Seen in the Woods: Squirrels on a High
My brother and his workmate (both qualified Agriculturalists) carry out the intensive management of a 35 acre (14ha) on a residential estate in mid Devon. This includes monitoring 17 squirrel traps and as a consequence of this they had not seen a squirrel all through the spring. On Wednesday10 June 2015 they were sitting down eating their sandwiches at lunch time, when they saw a grey squirrel coming through the trees. It stopped at a pole sized beech had a nibble and moved on to the next beech with the same result. Once it took its first nibble on the third beech it carried on to strip the bark, throwing the pieces over its shoulder. However after detaching each piece of bark, it licked, presumably, the sap on the surface of the exposed wood. The more bark it removed and licked the sap, the more excited it became, as indicated by increasing tail movement, as if it was being elated.
One of my woodland owners came to see me and quite by chance I mentioned my brother’s recent experience with the grey squirrel. His response was: “We live in a cottage by a wood,(which we have recently purchased), and about 20 years ago we had a bamboo clump of about 6 feet in diameter in the garden by the stream. One day we noticed that there was a lot of movement in the clump. When we went to investigate we saw a number of squirrels scrambling through it eating the new shoots. We stood within about 3 yards watching them and they took no notice whatsoever. It was even more amazing that they seemed to fall to the ground with a shoot and wobble about as if inebriated. The bamboo clump died. The woodland owner also saw elephants in E Africa recently licking the sap from trees and roots that they debraked.
– William Blight FICFor
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