I watch squirrels for hours. There’s truth behind the adjective “squirrely,” as I suppose there is behind “catty.”
All day long, these squirrels find some perfectly good food, and rather than eat it, they take off with it, run a hundred yards or so, sniff around the dirt with their tails up in the air, pretend they’ve found the perfect place for that particular nut, then bury it by patting the earth down around it with their puny arms and freakish feet.
Keeping track, as I have, I can tell you that the squirrels don’t remember that perfect place they’ve found to hide the nut. They might find it later, but that’s completely by chance. More likely another squirrel will find it. More likely still, no one finds it, and it grows into a tree.
From a practical squirrel-centric view, their practice is wasteful and stupid. Their system of saving for leaner times is about as useful as you putting your extra change in other people’s pockets.
In the grander scheme of things, on which philosophical cats place their attention, the squirrel provides an important service to the planet as tree planter. If they were smarter, we wouldn’t have shade or oxygen or bark to sharpen our nails on. Really, you should try scratching a tree trunk. It’s very satisfying.
Squirrels are programmed for the greater good, not personal gain. It doesn’t make me respect them or want to be one, but I’m happy they’re around.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what I’ve learned from chasing these altruistic nut eaters.