Dear Angry Squirrel

Dear Angry Squirrel,

If your temper tantrums weren’t so photogenic

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I wouldn’t linger so long with my camera at the foot of your tree

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and you wouldn’t have reason to be so angry.

Love, Rebecca.

Squirrel Skull?

I went for a walk this evening in the extra hour of daylight, and while I was in the dunes something white half-buried in the sand caught my eye.  It’s common to find fragments of bleached-white shells back in the swale, but this wasn’t a shell – it was a bone!  Digging in the sand gently with my fingers yielded what appeared to be most of a complete skeleton, and while some of the pieces, like the vertebrae, were so fragile that they fell apart when I tried to pick them up (they must have been exposed to the elements for quite a while), I managed to find all the pieces of the skull – the cranium with the upper jaw, and both halves of the mandible.  (Bones are not something I know a lot about, so I apologize if I have the terminology wonky.)

Definitely a rodent with those incisors, right?  And too big for a mouse or shrew or something?  So that leaves squirrels.  If someone who knows skulls wants to confirm or correct this ID I’d love that.  I can’t remember whether I’ve ever actually seen a squirrel down in the dunes – I feel like I mostly see them at the edge of the woods.  Of course, a hawk could have killed it further up and then carried it down into the dunes to eat…?

(Updated: Bruce Neill of the Sanibel Sea School was kind enough to solve the mystery – it’s not a squirrel, but a young rabbit.  I see marsh rabbits in the dunes all the time so this makes perfect sense.)

Also: completely unrelated, but I just have to share the fact that there are currently SEVERAL Chuck-will’s-widows calling outside! Maybe to people who live around here they’re old hat, but to me they’re incredibly exciting.  Life bird #553!