage that was left on the grass. Not sure of what exactly was frantically running back and forth inside of the cage, I stepped outside with the dog. Closing in on it, I was surprised to see that a young squirrel had found itself in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Apparently, the metal cage had been left open and it crawled into it with curiosity only to be shut inside. Not having ever seen a squirrel up close and personal, I knelt down to admire it and noticed that the poor thing's chest was rising and falling with a raging heartbeat in fear.
I knew the cruelty that it was to keep such a cute animal against its will in a cage. Still, I was not ready to release the adorable critter just yet. Again, pardon my ignorance, but I wondered what squirrels "feel like." They look to be so smooth and cuddly. I had watched many videos on YouTube where people have them as pets and handle them like nothing. I grabbed a short and thin fallen tree twig to use as an examination tool and gently poked it. It is not my intention to anger any animal lovers, or PETA members that may be reading this, for I simply wanted to gently palpate the little squirrel just a bit.
After a few minutes of satisfying my curiosity, a spraying-like sound could be heard coming from nearby. I wondered what in the heck it was as it progressed to a louder tone. I stood still and so did the young squirrel as we both wondered about the source of such strange audio. I raised up and to my amazement, my eyes met a bigger, chunkier squirrel attached upside-down to the tree in the yard. Then, that sound was heard again only this time it was louder and angrier: It was a hiss! Putting two and two together, it dawned on me that the surprising rodent-of-a-spectator, must have been either mom or dad coming to the rescue of the troubled and caged youngling.
So, not wondering whether that older squirrel intended on an aerial assault on me for keeping its kid trapped in a cage, I opened the hatch that had shut it in there in the first place. As soon as the way cleared, the wild captive darted out and ran up the tree to meet with its parent. Needless to say, watching the reunion of a squirrel family was very touching. It amazed me that they care for their own enough to hiss their way into a rescue.