Any one who has driven has felt the heart wrenching feeling when the car strikes an animal on the road. Lately there has been a number (higher than normal) of dead squirrels on the road where I live. My wife and I were talking about how we both have missed a few ourselves. Calling them suicide squirrels because they are so small and they act as though they are attacking the car, Kamikaze style. Or, running onto the road when they are clearly on the side of the road and simply need to run off into the woods… so what is up with that?

Then my wife goes and states that I am a suicide squirrel!!! “Hows that?” I ask.

“Because (of where I work) when ever there is a confrontation, or a situation that requires additional staff ;  ‘immediately’, I try to be the first to run to the scene.” (like a suicide squirrel diving between the tires) I thought about what she said, and she is right. I have the inner need to be there on the front lines of a battle, not to be the hero but to be there for the ones who are in need of help. I know that too many of the other people I work with will not move (become frozen) and do little to run to the aide of others. (however, with that being said there are a number of great co-workers who do put themselves on the line for others) I am what I am, a suicide squirrel.

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(I wrote this years ago while working construction, I saw this and had to write about it, hope you enjoy it, but it was hard to make the write as real as the scene that lasted a lot longer than the poem, between a crow and a squirrel)

King of the Pine~ by Art~

A tall pine tree
full of moss and vine
leaves were sent sailing
I saw tree bark fly

a small black bird
with squawking loud calls

it seemed to be angry

and ready for a brawl
Scampers a squirrel
in a ring around the rosy
spiral ascent
around the tree it mosey’d

The black bird dove
with Kamikaze dives,
pecking and striking at
a fluffy squirrel’s cries

In snickering taunts
it flicked its tail
hop, spring, then leap
from a tree limb it sailed

Pine cones fell

like hand-grenades,
pines needles dropped

from their little play
where ever the black bird

would leap and land
the squirrel

would shake that limb

A squawk and flapping
then another dive,
tiny talons grasp

a busy tail flies

The squirrel was tag teamed
by its enemies,
a black bird
and gravity

by Art~

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You’re driving down the road, minding your own business, when suddenly a squirrel, jaws clenched around something larger than its entire head, lunges out of the underbrush and launches itself suicidally in front of your car.

If reflexes and physics keep you from squashing that squirrel flat, you can rest assured that it will be only moments before the next romping Rocky ricochets out in front of you.

So what’s going on?

Well, it’s been a banner year for acorns and nuts, says Maggie Jones, executive director of the Denison-Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic. And it’s the second or third year of such abundance.

“Plenty of food means plenty of babies,” she says.

And plenty of baby squirrels (and chipmunks) early in the year means plenty of teenage squirrels (and chipmunks) in the fall.

Jones says the little buggers were feeling so flush early on that many went out and had entire second broods after the first ones left the nest.

And right now, those youngsters are just learning about things like roads.

The reactions that protect squirrels from predators, Jones says – stopping stock still, running in one direction and then turning tail and running in the exact opposite direction – don’t protect them from traffic.

In fact, she says, she has read that 70 percent of squirrels don’t make it past their first year on Earth. Not all of the deaths are vehicular – but some are, as anyone driving around here the past couple weeks can testify.

…..The American Automobile Association agrees. Representative Jacklyn Tobin says that “If avoiding the squirrel is in any way going to cause a driver to lose control, it’s better to simply not try to avoid the squirrel.”

If you’re the only car on the road, you can slow down, she says. But otherwise, grit your teeth and maintain your line.

“Safety is the No. 1 concern,” she says, adding, “The poor squirrels!”

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may you truly live this day

(~_~)

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